Whether an indoor or outdoor pet, they are vulnerable to certain parasites. Fleas, ticks, and heartworms (contracted through mosquitoes) are the three most common, but other intestinal parasites are not to be ignored. At Heritage Veterinary Hospital, we use advanced diagnostics and encourage year-round pet parasite prevention to reduce and even eliminate the chance of parasite infestation.
Dangers of Parasites
Parasites not only cause your pet discomfort, they can cause dangerous diseases that could affect their well-being. Fleas can cause dermatitis, ticks carry tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and heartworms cause heartworm disease, as well as further complications if left untreated. Prevention and early detection are the best methods for keeping your pet safe from parasite-contracted diseases.
Diagnostics to Detect Parasites
Parasites can be difficult to detect, but with advanced diagnostics, the task is made easier. Physical exams, heartworm tests, fecal tests, and cytology (skin analysis) all help us in the diagnosis of certain parasites. For fleas and ticks, a thorough physical exam can usually spot these larger parasites. Yet for tiny parasites such as mites or demodex, we need to analyze the skin cells to determine the presence of these tiny critters. Meanwhile, heartworm tests are specific for detecting heartworms in dogs, while fecal tests are specific to intestinal parasite detection.
Prevention is Paramount
At Heritage Veterinary Hospital, we strongly encourage year-round parasite prevention. With our mild climate, fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes are active all year, putting our pets at risk throughout every season. To combat these parasites, we offer our patients a wide range of parasite preventatives. Many medications protect against more than one parasite, so only one or two preventatives are necessary for any one pet. When you bring your pet in for a preventive health care appointment, we will discuss their lifestyle and risk levels for certain parasites and help you choose the right preventative for your pet. Contact us today at (314) 878-8454 to set up an appointment, or you can do so online.