We know how much you care for your furbaby’s happiness, and that includes making sure they feel their best every day. One of the best ways you can ensure your pets are as healthy as possible is to prevent them from getting parasites.
Although it can happen to anyone’s pet, there are many methods available to prevent parasite infestation. We’re here to help you identify when parasites are a problem in your pet, how to prevent them, and how to get your pet feeling well again.
Types of Parasites
Knowing what kind of parasites your pet is susceptible to can be very helpful in choosing the right preventative measures. Parasites can live on the skin or internally in the intestinal tract and steal essential nutrients from their bodies that can negatively affect their health and well-being.
Here are the different kinds of parasites that you should be aware of:
This dangerous parasitic worm is contracted through mosquito bites and infects cats as well as dogs. Pets that have contracted heartworms can be treated, but the best course of action is preventing heartworm infection from occurring.
Ticks are another common parasite found in dogs and cats. You will most often find these parasites during the warmer months of the year when it is humid. A bad tick infestation can make your pet feel lethargic and uncoordinated, so it is very important to ensure they are properly removed, right away.’\
Many different types of intestinal worms infect dogs and cats. If your pet is not treated right away, intestinal worms can also affect you and your family, especially children. Intestinal worms include whipworms (which only infects dogs), tapeworms, hookworms, and roundworms. Your four-legged friend will need to be dewormed regularly (every three to six months) to prevent intestinal worm infestation.
Fleas are the worst during the summer months and can cause any pet a lot of misery when they bite. Fleas are not picky and will go after humans as well, jumping off the pet and onto you, the kids, or your guests.
Once your pet gets fleas, it may feel like you will never get those pesky parasites to go away, but there are preventative measures you can take before the warmer temperatures hit that will help ensure a flea-free and happy pet.
Skin and Ear Mites
If you see your furbaby scratching their ears or shaking their head more than a normal amount, they may have skin or ear mites. These annoying mites can live on the surface of your pet’s skin or down in the ear canal, causing a lot of irritation that will make your pet feel miserable.
Symptoms of Parasites
There are several signs you can watch for when checking your pets for parasites. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- pale gums caused by blood loss
- poor appetite
- diarrhea or vomiting
- evidence of worms, or white specks, in their feces
- weight loss
- excessive scratching and gnawing at the skin.
If you notice your pet exhibiting any of these symptoms, contact us to will perform an exam to determine what parasites are responsible and we will help you remedy the situation.
Keep in mind that some pets may not show any outward signs of parasitic infestation. Regular screenings will help you stay abreast of your pet’s health and catch anything they may have early on.
How Pets Get Infected by Parasites
You may wonder how your pet contracted parasites. Regardless of where your pet spends most of its time or how clean it is, they can contract parasites through various situations:
- going for walks in the woods or community parks
- playing at the dog park around other dogs that may be infected
- drinking contaminated water
- getting bitten by mosquitos (heartworm specific)
- contact with other animals or their feces that have parasites
- newborn kittens or puppies in close contact with a mom who may be infected
- odor from the ears (ear mite specific)
Preventative Measures to Protect Against Parasites
It is important to note that parasites can infect even the cleanest, healthiest pets, so don’t feel like you have done something wrong if you find your pet has parasites. We are here to help get your cherished family member back to being parasite-free and feeling great.
Here are some prevention methods that we offer:
- Heartworm Prevention. Before your pet starts a heartworm preventative, we will perform a simple test to make sure they don’t have them. Treatment is available in chewable tablets, and topical liquids that typically last for 30 days.
- Flea and Tick Prevention. We have flea collars, topical spot treatments, and chewable tablets available to battle these annoying parasites. You can also schedule a flea bath treatment in our office.
- Intestinal Worm Prevention. Once we test to see what kinds of worms your pet has, we will provide the right worming treatment that will get your pet feeling great again and schedule them for ongoing treatments to make sure the worms don’t come back.
- Ear and Skin Mite Prevention. Once your pet is diagnosed, topical medicine is available that will destroy all the ear mites. We will give you drops, creams, or ointment so you can complete the rest of your pet’s treatment at home. If your pet has open sores and cats from scratching, they may get an antibiotic, too.
Parasite preventative treatment starts when your puppy or kitten is around two weeks old, however, some treatments are only safe for young pets from eight weeks old. Protecting your pet against parasites should be a constant health practice.
As your vet, we will provide you with an effective parasite prevention schedule that will prevent these pesky parasites from affecting your pet’s or your family’s health.
Schedule Your Pet’s Wellness Exam Today
Every pet can get parasites, but the good news is that these pesky parasites are treatable and preventable! We can help you treat any problems going on and make sure that your pet is back to their normal, happy self in no time.
Contact us to schedule a wellness exam to discuss parasite prevention options.