Parasites are organisms who attach themselves to a host animal and steal their energy, in the form of nutrients, to survive. The most common parasites that affect cats and dogs include fleas, ticks, heartworms, and intestinal worms.
Parasites are one of the most common health problems that animals face. Preventing and treating parasites is at the forefront of care at almost every veterinary practice for this reason, and regular prevention of and monitoring for parasites is an important habit for any dog or cat owner.
To prevent parasites, Rye Harrison Veterinary Hospital recommends the following steps:
Regular veterinary appointments help to monitor if the pet contracts parasites. Some parasites, such as intestinal worms or heartworms, cannot be seen with the naked eye. If your pet has regular veterinary appointments and fecal examinations, we can catch the issue early and treat it quickly.
Year-round preventative medicine makes keeping your pets parasite-free easy. Many topical treatments and oral medications are available that can prevent fleas and ticks. In our office, we carry a wide-variety of these preventatives. For intestinal worms and heartworms, we recommend an oral medication. Both forms of parasite prevention should generally be administered on a monthly basis. Ask your veterinarian for a recommendation for your pet’s specific needs.
Regular grooming has many benefits, including parasite prevention and early intervention. Bathing and brushing your pet at home will make their skin and fur a less hospitable environment for parasites and will alert you to any signs of fleas or ticks. Grooming professionals are also trained to look for the signs of parasites, and any reputable groomer will alert you as soon as they detect anything out of the ordinary.
An annual fecal exam will alert us if your pet is carrying any intestinal parasites such as tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms, or whipworms, to name a few. Left untreated, intestinal worms can make a pet very ill and in extreme cases be fatal, but in the beginning their symptoms can be minor. A fecal exam can provide clear-cut insight without a shadow of a doubt if your pet has an intestinal worm infestation.
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