Parasite ControlCelebrating the Bond Between You and Your Pet
Parasites are something that affect every one of our pets. Every puppy is born with intestinal parasites. Ticks, fleas, and heartworm are always present if your pet goes outside. As with all medical issues, routine testing and prevention is the key to prevent these organisms from causing problems with your pets or family.
If you’ve ever had a puppy, you’ve seen worms. There are many kinds of intestinal parasites, and many of them are passed through the placenta or through nursing. This means whether your dog came from a shelter, or the most renowned breeder, they are all born with worms. Kittens tend to obtain worms from their early environment. When your pet is dewormed, this only removes the worms within their gastrointestinal tract, then within 3-4 weeks they return. It is normal for any puppy or kitten to have to be repeatedly dewormed.
There are other parasites, such as coccidia and giardia that require special medications. They are single celled organisms, similar to bacteria that typically cause diarrhea.
While some pets can have mild symptoms from intestinal parasites, the biggest concern is that these parasites can invade people (especially children). This is the biggest reason we test annually, and keep your pet on a monthly preventative. Good hygiene (hand washing after handling your pet) is also vital to prevent any unwanted visits to your doctor.
Unlike other parasites, heartworm is spread through mosquitoes. A mosquito will bite another dog (or fox, or coyote etc.), and when it feeds off of your dog it will spread a microscopic version of a heartworm. Over 6 months, this worm will mature and travel to the right side of your dog’s heart. Over time, this will cause inflammation, scarring and can lead to pulmonary hypertension and/or right-sided heart failure. Last year alone Gilbertsville Veterinary Hospital diagnosed more than 15 dogs with heartworm disease.
The best way to prevent heartworm disease is to keep your dog on a monthly preventative. There are many options available, including an oral chew (Heartgard), a topical (Revolution), or an injection (Proheart). All of them work well, however the most important thing to remember is that mosquitoes can remain in your home during colder months. Therefore keeping your dog on Heartworm prevention year round is vital to prevent them from becoming ill if exposed.
“…if I keep my dog on heartworm prevention every month, why do I need to test them every year?”.
The answer is simple; if for any reason your dog doesn’t receive adequate protection every month (missed a dose by a week, vomits up the prevention, etc.), future doses of prevention do nothing to stop an adult worm from setting up house in the heart. If your dog develops an adult heartworm, prevention is not effective at removing it. Special injections are required to remove the adult worm, and the longer it is present, the higher the risk of complications. Therefore, testing annually will help us potentially detect an adult worm before it leads to chronic changes in the heart and pulmonary artery.
Fleas are a nuisance; they cause itching, skin problems, and can live in your home. However, they can also spread some diseases and are the main source of tapeworms. Unlike cockroaches, fleas cannot live in your home without a host. If you are seeing adult fleas on your pets, it is only a small fraction of the entire flea population. A single flea bath or spray will only work for a few hours-days. At some point, more flea eggs will hatch, producing adults which will lay more eggs.
Therefore the solution to treating and preventing fleas is to use a monthly preventative. This will ensure that all young fleas that hatch cannot have a meal or reproduce, stopping their life cycle. For more information on flea infestation, click here.
There are many products available for fleas. We carry prescription medications for dogs (Simparica: oral chew, Revolution: Topical) and cats (Revolution). If purchasing an over the counter flea/tick medication, please be cautious. Despite what the label says, many of these products do not work well and can lead to side effects. The only over the counter products we recommend is Advantage (cats) or K-9 Advantix (dogs).
Unlike fleas, ticks rarely will live in your house. Most of the time cats or dogs will become exposed if they are outdoors. Short brush and high grass are the most common places for ticks to dwell. Unlike fleas, ticks can survive and attach even in the colder months. As we all know, ticks also carry common bacterial infections such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichia and anaplasmosis. Most of these diseases require the tick to be attached for several hours to spread these diseases. By using a monthly preventative the flea will die before it is able to infect your pet. Similar to fleas, we strongly recommend a prescription preventative (Dogs: Simparica or Revolution, Cats: Revolution) over any over the counter remedies.
Rewards and Rebates for Parasite Control
Free product with purchase
When you purchase 6 months of Revolution from us you receive 2 free doses. When you purchase 9 months of Revolution from us you receive 3 free doses.
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