How to protect your pet from parasites

Written by Hannah Gilmour  | Published on: 3/28/2019

You’ve probably heard about the dangers of heartworm, roundworm, fleas, ticks, or other scary parasites that could affect your pet as the weather warms up. But, as a dog or cat owner, you might still be curious about how to keep them safe. If you and your pet plan to frolic in the great outdoors this spring, make sure you take steps to keep your pet parasite free.

What is a parasite?

When you think of parasites, it’s common to think of bugs like ticks, fleas, lice, and mites, but other parasites can be harmful to your pet too. Intestinal parasites like roundworm, hookworm, whipworms, tapeworms, coccidia, and giardia are mainly spread through the presence of the eggs in your pet’s poop. A pet who has contracted a heartworm infection will be diagnosed by a blood test. 

How do I know if my pet’s been infected with a parasite?

If you notice your dog or cat scratching, licking or chewing more than normal on certain parts of his or her body, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with the vet to have them check for external parasites. Unfortunately, intestinal parasites can sometimes be harder to detect. You may notice your pet showing symptoms like diarrhea, weight loss, scooting or vomiting but it’s important for you to take your dog or cat for a check-up once a year so your vet can determine if they’ve been infected by a parasite, even if they’re not showing any signs.

How do I keep parasites off my pet?

·         Year-round prevention. Parasites can infect your pet any time of year. External parasites are less of a problem during colder months, depending on where you live but internal parasites, like worms, can be present all year. The most important step you can take to protect your pet is to use a monthly product to control internal or external parasites. Your vet can recommend a product that works for you and your dog.

·         Be aware of the risks in high-traffic pet areas. Intestinal worms can produce more than 100,000 eggs per day, which are then passed in the pet’s feces and spread throughout the area the pet roams. Once in the environment, some of these eggs can present a health risk for your pet and family for years. Preventative care is important but it’s especially important when you visit places like dog parks.  

·         Clean your yard regularly. Keeping your yard free from feces can help prevent the spread of intestinal worms.

Visit your vet for annual check-ups. Not only can your vet diagnose your pet if they have a parasite and help them get healthy again, but they can also help you take preventative measures to keep your pet safe from parasites all year long.

Pet insurance can help with preventive wellness care

If you notice signs or symptoms that your pet may be infected by an internal or external parasite, contact your veterinarian about a treatment plan.

Petsecure can help with the cost of treatment and medications. We help cover annual exam vaccinations, routine blood exams, wellness urinalysis exams, flea control medications, heartworm testing and diagnosis, preventive medications, and more under select plans. Get a free quote today.

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