Parasites are more than just pests; they are a living threat to your pet’s life. Pets are curious and often come in contact with contaminants or other infected animals. Fortunately, our staff at Aldergrove Animal Hospital is very knowledgeable about protecting your pet’s health from parasites. We will discuss a testing routine, how to minimize your pet’s exposure risks and what preventatives are best suited for your loyal companion.
What parasites can affect my pet?
- Ticks – They survive by feeding on animal or human blood. They are found in wooded areas, on tall grass and under piles of leaves. They are active when temperatures are 4 degrees and above. Ticks are responsible for Lyme disease, which humans can also become diagnosed with.
- Heartworms – These worms live within your pet’s heart and lungs. They can cause intestinal damage and even death.
- Fleas – These pests are dangerous as they can spread other parasites and diseases. Fleas transmit tapeworms and Bartonella, which causes “Cat Scratch Fever” in humans.
- Tapeworms – These are intestinal parasites; an adult tapeworm can measure anywhere from 4 to 28 inches.
- Roundworm – The worms are spread through feces and other animals like birds, earthworms or rodents. The worms feed on partially digested food which stops your pet from getting enough nutrients.
- Hookworm – Gastrointestinal worms that hook themselves to the intestinal wall. The larvae can burrow into human skin and cause itching.
- Coccidia – These parasites are prevalent in puppies but can affect adult dogs and cats. Pets get infected when they swallow infected feces or play in contaminated soil.
How do I know if my pet has a parasitic infection?
If you suspect that your pet has parasites, contact your veterinarian immediately. Sometimes your pet can be infected and not show any symptoms, so regular testing and prevention are essential. Here are signs that may indicate your pet has parasites:
- Sudden weight loss
- Hair loss
- Red bumps
- Protruding lumps
- Itching and scratching
Will my indoor pet need parasite prevention?
Absolutely! Indoor-only pets still need protection from parasites. It is a common myth that parasites can’t affect your pet if they stay inside. Some parasites can get indoors through other animals, humans or objects that enter your home. During the colder months, some parasites even hide away inside your home.
What’s the best way to protect my pet from parasites?
Working with an experienced veterinarian is the best way to protect your pet. Our veterinarians can run necessary tests to detect insects, provide treatment to rid them of the pesky critters and put them on a protection plan. Your pet needs year-round preventatives to ward off life-threatening illnesses. Please get in touch with us at 604-856-7707 to get your pet protected from parasites.