Angie's List: Summer pet health - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Angie's List: Summer pet health

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Summertime can put pets at risk for fleas and other parasites. This is when the bugs are most active.

Pet owner Joe Kaiser knows firsthand how important it is to protect his two dogs. He's a volunteer with the local humane society. "I see too many animals with heartworm coming in with fleas and ticks and I see this and I feel so sorry for them because they are suffering." Angie Hicks with Angie's List adds, "Especially during these summer months preventative care for your pets is important when it comes to parasites because it's very easy for them to pick up fleas, for example. The treatment is much more expensive than the preventative maintenance is."

Of those three common parasites, fleas are the most common. Dr. Greg Magnusson, a veterinarian, says, "They can make pets who are allergic to fleas very sick as far as their skin is concerned. Flea allergy dermatitis is one of our most common presenting signs in the spring and summer."

And heads up indoor cat owners: even if your feline friend never takes a single step outdoors, humans can easily track fleas inside.

Next: heartworm. That's spread by mosquitoes. Dr. Magnusson says "A mosquito will suck blood out of an infected dog or cat and fly over to a neighbor's house and then take a second blood meal off that dog or cat and inject the worms into that pet."

Preventing heartworm disease is much easier than treating it. A monthly chewable can help protect your pet from heartworms, but you'll need to get a prescription from your vet.

And don't forget about ticks. Vets suggest checking your pets regularly for ticks since they can transmit Lyme Disease. "Most of our ticks we find from dogs that aren't necessarily hiking in wooded areas, but are just in their backyard."

To ensure your pet's protection, experts suggest not skipping a dose. Talk to your veterinarian about the best prevention for your pet.

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