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Importance of Parasite Control in Dogs

Parasites are a constant danger to your dog that can lead to anything from minor irritants to serious health conditions. In this post, our Orlando vets discuss the importance of parasite control and prevention for dogs.

Dogs & Parasites

A parasite is an organism that feeds on your dog and can leave them quite ill. They can steal blood and nutrients from your dog, and some can even cause irreversible damage to your dog's organs and internal systems.

How Parasites Are Contracted

Dogs can become infected with parasites through insect bites and other animal feces, and can even be passed down from mother to child when they are born. Once a dog is infected, it can be difficult to eradicate certain parasites. As a result, preventive measures are the best solution when it comes to parasites. Parasites that are often seen in dogs include:

Heartworm Disease

Mosquitoes are a common vector of this parasite. Once infected, these worms grow, reproduce, and spread throughout a dog's body. They were given the name 'heartworm' because of their unfortunate tendency of embedding in the heart muscle. In addition to the heart, they can also be found in the lungs and blood vessels of an infected dog.

The problem with diagnosing heartworm is that by the time symptoms begin to appear, the infection will already have progressed significantly. Internal organs can be severely damaged by these worms if they are not taken care of quickly.

Roundworms

Roundworms can be transferred from mother to child before birth, and also through eggs that are excreted and then swallowed. The egg can survive for weeks outside of a host and can even infect humans, particularly children. In dogs, this can lead to stunted growth and a pot-belly appearance.

Hookworms

These dreadful parasites can infect your dog if they consume an infected mother's milk, eat the eggs of hookworm in feces, or if the hookworm has time to burrow its way into your dog's skin. These creatures are tiny vampire-like pests that feed on the blood of animals by entering the GI tract and tearing holes in the lining, causing ulcers. They can be lethal to young puppies and can cause anemia in adult dogs.

These heinous creatures can burrow into human skin as well. Sandboxes are notorious for being vectors of transmission, so proceed with caution if your dog, or kids for that matter, have access to a sandbox.

Fleas

The classic pest that infests your dog’s fur. They are typically just an annoyance, constantly biting and causing skin irritation. However, they can be a disease vector for tapeworms. So eradicating a dog's flea infestation right away is very important.

Tick

These little bugs bury their heads into the flesh of their victim. They feed on the blood of dogs and can spread Lyme disease to dogs and humans.

How to Prevent Parasites in Dogs

Now that you know the threat of these pests, you're probably wondering, 'How are parasites prevented?'

Keeping up-to-date with your dog's vaccinations is the best way to keep them safe. Your vet will be able to provide you with an ideal schedule for inoculation. Also, be sure your dog goes for their annual wellness checks, as this will allow your vet to check for any parasite infestation.

In Conclusion

Parasites are something to worry about and can be fatal to your dog. Please continue to use preventative measures to protect your dog, as prevention is a much better option than having to treat a parasite infestation.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Looking to protect your dog from a variety of parasites? Contact our Orlando vets to book an appointment today.

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