Zoe with her first hairdo
Zoe with her Nemo balloon
Zoe shaking hands Health Care
Zoe getting a bath Grooming
Zoe with her food dish Feeding
Zoe jumping through a Hula-hoop
Zoe as a puppy Breeding
The life-cycle of a flea, the best method to remove a tick.


External Parasites

Adult fleas are about 1/16 to 1/8-inch long, dark reddish-brown, wingless, hard-bodied (difficult to crush between fingers), have three pairs of legs (hind legs enlarged enabling jumping) and are flattened vertically or side to side (bluegill or sunfish-like) allowing easy movement between the hair, fur or feathers of the host. Fleas are excellent jumpers, leaping vertically up to seven inches and horizontally thirteen inches. (An equivalent hop for a human would be 250 feet vertically and 450 feet horizontally.) They have piercing-sucking mouthparts and spines on the body projecting backward. Also, there is a row of spines on the face known as a genal comb. Spine I (first outer spine) is shorter than Spine II (next inner spine) in dog fleas. Both spines are about the same length in the cat flea. The rabbit flea has a vertical genal comb with blunt spines. The genal comb is absent in both rat fleas. Eggs are smooth, oval and white. Larvae are 1/4-inch long, slender, straw-colored, brown headed, wormlike, bristly-haired creatures (13 body segments), that are legless, have chewing mouthparts, are active, and avoid light. Pupae are enclosed in silken cocoons covered with particles of debris.

Advantage (imidacloprid) Advantage, from Bayer, is an adult flea poison. It works by disrupting the flea's nervous system. It is a liquid that you apply to the dog's skin and kills on contact (therefore fleas are not required to bite the dog). The substance will wash off, so swimming is recommended against. It is not absorbed into the bloodstream or internal organs. It is a repellant and an insectide, and people are reporting being flea-free in a matter of days. Studies show that it is selectively toxic to insects as other animals have receptors that do not bind imidacloprid effectively and so are not affected. This is applied along the dog's or cat's back and works for a month. After application, watch your pet for signs of lethargy or allergic reaction -- while studies show that there are no adverse effects up to five time the recommended dosage, there are always sensitive individuals. Advantage runs $15-$20 for a dose large enough for a labrador (two vials).

Ingredients include: imidacloprid -- a chloronicotinyl nitroguanidine synthesized from the nitromethylene class of compounds. This binds the insect's nicotinyl receptor sites thus disrupting normal nerve transmission and causing its death.


A tick has a one-piece body. The harpoon-like barbs of its mouth attach to a host for feeding. Crablike legs and a sticky secretion help hold the tick to the host. When attempting to remove a tick, to prevent the mouth part from coming off and remaining embedded in the skin, grasp the mouth close to the skin with tweezers and pull gently. Ticks are not insects like fleas, but arachnids like mites, spiders and scorpions. They have a four-stage life cycle, illustrated in a 794K PDF file: eggs, larvae, nymphs, and adults. Adult females of some species lay about 100 eggs at a time. Others lay 3,000 to 6,000 eggs per batch. Six-legged larvae hatch from the eggs. After at least one blood meal, the larvae molt into eight-legged nymphs--in some species, more than once. Final nymphs molt into adult males or females, also with eight legs. Depending on its species, a tick may take less than a year or up to several years to go through its four-stage life cycle. While ticks need a blood meal at each stage after hatching, some species can survive years without feeding. The United States has about 200 tick species. Habitats include woods, beach grass, lawns, forests, and even urban areas.

Ticks may carry various infectious organisms that can transmit diseases to cats and dogs, including the following (listed with possible symptoms):

babesiosis--lethargy, appetite loss, weakness, pale gums

ehrlichiosis--high fever, muscle aches

Lyme disease--lameness, swollen joints, fever, poor appetite, fatigue, and vomiting (some infected animals show no symptoms)

tick paralysis in dogs--gradual paralysis, seen first as an unsteady gait from uncoordinated back legs (some infected dogs don't develop paralysis).

The illustration above shows proper tick removal procedures. Using fine-point tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull gently. Make sure you've cleaned your hands, the bite site, and the tweezers with disinfectant. You may want to wear latex gloves.


Source for this page

Preventive Measures

Internal Parasites

External Parasites

All text is taken from 'Shih Tzu' by Jaime J. Sucher unless noted elsewhere by a navigational link. All images of Zoe are the property of this website and are available to buy.