Parasites are a constant danger to your dog that can range from an annoyance to life-threatening. In this post, our Pleasant Hill vets will go over some of the parasites and why it is so important to prevent the infection and practice parasite control for dogs.
What is a Parasite
A parasite is an organism that feeds on your dog without offering any benefits. They steal nutrients from your dog, and some can cause irreversible damage to your dog's organs.
Why should I worry if my dog doesn’t interact with other animals?
Your dog can become infected with parasites via insect bites and another animal’s feces. Parasites can even pass from mother to child. Once infected, it can be difficult to get some parasites out. Because of this, the best solution is to take preventative measures. Some parasites that dogs may have include:
Mosquitoes are a common source of this parasite. Once infected, the worm grows, reproduces, and spreads throughout the dog's body. They are called heartworms because of their unfortunate habit of embedding in the heart muscle. However, they can be found in not just the heart, but the lungs and blood vessels of an infected dog too.
The problem with diagnosing heartworm is that by the time the symptoms appear, the infection has progressed quite far. Internal organs can be severely damaged by these worms.
This parasite can be transmitted from mother to child. It can also transmit through excreted, infected eggs excreted and then swallowed by a dog. The egg can survive for weeks without a host and can infect humans, particularly children (which makes you question every sandbox you played in as a child).
In dogs, this can cause stunted growth and a pot-belly appearance. The worms can also emerge from both ends.
These dreadful creatures can infect your dog if your dog consumes infected mother's milk or eats the eggs. These parasites can also burrow into the skin. These creatures are tiny vampires that feed on the blood of dogs by entering the GI tract and tearing holes in the lining, causing ulcers. They are lethal to young puppies and can cause anemia in adult dogs.
These heinous creatures can burrow into human skin as well. Sandboxes are notorious for being vectors of transmission.
The classic pest that infests your dog’s fur. They are normally an annoyance, constantly biting and causing irritation. But be aware that they can be a disease vector for tapeworms.
These little bugs bury their heads into the flesh of their victim. They can spread Lyme disease and can even attack humans.
How to Prevent Parasites in Dogs
You can prevent parasites in dogs by keeping up with their vaccinations. Your vet should be able to advise you of a schedule for vaccinations. Make sure your dog goes for an annual wellness check too so your vet can test for infestation.
Parasites are terrifying and can be fatal to your dog, so please continue to use preventative measures to protect them.Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.