Parasite Prevention: An Important Component of Wellness Care

May 10, 2017

Ticks, fleas, mosquitoes… There are few pet parents who aren’t worried about these disease-carrying (and annoying) pests. Yet, each year, many of us elect to forego important prevention medications in lieu of chance. Even more upsetting is the number of cases of otherwise preventable illnesses that are diagnosed in pets.  

This year alone, your friends at Advantage Veterinary Center have already diagnosed eight cases of heartworm disease. We want to bring to mind how essential parasite prevention is and the risks pet owners take when ignoring this simple and effective form of protection.

What’s the Big Deal About Parasites?

Parasites, although a pesky problem, carry a wide array of illnesses, some of which can be transmitted to human family members. Aside from their ability to create a hard-to-remedy and itchy infestation (as in the case of fleas), they’re also responsible for serious diseases, such as:

  • Heartworm disease
  • Lyme disease
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever
  • Anaplasmosis
  • Tularemia
  • Hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms
  • Cat scratch fever
  • Ehrlichiosis

Oftentimes, pet owners make the assumption that indoor pets (or mostly indoor pets) do not need parasite protection. Unfortunately, indoor environments are attractive to many pests which can be carried into the home. It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to put your pet in danger – and we all know how easily a mosquito can make its way inside.

The signs of parasitic infection can also be elusive. For example, many pets may suffer from fleas, but the condition isn’t noticed until they have proliferated and caused many problems. Ticks require 48 hours of attachment in order to transmit illnesses like Lyme. However, they can easily remain invisible on a pet with longer fur or if they attach to areas such as the groin, inner ear, or armpit. Internal parasites can also thrive without notice, which is why annual fecal testing is so important to your pet’s health.

Annual Wellness Care and Parasite Prevention

Because parasites are so prevalent along with the illnesses they carry, keeping your pet on flea, tick, and heartworm preventives is the most reliable form of protection. These medications and topicals are best prescribed by your veterinarian, so your pet can be examined and screened for common parasitic-borne illnesses each year.

Along with annual screening and prescription preventives, you can take some proactive measures at home, such as:

  • Inspecting your pet for ticks after returning home from a walk or other outdoor activity
  • Sticking to trails when out for a hike and avoiding overgrown areas
  • Avoiding outdoor activities during dusk and dawn, when parasites are most active
  • Keeping grass trimmed and removing tall weeds from the yard where parasites can thrive
  • Maintaining monthly grooming appointments

If your pet is currently unprotected from dangerous parasites, please call us to schedule an appointment.

With serious conditions like heartworm disease and Lyme disease, there’s no reason to take chances with your pet’s health. We can help you come up with the right parasite prevention plan for your precious furry family!