The thought of parasites in your pets is certainly not a pleasant one, but it is important to know both dogs and cats are vulnerable to various types of pests, including ticks, fleas and heartworms.
Parasites are not only painful for your pet, but they can also pose some serious health risks, which if left untreated, can put your pet in a life-threatening situation.
All pet owners should be aware of parasite symptoms, treatment, and prevention. Luckily, some of the common parasites can easily be prevented with cost-effective, year-round medication.
Fleas are tiny insects that feed on blood. While there are a thousand different species of fleas, the most common ones usually found on cat and dogs are cat fleas. The flea’s life cycle consists of four different stages and all need to be eliminated: egg, larvae, pupae, and adult.
It is easy to detect the presence of fleas during severe infestations, as they can be visible jumping on and off of your pet. However, when the infestation is not so severe, you can detect their presence by analyzing the scratching and chewing behavior of your pet. To see whether or not your pet has fleas, check the areas of their body where the fur is thinner.
Simply put a white paper towel under your dog or cat and thoroughly brush or rub the fur. Flea “dirt” resembles small black grains of pepper and can be easily spotted on the white paper towel.
Ticks are not only disgusting, but also a quite serious health danger, as they can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Lyme disease, as well as damage the kidneys. Ticks are tiny parasites until they feed on the blood of animals, so it is very easy for them to miss your sight when they first enter your pet’s body.
If you suspect a tick on your pet, remove it carefully using tweezers and then clean the skin where the tick was attached using alcohol. It’s important check your pets for ticks, especially during the spring.
One of the most life-threatening parasites your pet can get is heartworms. These parasites get transmitted via infected mosquitoes and find their way in the left ventricle of your pet’s heart and large blood vessels leading to the lungs.
Although expensive treatments are available for dogs, it is better to prevent heartworms with a year-round medication.
Flea, Tick & Heartworm Preventives
When it comes to the fight against fleas, ticks and heartworms, prevention is the key. Depending on the breed and age of your furry friend, our veterinarian can design either a topical or oral parasite prevention plan.