No matter where we live, parasites are everywhere. These tiny facts of life can range from gross (discovering worms in your pet’s poop), to frustrating (a flea infestation in your home), to downright deadly (a pet diagnosed with heartworm).
Because fleas, ticks, heartworm, and intestinal parasites pose a risk to dogs, cats, exotic pets, and people all year long, pet parasite prevention is a critical part of your pet’s health care plan.
Fleas – It only takes one or two fleas tracked in by a pet to create a full-blown infestation (fleas thrive in the warm, humid environment inside our homes). Not only can fleas transmit tapeworm and Bartonellosis (cat scratch fever), some pets are so allergic to flea saliva that even one bite can trigger severe itching, scratching, and hot spots on their skin.
Ticks – Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, and tick-borne encephalitis are just a few of the many diseases spread to pets and people by these eight-legged parasites.
Heartworm – Heartworm is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito and is arguably one of the most serious threats to our pets’ health. The disease is expensive and difficult to treat in dogs, and, because no feline treatment exists, it is almost always fatal in cats.
Intestinal parasites – Whipworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and more can cause uncomfortable and sometimes serious side effects for pets. Not only that, some of these nematodes can even be passed to people. Fortunately, many popular heartworm preventive medications also include protection against intestinal parasites.
Practical Pet Parasite Prevention
Preventive care is crucial to your pet’s wellness and longevity, and parasite protection should be part of that plan. At your pet’s annual wellness appointments, your veterinarian will help you determine the appropriate parasite prevention protocol based on the type of pet you have, their lifestyle, overall health, and exposure risk.
Exotic and pocket pets are not immune from internal and external parasites. Fleas, ear mites, lice, intestinal parasites, and more can take a toll on a small pet’s quality of life. Regular wellness care for pocket and exotic pets is a must in order to prevent and treat parasites.
Just because the weather cools off (a little) during the winter months does not mean you can slack on your pet’s monthly protection.
Fleas, ticks, and mosquitos do not go dormant, especially in our warmer climate. Failing to protect your pet year-round exposes them to the serious risk of vector-borne illnesses. Most flea, tick, and heartworm preventives are relatively inexpensive and easy to administer to your pet on a monthly basis.
It’s never too late to start your pet on a parasite protection plan! Contact the team at Shiloh Veterinary Hospital for more information, and to schedule an appointment for your pet.