This is a type of parasite that is spreads from one host to another through mosquito bites. It is caused by small thread-like worm which causes filariasis. These types of worms are typically about a foot long. Dogs are the most affected by this, but is can also infect cats, foxes, coyotes, wolves, and in very rare circumstances, humans. The worms harm arteries and vital organs as they travel through the bloodstream, until they reach their destination of the vessels in the heart and lungs. The worms complete their journey about six months after the initial infection. One dog may be infected with several hundred worms for five to seven years. This is a serious disease and can be fatal.
The symptoms of this disease include coughing, labored breathing, vomiting, weight loss and listlessness, and fatigue from moderate exercise. In some cases, a dog will exhibit no signs at all until the late stages of the infection.
For more information, please visit the American Heartworm Society website.
Fleas, ticks, heartworms may not be on your radar, but they most certainly may be on or in your pet. You may not always be able to tell if your pet has parasites. Fleas can live under your pet’s fur, and some ticks are very tiny (only the size of a pinhead), so they are very difficult to locate. Parasites can cause serious illness and even death in pets. For example, ticks can transmit infections like Lyme disease, fleas can transmit tapeworms and heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes.
We can examine your pet for evidence of fleas, ticks or other parasites. There are also tests we can recommend to determine if your pet has parasites. Fortunately, there are preventative medications to help control fleas, ticks, heartworms and internal parasites. Preventing parasite infestation in your pet will also protect your other family members. Parasites can be transmitted to humans in many different ways. When people become infected with parasites, this is called a zoonotic infection and can lead to some very serious conditions. In people, these infections are usually the result of contact with areas contaminated by animal fecal matter.
Don’t panic—simply follow these effective measures for prevention of parasite infestations in young pets:
Ask your veterinarian to do a fecal analysis on any new pet and de-worm regularly.
De-worm all pets annually, or more often if environmental factors indicate need.
Use good hygiene, such as washing hands after playing with pets or coming in from outside, and wearing shoes outdoors.
Let us help you protect your pet. Contact us today at 414-427-2700 to find out how.