Parasite Prevention

You can help keep your pet healthy by protecting him or her against parasites. Heartworms, fleas, ticks, and other internal and external parasites are much more than just pests; they can cause life-threatening conditions in your pet—and cause severe, potentially fatal, health problems for you and your family. We will recommend a preventive regimen for your pet based on lifestyle and risk factors. We can also provide advice on keeping your whole household safe from parasitic infection. Set up an appointment with us to discuss parasite prevention, or call us to refill your pet’s medication. Protect your pet and your family today!

Intestinal Parasites

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The most common intestinal parasites in dogs and cats include hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, tapeworms and coccidia. All of these organisms possess the ability to cause illness in your pet. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss and poor overall condition; although parasites can affect your animal’s health long before you notice any symptoms. Additionally, roundworms, hookworms and some tapeworms are zoonotic parasites, which means that they can also infect humans. It is for these reasons that you should contact your veterinarian to check on setting up a routine testing schedule and monthly preventatives.

Intestinal Parasites

The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) was developed in 2002 in order to provide guidelines for parasite control in cats and dogs. The panel is composed of experts in parasitology, veterinary medicine and from the CDC (Center for Disease Control). They have developed detailed information on parasite control in companion animals. For more information on CAPC go to www.petsandparasites.org.

Screening for Intestinal Parasites

Most intestinal parasites are not easily seen in feces. At Muskoka Animal Hospital we are able to screen for infection by processing a small sample of your pet’s feces and performing a microscopic analysis. The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) recommends that a fecal analysis be performed 2-4 times during the first year of life for puppies and kittens and at least 1-2 times per year for adult animals. The Wellness Plan at Muskoka Animal Hospital accomodates these guidelines.

Prevention and Treatment

The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) has developed detailed guidelines for parasite control and prevention in dogs and cats. The first step in intestinal parasite prevention is appropriate deworming of puppies and kittens early in life. Young animals acquire intestinal parasites from their mother while in her uterus or through her milk. Therefore, a large percentage of puppies and kittens are infected with intestinal parasites at the time they are adopted. Puppies and kittens should be dewormed every 2-3 weeks until they are 12 weeks old. Animals that are older should be dewormed at least twice when they are first adopted. Once initial deworming is completed, dogs and cats should be put on a monthly, product that prevents intestinal parasites as well as heartworm infection.

Heartworm

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Heartworm is a worm that resides in the heart and lungs of infected dogs and cats. It is carried by mosquitos who transmit heartworm larva into the bloodstream of the pet when they bite them. These larva then develop into adult worms that over time cause heart disease and respiratory problems in dogs. In cats, the signs can be more vague including vomiting, coughing, weight loss and sudden death. Fortunately this is a preventable disease and there are a number of excellent monthly heartworm preventatives available through your veterinarian. These products when given year-round provide outstanding protection against heartworm disease, and many also protect against several important intestinal parasites that can infect dogs, cats and people. There are even all in one products that prevent heartworm, intestinal worms, ticks and fleas. Your veterinarian can help you decide which product is best for you and your pet.

Fleas and Ticks

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Fleas and ticks are troublesome parasites of the skin. Flea and tick prevention is important because not only can they cause problems with the skin, but they possess the ability to transmit a number of diseases to the pet. Fortunately, there are many safe and highly effective products available through your veterinarian that can treat and prevent flea and tick infestations. Regular use of one of these products can effectively prevent fleas and ticks from becoming a problem for your pet. It may be tempting to purchase an over the counter product for your pet’s protection, but be cautious since many of these products can have serious side effects if used improperly and may have limited effectiveness.