Parasites can pose a serious threat to your dog's overall health and longevity. Today our Brodheadsville vets share information on different parasites that could cause your dog to become ill, and why it's essential to take steps to protect your pet against a range of common parasites.
What Are Parasites
A parasite is an organism that feeds on your dog without offering any benefit. They steal nutrients from your dog and some can cause irreversible damage to your dog's organs.
Why should I Worry if my Dog doesn’t interact with other animals?
Your dog doesn’t need to be near other animals to get infected because some methods of infection are insect bites, other animal feces and even being passed down from mother to child before they are even born. Once a dog is infected it is very difficult to get some parasites out of their entrenched location. This is why the best solution is to practice preventative measures. Some examples of parasites that dogs may have:
This parasite is often spread by mosquitoes. Once your dog is infected the worm will grow, reproduce, and spread throughout the dog's body. They got the name heartworm for their unfortunate habit of embedding in the heart muscle. They can be found in an infected dog's heart, lungs, and blood vessels. The issue with diagnosing them is that by the time the symptoms show the infection is quite severe. These worms can cause massive damage to internal organs. Humans are unlikely to get infected with this parasite.
This parasite can be passed in from mother to child before birth. It can also be transmitted by eggs that are excreted and then accidentally swallowed. The egg can live for weeks without a host and can also infect humans, especially human children (makes you question every sandbox you played in as a child). This can stunt growth and a pot belly appearance in dogs. Also, worms come out of both ends.
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
Parasite Control For Dogs
There are a number of ways to protect your pet against parasites. Medications that can be prescribed by your veterinarian can help to prevent deadly heartworm disease as well as other worms, ticks and fleas. In some cases, topical solutions may be recommended whereas other parasite prevention medications will come in the form of an edible 'treat' that your dog will consume each month while parasites are active in your area.
It is also essential to have your dog attend regular checkups so that your veterinarian can check for signs of parasites or symptoms of conditions spread by parasites such as Lyme disease.
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.