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Caissie Canine Instruction: Fleas, Ticks, Parasites, Oh My!

Today, we are beginning our blog with our new section “RUFF TAILS”

Carson is a 15+ year old West Highland White Terrier who still has the kid in him when he loves to roll around in the backyard grass (especially when it's freshly cut!)

Carson's mom and dad always follow the CCI recommended "3 M's", and to Carson's dismay (not his favorite thing!) he's quickly thereafter thrust into the bathtub for a cleanup!

Welcome to Doggie Dialogue:

This week we are discussing parasite prevention.

Parasites fall into 2 main categories.

1. INTERNAL (tapeworm, heartworm, hookworm, etc.)

2. EXTERNAL (mites, fleas, ticks etc.)

The warm fur of a dog provides a perfect environment for fleas and ticks. With the warmer weather just around the corner, fleas and ticks will be out in greater numbers.

Ticks and fleas feed on your dog’s blood and can cause a variety of health problems.

Fleas will lay eggs on your dog (eggs are whitish in colour, and hard to see) and some eggs may fall off and hatch on your carpet, bed, or other furniture. Keeping your home dry as possible will make your home less friendly for fleas, as fleas favour humid areas. Parasites on the other hand, often hide in tall grass and shrubs - parasites can even “hitch a ride” on your clothes and into your home.

Now that the weather is getting warmers, we recommend that you inspect your dog’s fur for ticks after every outing. Ticks often attach to the paws, head, and neck areas. If you find a tick on your dog, remove the tick with tweezers, pull the tick straight up, DO NOT squeeze/twist the tick.

Please ensure the following steps are being taken:

1. Wear gloves or use tissue to cover your hands when removing the tick

2. Wash the bite area

3. Wash your hands.

We also recommend checking your dogs ears, often, black spots may appear which is the result of mite residue. In our experience, we often used a soft cloth with warm water to wipe out the ear, if needed. If you notice your dog shaking his/her head more then usual or notice a mild yeasty odor in the ear, contact your vet. These symptoms could indicate ear mites, allergies, fleas, or ear infection.

Internal parasites like heartworm will enter a dog’s bloodstream from a bite of an infected mosquito.

Heartworm prevention is your best bet. Heartworm medication from your vet is usually prescribed monthly in a form of a tablet or chewable.

Symptoms of a parasitic infection could include diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, and/or worms in the stool.

The best way to prevent parasites is to ask your vet for recommendations for internal and external parasite prevention.


1. Medicate for prevention

2. Monitor your pet

3. Maintain a clean environment

Ensure your dog’s bedding, food dish, and water bowl are cleaned on a regular basis. Keep your dog away from garbage, dead animals, and remove backyard feces at least a few times a week.

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