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Friday, February 12, 2010

Ichthyophthirius Multifiliis (Ich) And Fish

By Joseph Devine 

Is there a fish in your tank that has started to look and act a little weird? Is it swimming odd, scratching against rocks or lethargic? Does the fish have suspicious white dots growing on its body? These spots look as if the fish has been sprinkled with a salt shaker. If the answer to these questions is yes, your fish likely has Ichthyophthirius Multifiliis or Ich.

Ich is the most common disease of fresh water fish. And while you may be concerned about the state of the fish that currently has Ich, your worries should be based more on the rest of the fish in your tank.

Ich is highly contagious and once one fish has it, the entire tank is at risk of becoming infected. And what started as a problem with one fish will soon become the equivalent of a plague in your tank if fast action is not taken.

The Life Cycle of Ich

In order to understand how to go about treating your fish for Ich, you need to know about the life cycle of Ichthyophthirius Multifiliis.

Ich is caused by the protozoa ichtyopthiruis. It is an ectoparasite and essentially feeds off of your fish's body when the fish becomes infected. The stages of Ich include:

• Feeding stage-the parasite feeds in a nodule (the white spots) formed in the skill or gill.

• Encapsulated dividing stage-after feeding the parasite falls off the fish and adheres to plants, nets, gravel or other ornamentation in the aquarium.

• Binary fission-the Ich rapidly divides up to 10 times and takes hold of the entire tanks, attacking any other fish in the tank.

The rate at which the life cycle of the parasite moves is largely dependent on the water temperature in the tank. The life cycle is significantly sped up the higher the temperature of the water.

Treating Ich

There are a number of ways of treating Ich that differ greatly based on the type of fish in your aquarium. But the first approach to treating Ich should be separating the infected fish from the rest of the fish in the aquarium as soon as possible.

Once it is separated you can treat the infected fish, but remember to also treat the entire tank as well! Once Ich can be easily seen on a fish, it is likely already on its way to infecting the whole aquarium.

For more information on Ich, visit the website of Austin Vet Clinic today.

Joseph Devine

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Flea and Tick Control - What Type of Program is Right For Your Pet?

By Joe Cinova

With so many different products that are available today for flea and tick control, sometimes the choice of which one you should use for your pet isn't all that clear. I'm not even talking about manufacturer's brands. I'm talking about the particular plan you would use to rid your pet of these pests.

As daunting of a task that it may seem it really isn't that hard to wade thru all the information and decide what you need. There are 2 required scenarios that you need to look at. Like anything else let's start at the beginning. You need to know all you can about the pet being treated. Second, do you want a program of prevention, treatment or both? Each requires a different process to address the requirement.

Let's get started by asking a few simple questions.

1) What pet is this for, a dog or cat? When you buy Flea and Tick Control Medications they are specifically formulated for one type of pet or the other. They are NOT meant to be used interchangeably for either one.
2) It this for a pup or kitten? A lot of the pet medications are not allowed for a pet if they are younger than a certain age. Some allow on pets as young as 8 weeks old while others require that the pet has reached an age of 12 weeks.
3) If you were to search for a treatment, are you aware that you need to know the weight of your pet, whether it is for a cat or dog? Manufacturers of Flea and Tick Control medications have formulated the products to work best with pets in specific weight ranges. They also tend to "color code" the box and product advertising information of the product. For example Frontline Plus for Dogs, Orange, is for dogs up to 22 pounds. The Frontline Plus for Dogs Brand has four different weight levels, Orange, Blue, Purple and Red.
4) Is your pet sick or does it have any other health concerns like being pregnant? Again, there are product "use" limitations for some of these conditions and the products may not be used at the time.

Ok so we know about the physical and medical well being of our pet so let's work on the type of program we want to use. As I mentioned there are 3 possibilities. You might want to start a program of Flea and Tick Control Prevention. Or you realize you need to get moving on a treatment plan. Or third and I think the best plan of attack is a full program of Flea and Tick Control prevention and treatment. Basically, this is a program to get rid of any pests even if you aren't sure they exist and keep them away if they haven't gotten to your pet yet.

So what does each type of program offer? A program of prevention for your pet does three things; it will repel fleas and ticks from getting on to your pet; it will inhibit any growth of the pests if they are there and finally the program kills eggs and larvae. Each one of these preventative measures plays a particular role in stopping the life cycle of the parasites. The program won't work if it doesn't offer these three steps in the process.

A treatment plan is for administering an immediate remedy to kill adult ticks or fleas. When the pet is infested you want to provide immediate relief for them. A treatment application will do exactly that. There are subtle differences between prevention and treatment but this is because the formulations of the products are designed to do different things at different times of the life cycles of fleas and ticks.

Remembering some of the basic information about Fleas and Ticks is that they each have 4 stages during development. Fleas have eggs, larvae, pupae and adult stages. Ticks have eggs, larvae, nymph and adult cycles in their lifetime. Because of this, one product needs to be capable of interrupting each of the life cycles when they are present. So it would just makes sense to have a Flea and Tick Control Prevention and Treatment plan going on at the same time.

Ok so we know about the pet and want a dual plan of attack. What does this program entail? First and foremost you need to find all the possible areas where the pests are living. Besides searching for them on the pet, look in their bedding, where they feed, where they play, outdoors and their normal places of travel. Each of these particular areas will require a different course of treatment from simple vacuuming and washing their blankets to a major cleanup outside of areas they may inhabit.

Next, research the products you might consider using for their capabilities in providing a particular plan of Flea and Tick Control. Do you want a topical treatment for the pet or should you use and oral medication? What should you use to get rid of them if you find them outdoors? Maybe your vet has recommended a certain brand. Its all part of the process you need to go through but you'll be glad you did.

Its part of the responsibility you need to exercise when having a pet. The wrong product or program may not harm the pet but it certainly won't relieve them of their pain, scratching and sores. Doing your homework by reading and planning out an effective program of Flea and Tick Control is well worth the effort not only for the pet but for you, your children and house as well. Remember these pests aren't picky, just hungry and will get a meal wherever they can, not just your pet.

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