Parasites in Kansas

Of all the places I have lived, Kansas might just have the wildest weather! And although there was snow on my truck this past week, spring has sprung and so have all the creepy crawlies that come with it. In the recent weeks, I have collected twenty-seven ticks, seen thousands of fleas and diagnosed one case of heartworm, and it’s only March. But, did you know that these pests are a lot more dangerous than they appear?

Heartworms are the most dramatic and toughest to treat of these dangerous parasites. Transmitted by mosquitoes, these buggers get into your pet’s bloodstream and grow up to feet in length in the heart causing long-term heart failure and a variety of nasty symptoms. Fortunately, prevention is easy and effective.

Fleas and ticks are a little more subtle in their attack. Fleas can harbor tapeworms that your pet acquires while licking and ingesting the fleas that are making them itch.

Tapeworms can also drain your pet of nutrients and damage your pet’s intestines. Ticks are a growing problem in our region (especially if we get the water we need)! Ticks come in all shapes and sizes and carry just as many diseases. These critters inject the organisms when they bite that cause Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Erlichiosis and a few new ones, such as is suspected with Bourbon Disease discovered in Bourbon county, Kansas last year. The good news is there are ways to prevent fleas and ticks as well.

So how do you prevent crossing paths with these pests and keep your pets safe? There are oral and topical preventions that help your pets directly and keeping your lawn short, removing sources of standing water and checking your pets after walks can be helpful, especially in the control of ticks.

Keep your eyes peeled for the smallest offenders this spring for your pet’s health!

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