You may think that you only need to worry about parasite prevention for pets when you see evidence that your cat or dog has contracted has them. Or, maybe, you believe that parasites are only a threat during certain seasons of the year. Unfortunately, many pets get ill, or even die, because they aren’t protected from these pests, including ticks, internal parasites, and heartworm, year round.
Flea and Tick Prevention
One of the most common misconceptions is that fleas and ticks have a “season” and that you can skip your monthly preventative during the cold, winter months.
But that simply is not true.
Even in the coldest regions of the country, pet owners and veterinarians will find fleas and ticks on pets all year long. In the winter months, the flea life cycle slows down, but they do not disappear completely. During this time, fleas are still there in their pupae phase, waiting for the temperature to increase so they can emerge as adult fleas. Likewise, fleas can still thrive indoors and on pets no matter how cold it is outside.
If you don’t keep up with your monthly flea and tick prevention, your pet has no protection from the newly emerged adult flea. By the time find an adult flea on your pet, the fleas have already bitten your pet, spreading infectious agents and salivary proteins, and started laying eggs around your home or yard.
Ticks will often lay dormant during the winter months as well, and can pose a threat no matter the season. This is because often the diseases they spread can incubate prior to infection, making a constant dosage of preventative medication a must for long-term protection.
Heartworms are a life threatening and preventable problem that affects both dogs and cats. And while a treatment is available for dogs (which is both risky and extremely expensive), the disease is fatal to cats in all cases.
In an infected pet, the worms grow to be about a foot long and the size of a spaghetti noodle. They live in the right ventricle of the heart and the vessels that lead into the lungs. While the early stages of heartworm disease are silent, meaning you won’t see symptoms, the advanced stages include symptoms like coughing, and asthmatic like breathing with exercise.
If left untreated, heartworm disease is fatal.
Luckily, there are many reliable and trusted products that can be administered to keep your pets safe year round. Discuss your options with your veterinarian as soon as possible if your pet is not on a preventative or has recently missed a dose.
But Wait, There’s More Parasite Prevention for Pets!
Parasite prevention for pets also address other parasites that can infect your pet too. Parasites such as tapeworms, roundworms, and hookworms live inside of your pet, and are immune to external factors like temperature or season. This means that your pet requires year-round preventative treatment against these threats, too.
It’s also worth noting that humans are able to contract these parasites as well, so by protecting your pet against them, you are protecting yourself and your family as well.
If you have any other questions regarding parasite prevention for pets, or if you need to bring your pet current on his or her preventative schedule, please call us to schedule an appointment for your pet.