Watching Out for Pet Parasites
It's a fact of life that the animal kingdom employs a food chain in which one form of life feeds off of another. Pests and parasites a constant menace in their efforts to use your beloved pets as their feeding and breeding ground. Fleas, ticks and mosquitoes transfer parasitic creatures, some of the potentially deadly, into your pet's body, while other parasites lurk in water or dirt. If you want to protect your animals from these threats, you need the comprehensive parasite prevention services offered by our Ocala veterinary team at Town & Country Animal Hospital.
Dangers of Parasites
You may already known that fleas and ticks can spread a variety of diseases, from bubonic plague (fleas) to Lyme disease (ticks). But fleas are also known for transferring tapeworms through their bite. Tapeworms aren't usually hazardous to your pet's health, but since they hijack nutrients for their own use, a significant infestation may cause troubling weight loss. Your pet may also experience anal itching or irritation. Mosquitoes transfer a much more serious problem: heartworm larvae. Heartworms grow to adulthood inside an animal's heart and lungs, causing progressive, ultimately fatal cardiopulmonary failure. (Some cats may experience sudden fatal episodes.)
How Did My Pet Get Parasites
Other parasites are easily ingested by your pet from the immediate environment. Roundworms and hookworms are two extremely common examples; in fact, both of these parasites can be ingested through the milk of an infested mother. Roundworms can sometimes cause diarrhea, vomiting, a distended belly and other symptoms; hookworms can cause diarrhea, constipation, coughing and loss of appetite. Giardia is yet another environmental threat to your pets. This single-celled parasite lives in dirty water.
Parasite Detection and Prevention at Town & Country Animal Hospital
Prevention is the key to keeping your pet as parasite-free as possible. That's why our wellness exams here at Town & Country Animal Hospital include fecal testing to check for the presence of worms and similar parasites. The sooner we detect an infestation, the sooner we can catch it by prescribing the appropriate treatments. It's worth noting that hookworms and roundworms are zoonotic, meaning that they be transmitted to the human members of the family -- so by freeing your pet from these parasites, you also reduce your own infestation risk.
Prevention also includes the use of preventative medications to keep these creatures from gaining a foothold in your pet's system. Guarding against heartworm is especially critical, since treatment for the infestation is difficult in dogs and impossible in cats (due to the toxic reactions cats experience when the heartworms exit the body). The good news is that many of the same medications that protect against fleas and ticks also protect against heartworm -- and some of those also protect against hookworms, roundworms and other parasites. We can prescribe the ideal topical/oral medication for your pet's needs and lifestyle, so call (352) 840-7020 to schedule parasite prevention at Town & Country Animal Hospital!