Parasites are a pain for pets and their owners, but more importantly, parasites can put your cat or dog’s health at serious risk. Parasites not only harm your pet, but many can also be transferred to children and adults, making them sick as well. Whether the parasites are present internally or externally, it’s important to bring your pet in for treatment right away.
Common External Parasites
The most common external parasites for dogs and cats in our area are fleas and ticks. These parasites can cause more than discomfort in your pet; they can transmit harmful diseases. That’s why it’s imperative to take preventive measures and check for signs of infestation. A single flea can bite your pet up to 400 times a day, and the adult flea you can see with the naked eye represents only 5% of an infestation. The rest is in the unseen egg, larval, and pupae stages.
Ticks are not often found in our area but can be prevalent in places you and your pet may visit. Symptoms often include:
- Excessive scratching, licking, or chewing
- Frequently shaking the head
In severe cases, you may be able to see fleas and ticks in your pet’s fur or jumping off his or her body.
Common Internal Parasites
Worms and intestinal parasites, such as Coccidia, live hidden inside your cat or dog where we cannot see them. Therefore, they are detected through fecal analysis. Sometimes, kittens and puppies are born with these internal parasites, causing them to remain susceptible throughout their lives. Because they come in a variety of forms, internal parasites can cause a range of symptoms, including:
- Intestinal upsets
- Blood in the stool
Oftentimes, cats and dogs with internal parasites are asymptomatic, making it difficult to detect.
Getting Ahead: Parasite Prevention
Due to the serious and sometimes deadly nature of parasites, the best thing owners can do to protect their pets is to take preventive measures. For optimal protection, we recommend following the guidelines of the leading animal (Companion Animal Parasite Council) and human Center for Disease control for dogs and cats
Parasite prevention is a lifelong commitment, and the highly trained staff at Juanita Bay Veterinary Hospital is here to help. We offer only the best, most progressive medications through our in-house and online pharmacy. We also recommend a regular vaccination regimen to ensure your pet is protected on all fronts every year.