Like other dogs, beagles are commonly bothered by fleas and ticks.
What are fleas?
Fleas are common parasites of dogs that infest the haircoat. Adult fleas are very small (1-5 mm) and their bodies are flattened.
Fleas feed on blood and to do this, they use their mouth (which can pierce through the skin) and they insert it into the skin of their host.
Fleas that commonly infest dogs are the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) and the dog flea (Ctenocephalides canis).
Can fleas cause disease to my beagle?
Fleas can cause a condition called flea allergy dermatitis (FAD). FAD which is also known as flea bite hypersensitivity is a common skin disease of domestic dogs. It is prevalent in the summer because the warm weather allows the fleas to breed.
Fleas also serve as intermediate host for the filarid roundworm of dogs, Dipetalonema reconditum and for the common intestinal flatworm of dogs and cats, Dipylidium caninum.
Can fleas cause disease to humans?
Yes, fleas can also cause flea allergy dermatitis in humans. They also serve as vectors to a disease in man called murine typhus caused by Rickettsia typhi. Murine typhus is a mild to severe febrile disease of man which is characterized by headaches, child and skin rashes. The disease can also affect the kidney and the central nervous system.
What can I do if my beagle has fleas?
If your beagle has fleas, you can do the following:
- Treat the animal by using sprays, dips, squeeze-on liquids for spot treatments, or collars and powders that can kill the fleas. These insecticides typically contain organophosphates, carbamates, pyrethrins and pyrethroids. (Ask your veterinarian on the proper use of these products and if they are suitable for your dog; some of these chemicals may be toxic and cause poisoning if not handled properly).
- Prescription topical treatments such as selamectin (Revolution®) and fipronil (Frontline®) can be given for both treatment and prevention of flea infestation. These products can usually protect the dog for a month.
- Control the fleas in the environment.
What are ticks and what type of ticks are found in beagles (and other dogs)?
In beagles and other dogs, there are two types of ticks: soft ticks (argasids) and hard ticks (ixodids). Ticks are arthropods and are closely related to mites and spiders. Ticks feed on the blood of their host.
The brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus is common in dogs worldwide.
Can ticks cause disease to my beagle?
Ticks can cause a condition called tick paralysis wherein the animal (dogs, humans, other mammals and birds) suffers from paralysis due to the neurotoxin(s) present in the saliva of certain ticks. Other systems of the body (cardiac, airway, and bladder) may also be affected.
The brown dog tick is a vector of many disease-causing organisms including Babesia canis (Babesiosis), Ehrlichia canis (Ehrlichiosis), Rickettsia rickettsii (typhus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever), Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus, and Thogoto virus. This common tick of dogs can also transmit Hepatozoon canis, a protozoal agent which causes hepatozoonosis in wild and domestic carnivores.
Ixodid ticks or hard ticks transmit Lyme’s disease which affects dogs, horses, and humans.
What should I do if my dog has ticks? What can I do to prevent my dog from getting infested with ticks?
If your dog has ticks, you can:
To prevent your dog from being infested with ticks: