Did you know that some pathogenic parasites your pet could be exposed to can be transmitted to humans?
Intestinal worms and other pathogenic parasites can be found in the environment all around us every day. Even pets who live indoors can become exposed to harmful parasites by soil tracked indoors on shoes, exposure to fleas or the ingestion of an infected host (such as a beetle or cricket).
Because it is possible for an animal to be infected with parasites, and not show any symptoms, routine testing is very important for early detection. Using testing and preventative medication can help keep your pet healthy and parasite free! In order for your pet to be fully protected, consistant application of preventative medication is necessary.
Some of the most common intestinal parasites include
- Heartworm - Heartworms are one of the most common parasites among pets. These potentially deadly parasites are transmitted through mosquitos, who bite infected hosts and spread the parasite though biting a number of other animals. If left untreated, heartworms can be deadly to both cats and dogs. Symptoms can include coughing, gagging and difficulty breathing.
- Roundworms - Roundworms can either be contracted when your pet ingests roundworm eggs directly, or through consuming an infected host animal. Pregnant mothers who are infected can also pass the parasites onto their young through their bloodstream or nursing. Animals suffering from roundworms may experience constipation, vomiting or diarrhea.
- Hookworms - Hookworms are a type of intestinal parasite which attach themselves to the small intestines. Your pet could become infected if they consume the larvae or have skin contact with the penetrating larvae.
- Tapeworms -Tapeworms are most commonly transmitted by fleas. When a cat or dog nips at irritates sites where the fleas are feeding, they can sometimes ingest the fleas themselves. When the fleas are harboring tapeworms within their bodies, the worms become imbedded within the animal who has consumed them.
- Whipworms - Whipworms are one of the parasitic worms an animal may be infected with, without showing symptoms. Whipworms can be contracted either through direct ingestion of the larvae, or through exposure to contaminated soil. Animals infected with whipworm may show signs of diarrhea, weight loss and anemia.
Preventative medication is very important for keeping your pet safe and healthy. We offer several different products at our VCA clinic which will help protect your pet, and your family.
ComboGuard - ComboGuard is an orally administered pill, given monthly, which kills and protects against fleas, as well as prevents heartworms, hookworms, roundworms and whipworms. ComboGuard is available only for dogs.
Paradyne - Paradyne is a topical medication that kills and prevents fleas, as well as protects against heartworms, hookworms, roundworms and ear mites. Paradyne must be applied monthly, and is available for all cats, and puppies under 5 pounds.
ProHeart - ProHeart is an injectable medication which provides heartworm prevention. Injections should be given every 6 months, and are available only for dogs.
Together, you and your veterinarian can decide which medication will best meet your pet’s needs.
For more information on our Flea and Tick Prevention options, please visit our page on Flea and Tick Control.