WHEN IT COMES TO PARASITES,
is essential, since certain parasites can pose a threat to your pet in every season, especially in warmer climates.
or call us at (303) 466-1764.
At Broomfield Veterinary Hospital, we believe that keeping pets protected from parasites should be part of their overall preventive care. That’s why we recommend your pet have a fecal analysis at least twice a year so we can check for intestinal parasites. We also recommend that you keep them on a preventative for year-round protection. There are various preventative options available, including oral tablets, topical treatments, and collars. Some treatments need to be given monthly while others provide several months of protection with just one dose.
In addition to intestinal parasite lab testing, we can check for external parasites, such as fleas and ticks, during the comprehensive wellness exam. If any parasites are detected, we can discuss treatment options, some of which can begin at the same visit. Some of the most common problems that parasites can cause include hair loss, allergies, anemia, Ehrlichiosis, and Lyme disease.
Intestinal vs. External Parasites: Fleas, Ticks and Worms
Here in the Broomfield area, there are many parasites in the environment that your pet can ingest in contaminated food or water. Because these parasites live in the digestive tract, where they feed on the host animal’s nutrients, they’re referred to as intestinal parasites. Overtime, they grow and multiply, which can lead to diseases and other health problems for the host animal. Some of the most common intestinal parasites include hookworms, whipworms, roundworms, giardia, and tapeworms.
Fleas and ticks are among the most common external parasites, which pets can also be exposed to outdoors. Fleas are typically found in areas with high grass and areas that offer shade and humidity. Ticks are usually found in wooded areas, which is why pets are more likely to get ticks during walks through the woods than walks around the neighborhood. However, fleas — unlike ticks — can jump (up to 8 inches), which means they can end up in your home, posing a threat to indoor pets.
Heartworms and Heartworm Disease
Another parasitic threat to your pet comes in the form of heartworms transmitted by mosquitoes, which are also common in Colorado. If an infected mosquito bites a dog or cat (or other animal), it spreads infective larvae into the blood system. The larvae eventually grow and mature into a worm in the heart after about six months, causing heartworm disease, which can be fatal. Unsure if your pet has heartworm disease? A blood test, X-rays, and/or an echocardiogram can let us know for sure, but symptoms of infection include:
- Weight loss
- Mild cough
- Unwillingness to exercise (dogs)
- Exhaustion after moderate activity (dogs)
- Decreased appetite
- Asthma attacks (cats)
- Vomiting (cats)