Dangerous Parasitic Diseases and Conditions
External parasites like fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes love Charleston’s warm and humid climate. They are able to thrive all year long due to the fact that our area does not go through a hard freeze for a long enough period of time to disrupt the parasites’ life cycles. Internal parasites like heartworms, intestinal worms, and protozoal parasites are also extremely common.
Parasites pose several risks to your pet, especially since many of them are able to transmit dangerous and even deadly diseases. Some of these parasites can also be passed from your pet to you or other members of your family.
- These blood-borne parasites are carried in their larval form by the mosquito. Once your cat or dog is bitten, the larvae are transmitted into their bloodstream, developing into adult worms that live in the heart. This is a fatal disease if left untreated. There is no treatment for heartworm disease in cats.
Lyme disease and Ehrlichiosis
- These diseases/conditions are transmitted by ticks and can cause a variety of symptoms, including fever, inappetence, limb swelling, and neurological signs.
- This condition causing partial to complete paralysis is brought on by a tick bite.
- This condition is spread by fleas and is the bacteria that causes “cat scratch fever” in humans. It causes a variety of symptoms in cats from fever to lethargy to inappetence. Some cats do not exhibit symptoms of this disease at all, but can still pass it on to humans.
- This flea-borne illness is an infection of the red blood cells and causes fever and anemia in cats.
- Dogs and cats get tapeworms most commonly by ingesting infected fleas. Pet owners will often see tapeworm segments resembling grains of rice around their pet’s rectum or in the stool.
Hookworms, Roundworms, and Whipworms
- These intestinal parasites can be found in infected dogs’ stool and in contaminated soil and can also be passed to puppies by their mother. Once infected, pets can exhibit signs such as severe diarrhea, anemia, weight loss, and vomiting. Hookworms and roundworms can be transmitted to people as well, most commonly children.
Flea Allergic Dermatitis
- Although not life-threatening, this condition is extremely uncomfortable for dogs and cats. A flea-allergic pet will experience severe itching and skin irritation for several weeks from one single flea bite.
Why Prevention is Preferable to Treatment
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Treating parasitic diseases, especially heartworm disease in dogs, is expensive and time-consuming. It can also cause undue stress for your pet. Sometimes the disease’s effects cannot be reversed by treatment. This is why prevention is ALWAYS the best option for keeping your pet healthy and parasite-free!
Giving heartworm preventatives and flea/tick control products to your dog and cat year-round is vital to helping prevent the spread of parasites to other pets and humans as well. There are many affordable products available these days that make it so easy to prevent parasites. Heartworm preventatives even protect against many intestinal worms as well. Northwoods Veterinary Clinic carries the safest and most effective parasite preventatives for dogs and cats, and we can help you choose the right options for your pet based on their lifestyle and medical background.