Spring is in the air and it is time to start thinking about parasite prevention for our pets. On Thursday, May 22nd at 7:30pm, West Hill Animal Clinic will be having a Parasite Awareness Session given by Dr. Kristen Joudrey. With the warmer season upon us, it is important to be informed of the many hazards that are lurking in the environment of our pets. Some of these hazards are parasites that can easily use our furry friends to complete their life cycles. Unfortunately, parasites can make our pets very sick if not caught in time. The good thing is that a parasitic infection can be easily prevented or even caught in its early stages before our pets become ill. Early prevention is the key to protecting our dogs and cats.
Dr. Joudrey will be discussing information on internal and external parasite, steps to preventing these parasites, the importance of regular fecal exams and the benefit of annual wellness and heartworm testing. She will also be available to answer any questions that you may have.
Did you know….
Mosquitos can carry heartworm disease and potentially spread it to our pets. Heartworm can cause serious damage to the heart and lungs. It can also be life threatening. The immature form of the heartworm, called larvae circulate in the bloodstream of a pet. When a mosquito bites an infected animal it can ingest the larvae and then pass it on to another pet’s bloodstream. An adult worm can grow up to twelve inches.
Mites live on the skin, ears and follicles of our pets. They can cause loss of hair and itchiness. This can cause a lot of discomfort for a pet and can take a long time to cure. Ticks live in tall grassy areas and can live on our pets for up to two weeks. They can also be carriers of Lyme disease. Environmental cues alert a tick that an animal is nearby and they then get ready to jump on your pet as it passes by.
Intestinal parasites live in the digestive systems of our pets. They can cause diarrhea, bloody stool and weight loss. We recommend testing your pet’s stool annually or more often if they are at a higher risk. Some intestinal parasites such as the adult form of the roundworm can be seen by the naked eye, but more often the infection is diagnosed by a fecal test by looking through a microscope and detecting the eggs or larvae of the worm.
One female flea can lay up to 50 eggs a day. Most of the flea infestation is present in other life stages within the home. If you are seeing five fleas on your pet, there is a combination of 95 eggs, pupae and larvae in your carpets, bedding and other places in your home. It can be difficult to eradicate a flea infestation in your home. We also often see a condition called flea allergy dermatitis which can cause substantial discomfort to a pet.
Many parasites, such as roundworms, are zoonotic which means that the infection can be passed on to people. Children are at a higher risk because they have more of a tendency to put their hands in their mouths.
Like many things in medicine, prevention is often the key. At our parasite discussion, Dr. Joudrey will help you to understand the importance of parasite prevention and the types of preventative medication that are available. Medications are available in chewable tablets, topical ointments, collars and injectables.
Please join us on Thursday, May 22nd at 7:30 pm. Sign up with one of our client care representatives or call in to let us know you would like to join us. We will be happy to answer any of your questions. Light snacks and refreshments will be served and information bags will be sent home with all guests that attend.