Parasites pose a constant threat to your dog and can cause symptoms that range from minor inconvenience to life-threatening. Today our Citrus County vets discuss the importance of parasite prevention for dogs.
What is a Parasite?
A parasite is an organism that feeds on your dog without offering any benefit. They steal nutrients from your dog and some can cause irreversible damage to your dog's organs.
How do parasite infections happen?
Your dog doesn’t need to be near other animals to get infected because some methods of infection are insect bites, other animal feces and even being passed down from mother to child before they are even born. Once a dog is infected it is very difficult to get some parasites out of their entrenched location. This is why the best solution is to practice preventative measures. Some examples of parasites that dogs may have:
This parasite is often spread by mosquitoes. Once your dog is infected the worm will grow, reproduce, and spread throughout the dog's body. They got the name heartworm for their unfortunate habit of embedding in the heart muscle. They can be found in an infected dog's heart, lungs, and blood vessels. The issue with diagnosing them is that by the time the symptoms show the infection is quite severe. These worms can cause massive damage to internal organs. Humans are unlikely to get infected with this parasite.
This parasite can be passed in from mother to child before birth. It can also be transmitted by eggs that are excreted and then accidentally swallowed. The egg can live for weeks without a host and can also infect humans especially human children (makes you question every sandbox you played in as a child). This can stunt growth and a pot belly appearance in dogs. Also, worms come out of both ends.
These horrifying creatures can infect your dog either through consuming an infected mother's milk, consuming the eggs or they burrow into the skin. These creatures are little vampires that live off of the blood of animals by entering the GI tract and tearing holes in the lining causing ulcers which they feed from. They can prove deadly to young puppies and cause anemia in adult dogs. These vile creatures can also burrow into human skin. Like roundworm, sandboxes are notorious for being the vector of transmission (why do we let kids play in sandboxes?).
The classic pest that infests your dog’s fur. They are normally an annoyance, constantly biting and causing skin irritation. They can be a disease vector for tapeworms.
These little bugs bury their heads into the flesh of their victim. They can spread lyme disease and can attack humans
What Can I do to Protect My Dog?
The best way to protect your dog is to keep up with their vaccinations. Your vet will be able to advise you of a schedule for inoculation. Make sure your dog goes for a annual wellness check so your vet can test for infestation.
Parasites can pose a significant danger to even the healthiest dog. That's why we recommend a variety of parasite prevention practices and products to protect your pooch and your family.
Parasite control for dogs is an essential part of their routine healthcare. During your pet's annual exam, your veterinarian in Citrus County can check your dog for any signs of parasites and recommend parasite control measures or products that would be suitable for them based on your location, your dog's risk factors, health status and more.
We are also happy to address any questions and concerns you may have about parasite prevention and control.