Health Alerts for Your Pet

Haltom City - Nancy P Watkins Animal Care and Adoption Center SignHaltom City Animal Services wants to make citizens aware that our pets will be encountering internal and external parasite threats as the weather warms up. External parasites include ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes.

Ticks & Fleas

Ticks and fleas can cause severe anemia (lower red blood cell count) in our pets. Ticks have 4 life stages:

  • Egg
  • Nymph
  • Larvae
  • Adult

All stages except "egg" will attach and feed on a host. One adult tick can drink 8cc of blood in one day and a female can lay hundreds to thousands of eggs at a time.

Fleas have a 4 stage life cycle, which makes them much harder to get rid of.

  • Stage 1 - Egg which hatch in about two days.
  • Stage 2 - Larvae hatches from an egg and live for about 5 to 15 days feeding the environment around it while spinning a cocoon and entering the next stage.
  • Stage 3 - Pupa which can lay dormant for months, in this stage, they are almost indestructible.
  • Stage 4 - Adult Flea begins to feed immediately on their host and will lay hundreds of eggs within 2 to 4 days The adult can live up to 4 to 6 weeks in the environment.

Ticks and fleas can be treated by oral medication, topical monthly treatments, or shampoo. It is very important to monitor your pet if they have ticks and fleas on them as the blood loss to these parasites decreases your pet's immunity to fight off illnesses and to stay healthy.


Mosquitoes pose one of the most serious threats to our pets because they can transmit heartworms to your pet by feeding on them.

  • Stage 1 - A mosquito bites an infected dog, taking in the microfilariae as it feeds.
  • Stage 2 - The microfilariae develop into infective stage larvae within the mosquito
  • Stage 3 - The mosquito transmits the infective stage larvae to a healthy dog. The larva migrates through the tissues, eventually reaching the heart.
  • Stage 4 - Heartworms can grow up to 12 inches in length. Left untreated, heartworm disease can be fatal.

Heartworms are inexpensive to prevent but very costly to treat. Prevention consists of having your pet tested for heartworms and if the test is negative your veterinarian will put your pet on one of the many monthly preventatives which are dosed per your pet's weight. Heartworm prevention may only be purchased through a veterinarian as the pet must be tested once a year. A monthly dose of preventative usually costs $14 to $22.

Treatment of a pet that is heartworm positive consists of giving your pet precise doses of arsenic to kill the heartworms over a 12-week period and during this period your pet must remain inactive.

It is very important to understand that your pet can get heartworm disease at any time of the year in almost any location. Local vets and Haltom City Animal Services are seeing a large increase in animal populations with heartworms in all areas. No animal is completely safe unless they are on monthly heartworm preventative.

Haltom City Animal Services reminds our citizens:

  • Your pet must always be vaccinated against rabies yearly and must wear a current rabies tag, regardless of whether it is an indoor pet or an outdoor pet.
  • We have a large selection of dogs and cats available for adoption. Please call 817-222-7124 or come by the shelter during office hours.