Parasite Control and Prevention for Dogs

Parasite control plans protect your pet against preventable infections that can be costly to treat and life threatening. Parasite control plans typically include using a combination of methods like topical creams, injection, and oral medication to safeguard your furry friend. Your pet should be taking medication regularly to ensure they’re protected against pests such as fleas, ticks, and heartworm.

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How can you tell if your dog has fleas & ticks?

Regular examination of your dog’s fur and skin will help aid in early diagnosis of a flea or tick burden. Generally, “flea dirt” may be the first indicator of a flea infestation on an animal. Black, dried and coffee-ground in appearance, flea dirt is the remnants of a flea’s meal. Fleas themselves are small (2-3mm in length) with wings and they can jump but are incapable of flying. They will feed anywhere on your pets’ body so when looking for fleas, be sure to look all over their coat.

Ticks are far bigger in size about 5-7mm before being engorged and up to 12mm after a lengthy feeding. They prefer warmer areas of the body such as the neck and chest area as well as behind the ears. Ticks are difficult to remove as small mouthparts are embedded beneath the skin. Engorged ticks may appear to be lumps or moles and many will prefer a veterinary team member to remove engorged ticks, as not to leave mouthparts behind.

How do you prevent fleas & ticks in dogs?

Prevention, prevention, prevention! There are several products on the market that hold the claim for flea and tick prevention. However, products available through your veterinarian have a 98% efficacy. These prevention products contain pesticides that live in the skin barrier and kill fleas and ticks on contact. Some of these products are not absorbed into the bloodstream.

What are the treatment options for ticks in dogs?

Treatment options for fleas and ticks start with prevention. Both topical and oral versions of protection will prevent and treat flea and tick infestations. Usually, ticks will need to be physically removed from the patient. This includes both the body and the mouthparts of the parasite. Removal of the tick can be accomplished with tweezers or tick twisters which are available through your veterinarian.

What are the symptoms of heartworms in a dog?

Symptoms of a heartworm infection may include coughing, shortness of breath, weakness, and overall dullness.

How do dogs get heartworm?

All it takes is one simple bite from an infected mosquito carrying microfilaria (baby worms) to induce a full-blown heartworm infection. These worms will mature into an adult worm in the heart vessels where they will reproduce, blocking the chambers of the heart.

What is the treatment for heartworm?

Currently, the treatment for heartworm is a lengthy process that can last for several months. Once the dog is diagnosed with the aid of heartworm testing, the veterinarian will review the treatment plan with the pet parent and answer any questions that arise.

Why is recovery and heartworm treatment challenging?

Heartworm treatment is a challenge because not only is the recovery difficult for the pet but the cost is also significant. During the treatment period, there is potential for dying worms to clog arteries and vessels of the heart which could be fatal. Because of this, animals undergoing treatment are usually limited to strict cage rest with zero exercise.

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