How to Protect Your Pet from Pests and Parasites
Parasite prevention for dogs and cats is incredibly important, especially in the south, where the ground remains soft, and parasites remain a threat year-round. At Ambassador Animal Hospital in Greenville, SC, we see pets face all kinds of medical challenges, but some that seem the worst are ones that are completely preventable. For that reason we always recommend monthly, year round, parasite prevention.
For many pet owners, intestinal parasites, mosquitoes, and fleas and ticks, may seem like mere nuisances, but the fact is that for our pets themselves, these parasites can cause real illnesses, and transmit diseases. Fortunately, our vet technicians and veterinarians check for these issues at each annual checkup, and in between, if symptoms arise.
Fleas and ticks are probably the most common pest we think about. A common misperception is that only outside pets get external parasites, but that is very untrue. Even going outside to potty gives these critters enough time to crawl onto your pet. And us fur-parents can just as easily bring pests inside on our pant legs, or shoes. Fleas cause anemia, can create infection, as well as cause severe skin irritation and allergies. Adult fleas die at colder temps (around 45 degrees Fahrenheit) but the pupal stage is not affected by weather. That means with our crazy temperature swings we have the in winter, we are always just one warmer day away from a new flea bloom. Ticks do not die from cold temperatures and simply hibernate. Ticks carry Lyme disease as well as other diseases that can cause illness ranging from lameness, anemia, fever, to even death. That is why at Ambassador we focus on year-round preventative care. Let Ambassador Animal Hospital help you determine a flea and tick medication that will keep these bugs at bay and keep your mind at ease.
Heartworms, roundworms, whipworms, hookworms and tapeworms—these are the major internal parasites that we deal with in the south. Since they are out of sight, so to speak, they can often be forgotten about. As you would think, having worms living in your pet’s body can lead to serious illness. Intestinal parasites steal nutrients, or blood from your pet, leading to dehydration, diarrhea, malnutrition, weight loss, and anemia. Heartworms not only damage the heart, but because they are almost a foot in length, they also affect also the lungs and the liver. Heartworms cause exercise intolerance, weight loss, coughing, and difficulty breathing. If left untreated they are eventually fatal. Now the good news, thanks to modern medicine, they are now so easy and convenient to prevent! There are monthly chewable combination preventatives for heartworms and intestinal parasites. These typically cost an average of $50 for a six month supply. The treatment of heartworm disease, should you pet become infected is MUCH more costly, upwards of $1000 depending on size and health of the patient. At Ambassador Animal Hospital we recommend monthly, year round prevention. This is really for the benefit of your fur-baby, but it also benefits you!
The thick, dark crusty buildup in your pet’s ears isn’t just gross looking; it is the signal that there might be a more serious offender onboard—ear mites. Ear mites are more commonly found on cats, feeding on the debris, skin and blood of the ear lining, and cause your cat to want to scratch relentlessly. Fortunately, this problem is easily treated with topical medication, something we can provide you with upon diagnosis.