Soft Paws: Dealing with pet parasites

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By Charlene Marchand

For Capital Region Independent Media

Jack and Jassmine are Jack Russell terrier mixes, pictured with CGHS soft Adoption Counselor Kylie Hulbert. Jack is 12 years old and Jassmine is about 8 years old. They were unfortunately surrendered to us due to their previous owners getting a divorce. These two are very bonded and must be adopted out together into a pet-free, child-free home. They are the sweetest older dogs and just want to be in the company of their favorite human!

It’s a beautiful, warm and sunny day in the month of June, and those small spring/summer savages are out in force.

Gnats are creating small funnel clouds, engorged ticks are falling off our feline and canine friends, and as a footnote, I killed my first 2022 mosquito yesterday.

Annual reminders about the importance – no, the necessity — of protecting our companion animals from these onslaughts, cannot appear in print frequently enough. Here’s ours:

  • Heartworm protection: All dogs should be on heartworm preventative. Dog owners should administer medication throughout the year. If meds have ceased after the onset of winter and cold temperatures, a blood test must be taken before you can continue again. There are a number of effective products on the market, and your decision should be made jointly with your veterinarian. Once contracted, the treatment for heartworm, in some animals, may be life threatening. Don’t forget that we are endemic in this part of the country for heartworm.
  • Ticks and fleas: There’s no question that I sound like a broken record when it comes to external parasite control. It’s a must. It’s imperative. It’s like drinking eight glasses of water per day. Your cats and dogs can breeze through the warm season definitely flea-free, and come pretty close where ticks are concerned. I think it’s safe to say that the product of choice, at this time, should be discussed with your veterinarian. For frequently bathed dogs who live on properties graced by ponds, or dogs who live outside, the efficacy of certain products can remain unaffected.
  • K-9 Advantix. It is rapidly gaining a faithful following. It includes the ability to repel mosquitoes in its repertoire. Caution must be used with this highly effective product, because its chemical properties are toxic to cats. Many clients love the Seresto collar and often use them with a systemic like Simparica Trio, Credelio, Nexguard. Etc. Again, a veterinarian discussion. I go through tons of “Off Smooth and Dri” on my German shepherd dogs daily, in addition to Advantix.
  • Lyme disease has put nearby Columbia County on the map for having the highest number of diagnosed human cases in the country. Our canine companions also share in this dubious, unfortunate honor. Anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis are frequently diagnosed vector diseases.
  • Don’t forget your cats when discussing the problem of external parasite protection. Consult your veterinarian about the use of topicals mentioned, or ingested meds like Revolution and Sentinel. Bear in mind that repellent products, like Adams Flea and Tick Repellent or Cutter’s Outdoorsman spray, enhance the effectiveness of other non-repellent topicals. The Cutter Outdoorsman Insect Repellent Lotion is an excellent choice to keep biting flies off the ears of canines, felines and equines!
  •  Horse protection: Horses are certainly not last, nor least. The Freedom and EQUI-Spot-On products have a reasonable degree of efficacy. My Repel X usage was significantly decreased with regular Spot-On application when my horses were alive. Our equine friends are not exempt from the complications of Lyme disease, nor the discomfort of biting flies, gnats and mosquitoes.

Feel free to call us with any questions at 518-828-6044 or visit our website at www.cghs.org. Our Food Bank is open to any from the public in need of pet food or for those wishing to donate food from 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily. Spay/neuter clinics for cats are $86.00 male or female, including a rabies vaccination and a 5-in-1 feline distemper combination vaccination. Nail clipping services are available every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the shelter for a donation of $10 for cats and $15 for dogs (currently prepaid only).

Charlene Marchand is the chairperson of the Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA Board of Directors. She may be contacted at cghsaaron@gmail.com.

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