Don't Get Bitten! Asheville is a Parasite Paradise

By Dr. Kasandra Garner 

The southern Appalachian mountains are a great place to spend winter if you are a dog owner. Most days the weather is still mild enough to get out and hike or play ball with your furry friend, and the occasional cold snap or wintry precipitation rarely lasts longer than a few days. Unfortunately, this area is a paradise for parasites as well. Because we don't have the consistently frigid temperatures of the mountains further north, mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and infective forms of intestinal worms can survive even in the middle of winter. These parasites can also get into the homes of pets that spend almost all of their time indoors.

We are seeing an increase in deer tick bites on our canine friends. These ticks are much smaller than the ticks that most people are familiar with, so please click on the accompanying links and learn how to recognize them on your pets and human family members. These ticks appear in late fall and winter after the larger types of ticks have already subsided causing people to think their pets no longer need a tick preventative. Deer ticks can carry Lyme disease which infects pets and people, resulting in a potentially life-threatening disease.

This is why it is so critical that pets in this area are kept on products that prevent internal and external parasites all year round. Your veterinarian can recommend a product or combination of products that, when given as directed, will prevent all of these parasites and the diseases that they carry from infecting your pets.

If your pet has missed more than two months of heartworm prevention, please talk with your veterinarian about whether your pet needs testing for heartworms before starting back on medication. Or if you have any questions on which medication would be best for your pet, we can help! Call us at 253-3393.

Basic Information on Ticks

Photos of deer ticks

Other informative links:

Geographic distribution of ticks that bite humans