With summer almost here, we all love going outdoors to enjoy this California weather! Hot or cool, every family member is outdoors and this includes your pets. It’s important to keep our companion pets healthy and free of parasites. It’s fairly common for a dog or cat to become infected with an internal or external parasite at some point in their lifetime. Parasites can affect your pet in a variety of ways, ranging from simple irritation to causing life-threatening conditions if left untreated. Most importantly, some parasites can even infect and transmit diseases to you and your family. The following are some guidelines and parasites that you need to be aware of:
Signs to look out for:
Diarrhea (watery, bloody/mucous)
Lack of appetite
Changes in behavior
Worms in your pet’s stools
Dry coat/poor appearance
Pot belly – Puppies
Parasites that may affect your pet:
You are probably cringing right now after reading the list. It’s a lot! Your veterinarian can help prevent, accurately diagnose and safely treat for parasites. Parasites can infect your pet any time of the year. The good news is that you can reduce the risk of parasitic infection to your pets and family by doing the following:
- Take your pet in for a health exam every six months. Bring a stool sample from your pet during this exam visit and we will send it to the lab to be tested for intestinal parasites.
- If your pet is scratching a lot and you don’t see fleas, please don’t assume your pet has skin allergies. There are skin mites that can make your pooch scratch like crazy! Best to be safe and have your pet’s doctor check it out!
- If you take your pet jogging or to a dog park, make sure your pet doesn’t smell or eat any other pet or wild life feces
- If your pet is on a raw food diet, it is recommended that an intestinal parasite test be done at least twice a year
- Treat your back yard against fleas and ticks.
- If your child has a sandbox in the backyard, make sure you cover it when not in use
- Monthly baths/grooming
- Annual heartworm test
- Monthly preventatives!
Free Parasite Prevention at PAH
We have a few fabulous companies that we partner with for our hospital supplies. One such company, Zoetis, provides us not only with great products, but they also love to help pass on savings to our clients. Right now, and periodically throughout the year, we run a Revolution (parasite preventative) buy 2 boxes, get 2 extra doses free promotion thanks to their generosity. This means that you get two months of parasite prevention for free!
Keeping your pet on a monthly flea/tick/heartworm preventative will also control intestinal parasites. Talk to your veterinarian to see which preventative would be best for your pet. By following your veterinarian’s recommendation and having your pet tested for parasites, you can protect your pet and family all year long. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call us. PAH is open 7 days a week and we welcome your call!
What is Heartworm?
A heartworm is a parasitic worm that lives in the heart and lungs of an infected animal. The worms travel through the blood stream harming arteries and vital organs as they go. Heartworms are transmitted from animal to animal by mosquitos. The good news is that heartworm can be prevented! If your pet(s) hasn’t had a heartworm test and are not on any preventative medication for heartworm, it’s not too late! Did you know?……
Our faithful canine companion is a natural host for heartworms, which means that heartworms that live inside our pet mature into adults, mate and produce offspring. Heartworm disease causes lasting damage to the heart, lungs and arteries. For this reason, prevention is by far the best option.
Our playful feline friend can also get heartworm. Heartworm disease in cats is very different from heartworm disease in dogs. Most worms in cats do not survive to the adult stage, however, immature worms can still cause damage. Unfortunately 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.
What are the signs of heartworm disease in dogs?
Signs of heartworm disease may include a mild persistent cough, reluctance to exercise, fatigue after moderate activity, decreased appetite, and weight loss.
What are the signs of heartworm disease in cats?
Signs of heartworm disease in cats can be very subtle or very dramatic. Symptoms may include coughing, asthma-like attacks, periodic vomiting, lack of appetite, or weight loss.
What is the process of heartworm testing?
The heartworm test requires just a small blood sample from your pet, and it works by detecting the presence of heartworm proteins. Here at Pacific Animal Hospital, we can process a heartworm test and obtain results quickly. That’s it! If negative, your pet can start heartworm prevention immediately and be safe and protected from this parasite.
When should your pet be tested?
Puppies under 7 months of age can be started on heartworm prevention without a heartworm test. Puppies should be tested 6 months after their initial visit; tested again 6 months later and yearly after, 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, and then annually.
Annual testing is necessary even when your pet is on heartworm prevention year-round, to ensure that there are no heartworms present. If you are unsure about your pet’s heartworm status, please call us! A simple blood test will give us results within 15 minutes. There are options for your pet’s heartworm care that your Dr. can go over with you. As always, the best treatment is prevention!
Maya came in to see Dr. Foltz and got her yearly vaccines, heartworm and intestinal parasite tests done. A+ Maya!