Saturday, October 16, 2010

Question: Parasites and my pet!

Dr. Schaeberle,

I think my pet has worms! What can I do to prevent them?



Dear Nicole,

In general when we mention internal parasites, people tend to think of the word “worms”. There are many different internal parasites and the only real worms that you are likely to see in your pet’s stool are roundworms and tapeworms. Included in the list of internal parasites that you cannot see are hookworms, whipworms, heartworms and a variety of protozoa (single-celled organisms). To find evidence of these worms, you must examine stool specimen under a microscope. To check for heartworms, a small blood sample is needed.

Past studies show that about 1 in 3 dogs carry internal parasites. Why is this? Dogs can ingest feces, cats eat mice, all pets can be bitten by mosquitoes (which can cause heartworm disease) and both can carry fleas which can cause tapeworms. The good news is that all of this is preventable! The prevention of internal parasites is preferred over the costs of treatment for parasites, inconveniences to the owner, and the discomfort of your pet. Just as important, many of these parasites have the potential to be transferred to humans!

My recommendations:
1. Submit a stool check each year to your veterinarian.
2. Keep your yard as clean as possible of feces.
3. Use flea preventatives like Advantix or Frontline.
4. Most important is the year-round use of a monthly heartworm preventative such as Interceptor which prevents heartworms and many intestinal parasites, on a monthly basis your round.
5. Get an annual heartworm test for your dog. Our heartworm test also tests for Lyme Disease, which is a very prevalent disease in our area.

A great web site on “worms”:

Thomas Schaeberle, VMD

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