‘More than just a skin problem’: Dog owners cautioned vs fleas, ticks

November 28, 2022 - 5:45 PM
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Photo shows a dog (Anilsharma26/Pixabay)

A veterinarian warned dog owners that canine fleas (pulgas) and ticks (garapata) are more than just a skin problem. 

“These ectoparasites cause several harms to our pets. Number 1, through their blood-sucking habit. They suck blood they rob our pets with nutrients. In severe cases, if the infestation is high, it can cause anemia,” Remil Galay said on Thursday, November 24 during the launch of Effitix in Makati City. 

The University of the Philippine Los Baños veterinary professor said that parasites’ saliva contains allergens, a substance that can cause an allergic reaction, which can be transferred to dogs.  

“Even if the bite is just on one side, it can actually spread all over the body because of the allergic reaction,” he said. 

Citing the findings of his and other scholars’ study, Galay said that dogs could be infected with more than one pathogen or disease-causing agent transmitted by ticks or garapata.  

One of the pathogens found in 140 dogs tested in the study is Rickettsia spp, a disease-causing agent that can also be transferred to humans. 

How to prevent parasite infestation

To avoid the infestation of ticks and other ectoparasites, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggested the following:

  • Regularly check your pets for ticks daily, especially after they spend time outdoors.
  • Remove a tick right away, if you spot one on your pet 
  • Apply measures to reduce the tick habitat 

Galay said soap and shampoo could be used for dogs infested with parasites but noted that the effect is not long-lasting. 

“After washing, it can only kill those ticks and fleas in the dog at the time of bathing, but the problem is there could be remaining ticks and fleas in the dog’s environment. 

One of the best solutions to remove and avoid external parasites among dogs is a spot-on topical solution, Shiela Chavez, an animal nutritionist, and veterinarian, said. 

Chavez, also  Virbac Philippines Inc.’s technical and marketi ng assistant manager, recommended using Effitix to prevent ticks and fleas infestation. Chavez said that this product also has mosquito-repelling ingredients. 

Effitix boasts fipronil and permethrin ingredients, according to Chavez. 

Aside from addressing external parasites, Galay said that the combination of these ingredients could also prevent the transmission of blood parasites. 

The product also claims to be waterproof and remains effective after bathing, shampooing, water immersion, or sunlight exposure.

Virbac Philippines also said that Effiix can prevent re-infestation for up to four weeks.

While several studies have backed the safety and efficacy of the product, Chavez noted that it is not recommended for sick dogs or those with hypersensitivity to active ingredients. 

Virbac’s Effitix will be available in the country on December 16 on authorized online pet stores.