Fleas, ticks, worms, and other parasites can wreak havoc on your pet’s health by spreading illness and disease. When it comes to protecting your pet, prevention and annual testing are the best methods of ensuring your pet receives the appropriate treatment. At Little Silver Animal Hospital, we can provide parasite prevention and help ensure your pet is well protected.
Contact Little Silver Animal Hospital to schedule your pet’s annual parasite testing today!
What Types of Parasites Can Affect My Pet?
We strongly recommend providing your pet with monthly prevention and bringing them to our animal hospital for annual testing to ensure a clean bill of health. In our area, we typically see three main types of parasites:
All pets, including indoor pets, can be affected by intestinal parasites. The eggs of intestinal parasites can be unknowingly brought into your home and infect your human family as well as your pet. Roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, whipworms, and giardia are intestinal parasites commonly found in our area. Most of these parasites do not cause visible symptoms of infection, which can make them more difficult to detect and treat. This means annual testing and regularly administering parasite prevention medication are vital to ensuring your pet stays safe and healthy.
External parasites, such as fleas and ticks can be spread through animals or the environment. People can also unknowingly bring fleas into their home and infect their pet. If your pet exhibits itching, hair loss, allergies, anemia, or a skin infection, they may be affected by fleas or ticks. These parasites are a concern all year round, and we recommend pets receive monthly topical or oral medication to provide maximum protection.
Heartworms are a parasite most often spread by mosquitos. This parasite can affect both dogs and cats and become potentially fatal if left untreated. Infected pets may exhibit coughing, intolerance to exercise, lethargy, and sudden death. Once again, prevention and early detection are your pet’s best method of defense against this deadly parasite.
Important Info About Heartworms
We’ve gathered some frequently asked questions about heartworms and how best to protect your pet.
Heartworm disease is caused by a parasitic roundworm infecting your pet. The disease may not initially present any visible symptoms of infection. As the infection advances, symptoms such as lack of appetite, weight loss, and eventually breathing problems and heart failure may develop.
Mosquitos are the most common way for heartworm disease to spread, however, not all mosquitos carry heartworms. If a mosquito bites a previously infected animal, it can transmit the parasite to another animal.
Pets don’t directly spread heartworms to each other but can become a source of infection for other pets in the same household.
This makes regular prevention and testing even more important to your pet’s well-being.
Yes, dogs and cats can both be infected by heartworm.
Initially, dogs may not present any symptoms at all, but as the infection continues, symptoms may include:
- Mild cough
- Reluctance to exercise
- Fatigue after normal activity
- Lack of appetite
- Weight loss
Cats also may not have noticeable symptoms if they are infected with heartworm. If you notice the following symptoms your cat may be infected with heartworm:
- Asthma attacks
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
Heartworm disease can be diagnosed in a few different ways. Blood testing may be performed to check for a toxin that may cause an immune response.
However, only a few heartworms may not produce a substantial amount of the toxin and therefore are not detectable through a blood test. Other testing such as CBC, thyroid, X-rays, or echocardiograms may become necessary to properly diagnose your pet.
Your pet’s best protection is prevention! You may keep mosquitos away from pets using screens, keeping windows or doors securely closed, or limiting stagnant water or puddles on your property.
People can be infected with heartworm via an infected mosquito; however, this parasite cannot survive in the human bloodstream.
How Much Do You Know About Parasites?