Parasites Dangers for Pets

Parasites: The Creepy Crawlies

Hey everyone! We hope all of you outdoorsy people have enjoyed this somewhat mild winter and as for the indoorsy people we hope you’re well rested!

That time of year is coming along where we all need to think about parasites – both internal AND external.

Internal parasites are the ones found INSIDE your pet (ie: roundworm, hookworm, tapeworm, giardia, coccidia, etc.) Some people choose to do a regular deworming as a precaution. Others choose to bring a fecal sample in to their veterinary hospital for a fecal analysis for an absolute confirmation of parasites before deworming. Either way is acceptable.

External parasites are the ones found OUTSIDE your pet (ie: fleas, ticks, mites, etc.)

There are many products in the market to treat all types of parasites. Some products treat both internal & external at once. Some parasites require a more specialized antibiotic treatment (ie: giardia/coccidia)

Generally we recommend treatment beginning in March/April (as soon as the snow disappears and it warms up a bit). Treatment should run well into October/November. That being said, your pet CAN be infected with parasites at ANY time of the year so if you choose to use a preventative method from March to October you should still always be on the lookout for possible issues during the remainder of the year.

No Pet is Immune to Parasites

Even those lap dogs whose feet never touch the ground, or the ones who never leave their own yards… EVERYONE is susceptible. Most people are not aware that. For example, if you were to go to a home that had fleas in it that YOU can carry those fleas back to your own house (via your clothes, shoes, etc.) and create an infestation in your own home. Visitors can also carry them into your home.

As for the internal parasites (roundworm for example) your pet only needs to sniff the area where another infected dog has defecated (even though it was picked up…those eggs are still lying in the ground). Just because you can’t see them with your naked eye does not mean they are not there. Outdoor cats are at a HIGH risk due to their hunting behaviour. Birds, mice etc. are carriers of Tapeworms (fleas are also carriers) so if your pet has had a recent flea problem or is a hunter you should consider regular deworming for at least Tapeworm.

It is MUCH cheaper, less aggravating, and physically easier on your pet to prevent these issues than it is to treat once they’ve already begun.

All veterinary staff (including front end staff) are well up to date on parasites and are a wealth of helpful information. They can help you determine what your pets’ risks are for which parasites and help treat accordingly.

Written by: Lisa Michalik, RVT