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How are parasites prevented in dogs?

Parasites are a constant danger to your dog that can range from an annoyance to life-threatening. In this post, our Yucaipa vets will go over some of the parasites that your dog is at risk of contracting and why it is so important to prevent the infection and practice parasite control for dogs.

What is a Parasite?

A parasite is an organism that feeds on your dog without offering any benefit. They steal nutrients from your dog and some can cause irreversible damage to your dog's organs.

How do parasite infections happen?

Your dog doesn’t need to be near other animals to get infected because some methods of infection are insect bites, other animal feces and even being passed down from mother to child before they are even born. Once a dog is infected it is very difficult to get some parasites out of their entrenched location. This is why the best solution is to practice preventative measures. Some examples of parasites that dogs may have:

Heartworm disease

This parasite is often spread by mosquitoes. Once your dog is infected the worm will grow, reproduce, and spread throughout the dog's body. They got the name heartworm for their unfortunate habit of embedding in the heart muscle. They can be found in an infected dog's heart, lungs, and blood vessels. The issue with diagnosing them is that by the time the symptoms show the infection is quite severe. These worms can cause massive damage to internal organs. Humans are unlikely to get infected with this parasite.

Roundworms

This parasite can be transmitted from mother to child prior to birth. It can also be transmitted through eggs that are excreted and then swallowed. The egg can survive for weeks without a host and can infect humans, particularly children (which makes you question every sandbox you played in as a child). In dogs, this can cause stunted growth and a pot-belly appearance. Worms also emerge from both ends.

Hookworms

These dreadful creatures can infect your dog by consuming infected mother's milk, eating the eggs, or burrowing themselves into the skin. These creatures are tiny vampires that feed on the blood of animals by entering the GI tract and tearing holes in the lining, causing ulcers. They are lethal to young puppies and can cause anemia in adult dogs. These heinous creatures can burrow into human skin as well. Sandboxes, like roundworms, are notorious for being a vector of transmission (why do we let kids play in sandboxes?).

Fleas

The classic pest that infests your dog’s fur. They are normally an annoyance, constantly biting and causing skin irritation. They can be a disease vector for tapeworms.

Ticks

These tiny bugs burrow their heads into the flesh of their prey. They can transmit Lyme disease and attack humans.

How to Prevent Parasites in Dogs

Keeping up with vaccinations is the best way to protect your dog. Your veterinarian can provide you with an immunization schedule. Make sure your dog has an annual wellness check so that your veterinarian can test for infestation.

Conclusion

Parasites can pose a significant danger to even the healthiest dog. That's why we recommend a variety of parasite prevention practices and products to protect your pooch and your family. 

Parasite control in dogs is an essential part of their routine healthcare. During your pet's annual exam, your veterinarian in Yucaipa can check your dog for any signs of parasites and recommend parasite control measures or products that would be suitable for them based on your location, your dog's risk factors, health status and more.

We are also happy to address any questions and concerns you may have about 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.
Worried about your dog getting infected with parasites? Contact our Yucaipa vets to book an appointment with our compassionate team.

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Green Valley Veterinary Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Yucaipa companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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