Cats and dogs are equally at risk to become infected with internal parasites. Though most pet owners assume that if they keep their pet contained strictly in the house that they will never get fleas or be exposed to organisms that can lead to parasites. This reasoning couldn’t be further from the truth and, in fact, can be dangerous to your pet’s health.
According to the Companion Animal Parasite Council “ascarids, hookworms and whipworms are the most common intestinal nematodes in companion animals, and ascarids and hookworms are a significant cause of zoonotic disease.” A zoonotic disease is one that can be spread from animals to humans and in the case of families with pets, an adorable kitten or puppy can pass along any number of parasitic diseases to children. Parasites can be contracted through any number of ways. Heartworms are carried by mosquitoes and though mosquitoes are usually seen in the summer months, some regions of the country have mosquitoes throughout the year, and if your pet travels with you they can be at risk for contracting heartworms through a mosquitoe bite. Traveling with your pet is Raw food can pose another threat of parasitic infection to pets. Food should always be fully-cooked or fully-prepared when being given to dogs and cats. Puppies and kittens are especially at risk because they can become infected pre-nataly and through nursing.
Puppies and kittens should be started on treatment as soon as possible and as often as possible. This treatment regime should begin at 2 weeks of age and be continued at 4, 6, and 8 weeks of age until the pet reaches 6 months. Fecal exams should be conducted 2-4 times a year on adult pets and heartworm tests should be done before starting a heartworm medication then checked again after the pet has been on the medication for some time. Pets should be kept on parasite control year-round through their entire lifetime. Meeting with your veterinarian is the ultimate prevention tactic. Your veterinarian can tailor a specific prevention plan for your pet that will help keep him the happiest and healthiest.
Check out www.capcvet.org for more information about parasites and your pet!