Tips on Parasites

Parasites

Dogs and cats are not just pets, they are members of the family. And like any member of your family, it’s important to keep your companion animal healthy and free of parasites. It is fairly common for a dog or cat to become infected with an internal or external parasite at some point in its lifetime. Parasites can affect your pet in a variety of ways, ranging from simple irritation to life-threatening conditions, if left untreated.

Some parasites can even infect and transmit diseases to you and your family. Your veterinarian can help prevent, accurately diagnose, and safely treat parasites and other health problems that not only affect your dog or cat, but also the safety of you and your family.

Reduce the Risk

You can reduce the risk of parasitic infection to your family by eliminating parasites from pets. This includes restricting access to contaminated areas, such as sandboxes, pet “walk areas”, and other high-traffic areas, and practicing good personal hygiene. Disposing of pet feces on a regular basis can help remove potentially infective worm eggs before they become distributed in the environment and are picked up or ingested by pets or humans.

Year-Round Prevention

Parasites can infect your pet any time of year. External parasites, such as fleas and ticks, may be less prevalent outside during certain times of the year; however, they often survive in the house during the winter months, creating an uninterrupted life cycle. Other internal parasites, such as worms, may affect your pet all year long. That’s why it’s important to consult with your veterinarian to implement a year-round parasite control program.

What Can I Do?

Responsible pet parasite control can reduce the risks associated with transmission of parasitic diseases from pets to people. By following a few simple guidelines, pet owners can better protect their pets and their family. This includes:

  • Practicing good personal hygiene
  • Using a preventative flea and/or tick treatment year-round
  • Only feeding pets cooked or prepared food (not raw meat).
  • Minimizing exposure to high-traffic pet areas
  • Cleaning up pet feces regularly
  • Visiting our Langley vet clinic for annual testing and physical examination
  • Administering worming medications, as recommended by Small Creatures Pet Clinic
  • Asking us about parasite infection risks and effective year-round preventative control measures that are administered monthly

For more important information about parasite control guidelines, ask our Langley animal care clinic or visit www.petsandparasites.org.

What is a zoonotic disease?

Zoonoses, or zoonotic diseases, are those diseases that can be transmitted directly or indirectly from animals to humans. For example, some worms can be transmitted in the environment.

What is a vector-borne disease?

Vector-borne diseases are those transmitted by fleas or ticks among other parasites that infest dogs and cats, but they can also affect pets and people. Ticks can transmit a large number of “vector-borne” diseases in North America including Ehrlichiosis, Lyme Disease, Relapsing Fever, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Tularemia.

Parasites that may affect your pet:

  • Mange mites
  • Roundworms
  • Tapeworms
  • Ticks
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Whipworms
  • Coccidia
  • Ear mites
  • Fleas
  • Giardia
  • Heartworms
  • Hookworms

For further information about tips on parasites, contact our Langley veterinarians at Small Creatures Pet Clinic today.

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