, Newburyport, MA


April 11, 2014

Paw Prints: Keeping your pets healthy this spring


Fleas have also been patiently waiting for spring. Fleas live on your pets for about a month, during which time each can lay hundreds of eggs. These eggs reside in your home as unwelcome tenants. When the weather warms and humidity increases, they begin furiously hatching, and the battle is on.

In addition to being nasty little parasites, fleas can spread disease. Both the cat and his human companion are at risk. Flea-transmitted illnesses include dermatitis, tapeworm infestation, cat scratch disease and plague.

Fortunately, both fleas and ticks are easy to avoid with monthly prevention. Most products are topical pesticides; however, a few FDA-approved medicines are now available.

Dogs can take a monthly pill to prevent fleas and ticks. This is a nice option for dogs that swim a lot, or for families who want to avoid pesticide residue on their pet’s coat. The selection of flea and tick preventives is mind-boggling, so ask your vet what is best for your Fido or Fluffy.

Enjoy the season, and keep your four-legged family members happy and healthy with you.


Dr. Heidi Bassler practices at Bassler Veterinary Hospital ( at Crossroads Plaza in Salisbury. She hosts a radio show, “Your Pet’s Health,” every Sunday morning at 8:30 on WNBP 106.1 FM and 1450 AM. Do you have questions for Dr. Bassler? Send them to

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