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Guest Post: it’s been a record year for flea and ticks

In our discussions about summer dangers, one we have not touched on yet is ticks and the diseases they carry. Dr Riggs talks about ticks, Lyme disease and how to prevent it.


Summer is here in all its hot and sticky glory. Most places in the country had record high temperatures this last year and no one had the cold winter weather we have been accustomed to. Some people liked this and some didn’t.

One thing for sure… the bugs liked it!  This year has been and will continue to be the buggiest year ever.  We started seeing ticks in our area back in October and they haven’t left yet.

Ticks are discusting, gross and big carriers of disease for both our pets and us. They carry a number of bad diseases. The most common disease most people are aware of is Lyme disease. It is a disease that is only carried by one specific tick called Ioxedes Scapularis. It is endemic on the east coast, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, the Northwest and now…in Ohio, where I live.

Lyme disease can cause a variety of symptoms in both humans and animals. Some animals have rashes, arthritis, lethargy and neurologic signs. If caught early it is a relatively easy disease to treat with antibiotics. If left untreated it can be a devastating disease. We now have better tests to detect it in both animals and humans.

What can we do to prevent it? Use Frontline or Advantix. Both of these products work very well to keep you pet tick free.

Buyer beware though. There are now products sold over-the-counter (not requiring a prescription) that claim to have the same ingredients as Frontline, called fipronil. That is true….but…..there is always a but….none of those products have a dispersing agent to allow to fipronil to disperse over the entire body. What this means is if you use the Frontline, your pet’s entire body is protected from fleas and ticks. With the over-the-counter products, the product stays only in the place it is applied, and the only ticks and fleas killed, are the ones unfortunate enough to wonder into that very limited area. Hmm…I wonder why then forgot to mention that in their commercials? Buy the products from your veterinarian where the manufacturers will guarantee it.

Don’t be tempted to buy your flea and tick meds at pet stores, groceries or any other stores. The manufactures do not sell to them. Counterfeit drugs have become a huge problem in veterinary and human medicine. Don’t just take my word, read these two links and I think you will be convinced. The FDA has a webpage on Purchasing Pet Drugs Online: Buyer Beware and look at the 1-800-petmeds annual report that says on page 6, they are not authorized to sell these products and that no pharmaceutical companies sell anything to them. This goes for all the online and over-the-counter outlets. Surprising isn’t it! 

So watch both your pet and your family from these disgusting pests and educate yourself on preventing these parasites from having a serious health impact on your pets.

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Guest Post: it’s been a record year for flea and ticks

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Dr_RiggsDr. Rex Riggs grew up in Wadsworth, Ohio, near Akron. Dr Riggs is co-owner of Best Friends Veterinary Hospital in Powell, Ohio. He is also on the board of the North Central Region of Canine Companions of Independence, a board member of The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Society and Small Animal Practitioner Advancement Board at The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Riggs lives in Lewis Center, OH with his wife Nancy, their dogs Maggie and Ossa, and cat Franklin. Outside of work, Dr. Riggs is an avid golfer and cyclist, and enjoys travel and photography.

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