Parasite Prevention – Keeping Your Pets Safe
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.
Parasite Prevention FAQ: What You Need to Know
No one likes thinking about parasites, but they can cause some serious health problems for your pets. Some of the most common pet parasites include fleas, ticks, and heartworm. Fortunately, your veterinarian has several ways to prevent these pests from irritating your furry friend.
Here at Radford Animal Hospital, we want to help you keep your pet healthy and pest-free. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about pet parasites.
What Are Ticks?
A tick is a small type of arachnid. Ticks drink the blood of mammals like dogs, cats, and even humans. They usually live outside in the woods or tall grass, attaching to your dog or cat as they pass. Ticks can spread several serious diseases, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
Does My Pet Have Fleas?
Fleas are external parasites that survive by drinking your cat or dog's blood. Scratching is usually the first sign of a flea infestation since the fleas' saliva makes pets itchy. If you suspect fleas, comb your pet's fur, especially around the ears and tail. Look for tiny, brown fleas or their even tinier droppings.
How Do You Get Rid of Fleas and Ticks?
Getting rid of fleas can be difficult, and involves aggressively cleaning your home and pet. To remove a tick, you should grasp the tick with tweezers, pulling the entire tick off of your pet's skin. It is much easier to prevent these pests from attacking your pet than it is to get rid of them.
Can Fleas and Ticks Be Prevented?
Fortunately, flea and tick infestations are preventable. Monthly oral and topical medications for your pet can help stop fleas and ticks, as can some types of collars. Ask your veterinarian which type of flea prevention is right for your pet.
What is a Heartworm?
Heartworms are internal parasites that can spread to your dog or cat through mosquitos. They can damage your pet's internal organs, and heartworm disease can be fatal. Radford, Christiansburg, Blacksburg, and Dublin are at risk for heartworm because of our mild winters.
Can Heartworm Be Prevented?
Fortunately, heartworm is preventable. The American Heartworm Society recommends giving your pet preventative heartworm medication all year. Options for medications include oral tablets, topical liquid, and injections. Oral and topical treatments typically last a month, while injections usually last six months. Some heartworm medicines also prevent fleas and ticks.
Contact Us Today
Don't let parasites ruin your pet's summer. When it comes to parasites, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Radford Animal Hospital is your go-to veterinarian in the Radford, Blacksburg, Dublin, and Christiansburg area. To schedule an appointment, call us today at (540) 639-3891.