Parasites, Prevention and You

Protecting your pets protects your family… this is one of the main reasons Temperance Animal Hospital recommends year-round parasite prevention for all pets.

There are numerous unseen potential dangers lurking around our environment… many of which can be found in our own back yards.  Dogs and cats of any age or breed are susceptible to any and all of these dangers.

Parasites infect a large number of dogs each year.  They include, but are not limited to: Heartworms, Roundworms, Hookworms, Whipworms, Fleas and Ticks.  Some are found in soil, trees, mosquitoes or the feces of other animals.  They can potentially be year-round problems…therefore, we recommend year-round heartworm and parasite prevention for your dog.

Many people with indoor cats don’t realize the fact that more of the outside world comes inside than we think.  A number of external and internal parasites can affect both indoor and outdoor cats alike.  Both Fleas and Ear Mites can be carried into your house on other pets or yourself and can affect your indoor cat.  If ingested, Fleas can also lead to an intestinal parasite called a Tapeworm.  Roundworms, Hookworms and Heartworms are some of the internal parasites our cats can get from the environment and a myriad of hosts.  In fact, a portion of commercial potting compost contains infective Roundworm eggs.  Over a quarter of cats with heartworm disease are strictly indoors according to their owners.

You may have already heard that parasites often infect puppies and kittens as well as older pets.  Did you know that the parasites that infect pets can infect people too?  The most common of these parasites are Roundworms and Hookworms.  They can live and grow inside the intestine of your pet.  Dogs and cats infected with these worms contaminate their environment by passing eggs or larvae in their feces.  People can get Roundworm and Hookworm infections through direct contact with infected feces or a contaminated environment.  Roundworm larvae travel through liver, lungs and other organs.  The larvae may cause damage to tissue, affect nerves or even lodge in the eye causing blindness.  An estimated 10,000 cases of Roundworm occur annually in humans (the vast majority in children).  Hookworm larvae move about within the skin causing inflammation of the affected area.  They can also penetrate into deeper tissue and cause damage to the intestines and other organs.

The risk of zoonosis should not scare anyone away from the unique and rewarding experience of owning a pet.  It is, however, a reminder of our responsibilities toward our pets and toward our families and community.

Fortunately all of the common parasites are easily preventable!

At Temperance Animal Hospital we recommend Sentinel or Interceptor monthly, year-round for our canine patients to protect them against Heartworms, Roundworms, Hookworms and Whipworms (+/- Flea control).  Our external parasite of choice for dogs is Frontline Plus monthly for additional flea and tick prevention.  It is recommended that our feline patients receive Revolution monthly to protect them from Heartworms, Fleas, Roundworms, Hookworms and Ear Mites.

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