SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

October 5, 2012

Vet Connection: A little bug can cause big problems for you and your pet

(Continued)

Cat scratch fever or Bartonella henselae is transmitted when a flea bites a cat. Some cats will have symptoms of inflammation at the back of their mouths or inflamed eyes and severe skin lesions. Many cats exhibit no symptoms but the bug can be found in their hearts, lymph nodes, kidneys and liver. Cats can in turn infect their owners via scratches, sometimes while exhibiting absolutely no sign of infection. People can develop severe skin lesions.

The best way to prevent these diseases is to keep your cat or dog parasite free. We no longer prevent or treat fleas with just baths and dips. Topical and oral medications are used to flight fleas these days. I do not advise choosing flea and tick preventive medicine from the pet store shelf or online store. There are some flea and tick topical products that are 30-year-old technology and are very ineffective. Other flea and tick products have the active ingredient fipronil but do not have the chemical that allows that flea preventative to be carried transdermally into the fat layer throughout the body. This makes them much less effective. There are products on the shelf that can cause cats and small dogs to have severe reactions and seizure. Consult your veterinarian about which flea and tick preventative she recommends. Your veterinarian will recommend the correct product based on your individual pet’s lifestyle.

Purchasing a quality flea product from your veterinarian is often less expensive per dose than the same products from the big box stores. The complimentary doses that come with the box and the large coupon savings offered only by your veterinarian make the pricing very competitive. You can also be sure that the product is from a legitimate manufacturer and not a knock off look-alike package with questionable ingredients from an unknown source.

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