More people in the United States are getting sick from mosquito, tick, and flea bites; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the number of disease cases from these bites has at least tripled from 2004 to 2016. Reports of Lyme disease, particularly, are on the rise. A warming climate, some experts speculate, is partly responsible for the spike in Lyme disease cases in the United States in recent years. With springs coming sooner, insects carrying the disease will have a longer period of time to feed, increasing the chances of both humans and animals becoming infected.
While taking steps to protect yourself, keep in mind that your furry friend is vulnerable to several of these diseases as well, including Lyme disease. In fact, reports show that canine cases of testing positive for Lyme disease vastly outnumber cases of human infections reported by the CDC. Data collected by IDEXX between 2011 and 2015 shows almost 1 million positive results in canines in the United States alone. Compare this to the roughly 30,000 cases reported annually to the CDC for humans. Your pet’s chances of contracting Lyme disease further surge if you live in western or southern states. In dogs, Lyme disease can cause fever, lameness, or, in advanced stages, kidney failure and death.
Since scientists predict that the effects of climate change will only become more pronounced in years to come, it is more important than ever to protect your pets from disease. While it might be easy to dismiss Lyme disease as only a seasonal concern, the truth is, ticks can become active at any time of the year. Prevention is key to keeping your pets healthy. Consistently checking for ticks on your dogs is an important part of keeping them healthy. Flea and tick medications are also an important part of routine pet-care. Here are some available options to protect your canine companions year-round:
A single dose of Bravecto can last up to 12 weeks for dogs older than 6 months. Since most flea and tick medications only last about a month, this option makes protecting your dog much simpler, with less chances to forget missing a dose (and less chances for your dogs to throw a fit if they are averse to receiving medications). Bravecto comes in both oral and topical options. It is also fast-acting, starting to kill fleas in only 2 hours and can reach maximum efficacy only 12 hours after administration. Studies show that this medication is safe for use in pregnant or nursing animals.
Simparica is another great option for protecting your pet. Available as a chewable tablet, it needs to be administered monthly. Correctly taken, Simparica’s efficacy is strong all month long, not just shortly after ingestion. It can start taking killing fleas as quickly as 3 hours after administration, and ticks after 8 hours. It is only recommended for dogs 6 months of age and older and weighing at least 2.8 pounds.
Another chewable tablet, NexGard is a tasty option for your pet. Its beef flavor will make this medication easy to take for even the pickiest canine. It kills all fleas within the first day. NexGard is effective for 30 days and can be used in dogs and puppies at least 8 weeks old and weighing at least 4 pounds.
Frontline Gold is currently only available as a topical treatment that needs to be administered on a monthly basis. It can start killing fleas in as quickly as 30 minutes. It is approved for dogs and puppies at least 8 weeks of age and weighing at least 5 pounds. It also safe for breeding, pregnant, or lactating dogs.