Parasites

Dog and cat

Parasite prevention guidelines

When most people hear about parasites in pets, they think of fleas and ticks. While these are a persistent and common nuisance, there are many other kinds of parasites that can create serious health problems for your dog or cat. Some of these, such as heartworm and intestinal parasites, can be vectors for infection that can potentially threaten your pet’s life.

A vital part of wellness

Controlling and preventing parasitic infestation is a vital part of your pet’s health and well-being. At ZippiVet, we have designed a preventative protocol to ensure that your pet remains free of harmful parasites. We encourage annual exams so we can thoroughly check your pet from head-to-tail.

Choosing the right products

ZippiVet can help with a year-round preventative protocol that covers a broad spectrum of parasites, including intestinal infestation, fleas, ticks, heartworm, and others. These preventative methods can include dusts, collars, and drops from well-respected brands.

Prevention at home

Parasite prevention doesn’t end when you leave our facilities. You’ll also want to do everything you can at home to keep your companion parasite-free. Remember, protecting your pet from parasites also protects you. Some parasites can be transmitted from pet to human.

Indoors, keep litter boxes and the surrounding areas clean. Outdoors, use proper care when handling or picking up fecal matter while walking your pets. Be sure to keep your yard free and clear of pet feces, and prevent your pets from roaming. Always wash your hands following clean-up activities.

Common dog parasites and treatments

Dog scratching

It’s relatively common for dogs to contract parasites at some point in their lives. Some parasites, like fleas, can affect both dogs and humans, which is why it’s especially important to work closely with your ZippiVet veterinarian to prevent and control parasitic infestation on a regular basis.

At each annual visit, your ZippiVet veterinarian will run a thorough course of testing for parasites. At home, you should watch for behavioral issues or changes in appetite which could indicate a problem.

Some of the more common parasites that infect dogs are:

  • Fleas: This is often the most common form of parasitic infestation for dogs. Fleas cause skin irritation, which results in excessive scratching or chewing. Fleas can also transmit other parasites to your dog.
  • Ticks: Another common infestation, ticks feed on your dog’s blood. In rare cases, this can cause your dog to become anemic or can even cause paralysis. Because ticks feed on blood, they can be dangerous vectors for disease and infection, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
  • Heartworm: Heartworm is a parasite that lives in the cardiovascular system of your dog and is transmitted by mosquitoes that carry the larva. Heartworm can eventually affect the rest of your dog’s systems and can create fatal infections.
  • Worms: Hookworms, tapeworms, roundworms and whipworms are parasites that can infect your dog through fleas, rodents, diet, or dirt. These parasites infect the digestive and intestinal system and are a serious threat to your canine companion.

Parasite treatment and prevention is accomplished through regular veterinary checkups.

A member of our ZippiVet veterinary team will recommend a tailored regimen for your pet, including medications and products that prevent, control, reduce, and eliminate infestation. Healthy at-home habits and involvement in your pet’s preventative care will also help keep your cat or dog happy and healthy for years to come.

Common cat parasites and treatments

Cat grooming

Cats are at risk for common parasites, which can present health issues ranging from skin irritation to life-threatening conditions. Since cats are experts at hiding their pain and discomfort, it’s vital for cat-owners to watch for any changes in behavior. These changes can include excessive grooming, alterations in appetite, aggression, or drinking a great deal of water.

During your cat’s annual examination, your veterinarian will check for common signs of parasites and advise you about prevention and treatment options. At home, you can help by feeding your cat a nutritious and ideal diet and keeping their litter box clean.

Here are some common parasites that infect cats:

  • Fleas: Fleas are a common parasite for all pets. They create skin irritations and can be a vector for other parasites and infections.
  • Ticks: Like fleas, ticks are very common. They feed on your pet’s blood and can carry many diseases, blood infections, and other parasites that can present a danger to your cat. In rare cases, they can cause anemia or even paralysis.
  • Worms: Tapeworms, roundworms, and hookworms are intestinal parasites that live in your pet’s digestive system and can be life-threatening. They are transmitted through contact with dirt, through fecal matter, from fleas and ticks, from rodents or from diet.
  • Coccidia: These microscopic parasites are often contracted from infected rodents when your cat hunts and eats them. They can also be found in dirty litter boxes. Coccidia transmits a disease called Coccidiosis, which can cause diarrhea and can even be fatal in kittens.

Many cats contract parasitic infestation at some point during their lives. One of our expert ZippiVet cat veterinarians will design an individualized plan of parasite control so that your companion can remain happy and parasite-free.