Parasites subsist by stealing the nutrients of a host. Common parasites that pets often contract include fleas, ticks, heartworms, and intestinal worms. Not only are these unwanted pests annoying and unhygienic, but they can also be dangerous to your pet's health.
To prevent parasite infestations, your pet should be on a preventative year-round. There are many varieties to choose from, including chews, topical treatments, special collars, and more. If you would like help choosing the best form of protection for your pet, please feel encouraged to ask your veterinarian for their professional advice.
Another precaution that we suggest taking against parasites is twice yearly fecal exams. Because parasites are one of the most common ailments that pets face, this test is recommended to every client. Young animals, whose immune systems are not yet developed, are the most susceptible to intestinal parasites in particular.
There are many varieties of parasites, and each poses individual threats and requires individual treatment. Below is a list of some more parasite-specific information.
Fleas are insects that live in the coat and on the skin. Their main food source is blood, which they acquire by biting their host. Serious flea infestations can cause anemia and even death. One of the most telltale signs of fleas is persistent itching behavior. Keeping your pet well-groomed and on a preventative treatment can prevent fleas from invading your pet's skin and coat.
Ticks are insects that also consume the blood of a host animal to survive. In addition to being unsightly, ticks can carry several dangerous diseases - the most known of these being Lyme disease. Their highest populations are found in fields or wooded areas, but they can also be in your own backyard. To prevent ticks, check your pet's skin after spending time outside and keep them on continuous preventive medicine.
Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes. The warm and humid environment of North Carolina is a hot spot for mosquitoes, and therefore heartworms. The symptoms of heartworms are subtle in their early stages, but left untreated they will result in irreversible organ damage and death eventually. The treatment for heartworms is hard on pets, and not to mention expensive. Preventing mosquito bites is an almost impossible task, but if your dog is on continuous heartworm prevention medicine, they will be protected.