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Importance of Parasite Control in Dogs

Parasites pose a constant threat to your dog, ranging from an annoyance to a life-threatening danger. In this post, our Franklin vets will discuss some parasites your dog may contract and why it's crucial to prevent infection and practice parasite control.

What is a Parasite?

A parasite is an organism that feeds on your dog without providing any benefits. It robs your dog of nutrients and can potentially inflict irreversible damage on your dog's organs.

How do parasite infections happen?

Your dog can get infected without needing to be near other animals because various infection methods include insect bites, exposure to other animal feces, and even transmission from mother to child before birth. Once a dog becomes infected, removing certain parasites from their entrenched location becomes very challenging.

This is why practicing preventative measures is the most effective solution. Here are some examples of parasites that dogs may harbor:

Heartworm disease

Mosquitoes often spread this parasite. Once it infects your dog, the worm will grow, reproduce, and spread throughout your dog's body. They earned the name "heartworm" due to their unfortunate habit of embedding themselves in the heart muscle. You can locate them in an infected dog's heart, lungs, and blood vessels.

The problem with diagnosing them is that the infection has become quite severe by the time the symptoms appear. These worms can inflict massive damage on internal organs. It is unlikely for humans to become infected with this parasite.

Roundworms

This parasite can pass from mother to child before birth. Excreted and accidentally swallowed eggs can also transmit it. The egg can survive for weeks without a host and infect humans, particularly human children (making you question every sandbox you played in as a child).

In dogs, this can cause stunted growth and a pot-bellied appearance. Additionally, it causes worms to emerge from both ends.

Hookworms

Horrifying creatures can infect your dog in various ways: they can enter through the consumption of infected mother's milk, ingesting eggs, or burrowing into the skin. These creatures, akin to little vampires, sustain themselves by feeding on the blood of animals after entering the GI tract and creating ulcers by tearing holes in the lining.

They pose a significant threat to young puppies, potentially proving fatal, and can also cause anemia in adult dogs. Furthermore, these vile creatures can burrow into human skin. Sandboxes, like roundworms, are notorious for serving as a transmission vector, raising the question of why we allow children to play in them.

Fleas

The classic pest that infests your dog's fur is normally an annoyance, constantly biting and causing skin irritation. It can also serve as a disease vector for tapeworms.

Ticks

These little bugs bury their heads into the flesh of their victim. They can spread Lyme disease and can attack humans.

What Can I Do to Protect My Dog?

Keeping up with your dog's vaccinations is the most effective way to protect them. Your vet can provide you with a vaccination schedule. Ensure that your dog undergoes an annual wellness check so that your vet can test for infestations.

Conclusion

Parasites can significantly endanger even the healthiest dog. Therefore, we recommend various practices and products for parasite prevention to safeguard both your pup and your family.

Incorporating parasite control into your dog's routine healthcare is essential. When your pet undergoes their annual exam at Franklin, your veterinarian can actively assess your dog for any signs of parasites and prescribe appropriate parasite control measures or products tailored to your location, your dog's risk factors, health status, and more.

We are also pleased to address any questions or concerns you might have regarding parasite prevention and control.

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.

If it is time for your pet's vaccinations or you have questions about parasite prevention, please contact our Pet Vet vets today.

New Patients Always Welcome

Pet Vet is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about improving the health of Franklin's companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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