Parasite Prevention and Testing (Healthy Pets = Healthy People)
There are many common dog and cat parasites that can pose a threat to your pets and families, year-round. They include:
- Roundworms – can infect children eating contaminated soil while playing in sandboxes; resemble spaghetti; found in the small intestine of dogs or cats; common symptoms in pets include diarrhea, anemia, dehydration, and weight loss; puppies often have a “pot-bellied” look.
- Hookworms – can infect puppies, kittens and humans by penetrating skin through feet or belly; attach to the intestinal lining, creating bleeding internal wounds; common symptoms in pets include weakness and pale gums; in humans, red, itchy lesions.
- Whipworms – an intestinal parasite whose eggs can survive for years in the soil, re-infecting your pet even after successful treatment; can infect humans who come into contact with contaminated soil.
- Ringworm – can be transmitted from pets to humans through direct contact as well as soil contamination; common symptoms in pets include patchy hair-loss; in humans, a circular rash on the skin that's red and inflamed around the edge and healthy looking in the middle.
- Fleas – they bite animals and people alike. In pets they can lead to anemia, dermatitis and tapeworm infections.
- Heartworms – live in the heart and lungs and can be life-threatening to your pet.
- Ear Mites – mites live in an infected dog’s cat’s and ears, feeding off the ear lining, causing intense scratching and/or head shaking.
We recommend annual fecal testing (to check for intestinal worms) for all our dog and cat patients, as well as annual heartworm tests for dogs. We also recommend year-round parasite protection for all patients. Even indoor cats should be treated preventatively because the outdoors can get tracked indoors on our clothes and shoes, and by our dogs and other pets. Parasite prevention is easy with once-a-month chewable tablets and/or topical treatments. If your pet is not already on a prevention program, ask us how to get started today!
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