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Dog Fleas, Tapeworms
- Vet Waiting Room

Q. My dog does not have fleas - but he is constantly biting his leg (all of them, but mainly one). What's the problem?

A. It would be difficult to truly tell you the correct problem just from that description but it may be that your dog has allergies of some sort. Food borne allergies can especially present with such signs. Consult with your regular vet in regards to allergy testing.

Q. I was recently in the vet's office with my beautiful, well-groomed German Shepherd, just for a routine exam. While I was in the waiting room a woman came in with 2 hairy dogs and announced to the receptionist that her dogs had worms (and produced samples).

The receptionist asked if they had fleas, too, since often some kind of worm comes from fleas, to which this woman responded that they did. They told her to have a seat and they'd be with her soon.

Needless to say, I was infuriated, my dog has never had worms or fleas and I was not about to expose him to either! Was I wrong to ask her to wait outside so my dog would not be exposed?

How safe is my dog in a vet's waiting room? What precautions should I be taking?

A. Most dogs in their life are exposed to fleas just from everyday living and I am sad to say that your dog has probably been bit by a flea sometime in his or her life.

The flea however does not transmit the worms simply by biting your dog. The dog usually has to ingest the flea to become infected with tapeworms. Although tapeworms are unsightly to look at they usually cause little damage to your pet.

There are a lot of good flea prevention medicines available to day the can reduce the risk of flea infestation in your pet. Products like Frontline and Advantage are the market leaders. Frontline and Advantage are topical agents that are applied once a month to your pets coats that are toxic to the fleas but have no effect on the animal. There is always a chance of an allergic reaction however with any medication.

So try and relax. Your pet is safe in a vet's waiting room. When truly infectious or harmful problems arise they are dealt with accordingly so no other patients are put at risk.

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Veterinarain Gregory Herndon DVM

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