Keeping our pets healthy includes preventing and eliminating parasites. Endoparasites are parasites that live inside of our pets such as roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, heart worms, giardia and coccidia. Ectoparasites are parasites that live on the outside of our pets such as ticks, fleas, lice, ear mites, sarcoptes and demodex.
Beyond being mentally disturbing for the pet owner, parasites can not only cause discomfort for the pet but can also make them ill. Fleas and lice can cause the animal to be itchy. Some animals are allergic to flea saliva and can develop inflammation of the skin. If fleas are swallowed, pets can get tapeworms since they are intermediate hosts. Ticks can transmit blood-borne parasites like erhlichia and rickettsia. Heartworm infestation can lead to heart and lung disease. Hookworms can lead to anemia. Roundworms can lead to disease involving the lungs and the intestines. Sarcoptes cause severe itchiness, hairless and thickened skin. Sarcoptes, roundworms and hookworms can also be transmitted to humans causing health problems in us.
To determine if your pet may already be infected or infested, tests can be performed. Fleas and lice can be detected visually. Blood tests can check for heart worms. Fecals can check for roundworms, tapeworms, whipworms and coccidia. Snap test or a fecal smear can check for giardia. Skin scrapes can be used to check for demodex and sarcoptes.
There are different types of anti-parasites that can be used to prevent and treat parasites. Depending on the medication, it may be given orally or administered topically. You can discuss which one may be better suited for your pet with a member of our medical staff at Palmdale Animal Hospital.
For any questions or concerns regarding parasites, testing or prevention, please call us at (661) 273-1555.