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Parasite Prevention – Keeping Your Pets Safe

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Parasites are common in pets, particularly in the summer months when fleas and other parasites are most active. Dogs and cats of any age are vulnerable, especially animals that go outside regularly. In fact, the more often your pet goes outside, the greater its risk for parasites. Fortunately, the veterinary experts at our animal hospital have a few pet parasite prevention tips that protect your pet from heartworms, roundworms, tapeworms, ticks, fleas and mites.

Heartworm is a very serious and potentially fatal disease that can affect cats, dogs, ferrets and other pets. Heartworms can grow up to a foot long and live in an animal’s heart, lungs and blood vessels. Like many other parasites, heartworm is easy to prevent but difficult to treat.

Roundworms are the most common parasitic worm found in cats and dogs. In fact, almost all cats and dogs have had roundworms at some point, usually when they are young. Roundworms can also infect humans. Tapeworms are a serious problem for pets and for humans. Pets can get tapeworms by ingesting the larvae of the worm, usually by eating adult fleas carrying the larvae.

Fleas are the most common parasite found on the outside of your pet’s body. While these parasitic freeloaders are more common during the summer, fleas can also live inside your house during the winter.  Another common parasite, the tick, can cause stiff, painful joints associated with Lyme disease. Mites burrow into the skin to cause severe itching, scabs and fur loss.

Pet Parasite Prevention Tips from Our Veterinarian

The veterinarians and veterinary professionals at Radford Animal Hospital know how to protect your pet from parasites, and we would like to share these tips about parasite prevention with you.

  • Get your pet de-wormed according to our veterinarian’s recommendations
  • Keep your pet on monthly, year-round parasite preventatives
  • Schedule your pet for a routine parasite screening every year
  • Pick up after your pet and keep your yard free of feces
  • Keep your pet on a flea prevention program
  • Cover sandboxes and litter boxes when not in use
  • Examine your pet’s skin frequently, looking for signs of fleas, ticks and mites
  • Brush your pet while it is laying on a piece of white material or paper; take your pet for veterinary care if you see black flecks, known as flea dust, appear on the white background

These measures can reduce the risk that your pet will pick up parasites. Good practices can also prevent the spread of these parasites to you or your family.

To learn more about pet parasite prevention, make an appointment with Radford Animal Hospital, conveniently located at 7367 Lee Hwy in Radford, VA. Call (540) 639-3891.