Health & Wellness

Heartworm and Parasite Prevention and Treatment for Pets

Preventative care is critical to ensuring dogs and cats lead happy, healthy lives. Annual pet wellness exams help us assess your pet’s health status and establish baseline assessments for future use when your pet becomes ill. More often than not, your cat or dog may not even present any signs of illness.

Heartworm and parasite prevention in both cats and dogs is a year-round effort. Controlling fleas, ticks, heartworms, and other dangerous parasites is a challenge, especially in the southern United States. Prevention keeps your pets safe and comfortable. Parasites are not merely a nuisance: some may cause serious illness in pets AND humans. Parasites can even be fatal.

Keep in mind, the cost of preventative care is always less expensive than the cost of treating illness or disease.

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Most Common Parasites in Pets:

  • Heartworms – A completely preventable disease. Like their name says, these worms live in the heart, lungs and associated surrounding tissues. Heartworms look like strands of cooked spaghetti and can get up to 12 inches long. Left untreated, heartworms can be fatal. Animals get heartworm from infected mosquitoes. The disease is transmitted from one animal to the next with just one bite. Once an animal is bitten, larvae form and produce baby worms that circulate in the bloodstream. Heartworms live and grow for 5-7 years in dogs and 3 years in cats.
  • Intestinal Parasites – Hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and whipworms are the most common intestinal parasites. Left untreated, these parasites cause vomiting, diarrhea, weakness and weight loss; intestinal parasites can also be transferred to humans through feces.
  • External Parasites (Fleas, ticks, and mites) – Typically, fleas do not cause extensive damage but they are a nuisance for both pets and owners; ticks are known carriers of Lyme Disease, and pets that spend time outdoors should be checked often. Mites can cause infections in the ear from scratching; mange mites may cause scabies or mange and left untreated, may compromise your pet’s immune system. Mites can easily transfer between animals, so prevention and treatment.
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