What Makes Parasites Harmful to Our Pets?

There are a variety of internal and external parasites that can cause trouble for our canine and feline companions. Along with bothersome infestations that drive them (and us) crazy, there are also diseases that can be transmitted to your pet if they get bit by an infected parasite. Fleas, ticks and mosquitoes are more dangerous than their small size would suggest, and the best way to protect your beloved pet against their potentially harmful bite is to invest in year-round parasite prevention.

a dog scratching their face

Common Parasite-Borne Illnesses

Heartworm disease is transmitted to animals by mosquitoes containing worm (microfilaria) larvae. This disease can be life-threatening or worse if it is left untreated. Once an infected mosquito bites your pet, the larvae enter their blood stream and travel to the heart, lungs and major blood vessels. While you may think that your pet’s thick coat will keep them protected, their nose and paw pads are still vulnerable.

Lyme disease is a common illness spread by ticks. Symptoms include lethargy, inflamed joints, fever and decreased appetite. Other diseases ticks can spread to pets include ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis.

If your pet swallows a flea, did you know that they have a chance of contracting tapeworm? Tapeworms are not necessarily dangerous, but they can deprive your pet of important nutrients. If you see your pet scooting and dragging their hind end on the floor or notice what look like tiny grains of rice stuck to the fur around their anus, they could have tapeworm.

How to Keep Your Pet Safe

Parasites are everywhere, but there are ways that you can keep your pet protected. First, you can reduce their exposure to fleas, ticks and mosquitoes by restricting their access to certain areas outdoors, or by keeping them away from animals that may be affected.

However, even indoor pets are vulnerable to parasites. That’s why we recommend year-round flea, tick and heartworm preventives for optimal protection. If your pet is not currently taking preventives, please contact us immediately to learn more and schedule an appointment to have your pet tested. We can run various tests to check the blood and stool for evidence of parasites.

We also offer the Lyme disease vaccine for dogs for an additional layer of protection. If you think your pet may need this vaccine, let us know and we’ll be happy to help. Just give us a call at (214) 826-4166!