Parasite Prevention

Parasites do not always cause external symptoms, making 

ANNUAL TESTING

and monthly preventative measures imperative.

INTESTINAL PARASITES

Any pet can be affected by intestinal parasites. The eggs of these parasites, which infect pets, can be tracked into the home via the soles of your shoes and can even be found in brand new indoor plant potting soil—even “indoor only” pets are at risk. The parasites we typically see include roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, whipworms and giardia. All are very common in our area. In most instances, these parasites do not show outward obvious signs in pets, making biannual testing and monthly preventatives imperative. In people, these parasites are not as well tolerated and can lead to serious disease, so treating and preventing infestations is paramount.

EXTERNAL PARASITES - FLEAS AND TICKS

Fleas and ticks are common external parasites of dogs, cats and other mammals. Fleas and ticks are transmitted animal to animal as well as through the environment. Many pets are exposed to fleas and ticks outside in yards, patios, dog parks or on walks. Humans can even bring fleas into their homes on their shoes and clothing. Fleas and ticks cause itching, hair loss, allergies, anemia and skin infection. They can also transmit parasites, such as tapeworms, and serious diseases, such as Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme disease. Pets should be on flea and tick prevention year-round. Remember: The key to preventing fleas and ticks is monthly application of a veterinary-prescribed and recommended maintenance program. Without consistent monthly administration, your pet will be susceptible to fleas. A flea problem on your pet means a flea problem in your home. Understanding the flea life cycle and methods for its control can be a daunting task. We will gladly assist you in this process. We can provide you with safe, effective flea prevention and if necessary, flea treatment.

HEARTWORMS

Transmitted by mosquitoes, heartworms are a common and potentially deadly type of parasite that affects both dogs and cats. Symptoms include coughing, intolerance to exercise, lethargy and sudden death. Prevention and early detection are key when it comes to combating the serious disease caused by heartworms.

Common Heartworm FAQs

Heartworms are a parasitic roundworm that certainly do not belong inside our pets. Pets may show no clinical signs in the beginning stages, however, they will become more obviously ill as it progresses. Pets may begin to show decreased appetite, weight loss, and eventually breathing problems and heart failure. 

The short answer is mosquitoes. Not all mosquitoes carry heartworm, but once a mosquito has bitten a heartworm positive animal, it can spread to the animal that it feeds on. Many times, a mosquito may feed on the blood of a coyote, feral cat, or other wildlife. Which is why our pets need continuous preventatives, as carrier mosquitoes could increase at any time.

The good news is that our pets don’t directly spread heartworms to one another. However, if one of your pets has heartworms, it could be a carrier and potential source of infection to other pets in the house. That said, it’s important to have all pets tested and covered by routine care.

Yes, both cats and dogs can be infected by heartworm.

In the early stages, many dogs may have no symptoms. However, the longer the infection persists, the more likely you’ll see your pup develop symptoms. Here are some of those symptoms:

  • Mild cough
  • Reluctance to exercise
  • Fatigue after moderate activity
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss

Much like with dogs, symptoms for heartworm in cats can be severe or nearly noticeable. Here are a few things to watch for:

  • Coughing
  • Asthma attacks
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss

There are a few ways that heartworms can be detected and diagnosed. 

The first way to diagnose heartworm is through blood testing. This is the most common way, as the blood test is a simple evaluation for a toxin (heartworm antigen) that stimulates an immune response. 

Sometimes an infection with only a few heartworms will not produce a positive blood test because the infection isn’t producing a significant amount of antigen. Ultimately, the blood test could take many more steps, such as CBC, thyroid, and other testing to produce an accurate result. 

Other forms of testing include radiographs (x-rays), or echocardiograms.

The short answer: PREVENTION! PREVENTION! PREVENTION! 

There are a few things that you can do to keep mosquitoes away from your pets, such as using screens or keeping windows and doors closed or limiting any stagnant water, the most effective option is keeping up to date on preventative. 

Once your pet has been tested and proven negative, you can start your pet on either monthly medication or for even easier prevention with dogs, consider getting a PH-12 injection for 12 months of coverage.

No, heartworms do not have the ability to live in humans. People can still be infected with heartworm through the bite of an infected mosquito, but the parasite is not able to survive in the human bloodstream. 

Get the best care for your best friend.

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