Let’s talk about parasite prevention! Parasites are yucky and unfortunately our dogs and cats can get infected with them easily. Luckily, there are things that we can do to help prevent our pets from getting these nasty buggers. Some common parasites that our dogs and cats can be infected by are heartworms, fleas, and ticks.
Heartworm is a worm that is transmitted by mosquitoes when the mosquito bites the dog or cat. As the worm grows, it eventually moves into the heart of the animal causing a lot of problems. According to LA County Public Health Department (http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/vet/heartworm.htm) “infected animals may have tiredness, problems breathing, coughing, and heart failure, and cats may also be more likely to vomit.” The only way to know if your pet has heartworm disease is to have a blood test done at your veterinary hospital. Your veterinarian can provide treatment to kill the heartworms and they will need to closely monitor your pet because as the heartworms die, they can cause a reaction to your pet.
Thankfully there is a not only a treatment for heartworms, there is also monthly preventative medication that you can give your pet to help prevent them from getting the disease. Here at Monrovia Animal Medical Center, Dr. Gueniat recommends a chewable tablet called Trifexis for dogs and for cats she recommends a topical parasiticide called Revolution Plus. Using these monthly preventatives can help prevent your pet from getting heartworms as well as some other intestinal parasites.
Fleas are another common parasite that infest our pets. Many of you have probably seen an adult flea or two, but did you know that only 5% of a flea infestation is the adult flea? Meaning 95% of the flea infestation is in the form of the egg, larva, or pupae which is difficult if not impossible to see with the naked eye. Fleas flourish in a warm, humid environment which makes California’s temperature an ideal place for fleas to live. Your cat or dog can get fleas from anywhere, on a walk, from other animals, you can even bring them in the house on your shoes!
According to the AVMA “signs of flea problems range from mild redness to severe scratching that can lead to open sores and skin infections (“hot spots”). Also, pets can become infected with certain types of tapeworms if they ingest fleas carrying tapeworm eggs (a pet using its teeth to scratch the flea bites often eats the fleas).” https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/petcare/external-parasites
There are many different types of monthly flea preventatives and both Trifexis and Revolution Plus will prevent and kill fleas as well.
Ticks are another parasite that is more commonly found on dogs than cats. According to the AVMA, ticks usually found in wooded areas, bush, shrubs, & wild undergrowth. They are also very capable of spreading infectious disease to humans as well as pets. Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever are transmitted by ticks to both animals and humans.
Ticks are usually found around the dog’s neck, ears, and folds between the legs, body, and toes. On cats they are more commonly found on the neck and face. If you find a tick on your pet, please contact us before trying to remove it yourself. We recommend Nexgard to prevent ticks from attaching to your dog.