Why Pets Need Parasite Prevention
It’s easy to forget how much trouble tiny parasites can cause for your pet - and for you! Along with infesting pets and homes, parasites can be carriers for various diseases. Here in Livonia, we regularly treat patients for a variety of parasites, both internal and external.
Parasites that Affect Our Pets
Ticks: Ticks have become more prevalent in the area, putting more animals and people at risk for Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, and other illnesses. Places that ticks frequent include wooded areas, areas with shrubs and tall grasses, and wood piles. Be sure to check yourself and your pet for ticks before you both enter the house.
Heartworms: Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes and can spend years inside a host without causing any obvious symptoms. This makes heartworm infestations very dangerous. To protect your pet from heartworms, we advocate year-round prevention.
Fleas: Fleas are incredibly small, but they can become a monumental problem in a short amount of time. Fleas can jump great distances to move from host to host, and their bite can cause an allergic reaction in some pets. When the temperature drops, fleas may take up residence in floor boards, carpet fibers, and other furnishings.
Intestinal worms: Roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and whipworms are common intestinal parasites in dogs and cats, and are spread to other animals that come into contact with stool from an infected animal. Occasionally, if a dog accidentally ingests a flea infected with tapeworm, they can also become infected.
Giardia/Coccidia: Giardia and Coccidia are both microscopic, single-celled parasites that live on the intestinal wall of the host. They primarily affect puppies, but older dogs can have them as well. In puppies, a common symptom of coccidiosis or giardiasis is diarrhea, or, in more severe cases, bloody diarrhea.
It takes just one mosquito to infect your pet with heartworm disease. Heartworm larvae enter the bloodstream and travel to the heart and lungs, where they grow to maturity. Heartworms put stress on the heart and lungs, blocking major arteries. Given enough time, heartworm disease can be fatal.
Deer ticks are the primary carriers of Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. This is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be spread from animals to humans. Infection is not always easy to detect, as symptoms may take months to develop. These include:
- Joint swelling/lameness
- Decreased activity
In addition to using preventatives, you can also have your dog vaccinated for Lyme disease.
Roundworm is the most common parasite in puppies and kittens. If a pregnant animal is infected with roundworm, the parasite can actually infect their offspring as well. To check for roundworm, we need to study a fecal sample under the microscope to look for roundworm eggs. Both animals and people can become infected with roundworm, which causes diarrhea and abdominal pain.
Treating and Preventing Infection
With time and patience, parasites and the diseases they spread can be treated effectively. Furthermore, your pet needs monthly preventative to stay healthy. Preventing parasites altogether saves pets and their families a world of trouble and costly medical treatments. To discuss your pet’s parasite prevention needs, give us a call at (734) 464-6281.
We have been bringing our pets here since the 1970's and would never think of going anywhere else. The staff is so compassionate and caring for both the animals and their families.
Wonderful staff! Excellent service all the way around! Most of all our Murray loves going there! Highly recommended!
Levan Road Veterinary Hospital has the area's best vets and staff around (the Livonia area). I would highly recommend this practice to my friends and anyone else who needs a caring staff for their beloved pets
Dr. Fleming and the staff are SO Wonderful. Such caring and compassionate. We had to put our beloved fur-baby to sleep and they stayed open late so our family could come say good-bye.
I have been taking my dogs to Levan Vet for 19 years now. The staff is very caring and friendly. It is obvious how much they care about the animals they are treating.