Parasite Prevention

Parasite Prevention

Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes aren’t just a summer problem! Warming temperatures mean year-round prevention is key to making sure your pet is protected from these pests or the diseases they may carry. 

Fleas

Fleas are little blood suckers that can cause problems not only for your pet, but for you and your home as well. Hot spots, dermatitis, tapeworms, and anemia are some of the risks a pet faces when they are infested with fleas. An adult female flea can lay up to 40 eggs per day and once they are in your home, eradicating them can be quite difficult.

How do you know if your pet has fleas? Itching and scratching, of course—but you can also see evidence of fleas if you lift your pet’s fur and find tiny black specks called “flea dirt”, which are really flea feces. Were you to wet some of these specks, they will turn red because they’re made of your pet’s blood.

Dogs and cats can share the same fleas and these pests can travel from one animal to another, so it’s important that all the pets in your household are on a flea preventive. Successful flea control will include treating both your pets, their living areas, and your household.

Ticks

Lyme disease from tick bites are on the rise around the country. Lyme disease is rarely fatal, but can cause fevers and lameness. Other tick borne diseases that we test for in dogs include anaplasma, ehrlichia, and rocky mountain spotted fever.

In cats, there are diseases such as cytauxzoon that we much be aware of due to wildlife in this region.

A tick only has to be attached for 12-24 hours to transmit some of these diseases always check your pets if they are in areas known to have a lot of ticks.

Heartworms

As you may already know, the deadly heartworm is spread by mosquitoes, and it only takes one bite to infect a pet. Once infected, heartworms can do severe damage to a pet’s heart, lungs, and blood vessels.

Sadly, many animals don’t show symptoms until the disease is advanced. At that time, symptoms may include coughing, fatigue, weight loss and a distended abdomen. While cats are much less likely to be susceptible to full-on heartworm infection, they can suffer from a heartworm-related respiratory condition that is very difficult to diagnose. 

While there is heartworm treatment available for canines, it is expensive and can be very hard on your pet. There is currently no treatment for cats.

Our veterinarians advise keeping your pet on heartworm preventive year-round. Be advised if your pet has not previously been on heartworm preventive, he or she will need a heartworm test before starting on a preventative. 

Intestinal Parasites

Many intestinal parasites live within our pets. Some of the most common parasites we see are hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. Some of these can be transmitted to humans so we need to ensure they are not carrying the zoonotic parasites.

Prevention is always the best treatment! We carry many different types of parasite preventives and we are happy to help you choose which one is right for your pet. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call us at 706-283-2761.