The Problem with Parasites
You have your pet vaccinated every year to protect them from various diseases, but do you also treat them with parasite preventatives on a regular basis? Not only do parasites bite, they can also spread diseases to your pet! Both internal and external parasites can cause problems for our four-legged friends, which is why prevention is so important.
Parasites Your Pet May Encounter
Fleas, ticks and mosquitoes look small and delicate, but they’re tougher than they look and can remain active even during the colder months. Fleas can remain dormant and survive during the winter depending on their current life cycle, and certain kinds of ticks can remain active all year round, provided they have adequate shelter. Mosquitoes can also go dormant, unfortunately, so year-round protection is essential for your pet.
Mosquitoes are the primary vector for heartworm disease. When an infected mosquito bites its host, it transfers the heartworm larvae into the host as well. The heartworm larvae travel through the bloodstream and settle around the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels. Heartworm disease, if left untreated, can cause serious damage to the heart or even be fatal.
Fleas, aside from being able to cause allergic reactions in some pets, can also transmit tapeworms if they are infected and get ingested by an animal. Tapeworms can deprive your pet of important nutrients and grow to surprising lengths if they are not treated early.
Ticks can spread a variety of diseases including Lyme disease, anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis. These conditions can result in fever, inflamed joints, respiratory issues and other problems.
How to Protect Your Pet
Parasite prevention is vital for both cats and dogs. Many parasites can easily gain access into your home, so even indoor pets are not entirely safe. Furthermore, parasites can be harmful to you and your family members. Ticks can spread Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis to humans as well!
Our parasite preventatives include oral and topical medication that must be given year round. Routine physical exams and vaccinations are also important for keeping your pet healthy and screening for signs of disease.
Whenever your pet goes outside to play, make sure to check them for ticks and fleas before they enter the house. If you find a tick on your pet, remove it carefully (and immediately), and contact our hospital for further instructions. We also encourage you to call us at (708) 448-6600 for more information about parasite prevention if you are unsure what medications your pet will need.