Pets can pick up parasites in just about any environment. Naturally, spending time in doggie daycare and play areas can expose your pet to new parasites, but they can also pick up an infestation right at home. Fleas, ticks, heartworms, and other parasites can all be caught in your backyard, while out walking through your neighborhood and just generally being out in public. Fortunately, we've got lots of ways to both prevent and treat parasites when you bring your pet to see our team at Animal Health Center of Land O' Lakes for an exam.
How to Watch for Signs of Pet Parasites
External parasites, such as fleas and ticks, usually cause skin irritation that shows up as excessive scratching and pawing behaviors. If the infestation is bad enough, your pet might develop hot spots or hair loss from the constant scratching. You can often see bugs jumping or crawling through your pet's fur. Internal parasites usually cause digestive discomfort, but some might not create many symptoms at all until the infestation is extensive. For instance, heartworms are often a silent parasitic disease that only shows up once enough damage has occurred in your pet's internal organs.
Best Pet Care Practices for Parasite Prevention
The best way to keep your pet healthy is to avoid taking them to places where they are more likely to pick up parasites. Sitting out a doggie play date when your friend's pet is being treated for fleas can help you avoid going through the same grief. At our animal hospital, we can also offer vaccinations and preventative treatments for many common parasites. Giving your pet a heartworm pill as prescribed can stop them from ever having this common problem.
How Our Veterinarian Checks for Parasites
If you happen to notice that your pet seems ill despite your best pet care efforts, then our vet can use several types of tests to check for an infestation. Your pet's vet might spot fleas or ticks on their skin, or they could detect intestinal parasites through a fecal sample. In some cases, we may need to check your pet's blood for parasites to get an accurate identification of what to treat for.
What Types of Treatments Are Offered at Your Animal Hospital?
The type of treatment our veterinarian will offer depends upon the parasites that we find. Fleas and ticks may require topical ointments, medicated shampoos, or internal medications. Oral medications can also help with heartworms and other internal parasites. If the infection has gone on for a while, such as what you'll sometimes see with rescued pets, then we may offer supportive treatments that include IV nourishment until your pet returns to better health.
Get Your Pet Checked for Parasites
Parasitic infections tend to get worse without proper care. All pets should be checked regularly for parasites, and you'll want to call Animal Health Center of Land O' Lakes at 813-996-3800 right away if you spot the signs of parasites. Together, we can find solutions to help your pet stay free of parasites that rob them of vital nutrients for their health.