These parasites feast on (ectoparasites) or live within other animals (endoparasites). The most well-known parasites are fleas and ticks, which are just one element of the issue. Mites, lice, heartworm, and various intestinal and other parasites, are also common. Parasites can cause slight annoyance to severe illnesses that should be treated immediately and can be catastrophic for a pet’s health. Parasites are also harmful to the health of humans. Some parasites found in pets cause zoonotic infections, which could spread from animals to humans.
Consider, for example, fleas, the most prevalent ectoparasite affecting pets and dogs. The blood-sucking insects cause skin rashes and carry and spread diseases to humans and other animals, including the tapeworm and the bacterium Bartonella which is the cause of Bartonellosis, commonly referred to as scratchy cat syndrome. Fleas are more than a nuisance.
What do we need to know about these parasites?
Ticks pose the same dangers as fleas. They cause irritation or inflammation as they adhere to the pet’s skin. They rank next to mosquitoes as human disease carriers. Dogs can have recurring infestations accompanied by a few ticks or massive infestations resulting in weight loss, anemia, or even death.
Danger From Sand Flies
A more severe problem is canine Leishmaniasis, a deadly parasite infection that can be transmitted to dogs by bites of infected sandflies. Sandflies, however, as they are called, tend to be encountered in wooded or rural areas than at beaches. Different clinical forms of Leishmaniasis can be observed in more than 80 countries, although not all use pets as host animals. Canine Leishmaniasis is present throughout the southern part of Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Latin America, and regions of Mexico, Central America, and Asia, including northwestern China.
Heartworm Disease-Carrying Mosquitoes
Mosquito bites could be fatal for dogs as they transmit filariasis and heartworm, two severe parasitic diseases. Heartworm disease is present in nearly every region in the United States and many portions of Canada, as well as in southern Europe and tropical areas. It is the most hazardous parasite in dogs as it affects the heart and may harm other organs in the body. The issue could prove fatal if not addressed. The incidence of heartworm infection in humans is low because humans are not the parasite’s natural host.
How can we solve this problem?
A comprehensive approach that focuses on changes in diet, lifestyle, and specific supplements is essential to eliminate the parasite problem. This means that we are more than just providing temporary pain relief and supporting your pet’s body to heal infections caused by parasites or a pet urinary disorder. It also implies that once the parasite and any other infection are gone and your pet’s gut is repaired, its body will be strong and healthy enough to ward off any subsequent attempts at reinfection or other diseases that are opportunistic.
The use of veterinary medicine can stop most parasite illnesses. Pet owners need to be aware of how to protect their family members and pets. First, always wash your hands after handling pets and before eating. Grooming reduces coat contamination. Most intestinal worms are spread via worm eggs or larvae in pet excrement. Cleaning them regularly protects humans as well as the environment. Cleanliness is essential, however, and so is the prevention of ectoparasites and endoparasites, as well as treatment. Because of the different regional risks, see a vet for preventative steps. Feel free to visit O’Fallon Animal Hospital for consultations.
Re-infestation with fleas is highly likely in many areas across the globe, which is why regular treatment with a reputable treatment is generally recommended. While flea infestations are more common in autumn and summer, research studies suggest that they could be seen at any time, so all-year-round flea control is best for pets. Recent research has yielded unique products that meet specific pet owners and pet requirements. These products contain ingredients that become active only once inside the flea; for example, they reduce the risk of exposure to pesticides that are potent to pets, owners, and the home. Oral products last longer, are more convenient and minimize the likelihood of protection gaps. Click here for more information.
Spot-on Collar Products
To avoid ticks and sandfly bites on dogs, insecticidal products such as chewable tablets, spots-on, or a collar are available. Spot-on contains a small amount of liquid with an acaricide administered as droplets to the skin at the back of the neck of the dog, which protects it from tick bites for up to one month. Acaricide collars will last up to 6 months. The prevention of sand fly bites is essential in high-risk regions: prevention of Leishmaniasis is significantly easier than therapy that is not curative.
All pets and all cats must get a deworming treatment every month regardless of age. Many feline and canine ailments are transmitted by contact with soil, grass, and surfaces are paved. Adult animals should be treated at least four times per year. However, younger pets and those at greater risk should be treated more often. The wide range of formulations benefits pets resistant to deworming treatments like chewable tablets, powder, and pastes.