Deworming your pet is an integral aspect of pet care. While nearly 85% of kittens and puppies are born with parasitic infections, most animals develop immunity over time. However, illness and stress can weaken the body’s response to fight off these parasites and can awaken any dormant larvae living in your pet.
Intestinal parasites affect growth and development and can be transferred between pets and pet owners. If you think your pet might be suffering from a parasitic infection, we can perform fecal exams to detect microscopic parasite eggs and determine an infection.
Common internal parasites:
Whether purchasing your deworming medication from your vet, online, or from a local store, be sure to consult with your veterinarian about which dewormer is best for your pet’s age, infection type, and current medical status. Different dewormers target different parasites – you cannot buy any medication and assume it will work. It is also important to administer the medication as prescribed. While the anthelmintic (active ingredient in the medication) is a poison meant to directly target the parasites, pets weakened by parasitic infection might be too fragile for the toxicity of the medication and an overdose is possible if directions are not followed.
Typically, puppies and kittens should be dewormed earliest at 6 weeks of age, and this should be repeated as per the recommendations of your veterinarian, as certain dewormers have differrent protocols and time between each dosage may vary. The mother should also be dewormed during pregnancy and along the same schedule as her offspring when they are born to prevent infection when drinking her milk.
Heartworm can be dangerous and even deadly for pets, but thankfully, there are plenty of things you can do to reduce your pet's risk. These simple steps can go a long way towards keeping your pet safe.
Watch Out for Mosquitoes and Other Pests
Mosquitoes carry heartworm parasites, which means they can be a big risk to cats, dogs, and other animals. Work to repel mosquitoes from your yard and monitor the time your pet spends outside. You should also dump out any standing water because mosquitoes may lay eggs there.
Regular Testing Is Key
The sooner you detect heartworms, the easier they are to treat. Bring your pet to the veterinarian for heartworm testing at least once per year. If your vet finds the infection right away, you may be able to avoid permanent damage. The earlier it is detected, the more likely it is that your pet will fully recover.
Medication Plays a Role In Heartworm Prevention
Even if your pet doesn't have heartworm, it could benefit from taking preventative medication. Injections can be another way to keep heartworm disease at bay. Talk to your veterinarian about your options and find a solution that is right for you and your pet.
The Warning Signs of Heartworm
In addition to doing everything you can to reduce your pet's risk for heartworm, you should monitor its health closely. If you notice any of these red flags, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.
- Dry coughing
- Weight loss
- Lack of appetite
- Bulging ribs
- Shallow breathing
When it comes to the health of your pet, it is best to trust your instincts. If you are worried that your pet may have heartworm, call our office right away. Acting quickly could save your pet's life.