When it comes to protecting your pets against parasites, prevention is the best cure. As a pet owner, understanding the reasons for using parasite prevention and choosing the right products can be overwhelming. However, devising an appropriate parasite treatment plan is essential to avoid harmful, preventable diseases.
What Are the Most Common Parasites (And Why Should We Care?)
In Denmark, parasite treatment programs target four main groups of parasites:
Fleas are small jumping insects that survive by biting the skin of mammals and consuming small amounts of blood. Flea bites are very painful and itchy and cause our pets extreme discomfort and dermatological conditions. Furthermore, they can carry other parasites such as tapeworms; an intestinal worm that can cause diarrhoea.
Heartworm is an internal parasite carried by mosquitos. Mosquitos infect pets with heartworm larvae, which migrate throughout the cardiovascular system, settling in the heart and lungs. Heartworm infections can lead to the formation of blood clots, heart failure, distressed breathing, abdominal bloating, severe organ damage and eventually death.
Ticks are external parasites that attach to the skin of mammals and feed on their blood. During the feeding process, they inject small amounts of saliva into the dog or cat, which may contain a bacteria known as Borrelia that is highly destructive to the neurological system. ‘Tick paralysis’ can result in difficulty breathing and swallowing, an inability to stand, seizures, coma and eventually death.
Intestinal worms are internal parasites that are generally transmitted by contact with infected faeces. Worms attach to the lining of the intestine and can cause serious diarrhoea, vomiting, anaemia, weight loss and even death in serious cases. Types of intestinal worms include roundworm, whipworm, hookworm or tapeworm.
Why Should I Use Parasite Treatments for My Pet?
A personalised parasite treatment program is essential for all pets- regardless of whether they stay indoors. Some of the reasons we recommend parasite treatment include:
- External parasites such as fleas and ticks can carry other (potentially fatal) diseases. Not only will your pet suffer from allergic skin conditions and discomfort from bites, but the risk of neurological disease from tick-borne disease is also a serious consideration, one which is completely avoided by parasite treatment.
- Intestinal parasites can affect owners, too! Humans are not immune to contracting intestinal worms from their pets- with diarrhoea and vomiting the most common side effects. Parasite treatment not only protects pets from intestinal worms but the whole family as well.
- As mentioned previously, not all parasites live outdoors. Mosquito-borne diseases such as heartworm are impossible to protect your pet against simply by keeping them inside.
- Veterinary-approved parasite treatments are safe for your pet to use, and highly effective when used correctly.
Choosing the Best Parasite Treatment
Depending on your pet’s preference, parasite treatment is available in many forms. Common preparations include topical ointments, chewy tablets or even annual heartworm injections. This helps pet owners make an informed choice, based on how amenable their pets are and how often they would like to administer medications. While certain parasites are more prevalent in the spring, we recommend providing your pet with parasite treatment year-round for continued protection and peace of mind. For advice on the best parasite treatment protocol for your pet, contact your local veterinary clinic.
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