Parasites are an ongoing danger to your dog and can range from an inconvenient annoyance to a life-threatening health issue. Today, our McAllen vets list parasites that your dog is at risk of contracting and why it's imperative to prevent the infection and practice parasite control.
What is a parasite?
A parasite is an organism that invades your dog's body and lives off of their resources, often to the detriment of your pet's health as they steal nutrients.
Some cause irreversible, severe damage to your dog's organs. The many types of dog parasites include hookworms, heartworms, tapeworms, lice, ticks and fleas.
In this post, we'll take a look at some common parasites in-depth and explain why parasite control in dogs is so essential to their health, and how your vet can help.
How can my dog become infected with parasites?
Did you know your dog doesn't need to interact with other animals to become infected? This is because other animal feces can be passed down from mother to child before they are even born. Insect bites are another potential method of transmission.
Here are some examples of parasites that can infect dogs:
This parasite can be transmitted by eggs that are excreted, then accidentally swallowed by the new host animal. Roundworms can also be passed from mother to child prior to birth.
Eggs can live for weeks without a host and may infect humans, especially human children (which may make you question every sandbox you played in as a child). Roundworms can stunt growth and cause infected dogs to have a pot-bellied appearance. Worms can also come out of both ends.
Often spread by mosquitoes, heartworms can grow, reproduce and spread through a dog's body. The name heartworm originates from their unfortunate habit of embedding in the heart muscle.
Heartworms can be found in an infected dog's heart, blood vessels and lungs, and can be difficult to diagnose because the time symptoms appear the infection will be quite severe. These worms can cause massive damage to internal organs. This parasite is unlikely to infect humans.
These horrifying creatures can infect your dog either through consuming an infected mother's milk, consuming the eggs or they burrow into the skin. These creatures are little vampires that live off of the blood of animals by entering the GI tract and tearing holes in the lining causing ulcers which they feed from. They can prove deadly to young puppies and cause anemia in adult dogs. These vile creatures can also burrow into human skin. Like roundworm, sandboxes are notorious for being the vector of transmission (why do we let kids play in sandboxes?).
The classic pest that infests your dog’s fur. They are normally an annoyance, constantly biting and causing skin irritation. They can be a disease vector for tapeworms.
These little bugs bury their heads into the flesh of their victim. They can spread lyme disease and can attack humans
How to Prevent Parasites in Dogs
Naturally, after discovering how many parasites our dogs can contract and the potential effects on their health, the next question pet owners have is, "How are parasites prevented?"
The best way to protect your dog is to keep up with their vaccinations. Your vet will be able to advise you of a schedule for inoculation. Make sure your dog goes for an annual wellness check so your vet can test for infestation.
Parasites can pose a significant danger to even the healthiest dog. That's why we recommend a variety of parasite prevention practices and products to protect your pooch and your family.
Parasite control for dogs is an essential part of their routine healthcare. During your pet's annual exam, your veterinarian in McAllen can check your dog for any signs of parasites and recommend parasite control measures or products that would be suitable for them based on your location, your dog's risk factors, health status and more.
We are also happy to address any questions and concerns you may have about parasite prevention and control.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.