At Taconic Veterinary Center, we believe prevention is the best medicine when it comes to your pet’s health. Especially when it comes to parasite prevention, we want to protect your pet and prevent serious illness or disease transmitted by fleas, ticks, heartworms and other parasites. The best way to do this is to administer your pet’s monthly prevention medication and bring them in for annual testing. This is especially important as parasites do not immediately cause visible symptoms, so testing is key to early detection and treatment if necessary.
Have questions about pet parasite prevention? Call Taconic Veterinary Center to schedule an appointment for your pet today!
How Do Parasites Affect Pets?
There are a few common types of parasites that each affect your pet differently. Whether your pet spends most of their time indoors or outdoors, all pets are at risk of being infected by parasites. This means it’s very important to provide prompt monthly prevention measures and bring your pet in for annual testing to ensure their health. We commonly see a few types of parasites including:
Frequently Asked Heartworm Questions
Heartworm disease is caused by a parasitic roundworm and does not usually produce any visible symptoms when pets are initially infected. As the disease progresses, infection will become more evident. Pets may lose their appetite, begin coughing, exhibit weight loss, develop breathing problems and possibly heart failure.
The main source of heartworm disease is mosquitos, though not every mosquito carries the disease. If a mosquito bites an infected animal, it can transmit heartworms to another animal as well.
Pets do not spread heartworm disease to one another; however it is still imperative to administer monthly prevention and regularly schedule annual testing.
Yes, both dogs and cats can be affected by heartworm disease.
Though your dog may not initially show any signs of infection, as the disease progresses, your pet may develop the following symptoms:
- Mild cough
- Reluctance to exercise
- Low energy after moderate activity
- Lack of appetite
- Weight loss
Similar to dogs, cats may not exhibit any symptoms at all. Some symptoms may develop as the infection persists, including:
- Weight loss
- Poor appetite
- Sudden death
At this time, there are no approved heartworm treatments for cats. Prevention is best!
The main method to diagnose heartworm disease is through blood testing. Heartworms produce a toxin which causes an immune response.
If the infection isn’t producing a substantial amount of the antigen, a blood test may come back negative. More testing such as CBC or thyroid may be necessary to confirm an accurate diagnosis of heartworm disease.
The best way to protect your dogs and cats is parasite prevention! Take care to ensure your pet receives monthly prevention and is adhering to the prevention measures prescribed by your vet.
You can keep mosquitos away from your pets by using screens, keeping windows and doors closed, and ensuring there is no stagnant water nearby.
No, heartworms cannot survive in the human bloodstream. Infected mosquitos may bite humans, but the parasite cannot live in humans.