Speak to ECVC about the most appropriate parasite prevention program for your pet.
A parasite is an organism that lives in or on another and takes its nourishment from that other organism, or “host.” Parasites may weaken immune systems and create a favorable breeding ground for disease. Additionally, some parasites are zoonotic, meaning that they can be transferred from to people.
Proper parasite prevention for your pet is important to keep them healthy and protected from potential disease. It is possible for an animal to become infected due to skipped or delayed administration of just one preventive dose, particularly in highly endemic areas. We recommend annual testing after 7 months of age and year-round parasite prevention. Recommended testing for Intestinal parasites includes fecal test every year, at minimum, every six months is preferred.
What are common parasites?
- Ear mites
- Round worms
- Mange mites among others
Signs and symptoms of parasite infection may include:
- Allergic dermatitis
- Excessive scratching, licking or biting at skin
- Hair loss
- Scabs and hot spots
- Pale gums
- Weight loss
- Difficulty breathing among others, including asymptomatic.
Heartworm disease is a serious, progressive disease. The earlier it is detected, the better the chances the pet will recover. It is caused by foot-long worms (heart worms) that live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs in the body. Heartworm disease affects dogs, cats and ferrets amongst a list of other wild animals. It is transmitted by the saliva of a mosquito. Our heart worm prevention protocols follow the American Heartworm Society’s guidelines.
Preventing Heartworm in dogs:
All dogs should be tested annually for heartworm infection, and this can usually be done during a routine visit for preventive care. Puppies should be started on a heart worm preventive as early as the product label allows, and no later than 8 weeks of age.
Recommend guidelines on testing:
Puppies under 7 months of age can be started on heartworm prevention without a heart worm test (it takes at least 6 months for a dog to test positive after it has been infected) but should be tested 6 months after your initial visit. Then tested again 6 months later and then yearly to ensure they are heartworm-free.
Adult dogs over 7 months of age and previously not on a preventive need to be tested prior to starting heartworm prevention. They too need to be tested 6 months and 12 months later then annually after that.
If there has been a lapse in prevention (one or more late or missed doses), dogs should be tested immediately, then tested again six months later and annually after that.
Annual testing is necessary, even when dogs are on heartworm prevention year-round, to ensure that the prevention program is working. Heartworm medications are highly effective, but dogs can still become infected. If you miss just one dose of a monthly medication—or give it late—it can leave your dog unprotected.
Even if you give the medication as recommended, your dog may spit out or vomit a heartworm pill—or rub off a topical medication. Heartworm preventives are highly effective, but not 100 percent effective. If you don’t get your dog tested, you won’t know if your dog needs treatment.
Heartworm in cats:
Heartworm disease in cats is very different from heartworm disease in dogs. The cat is an atypical host for heartworms, and most worms in cats do not survive to the adult stage. Cats with adult heartworms typically have just one to three worms, and many cats affected by heartworms have no adult worms. While this means heartworm disease often goes undiagnosed in cats, it’s important to understand that even immature worms cause real damage in the form of a condition known as heartworm associated respiratory disease (HARD). Moreover, the medication used to treat heartworm infections in dogs cannot be used in cats, so prevention is the only means of protecting cats from the effects of heartworm disease. –via American Heart Worm Society
What you can do to help reduce exposure and risk:
Reduction of exposure to mosquitoes through standard environmental control of mosquitoes and their breeding environments, and when possible, reducing outdoor exposure during key mosquito feeding periods is recommended.
Practice good sanitation protocols at home and when out with your pet.
Do not allow your pet to eat feces or drink standing water.
Regular testing with your veterinarian.
Speak to us about prevention, and the best options for your pet.