April is parasite prevention month. Mention this article and receive and extra 10% off a year’s supply of parasite prevention! This includes Heartworm prevention and Flea and Tick prevention and is addition to the promotions offered by the manufacturers!
There are many types of parasites that can infect your pet. Some of these are zoonotic, meaning they can be transferred between pets and humans. All parasites, by definition, are harmful to your pet and should be treated as soon as possible.
The most common parasites we see in our area are:
Skin: Fleas, Ticks, Demodectic Mange and Sarcoptic Mange
Ears: Ear Mites
Circulatory System: Heartworms
Intestinal Tract: Hookworms, Roundworms, Tapeworms, Whipworms, Coccidia, Toxoplasmosis and Giardia
Skin parasites can cause hair loss, irritation and infection. They can also spread disease to cats, dogs and humans.
The tick is the known vector for Lyme Disease, Erlichliosis, Anaplasmosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever while the flea can spread Bartonellosis leading to Cat Scratch Fever. Fleas are also the intermediate host for Tapeworms.
Demodectic Mange Mites are found in dogs, cats and people. They live in the hair follicles and eat the dead skin cells and oils on the skin. When the immune system is compromised, the mites take over and cause hair loss. This is commonly seen in the young dog or the elderly dog.
Sarcoptic Mange Mites, commonly referred to as “Scabies”, is parasitic and is transmissible between pets and humans. It is usually presented as crusty skin that is very itchy.
Ear mites are parasitic mites that live in the ear canal of the dog or cat. Though most common in the outdoor cat, they can be transmitted by casual contact between cats or between a cat and dog.
Circulatory Parasites live in the blood and/or tissues inside the body. The most common of these is Heartworms.
Heartworms are spread from dog to dog or cat by mosquitoes. An infected mosquito injects the baby heartworms into the skin when it bites. The heartworm then travels through the tissues and eventually comes to full maturity in the heart of the dog or cat. If left untreated, heartworms are fatal. They can be prevented, however, with medicine given once a month.
Intestinal Parasites vary from actual worms to protozoans to single celled parasites.
Hookworms are small blood sucking worms that live in the small intestine. They infect both dogs and cats. They are transmitted by ingestion of eggs or larve from infected stools or penetration of the skin or foot pads. They can also be transmitted from mother to fetus. A Hookworm Infection can be very serious and lead to bloody diarrhea and anemia. An infection can be fatal if not treated.
Roundworms are a common puppy and kitten worm. They grow up to 8 inches long and live in the intestinal tract. They are spread by ingestion of egg or larve from infected feces and soil.
Tapeworms are transmitted by fleas and caused by the ingestion of an infected flea. Tapeworms are segmented and usually shed these segments in the feces. They look like grains of white rice or sesame seeds in the stool. Tapeworms can cause weight loss and failure to thrive.
Whipworms are microscopic worms that live in the large intestine and colon of the dog and cat. They are bloodsuckers and can be transmitted to humans through ingestion of infected feces or contaminated soil.
Coccidiosis, Giardia and Toxoplasmosis are intestinal diseases caused by microscopic organisms.
Coccidiosis is worse in young animals and causes diarrhea which is sometimes bloody.
Giardia is seen in all ages of animal and can cause diarrhea, vomiting and weight loss. It is easily treatable with an antibiotic.
Toxoplasmosis can be transmitted through infected cat feces. Though it rarely produces any symptoms in humans, it is a known cause of fetal deaths and abortions. Pregnant women, therefore, should use extreme caution around litter boxes.
Parasites can be prevented with good hygiene and veterinary care. Ocean Animal Hospital is offering a special this month. We will give you an extra 10% off a year’s supply of parasite prevention! This includes Heartworm prevention and Flea and Tick prevention. This is in addition to the promotions offered by the manufacturers.
Call us today for more information. 321-406-1618