Parasites like mosquitos, ticks and fleas are a serious threat to your pet’s health. However, administering parasite prevention medicines helps your pet avoid infestations. Here are some parasite control tips for Florida pets and Florida pet owners.

How Do Pets Get Parasites?
Parasites are easily ingested by pets from factors in their environment. Two common examples are roundworms and hookworms. In fact, these parasites can be ingested from an infected mother’s milk, causing diarrhea, vomiting, a distended belly, constipation, coughing and loss of appetite. Another environmental threat is giardia. These single-celled parasites live in dirty water that your pet drinks.

Dangers of Parasites
Fleas and ticks spread a variety of diseases including the bubonic plague (fleas) and Lyme disease (ticks). However, fleas also transfer tapeworms through their bite. Although tapeworms aren’t hazardous to your pet’s health, they absorb the nutrients from your pet’s food. Therefore, a large infestation may cause significant weight loss, anal itching and irritation. Mosquitos transfer a much more serious problem: heartworm larvae. Heartworms grow in an animal’s heart and lungs, causing quick-moving and ultimately fatal cardiopulmonary failure. 

Parasite Detection and Prevention
Keep in mind that hookworms and roundworms are zoonotic, meaning that they’re transmittable to humans. Therefore, ridding your pet from parasites reduces your own risk of infection. Puppies are dewormed during their “puppy shots.” If your puppy hasn’t been dewormed, talk to your veterinarian about getting these shots taken care of. 

Worms affect older dogs as well. Veterinarians recommend a yearly fecal exam unless your dog takes a heartworm preventative that’s also a parasite control measure for intestinal parasites. If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, have stool samples evaluated two to three times a year or administer a heartworm preventative, controlling intestinal parasites. Also, there are some newer heartworm combinations available to fight against threats from heartworms, intestinal parasites and fleas. 

The best method for preventing fleas is with prescription medications. Getting rid of fleas requires a comprehensive flea control program including treating the pet, the pet’s sleeping area, the yard and the house as a whole. Ticks are also very difficult to control. However, remaining diligent about combing and grooming your pet helps prevent infestations. 

Preventing parasites is much easier than treating them. The sooner an infestation is detected, the sooner it’s treated. Here at Regal Animal Hospital in Lake Worth, Florida, we have the proper and proven effective treatments and medications for parasite control. Contact us today for an appointment for preventative parasite control measures.