PARASITE INFOs

  • FLEAS

Fleas are one of the most common parasites found throughout the country. They love warm, humid conditions and are attracted to pets by body heat. No matter how careful you are, it’s virtually impossible for even indoor dogs to avoid the occasional flea, and if left untreated, fleas will soon flourish in even the cleanest household environment. Fleas have a simple life cycle. Adults can live up to 100 days, biting to feed on blood and produce flea eggs. The eggs drop to the ground or carpet and mature into larvae, then pupae, finally hatching into adults.

Adults

    • Need constant blood source
    • Feed and mate within 24 hours
    • Produce eggs within 20 to 24 hours

Eggs

  • Average 40 to 50 eggs per day
  • Drop off pet into the environment, including carpet
  • On average, hatch within 10 days

Larvae

  • Free-living stage
  • Feed on organic debris and flea feces
  • Last an average of 5 to 12 days

Pupae

  • Sticky, protective outer shell
  • Last an average of 8 to 9 days
  • Can survive months and hatch when conditions are favorable

Once your dog has them, fleas can spread anywhere your dog goes, including to other pets or in your home. In just 30 days, 10 fleas can become an infestation of up to 250,000 adult fleas on your dog and in your home.

Fleas bite to survive and to reproduce, injecting irritating substances into the skin that can cause itching, scratching, and skin irritation. In some dogs, flea bites can lead to an allergic reaction called flea bite hypersensitivity, also known as flea allergy dermatitis (FAD). Fleas can also cause other serious health issues such as anemia and tapeworm infections.

An effective way to keep adult fleas off your dog is to use a monthly product, year-round, that kills fleas and treats flea infestations. Year-round protection leaves no gaps in flea prevention coverage – ensuring the most effective treatment for your dog.

  • TICKS

Ticks have adapted to wet & dry seasons and can be found throughout the country. Although ticks favor wooded areas and tall grasses where they can attach themselves to passing animals, some ticks can also infest door environments such as homes and kennels.

Female ticks lay hundreds to thousands of eggs. These eggs mature to larvae, nymphs, and adults, which can parasitize animals and become a source of further infestations.

Ticks feed on the blood of their host. They suck blood through their mouthparts that they cement onto their host’s skin when they attach. This is usally painless, but could have potentially devastating health consequences for your dog.

When an infected tick attaches to your dog, it may transmit organisms that can cause diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, and tularemia.

Diagnosis and treatment of some tick-borne diseases can be both complicated and costly. While treatment is available for some, it may not be for others, so repelling ticks to help prevent attachment is key in helping to protect your dog from tick-borne diseases.

  • MOSQUITOES

There are about 3,000 species of mosquitoes that have been described on a worldwide basis. Mosquitoes belong to a group of insects that require blood to develop fertile eggs. Males do not lay eggs, thus, male mosquitoes do not bite. The females are the egg producers and the “host-seek” for a blood meal. Female mosquitoes lay multiple batches of eggs and require a blood meal for every batch they lay.

Few people realize that mosquitoes rely on sugar as their main source of energy. Both male and female mosquitoes feed on plant nectar, fruit juices, and liquids that ooze from plants. The sugar is burned as fuel for flight and is replenished on a daily basis. Blood is reserved for egg production and is consumed less frequently.

Any insect that feeds on blood has the potential to transmit diseases. Mosquitoes are highly developed blood-sucking insects and are the most formidable transmitters of organisms that may cause disease in the animal kingdom. Make sure your dog is on a monthly product that repels and kills mosquitoes.

DID YOU KNOW THAT:

  1. Fleas have been around for about 100 million years
  1. Fleas can jump up to 150 times their own length
  1. The female flea can lay 2000 eggs in her lifetime – a flea’s life span is about 2-3 months
  1. Flea eggs can survive freezing temperatures and are able to hatch as soon as warmer weather sets in
  1. The female flea consumes 15 times her own body weight in blood daily
  1. A flea can bite 400 times a day – if your pet has 10 fleas, that’s a rate of 4000 bites a day!”

Disaster and Emergency Preparedness for Pets

As an active fire & rescue volunteer, I was one of the first to be deployed when Tropical Storm Ondoy hit Metro Manila in September of 2009. Ironically, my first “patient” was a small Yorkshire terrier in a panic stricken mode as floods were steadily rising in their home.

During most of that ordeal and the days that followed after that both people and their pets were separated or stranded where they were food and help had to be brought to them through till Ondoy has passed.

The story I’ve just written is true and highlights the need for pet owners to take more responsibility for their beloved companions. As more and more access to information becomes available, pet owners now have the means needed to take care of their pets not just during good times but during times when an emergency happens or when a disaster is threatening to occur.

We, in the rescue community encourage the communities we service to have a mindset of “Disaster and Emergency Preparedness” that people can use when the unexpected happens.

This concept can be approached in two main categories. That is emergency preparedness or disaster preparedness. Although many times you may read or see that in a lot of instances these two are often interchanged. But for the sake of this article let us define Emergency Preparedness as addressing instances such as common household emergencies to events that affect your immediate family while Disaster Preparedness deals more with Natural and Manmade disasters affecting more people in a wider area such as a community, province, or region.

In both categories, it is greatly encouraged that people with pets undertake the effort to put together a Preparedness Kit not only for themselves and their family but for their pets as well. This is especially true for the local setting.  As in the years I’ve spent being a volunteer I’ve observed the following:

  • The government only has a very limited capability in terms of rescue and relief resources. NGOs are your next best hope for help but in a situation with a high volume of evacuees their own resources will be very stretched
  • Pets are not a high priority when it comes to rescue or evacuation during emergencies or disasters.
  • If you were to evacuate, not many evacuation centers will allow pets as they would pose a health and safety risk to other evacuees in the shelter.
  • Food, Water, and Medicine will be very hard to find in a disaster scenario.

While this may be true, it is also a fact that there are more pet owners now than before. Just strolling around a mall on a lazy Sunday afternoon, one can see the many pet owners (although mostly dogs) strolling around with their furry little (and sometimes big) companions.

This means there are more people with pets that need to make sure that in an emergency or disaster they have the immediate resources and knowledge needed to make sure that their pet will be taken care of.

To start off, any type of pet preparedness kit will include the following items:

  • Water
  • Food
  • Shelter or Pet Carrier
  • First Aid/Medicine
  • Pet ID and/or Documentation
  • Toys

In the Philippine setting it is advised that standard preparedness kits hold enough supplies for at least a week

I hope this was helpful for you. Should you have any questions or concerns I would love to hear from you. Please contact me at pateros_14@rocketmail.com and I’ll try to get back to you as soon as I can.

Thanks and Stay Safe.

This article was revised from its original version for the purpose of this blog. You may get the original article by getting a copy of the Makati Dog and Cat Hospital Newsletter or by accessing the following link:

Benedict “Dinky” de Borja has been a volunteer Firefighter + Medic for the Pateros Filipino-Chinese Volunteer Fire and Rescue Brigade for the last 5 years. He helps Dr. Sixto Carlos on topics such as Emergency and Disaster Preparedness, as well as First Aid.