Internal parasites are more than simply pests; they are hidden dangers to any pet. The three most common pet parasites are intestinal parasites (hookworms, whipworms, roundworms), heartworms, and single-celled parasites (coccidian and Giardia). Pets that do not receive treatment will face life-threatening illnesses and long term damage. At Watertown Animal Hospital we are committed to providing quality veterinary care and a big part of that involves parasite prevention.
Signs of Parasites in Pets
Our animal hospital staff often encounters questions such as “how does a dog get fleas” and “how do ticks affect a dog”. Fleas and ticks bring with them parasites that can, over time, have a negative impact on your pet’s health and the sooner they are eliminated the better.
The tricky thing about some parasites is that some pets do not show symptoms. It is the reason why prevention and regular check-ups with a veterinarian are vital to the health of any pet. Other pets can show signs of an intestinal parasite, and it is best to know what these symptoms look like.
Not all pets exhibit the same symptoms, but the usual red flags include a loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, and blood in a pet’s stool. Heartworms are a different situation altogether. The signs of heartworm include your pet having difficulty breathing, coughing, acting sluggish, and other respiratory symptoms.
Check-ups are every six months to a year. A fecal exam is part of the veterinarian visit. A vet tests the stool of a pet looking for parasites. Flea and tick prevention medication is also part of avoiding parasites. As with any medical issue, it is always easier to prevent a problem than to treat one, and as such these check-ups are highly recommended for pet owners.
Another part of eliminating the threat of parasites is flea and tick prevention. Tapeworms get to pets through fleas and ticks. Easy to administer medications are available for parasite prevention. Giving the medication on a consistent schedule is the best way to prevent parasites in a pet. This means to give it to a pet year-round. If for some reason a few doses go missed, you should contact the veterinarian.
Home prevention helps keep a pet healthy as well. Keeping a feces-free yard reduces the risk of parasites in a pet which unfortunately means picking up after the pups. Many pets get parasites because of contact with fecal matter.
Standing water acts the same way as fecal matter. It harbors parasites such as Giardia which causes severe diarrhea. Providing fresh water for pets may help keep them out of the nearest puddle. Lastly, when you are walking your dog, using a leash with your pets makes it easier to keep an eye on them and to keep them out of trouble.
Your Local Watertown Veterinarian
At Watertown Animal Hospital, If your pet has been showing signs of heartworm, acting sluggish, or you suspect they may have roundworms, it’s best to bring them in for a check-up right away. Our full-service clinic offers preventative and veterinary care. Contact us today, to ensure that your pet stays healthy and happy for years to come.