Parasite Control and Prevention for Pets
At Simcoe Animal Hospital, our goal is to protect all cats and dogs from harmful parasites and the diseases they carry. Once infected, it is difficult and expensive to rid your furry friends of fleas, ticks and other parasites. The good news is preventing your pet from infection in the first place is actually quite simple and affordable. Please contact us today so that we can discuss which preventive medications (e.g. topical, oral treatments) are best suited for your pet’s specific needs and lifestyle.
What are the different types of parasites that can harm pets?
1. Internal Parasites: Including roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms and others. Typically, we like to deworm puppies and kittens at least 3 times to make sure they are worm free. Adults we like to deworm at least once yearly.
2. Heartworm: Is a fatal condition caused by parasitic worms that invade a dog’s heart and surrounding blood vessels. It is transferred by mosquitoes from infected dogs to uninfected dogs. Cats can also contract heartworm, but it mainly affects their lungs and heart.
3. Fleas: These feed off warm-blooded mammals and birds. Fleas can make your pet’s life miserable, scratching and biting at themselves to try to relieve the irritation. They can cause hair loss, skin irritation and in severe cases anemia.
4. Ticks: A tick is a small parasite that attaches itself to any warm-blooded host to receive a blood meal. As they feed, they become engorged (swollen) and detach themselves once they are full. Ticks can transmit a variety of diseases when they feed on your pet, such as Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis. Some of these conditions such as Lyme disease, can even be passed on from your pet to you and other people around you.
How can I tell if my pet has fleas or ticks?
The easiest sign to watch out for is excessive scratching or licking. If your pet is unfortunately suffering from a severe infection, you may also notice hair loss and skin infections. You may also see fleas and ticks directly on your pet, as they are visible to the naked eye especially once they have reached maturity. Ticks often look like small skin tags as the tick embeds its head under your pet’s skin, and only its body is visible. Fleas, on the other hand, often look like “dirt” to the naked eye. They are reddish brown and thin, at about an eight of an inch long. They are often easier to spot on pets with lighter-coloured fur.
Does my pet need parasite protection even in the winter?
Yes! A common myth is that pets are safe from harmful parasites during the colder months. Unfortunately, fleas and other parasites can still survive during the winter. Fleas, for example can survive in temperatures as low as 0 degrees Celsius. Once they make their way into your garage, balcony and other parts of your home, they can thrive and multiply. Your pet needs protection all year round. This is especially true for pets who go to doggy/kitty daycares, pet salons, or spend a lot of time with other pets indoors, as they are susceptible to infection from their furry pals.