The thought of parasites invading our pets is enough to make most pet owners’ skin crawl, but parasites are more than just disgusting, they pose a serious threat to the health of cats and dogs and their owners. In order to prevent everything from fleas, ticks, worms, and heartworm it is important to see that your pet has the veterinary care that you need. At the Animal Hospital of Sullivan County in Ferndale, NY, our veterinarians can help you stay one step ahead of these pests that can make your pet very uncomfortable.
What Types of Parasites Pose a Risk to Your Pet and You?
There are three types of parasites that may affect your pet; external, intestinal, and internal.
- External Parasites include fleas, ticks, mites, and lice
- Intestinal parasites include hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, roundworms, and non-worm parasites that include spirochetes, coccidia, and giardia
- Internal parasites are heartworms
Signs That Your Pet Has Parasites
If your pet seems very itchy or seems to have something in their stool, there is a good chance that they may have some type of parasite. Depending on what type of parasite is suspected, our veterinarians may do an internal test for heartworm, a stool exam, or a skin test for external parasites. If they find parasites, they will discuss what medication and treatment your pet will need to get rid of the invaders, however, the best way to deal with them is to keep parasites at bay in the first place.
Preventative medications can be given as either topical medications, or oral medications, which can typically be disguised as a treat. Whether parasites are suspected or not, a pet's environment should be kept clean, and they should be separated from other pets that are suspected of being infected.
Preventing and Treating Heartworm
While no parasite is fun for you or your pet, a heartworm infestation has its own place at the top of the danger list. Heartworm larva is carried by mosquitos, and that larva is injected into your pet like a shot when an infected mosquito bites them. For the most part, pets who are faithfully taking their preventative heartworm medication each month can ward off the presence of adult heartworms. Before your pet goes on the medication, however, they need to be tested to make sure no adults are present, because a more intense treatment will be necessary if they are infected. Preventative medication does not stop adult heartworm, that is why it is important to have your pet tested on a yearly basis.
Dogs are typically more vulnerable to heartworm than cats, and heartworm medication works differently on each type of pet. If you have both cats and dogs, it is important that they do not take each other's medication.
Preventing Intestinal Parasites
Our pets always have their nose to the ground and they are always grooming themselves. These behaviors make them more suscepitable to picking up intestinal parasites. The majority of the heartworm preventatives for dogs will prevent heartworms, roundworms and hookworms. The better preventatives will even protect them against whipworms and tapeworms. Revolution for cats will prevent fleas, heartworms, roundworms and hookworms. Not only is roundworm and hookworm prevention important for the health of our pets, it is healthy for us. Roundworms and hookworms are contagious to people and can cause some very serious problems in people. Our veterinarians are your best resource when it comes to internal and external parasite prevention. We know what products work effectively to keep the whole family healthy.
Schedule an Appointment Today!
There are many reasons for your pet to see a veterinarian on a regular basis, whether they seem sick or not. At the Animal Hospital of Sullivan County in Ferndale, NY, we make sure your pets have the care they need, whether they are puppies or kittens, have parasites, or some other type of illness or injury. To learn more, or to schedule an appointment, contact us at 845-292-6711.