Pet parasite prevention is of utmost importance as it protects our pets from infestations and infections caused by internal and external parasites. At Pet Townsend Veterinary Clinic, we highly recommend
pet parasite prevention and annual testing for pets in the Port Townsend, WA area. Regular preventive measures, such as flea and tick treatments, deworming, and heartworm prevention, help protect pets from a range of harmful parasites that can cause discomfort, transmit diseases, and lead to severe health complications. By proactively addressing parasite prevention, we can ensure our pets enjoy a higher quality of life, reduce the risk of infestations, and maintain a healthier environment for both our pets and us.
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Intestinal parasites pose a threat to any pet, even those that do not regularly go outside or interact with other animals. The eggs of intestinal parasites, which infect pets, can be easily brought into homes on the soles of shoes or in indoor plant potting soil. Common examples of intestinal parasites seen in the Port Townsend area include roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, whipworms, and giardia. These parasites can live and develop for a long time in pets before showing any outward symptoms and can cause severe illness in humans. Year-round prevention is important to treating and preventing infestations to safeguard both pet and human health.
Fleas and ticks commonly infest dogs, cats, and other animals in the Port Townsend, WA area, and can be transmitted between animals or through the environment. Pets frequently encounter fleas and ticks outdoors, in places like yards, patios, dog parks, or during walks. Even humans can unknowingly bring fleas into their homes through shoes and clothing. Flea and tick infestations can cause discomfort as well as issues such as itching, hair loss, allergies, anemia, and skin infections. Moreover, they have the potential to transmit parasites like tapeworms and serious diseases such as Ehrlichiosis and Lyme disease. To effectively protect your pets from flea and tick infestations, it is recommended to keep them on pet parasite prevention year-round.
Heartworms are a parasite that are transmitted to both dogs and cats through mosquito bites. Heartworms reside and reproduce in the right side of the heart, causing symptoms such as coughing, exercise intolerance, lethargy, and even sudden death. To effectively protect your pet against heartworm disease, preventative measures such as heartworm prevention and early detection are crucial.
Heartworms are a parasite that infect animals, travel through the bloodstream, and reside in the right side of the heart. Heartworms reproduce inside the heart, causing health issues in their host, resulting in more serious issues such as lung disease, heart failure, other organ damage, and even sudden death.
Heartworm disease in not contagious between animals, though an animal, if infected, can be a carrier of the disease. It is transmitted by mosquitos. Once a mosquito has bitten a heartworm-positive animal, it can spread the disease to the next animal that it feeds on.
Yes, both dogs and cats are susceptible to heartworm.
No, heartworms cannot survive in the human bloodstream.
Signs and symptoms of heartworm disease can often go undetected until the disease becomes more serious.
Common symptoms in dogs include:
- Mild cough
- Reluctance to exercise
- Fatigue after moderate activity
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
Common symptoms in cats include:
- Lack of appetite
- Weight loss
Heartworm is most commonly diagnosed through a blood test. At your pet’s annual exam, your veterinarian will recommend an early detection screening for heartworms. This is a simple blood test that evaluates for a toxin (heartworm antigen) that stimulates an immune response.
Additional diagnostics include a microscopic blood test, radiographs, or an echocardiogram.
While you can keep your pets away from mosquito-infested areas, like stagnant water, and keep windows and doors closed, the most effective option is to keep your pets up to date on heartworm prevention.