Skip to content

Tips and resources
for protecting your pets
from fleas, ticks, and
other pesky irritants.

Guest Expert Photo

Fleas and Ticks: When to Call the Vet

Fleas and ticks are usually just a nuisance, not usually a reason to call the vet. But In the WebMD Pet Health Community, M. Duffy Jones, DVM, explains that there are some times when the sight of these creepy-crawlies do in fact call for a visit with the vet.

If your pet has an allergic reaction -- either to a flea bite or to the flea and tick protection product you’re using -- you need to check with your vet. Pets with flea allergies often need aggressive treatment in order to avoid serious skin infections. And those who have an adverse reaction to medications also need to be checked out sooner rather than later.

If you see an engorged tick that has obviously been feeding on your pet for some time, there’s a greater chance that the tick has been present long enough to spread Lyme disease, which only occurs after about 48 hours of attachment. In this case you'll want to see your vet.

If you try to remove a tick at any stage of engorgement and don’t get the whole thing, your vet will need to make sure the tick is fully removed and check your pet's condition.

Other times to check with your vet include:

  • When you see live fleas on your pet despite using flea treatment. A vet visit can help you pick a new product or figure out if you’re using it incorrectly.
  • If your normally perky pet develops the lethargy associated with flea anemia, a noticeable weakness caused by excessive blood lost to these parasites.
Discussion led by M. Duffy Jones, DVM Guest Expert
Next Article:

Guest Expert What is a guest expert?

Dr. Jones is an Atlanta-based veterinarian who founded the Peachtree Hills Animal Hospital of Atlanta in 2005…More

Read Profile

Flea and Tick Protection Poll

How do you protect your pet from fleas and ticks?

View Results