Should You be Concerned About Pet Parasites?

Pet parasites can adversely affect your pet’s health and wellbeing. They’re a major concern because even the least dangerous parasite can prevent your cat or dog from thriving. Just as with the human health issues in your family, you must learn to recognize pet parasite symptoms and take steps to prevent or treat the problem.

What are Pet Parasites?

A parasite is any pest or organism that lives on or within your pet. Parasites not only use your pets for nourishment, they also lay eggs and create new generations to continue the harm. Both cats and dogs are at risk for a variety of parasite infestations. Here are just a few:

  • Coccidia– This single-celled parasite is particularly problematic for puppies and kittens. It can cause diarrhea and the most serious cases can be terminal.
  • Fleas – Flea infestations are common in both cats and dogs. They cause skin irritations but can also pass along tapeworms.
  • Ear Mites – These tiny parasites live in cat’s and dog’s ear canals. They’re so tiny you might not see them. You will likely notice the inflamed, irritated skin they cause. Pets can pass ear mites to other pets.
  • Heartworms – These parasites affect dogs far more frequently than cats but both are at risk. Mosquitoes transmit heartworm larvae to your pet. They travel to your pet’s heart where they grow to adulthood and reproduce. Heartworms affect blood flow and cause problems with your pet’s heart, lungs, and other organs.
  • Roundworms – This common parasite infects both cats and dogs, usually at a young age. Pets can ingest them from the environment, food sources, and their mother’s milk. Vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss are a few of the noticeable symptoms of serious roundworm infection.

Pet Parasite Resource

The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) is an organization of pet health experts dedicated to establishing new ways to control pet parasite problems. Their website provides information about pet parasites. It also offers national parasite forecasts with maps showing potential infestation locations.

Your Pet’s First Line of Defense Against Parasites

Regular veterinarian visits and preventative care are the best way to manage parasite-related conditions and diseases. While veterinarians can’t eliminate your pet’s exposure to parasites, they can plan a preventative program to help deter infestations. Your vet can also diagnose an existing condition and treat your pet before the problem becomes irreversible.

Contact Hebron Veterinary Hospital

To learn more about pet parasites, give us a call at (860) 228-4324. Our vets can provide the information, preventative care, and treatment your pet needs.