Portland Veterinarian Urges Monthly Parasite Prevention Vigilance

PORTLAND, Ore., June 8, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Portland veterinarian Dr. Rick White of Cedar Mill Veterinary Hospital is urging pet owners throughout the area to keep their pets up-to-date on their monthly parasite prevention medications. Vigilance is always necessary in Oregon, he says; fleas, ticks and mosquitoes are almost always feeding, and cats and dogs are high on their list of food sources. When these insects bite, they can transmit a number of diseases and parasites that sicken and sometimes kill companion animals, and even humans. Dr. White says that cats and dogs living in Oregon should stay on their monthly doses of flea, tick and heartworm preventatives all year round.

Dr. White explains that Oregon pets are never out of the woods when it comes to potential infection from biting insects. "As a Portland veterinarian, I see flea infestations all year. The Oregon climate never kills them off. Ticks are really active and biting in the spring and summer, and mosquitoes can be a problem almost all year in some places. So there just isn't any safe season to let your pet's flea and tick medications and heartworm preventatives lapse."

According to Dr. White, fleas are a serious annoyance at their best and a disease-spreader at their worst. Pets suffering flea infestations frequently suffer flea-allergy dermatitis (FAD), which causes them to scratch, bite, and lick flea-bitten areas. This often leads to "hot spots" that become even more sore and infected without prompt treatment. Smaller pets often suffer anemia and even death from loss of blood. He adds that fleas can and do often spread tapeworms and diseases such as tularemia, Bartonella, typhus, and even plague.

Dr. White also urges pet owners not to underestimate ticks in the city. He says that with Portland's abundant foliage and mild climate, ticks find havens in many Portland backyards. The most common tick-borne diseases for pets and humans in Oregon include Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Monthly Heartworm medications are the best way to prevent both cats and dogs from getting this deadly mosquito-borne parasite, according to Dr. White. He says that heartworm larvae are implanted by biting mosquitoes. The larvae migrate to a pet's heart where they grow into parasitic worms that eat the heart's lining, blocking major blood vessels. He cautions that if a pet has not been on heartworm medications regularly, it is vital to have the pet tested for heartworm infection before giving preventative medication. If a pet is already infected with heartworm, other treatments need to be given first, or anaphylactic shock could result.

"Parasite prevention and control for pets is a year-round necessity here in Portland," urges Dr. White.

Dr. White owns and operates Cedar Mill Veterinary Hospital in Portland and provides parasite prevention, wellness care, pet surgery and boarding.


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