The Heavy Snow is Contributing to the Rise in Parasites

Written By Dr. Gary Holfinger

As we all cursed the heavy cold and snowy winter, we heard many clients saying that this should take care of the fleas, ticks, and worms for next year. Actually, that isn’t so. It would have helped if it had been bitter cold with no snow, but the heavy snow layer actually acts as a temperature buffer for the wind chill. Some reports state that constant thick snow on the ground protects parasites much like an igloo works for an eskimo.

Last years showed a dramatic increase in ticks in our area, and we expect an increase this year. We highly recommend tick protection for any dogs going outside, especially for campers and hunters. Ticks will be a risk as soon as the snow melts, and fleas will soon follow.

Key to control is prevention, not treatment. Once you’ve found a parasite you can expect more, and a subsequent season of treatment. Products such as Advantix for dogs need to be given monthly for tick eradication, and the new 8 month Seresto collar for both dogs and cats was well-liked last year.

Be sure to clean the yard of feces once the snow starts melting. Parasite eggs in voided feces will remain viable for decades once they get in the soil. Your monthly heartworm medication prevents nearly all intestinal parasites, and serves as a key factor in your pet’s health.

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