Deworming your pet is an important part of keeping them healthy. Spring is the time of year where parasites, like intestinal worms and fleas, are looking for good hosts. Animals can contract worms, as well as fleas and mites, by ingesting infected hosts such as mice, squirrels, fox and coyotes. Pets can also contract these parasites by simply coming into contact with these infected hosts or their feces. There are many different parasites your pet can contract that will affect their overall health.
External parasites, such as fleas and mites, cause itching, skin irritation, and infection. Fleas are a small, reddish brown insect that can be seen without a microscope, and although they cannot survive on human tissue, they will bite humans. Human fleas bites are usually three mosquito-like bites in a row or triangle, and cause similar symptoms as mosquito bites; itching, redness, and irritation. Ear mites cannot be seen without a microscope, however they do have very distinct clinical signs. Cats will often be scratching excessively at their ears, some to the point of drawing blood, and shaking their heads. If you look in their ears there will be dark red/brown debris and usually some inflammation.
Internal parasites include roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms and heartworm. These worms cause a variety of clinical signs including weight loss, poor hair coat, diarrhea, blood in their feces, vomiting, impaired growth a development and coughing. Some of these parasites can also be passed on to human adults and children. Humans can contract parasites by coming into contact with infected animal feces; children are at a higher risk as they play in sandboxes and parks.
Diagnosis of internal parasites can be done by looking at a fecal sample under the microscope. This process allows us to determine if parasites are present and what type of parasites your pet may have. External parasites can be diagnosed by looking at ear debris or a hair sample under the microscope. All of these parasites can be easily treated and prevented by deworming your pet on a regular basis. Certain pets may be at higher risks than others, such as a farm pets versus house pets. Depending on your pet's risk level, we can determine a routine deworming program to keep you and your pet healthy.
If you have any questions or concerns about parasites, please call us at 403-507-4412. We look forward to seeing you and your four-legged friends!
Amie Seidle, RVT
Shaylin Muller, RVT
Alison Santangelo, RVT