Parasite Preventative Care – All Life Stages
Parasite control is vital to the health of your dog or cat.
Most of us don’t like to think about parasites much, but they are very common in our furry friends. Let’s face it, cats and dogs are curious and active creatures – they like to explore everywhere they can, and that also means sniffing, licking, and eating things off the ground outdoors. That means that parasites can be more dangerous for your cat or dog than you’d think.
There are two types of parasites: external and internal. External parasites like fleas, ticks, and mites live outside the body on your pet’s skin, where they bite and cause sores or irritations. Internal parasites live inside animals, where they lay eggs. Internal parasites are spread from animal to animal via feces, urine, sneezing, coughing, etc.
By far, the best way to take care of parasites in your pets is by preventing them from making your cat or dog their home. Preventative care protects your pet at all life stages from internal and external parasites.
External Parasites (Fleas, Ticks, Lice, Mites)
Most of us are familiar with common external parasites – these include fleas, ticks, lice, and mites, to name a few. They live on the surface of your pet’s body and feed off their blood, irritating your pet. External parasites carry diseases and can cause serious complications if left untreated. For example, fleas can carry and transmit tapeworms and the Bartonella bacteria, which causes cat scratch disease. While ticks transmit many bacterial diseases such as Lyme disease and Ehrlichia.
Symptoms of external parasites include:
- Excessive scratching
- Hair loss near the areas where the parasite lives
Internal Parasites (Heartworms Roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and whipworms)
Internal parasites include heartworms, roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and whipworms, which live inside the pet’s body and steal vital nutrients from them. Internal parasites can inhibit the growth of puppies and kittens, and even become life-threatening if left undetected for too long. In particular, heartworm is a parasite that can be deadly for even the healthiest of pets, which is spread by mosquitoes and can damage the heart and lungs.
Symptoms of internal parasites include:
- Weight loss
- Pot-bellied appearance
- Blood in stool
- Abdominal pain
- Practice good hygiene: wash your hands after touching or cleaning up after your pets.
- Groom your pet regularly to prevent coat contamination.
- Check for ticks or fleas on their coat after they have been outside or with other animals.
- Clean up pet feces daily.
- Visit your veterinarian regularly for deworming, starting from a young age.
- Use preventative measures such as topical medicines, and flea or tick collars.
When it comes to parasites, regular parasite screenings with your veterinarian can significantly reduce infections in your pets. Regular testing is important for the early detection and treatment of parasites, which saves you money and protects your pet at all stages of their life. If you want to set up a screening appointment for your pet, call the team at VIP Animal Hospital today.