Parasites are small creatures that can cause harm to your pet. They can live inside your pet and destroy organs and affect your pet’s overall health. The only way to protect your loyal companion is to give them preventatives. A year-round prevention plan is the best route to take as parasites can attack at any time. At our hospital we will recommend parasite control measures specific to your pet, considering the probability of them getting infected from their environment.
What are common parasites in pets?
The parasites that may affect your pet fall into two categories: internal and external. Internal parasites usually wreak havoc on the gastrointestinal tract, although they can travel to the heart, lungs, and other parts of your pet’s body. The only way to detect them is through stool examination or bloodwork. These parasites include: hookworm, heartworm, roundworm, and coccidia.
External parasites are easier to diagnose with physical examinations and some testing. Some examples are fleas, ticks, mange mites, ear mites and ringworm. They all affect your pet’s outer body, specifically their skin and fur.
What are signs of parasites?
Sometimes it will be difficult to identify parasites in your pet during the early stages. Intestinal parasites may go undetected until the worms have increased, this is why your pet needs regular checkups. Some signs of parasites to watch for are:
- Itching and scratching
- Redness of the skin
- Swollen belly
- Licking themselves excessively
- Skin tags that grow larger and larger
Are parasites contagious?
Yes! Some parasites can spread from pets to humans. They are referred to as zoonotic parasites. Ticks, fleas and some worms can be transmitted to your family, causing a multitude of complications. To prevent the spread of parasites within your home good hygiene practices must be followed. This includes washing your hands after interacting with your pet and using good cleaning methods throughout your home.
Do pets need parasite control in the winter?
Yes. Even though some parasites are known to be seasonal they can still affect your pet during the winter. It is possible that some parasites can hibernate and reproduce in warm environments like inside your home. Parasites can enter the home by using other animals and people. Your pet can get them at other places such as daycare or play dates with other pets. To schedule a parasite control appointment for your pet, call us at 613-542-5552.