Key Changes to Protect Pets from Today’s Parasites  

By Jason Drake, DVM, DACVM-Parasitology, director, scientific marketing affairs – parasiticides, global companion animal business unit, Merck Animal Health 

Vector-borne diseases are increasing around the world. There are several reasons why: changes in weather have created more tick habitats, dogs traveling alongside their human families spread infections to more places, and parasites and parasitic infections keep showing up in places where they haven’t been before. For example, Lyme disease has been found in 80 countries, and the risk for contracting it and similar tick-borne illnesses increases every minute a tick is attached, according to the Global Lyme Alliance. 

So, how do we protect our loved ones, human and four-legged alike? 

If we follow these 3 key changes, we can protect more of the animals and people we care about from parasites and vector-borne diseases in the future:  

  1. First, veterinarians and pet owners should know that certain parasite control tactics that have worked in the past may not protect pets now or in the future. The risks of parasites and vector-borne diseases evolve rapidly, requiring changes to existing protocols. 
  1. Second, innovations that improve pet owners’ compliance with vet and expert recommendations can significantly improve the protection pets have from parasites and vector-borne diseases. Products with the longest duration ensure your pets are protected and reduce the risk of protection gaps. 
  1. Third, the products available for protecting pets against ticks and vector-borne diseases have never been safer or more effective. While older products weren’t as specialized, these days, active ingredients are targeted at specific, problematic parasites. 

Parasitologists identify new disease-causing agents every year, so recommendations change frequently. And it may take multiple products to provide the broadest protection. Ask your vet for the latest information about how to best protect your pet from parasites, both in your area and in areas you travel to with your pet.