Spring Has Sprung, and So Have Pet Parasites
Pet parasites can range from several inches long to microscopic, but don’t let size fool you! Sometimes the most formidable foes come in the smallest packages. Learn what you need to know to keep your furry friend safe against pet parasites as spring ensues.
The Usual Suspects
As the days get longer and the weather warmer, a few common pet parasites become a concern. Higher temperatures, more time outdoors, and damp weather all contribute to a perfect storm for many unwanted visitors.
Fleas – These nasty little external parasites can reproduce faster than a bunny rabbit and should be a pet owner’s concern when it comes to springtime parasites. In the right environment, a flea can complete its life cycle in about 14 days, spreading thousands of eggs into the environment. Thankfully, there are several very effective and safe options available to prevent flea infestations in pets. We are happy to discuss which option might be best for your pet.
Mosquitoes – As the weather warms, we all want to spend more time outdoors. Unfortunately, so do the mosquitoes. Besides being annoying and causing local skin irritation, mosquito bites can transmit heartworms. This very serious parasite can cause heart and respiratory disease in dogs and cats. Utilizing a good heartworm preventative and mosquito control is essential to preventing this parasite.
Flea and heartworm prevention is usually advisable year-round, but it is particularly important in the warmer months.
Lesser Known Pet Parasites
Many other pet parasites become a concern as springtime unfolds. We don’t always hear so much about them, but intestinal parasites are cause for serious concern. Most intestinal parasites are transmitted when the organism is ingested in feces or contaminated soil or water.
Intestinal worms – Worms in the intestines can be quite large or barely visible to the naked eye. Many, including roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms, are preventable using good monthly parasite control.
Coccidia – This single celled protozoal organism is born to wreak havoc on the digestive tract. They complete their life cycle within the cells lining the intestine, destroying the ability of the organ to function normally. Infection usually results in intermittent episodes of diarrhea (many times bloody) and sometimes vomiting.
Giardia – This single-celled organism also lives in a pet’s intestine. It can be transmitted through contaminated water and may cause chronic diarrhea.
Intestinal parasites can result in poor body condition, a dull coat, digestive issues, and even serious problems like anemia or malnutrition.
Many intestinal parasites are also zoonotic, or transmissible to people. This makes a good parasite screening and prevention strategy essential to keeping your animal and human family healthy.
We recommend routine fecal and blood screenings for parasites, as well as a flea, heartworm, and intestinal parasite prevention program. We are happy to discuss your pet’s parasite prevention needs with you and design the best tactical course for your individual needs.