Preventing your pet from getting parasites is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. Parasites in dogs and cats like fleas, ear mites, heartworms, roundworms, whipworms, and hookworms can devastate your pet’s health if left untreated. Here at Best Friends Veterinary Hospital, our passion is to help your pets live long and healthy lives. While there are many available options for heartworm, flea, tick, and intestinal parasite treatment/prevention, please discuss specific prevention and treatment options with our veterinarians at your pet’s next check up.
Ticks and fleas can attach themselves to your pet and cause dermatitis, sickness, or even infection. While many pet owners think they are following preventative practices for ticks and fleas, they may not be familiar with other places parasites can be hiding.
Because dogs—and some cats—spend so much time outdoors, ticks are a common problem and a big concern for owners. If left untreated, fleas and ticks can become a serious nuisance and potential health problem for your pet. Ticks feed on the blood of the host, and use tiny but sharp teeth to embed themselves firmly into a pet’s skin and tissue. Because they penetrate into the bloodstream, ticks can also spread blood-borne illnesses. The larvae and nymph stage of the tick are very small and can easily be missed. The adult tick is about 3mm and is visible to most. The larvae and nymph are about half that size and difficult to identify.
Ticks cause welts and bruises on pets around the bite location. It is also common to find the tick still attached. There are various methods for treating ticks, including:
We strongly recommend consulting our veterinarian at your next visit if you suspect a tick infestation. Although there are various remedies to treat ticks on pets, it is essential to make sure the method you choose is safe and effective.n, contact us to schedule an appointment immediately. Our veterinary staff are very skilled at determining if your pet has fleas or ticks.
Heartworm is a major parasite for dogs and can be fatal if not treated. It is caused by a single, or often, many worms that can live in the heart, lungs or other blood vessels of your pet. The only way that your dog or cat can get heartworms is through the bite of an infected mosquito. Because there is no way to tell if a mosquito is infected or not, this is why heartworm prevention is so important. The best way to take care of this issue is to give them heartworm medication from an early age. As the name implies, heartworms get inside the heart and cause major damage. They will eventually kill the dog if not treated. There is treatment available, and a veterinarian may want to test your dog for heartworm during the yearly physical exam.
It takes about seven months, once a dog is bitten by an infected mosquito, for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms. They then lodge in the heart, lungs, and surrounding blood vessels and begin reproducing.
Treatment entails injections and oftentimes hospitalization is required. Recovery can take up to a couple of months. The American Animal Hospital Association places the average cost of preventative for dogs at $5-15 per month, and the cost of treating a dog with heartworm at $400-1,000!
We recommend that testing be done annually to ensure no intestinal parasites go undetected. This ensures that your pets are parasite free for their health and well-being, as well as that of their families.
If you suspect your pet is suffering from the effects of fleas, ticks or heartworms, we recommend scheduling a veterinary appointment immediately. Our veterinarians and support staff have extensive experience treating fleas, ticks and other parasites. We know flea and tick infestations can be frightening and overwhelming, but we assure you they are treatable.