Parasites pose an ongoing threat to your dog, varying from minor nuisances to potentially life-threatening issues. Today, our Moreno Valley vets discuss the parasites your dog may encounter and emphasize the significance of infection prevention and parasite control.
Dogs & Parasites
A parasite is an organism that feeds on your dog, depriving it of nutrients and potentially harming its organs. Parasites can cause a variety of diseases, some of which can be severely harmful to your pet's health.
How Dogs Contract Parasites
Your dog can become infected without being near other animals because infection can occur through methods like insect bites, contact with other animal feces, or even transmission from mother to offspring before birth. Removing certain parasites from a dog's body once infected can be challenging.
Preventive measures are extremely recommended by our veterinarians. Here are some examples of parasites that dogs may harbor:
Mosquitoes often spread this parasite. Once it infects your dog, it grows, reproduces, and spreads throughout the dog's body. They earned the name heartworm because they tend to embed themselves in the heart muscle. You can find them in an infected dog's heart, lungs, and blood vessels.
The challenge in diagnosing them is that symptoms only appear when the infection is already severe. These worms can cause extensive damage to internal organs. It's rare for humans to become infected with this parasite.
This parasite can pass from mother to child before birth. It can also spread through eggs that are excreted and accidentally swallowed. The eggs can survive for weeks without a host and infect humans, particularly young children (which might make you reconsider every sandbox you played in during childhood).
In dogs, it can hinder growth and cause a pot-bellied appearance. It can also result in worms emerging from both ends.
These horrifying creatures can infect your dog either through consuming an infected mother's milk, consuming the eggs, or they burrow into the skin. These creatures are little vampires that live off of the blood of animals by entering the GI tract and tearing holes in the lining, causing ulcers which they feed from.
They can prove deadly to young puppies and cause anemia in adult dogs. These vile creatures can also burrow into human skin. Like roundworms, sandboxes are notorious for being the vector of transmission (why do we let kids play in sandboxes?).
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.
These little bugs bury their heads into the flesh of their victim. They can spread Lyme disease and can attack humans.
Protecting Your Dog Against Parasites
To ensure your dog's protection, stay current with their vaccinations. Consult your vet for a vaccination schedule. Ensure your dog receives an annual wellness check so your vet can screen for infestations.
Parasites can pose a significant threat to even the healthiest dog. That's why we suggest various practices and products to safeguard your dog and your family from these threats.
Maintaining your dog's health requires proper parasite control. When you take your pet for their annual check-up at our Moreno Valley veterinary clinic, our veterinarians will examine your dog for any signs of parasites. They will then provide recommendations for suitable parasite control measures or products, taking into account your location, your dog's risk factors, and their overall health.
If you have any questions or concerns about parasite prevention and control, we're here to address them and provide guidance.
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.