It’s often the little things in life that cause the biggest problems. Internal parasites may be tiny, but they can cause serious problems with your pet’s health. The top three internal parasites are heartworms, intestinal worms, and Giardia. These tiny pests can cause life-threatening illnesses if left untreated. Your first step towards keeping your pet parasite free is to be aware of what dangers await your pet. While treatment options are available for post-parasite infections, Citrus Animal Clinic encourages pet owners to keep pets on a prevention regimen which will keep them from being affected in the first place.
Each parasite causes slightly different symptoms in pets. The most common symptoms of gastrointestinal parasites such as tapeworms, roundworms, or Giardia are diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or blood in your pet’s stools. Coughing and difficulty breathing are common signs of heartworm. If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, please bring your pet in for an examination immediately so that we can begin to determine the cause. Keep in mind that diarrhea or vomiting doesn’t necessarily mean there is a parasite problem, so using over-the-counter medications without a proper examination can be risky. The worming medicine you choose may be ineffective, or even harmful, for the problem your pet has.
Good sanitation is one of the best ways to prevent any problems with parasites. Something as simple as removing all animal feces from your yard within 24 hours can make a huge impact because it prevents parasites that are shed in feces from seeding down into your grass or soil, thus risking a reinfestation. Standing water is a prime breeding ground for Giardia, and can also attract mosquitoes which carry heartworms. This is why you should never let your pet drink from standing water or puddles. It’s important to provide a clean, fresh source of water for your pet to help avoid this problem.
Internal parasites are certainly worrisome, but the good news is that prevention is easier than ever. Citrus Animal Clinic recommends regular stool exams to ensure that your pet remains pest-free. A heartworm test may also be recommended, depending on the specific needs of your pet. Once your pet’s in the clear, there are a number of simple-to-administer medications that can provide your pet regular protection from internal parasites. Giving these preventives just once a month can keep your pet parasite-free year round. The key is consistency, even if you’re on vacation. So, just pick a date once a month to give one of these tablets to your pet, mark it down on your calendar, and you’re done.
Protecting your pet from internal parasites is an important part of keeping him healthy and happy for life. With help from the staff at Citrus Animal Clinic, you can easily stop these tiny pests from ever bothering your furry friend.
Please call us at 863-465-2176 if you notice any of these symptoms in your pet.