parasites, pets, and prevention
We promise to keep the fun blog posts coming, but today we need to talk about something more serious: parasites. It might not be much fun, but it sure is important stuff to understand and stay on top of.
There are two main categories of parasites that can harm the pets you love: “Internal” and “External.” Both types can cause a lot of problems, but, thankfully, your Banfield veterinary team can help you prevent and control them to keep your pets healthy and happy.
What are internal parasites?
In a word, internal parasites are worms (most of the time). They can be found in the intestinal tract of pets of all ages, but are most often found in puppies and kittens. Left untreated, parasites can cause infections that can affect your pet in a variety of ways, from mild irritation to life-threatening illness. Pets usually become infected by their mothers or other animals or insects, or by ingesting soil, water, or other environmental sources that have been contaminated with parasites or their eggs.
Here’s another thing to know about internal parasites, and something you probably wish you didn’t have to think about: Your family members, especially children, can contract some of these parasites and the diseases they cause. But eliminating parasites from pets helps reduce the likelihood of disease transmission from pet to pet and pet to humans.
Roundworms. Hookworms. Whipworms, Giardia, Heartworm. The infamous tapeworm. They’re all bad news, so prevention is crucial, and we’ll get to that in a minute.
What are external parasites?
External parasites include fleas, ticks, mites, and mosquitoes. These pests may serve as vectors, which means they can spread disease. Examples of vector-borne diseases include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Ehrlichiosis and heartworm disease (an external parasite that carries an internal parasite). Fleas might also cause anemia, which can be life-threatening. And some pets are allergic to fleas, too.
How can you prevent and control all these parasites?
Consistent, comprehensive control is your best bet. Which is why Optimum Wellness Plans® makes so much sense. Banfield bundles a year's worth of preventive petcare services at a significant discount – including twice-a-year comprehensive exams, fecal exams, and deworming, plus important diagnostic testing. The right parasite treatment or prevention can be added as an option to your plan to make it easier to remember year round.