Parasite & Heartworm Prevention and Treatment for Pets
Parasites are more than just a nuisance, they can cause serious, sometimes fatal, illness in your pet and also affect your family’s quality of life. Annual pet wellness exams help us assess your pet’s health status and establish baseline assessments for future use when your pet becomes ill. More often than not, your cat or dog may not even present any signs of illness.
Heartworm and parasite prevention in both cats and dogs is a year-round effort. Controlling fleas, ticks, heartworms, and other dangerous parasites is a challenge, but with good prevention, you can keep your pets safe and comfortable.
Most Common Parasites in Pets:
Heartworms – A completely preventable disease. Like their name says, these worms live in the heart, lungs and associated surrounding tissues. Heartworms look like strands of cooked spaghetti and can get up to 12 inches long. Animals get heartworm from infected mosquitoes. The disease is transmitted from one animal to the next with just one bite. Once an animal is bitten, larvae form and produce baby worms that circulate in the bloodstream. Heartworms live and grow for 5-7 years in dogs and 3 years in cats.
Heartworm disease is 100% preventable by giving your pet a monthly heartworm prevention chew. The disease is treatable, but the cost of treatment can be expensive, overwhelming, and painful for your pet. You can treat your pet with monthly prevention for almost 10 years for the cost of treating your pet for heartworm infestation one time. Left untreated, heartworms can be fatal.
Intestinal Parasites – Hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and whipworms are the most common intestinal parasites. Left untreated, these parasites cause vomiting, diarrhea, weakness and weight loss; intestinal parasites can also be transferred to humans through feces. These parasites can be diagnosed by a fecal screening and an appropriate deworming schedule. It is recommended to perform a fecal screen every 6 to 12 months, depending on the lifestyle of your pet.
External Parasites (Fleas, Ticks, and Mites) – Fleas and ticks are the most common parasites you will see as a pet owner, but we know that these tiny creatures can cause a mountain of issues within your pet. Fleas are a top cause of skin-related issues with dogs and cats. Some pets become so irritated that they cause self-inflicted lesions. A flea infestation can quickly make your pet become anemic. When ingested, fleas can infest your pet’s intestinal tract with parasites (tapeworms). Fleas can also transmit Bartonella, the bacteria that causes “cat-scratch fever” in humans.
Ticks transmit and spread many diseases. Lyme Disease is the most prevalent and can cause a variety of spin-off issues such as lameness, lethargy, kidney issues, and joint swelling.
Mites can cause infections in the ear from scratching. Mange mites may cause scabies or mange and left untreated, they may compromise your pet’s immune system. Mites can easily transfer between animals, so prevention and treatment is important.
We understand that every pet has unique health needs and practice medicine focused on each pet. Information provided on this page may not apply to all cases and should not be used instead of an office visit. Please always refer to your veterinarian with questions about your pet’s health.