Part 1 – Flea and Tick Trivia With Dr. Rod Van Horn

How knowledgeable are you about fleas and ticks and the diseases they can transmit to your dogs, cats, and people? While this is probably more than most fifth graders would know, (I am not smarter than a fifth grader, I will admit, based on the TV show), it will test you and, I hope, provide some insight (and fun) into these unwanted, gross, and disease-carrying pests.

When you answer at least two questions correctly in the blog comments below, you will be entered to win this awesome basket full of Sergeant’s pet products (click on photo to enlarge). The winner will be chosen at random Monday, July 22. This will be a two-part series with answers, comments and giveaways to come in the forthcoming weeks. Are you ready? Let the questions begin:

1. Tapeworms can occur in both dogs and cats. How is the most commonly diagnosed tapeworm transmitted to your dog or cat?

2. This tick-transmitted disease commonly affects bobcats and can be transmitted to domestic cats, resulting in a life-threatening disease. What is the more common name of this disease and, to really raise the bar, the scientific name of the disease?

3. Ticks can be very prolific. About how many eggs can a single tick produce?

4. Phobia means to to be fearful of something. Several years ago, a movie was produced, titled with the scientific classification of the class that ticks are a part of. What scientific class do ticks belong to?

5. Fleas not only create itching and skin irritations but can transmit a bacterial organism. What bacterial organism can dogs and cats obtain via flea bites?

6. Can you name a common disease that fleas can transmit to your cats?

7. Fleas can transmit what disease to cats, dogs, and people with symptoms of enlarged lymph nodes sometimes referred to as “buboes,” and/or pneumonia-like symptoms?

8. This disease can be transmitted by infected ticks and many times the person has had some kind of contact with rabbits. What is it?

9. Once a tick has had a blood meal, how long can they live without another feeding?

10. 50:50 chance on this one. Simple, yes or no answer. If a tick is killed or repelled before it has taken a blood meal, can it still transmit organisms that could cause disease?

Wow! A lot to consider! Dr. Google will be available for inquiring minds that want the challenge . Even if you don’t answer the questions or only a few, bottom line is: Don’t let your pets go unprotected. There are many simple, inexpensive, and effective preventative options available to protect your pets and your family members not only from fleas and ticks but the many potential diseases they can transmit. See you  soon with the answers and some additional insightful and possibly scary information on these nasty parasites.

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Fleas and ticks, UGH! Gross. No one wants either of these parasites on their pets or themselves. We also DO NOT want any of the many diseases these pests can transmit. In the above questions, we were testing how insightful and how much you may or may not know about fleas and ticks. I would like to say thank you to everyone who read the post and commented below. We really appreciate the participation. How do you think you did with the questions? Are you a flea and tick genius? Let’s see. Here are the answers.

1. One of the most commonly diagnosed tapeworms in the cat and dog is Dipylidium caninum, sometimes referred to as the double-pored dog tapeworm. This tapeworm is transmitted to your dog or cat by them ingesting/swallowing an infected flea. You may initially see tapeworms as what appears to be little, off white-colored grains of rice that are moving around your pet’s anal area.

2. This tick-transmitted disease is commonly called Bobcat fever or the scientific name is Cytauxzoonosis. The organism infects the red blood cells and causes high fevers, lethargy, anorexia, and anemia. Typically, this disease was diagnosed in the southeastern states but now is being found in more widespread areas, moving both west and north due to tick species adapting, and becoming more prevalent in other parts of the country.

3. Some species of ticks can produce as many as 22,000 eggs in her lifetime.  Wow, that is a lot of offspring! Can you imagine keeping track of all their names?

4. Do you have a fear of spiders, scorpions, mites and ticks? If so, you have Arachniphobia. Do you remember the movie?  Ticks are in the Arachnida class of invertebrate arthropods.

5. Commonly, the disease is called Cat Scratch disease or Cat Scratch Fever. It is caused by a bacterial organism called Bartonella henselae and it usually occurs from a person being scratched by an infected cat.  Usually, one would experience only a mild infection.  However, fever, severe headaches, swollen lymph nodes and, rarely, even more severe diseases such as meningitis can occur. If you get scratched, simply clean the area well.  In most cases this will be adequate to prevent serious disease.

6. The common bacterial organism that flea bites can transmit to cats and dogs is Bartonella henselae. This typically will not create any illness in your pets but can create problems in people if we are infected as read in the previous question (Cat Scratch Fever).

7. Commonly called the “Plague” or Bubonic Plague or Pneumonic Plague, is caused by carrier fleas biting people. Typically seen in people who are exposed to wildlife that have fleas such as squirrels and rabbits.  This disease can cause enlarged lymph nodes (buboes), flu-like symptoms, rapid pneumonia, respiratory failure, toxemia, and death. Not a good disease to acquire.

8. The disease is called Tularemia. It is caused by a bacteria called Franciella tularensis. This disease not only infects people but sometimes cats, as well. People, if infected, can experience flu-like symptoms, exhaustion, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, chest pain, respiratory distress, pneumonia, toxemia and death. This is a bad disease if not diagnosed and treated early.

9. Some species of ticks can live/survive for up to two years after a blood meal. Wow!

10. The answer is NO.  Hooray!  This is why it is so important to prevent ticks on our pets.

And the winner is…Sara Cox! Congratulations! Again, thank you to everyone who participated. We will be doing another trivia post very soon, so keep checking back. Sara, please email Nichole at nbaugh@sergeants.com to claim your free basket!!!

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