Flea, Tick, Heartworm, and Intestinal Parasite Prevention
Parasites aren’t just a health risk for your pet, they can affect you and your family as well. That is why prevention is key! In the New York City area, we recommend protecting your pet against fleas, ticks, and heartworm year-round. Abingdon Square Veterinary Clinic offers several different oral and topical preventatives depending on what is best for your pet.
Fleas are tiny parasites that jump from animal to animal and take blood meals from them. Fleas impact your dog or cat by causing anemia (low red blood cell count), allergic skin reactions, and transmission of some diseases. Having a flea infestation on your pet can lead to an infestation in your home environment that can sometimes be difficult to eradicate. Follow this link to the Companion Animal Parasite Council to learn more about fleas, their life stages, and treatment of infestations.
Ticks sit on blades of grass waiting to grab on to an animal walking by. Once on the fur of an animal, they embed themselves into the skin to feed on the animal’s blood. Ticks are a concern because they carry many infectious diseases, such as Borrelia (Lyme disease), Anaplasma, and Ehrlichia. Follow this link to the Companion Animal Parasite Council to learn more about ticks and prevention.
Heartworm is a serious, life-threatening disease that affects both dogs and cats. Heartworm larvae are spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes. Once in the body, the larvae become adults and live in the heart and pulmonary (lung) arteries. It is here that the heartworms can cause deleterious effects. Many dogs are asymptomatic, although others will develop coughing, difficulty breathing, and exercise intolerance. In some cases, heartworm disease can lead to heart failure. We recommend giving your dog heartworm preventative every month. Heartworm prevention greatly reduces the risk of developing heartworm disease. We recommend testing for heartworm disease yearly at your dog’s annual visit. Follow this link to the Companion Animal Parasite Council to learn more about heartworm disease in dogs.
There are numerous species of intestinal parasites that affect dogs and cats. Some of these parasites are zoonotic, which means that they can be passed from animal to human and vice versa. Animals may be asymptomatic, although the majority of animals with intestinal parasites will show clinical signs, such as vomiting, diarrhea (+/- bloody), decreased appetite, abdominal pain, weight loss, and flatulence. Common dog and cat intestinal parasites are roundworms, coccidia, hookworms, whipworms, giardia, and tapeworms. These are mainly spread through the feces, therefore, it is important to use proper hand hygiene and sanitation. The good news is that many of these parasites are preventable! The heartworm preventative, Heartgard Plus, also is a dewormer for some of these parasites, which is another reason why we recommend year-round administration. Follow this link to the Companion Animal Parasite Council to learn more about intestinal parasites.
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