Parasites are often thought of as being an unavoidable part of pet ownership, but you will be relieved to know that is far from the case. Although they may not look capable of harming your pet significantly, they can have serious and even fatal consequences for the health and life of your furbaby. Fortunately, there are now more ways to protect your pet from parasites than ever before. To help you be a responsible and caring pet parent, here are our top tips for parasite prevention.
External parasites live on the outside of your pet’s body and consume blood to survive, which they do by biting into your pet’s skin where there are blood vessels near the surface. The most common external parasites are fleas and ticks. Ticks are small, but visible to the naked eye. However, it is nearly impossible to spot fleas since they are so tiny. However, don’t be fooled by their diminutive stature. This has no bearing on their ability to make life very miserable for your pet, and in many cases, external parasites can prove very dangerous for the health of your pet.
Internal parasites are those which live inside your pet’s body. They, like external parasites, may be small in size, but they have the ability to wreak havoc on your pet’s body and health. The most common internal parasites take the form of worms, including hookworms, whipworms, roundworms, and tapeworms. These live inside your pet’s digestive system, usually in the intestines. Dogs, in particular, can also suffer from heartworms, although cats can be affected. Heartworms live in the blood vessels of the heart and lungs of your pet and nearly always prove fatal if left untreated.
There are lots of different preventatives that can protect your pet against internal parasites. They can also be administered in lots of different ways – orally, by injection, using a collar, topically, etc. Your vet will be able to help you find the most effective preventative for your pet based on their individual needs.
Most parasite preventatives are only effective for a set period of time before further doses of the medication are needed. It is important to administer your chosen preventative on time every time, otherwise, you could be leaving your furbaby at risk of contracting a parasite problem.
Good sanitation and a clean home are essential for keeping your pet and property parasite free. Be sure to promptly remove any poop from your yard, particularly since most intestinal parasites are transmitted through contact with feces. Fleas are also a big problem in homes since the eggs can lay dormant in floorboard cracks and carpets for a long time, causing re-infestation when you least expect it. If you have pets be sure to vacuum as often as you can and pay special attention to those hard to reach areas, especially if your pet has had fleas in the past.
Grooming your pet is an important part of their care, but not just to brush out matted hair and dead skin cells. When you check your pet’s coat regularly, you will be able to notice abnormalities such as ticks or the presence of flea dirt (which looks like soil but is actually red when it comes into contact with water) which indicates your furbaby has fleas. The sooner a parasite problem is detected, the more quickly and easily it can usually be dealt with.
Standing water is a breeding ground for another internal parasite called Giardia, which can cause your pet to experience severe diarrhea. Make sure you carefully monitor what your pet eats and drinks, and always provide fresh, clean water.
For more tips on parasite prevention, please don’t hesitate to contact our expert veterinary team at West Rome Animal Clinic in Rome, GA today.