Every caring and responsible pet owner wants to make sure that they are do everything in their power to keep their animal healthy and happy. One of the most important things that you can do to support your pet’s health and wellbeing is to safeguard them against internal and external parasites.
Parasite is the term used to describe an organism that attaches itself or lives within another creature, and takes nutrients at the host’s expense. There are several different types of parasite that can affect animals, and they are broadly classified as internal and external parasites.
Internal parasites are organisms that live inside your pet’s body. Worms are the most common variety of internal parasite, although there are several different sub-species including tapeworm, roundworm, lungworm and heartworm.
Worms are normally transmitted through contact with an infected pet’s feces, which often contain the larvae or eggs of the worm. However, worms can also develop as a result of eating raw meat, or the body of another infected animal.
The main difficulty with internal parasites is that symptoms often don’t become apparent until the infestation has reached serious proportions. Nevertheless, sometimes it is possible to spot worms in your pet’s feces or vomit. If you do suspect that your dog may be passing worms, you should get a fecal sample to your vet as soon as possible.
The biggest advantage of dealing with external parasites is the fact that they live outside of your pet’s body, making them much easier to spot. There are broad range of external parasites that could affect your pet, including fleas, ticks, mites and lice.
Fleas are one of the most common pet parasites. They are a dark copper color, about the size of a pinhead and tend to live deep within your pet’s fur as they dislike the light. If your pet has something that looks like pepper on their fur, you could actually be seeing traces of flea feces. It can sometimes look like dirt, but if you put them on a wet piece of paper, they spread out like a blood stain. This is because flea feces are full of blood – their main source of food.
Ticks are another problem often seen by vets. They can potentially affect the human members of your family too, well known for causing transmitting Lyme Disease. They look similar to raisins, and must be removed carefully to prevent the spread of infection.
As with anything medical, prevention is certainly better than cure. Thankfully, there are steps that you can take to help protect your household pet from the unpleasant effects of a parasite infestation. Preventing parasite infestations is also easier and less expensive than having to try and treat them.
Here are our top tips for parasite prevention.
By far one of the best ways to protect your pet is to give them specially formulated medications that are designed to prevent parasite infestations.
From heartworm tablets to flea shampoos, there are plenty to choose from and your veterinarian will be happy to make a recommendation to you. The most important thing to remember about preventative medications is that their strength lies in administering them consistently. Missing a dose can make your pet more susceptible to parasites.
Your vet is the best person to be able to spot if your pet is a little poorly, and can often do so even if there aren’t any obvious symptoms of illness.
One of the most important things to take to these appointments is a sample of your pet’s poop. Fecal testing is one of the easiest ways for your veterinarian to identify if there are any underlying health concerns, including parasite infestations.
Feces are one of the most common ways that disease and parasites are transmitted from animal to animal. Good sanitation can dramatically reduce your pet’s exposure and help keep him healthy and happy, so make sure that you pick up the poop in your yard as quickly as possible. If you are out walking your dog, you may to want to keep him on a leash if he is inclined to stick his nose into another dog’s un-scooped poop.
If your pet is feeling thirsty, she probably isn’t too fussy about where she gets a drink from. However, standing water is often full of a parasite known as Giardia, which can cause them to develop severe diarrhea and sickness. Avoid puddles and lakes, and instead make sure you carry some fresh water and a dish with you if you are heading out for a prolonged period of time.
Protecting your pet from parasites is a vital part of his care. If you would like further advice on parasite prevention, arrange an appointment with Veterinary Medical Clinic in Alamogordo, NM today at 575-567-3500.