The Buzz on Pet Parasite Prevention
Fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and other pests are an unavoidable part of life in a coastal climate. With our mild Texas winters and the early arrival of spring, parasite prevention should be on the mind of every pet parent.
The Trouble With Parasites
After getting bitten by a mosquito or an unwelcome tick, it’s easy to understand why we loathe most pests. However, dealing with an itchy bite is less concerning than the more troublesome diseases parasites commonly carry.
First, what do we mean by parasites? Parasites are organisms that live on the skin or within the body and feed off a host animal (this includes cats, dogs, and humans).
When it comes to protecting your pet, there are two target groups: internal parasites and external parasites. Internal parasites reside within the body. Examples include tapeworm, heartworm, and giardia. External parasites are insects that bite the skin – fleas, ticks, mites, and mosquitoes to name a few.
From anemia and allergies to zoonotic diseases (those that can be transmitted to humans), parasites carry a range of diseases and conditions. While a flea or mosquito bite may seem annoying but harmless, they actually present many dangerous threats.
Parasite Prevention for Your Pet
An important component of pet wellness care is parasite screening and prevention. Since parasites are prolific and active throughout the year, we typically recommend a year-round program designed to combat fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and intestinal worms. Depending on the medication, your pet may receive a monthly chewable along with a topical agent to protect against fleas. When determining the appropriate plan, we consider many factors such as lifestyle, risk of exposure, and overall health.
Some preventives can be purchased online or at a local pet supply store. However, these products can present serious health issues if a pet is already ill or if a product comes into contact with the wrong pet. For instance, canine topicals are often quite poisonous to cats.
For the protection and health of your pet, please consult us before making a decision.
Minimizing Your Pet’s Exposure
Besides getting your pet on an effective preventive, there are additional measures you can take to keep the bugs away:
- Avoid areas with stagnant water.
- Spend time outdoors after dawn or before dusk (these are the times when pests are most active).
- Cut back all weedy or overgrown areas in the yard.
- Keep your pet groomed, and brush his or her coat often (also inspect the skin).
- Discourage wildlife (often carriers of fleas and other parasites) by moving trash bins into the garage or using wildlife-proof containers.
As the saying goes: “An ounce of prevention…” In the case of disease carrying parasites, this is especially true. If you suspect your pet has fleas or if you would like to know more about parasite prevention, please contact us.