At Friendship Veterinary Hospital, we want all of our pet owners to know that flea, tick, heartworm and other pet parasite control in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, is a year-round effort. Prevention is a necessity for keeping your pets safe and comfortable. Parasites are not just a nuisance— many pet parasites are zoonotic, which means they can cause serious illness in both pets and humans. Some parasites can even be fatal. Keeping your pet free from parasites is one of the most important things you can do to keep both of you in good health.
How Parasites Affect Animals
Parasites that may affect your dog or cat include:
Heartworms - heartworms live in the heart, lungs and associated surrounding tissues; unless treated, heartworms can directly affect the lifespan of your pet.
External Parasites (Fleas, ticks and mites) - fleas typically do not cause extensive damage but they are a nuisance for both pets and owners; ticks are known carriers of Lymes Disease, and pets that spend time outdoors should be checked often; mites can cause infections in the ear from scratching; mange mites may cause scabies or mange and when left untreated, may compromise your pet’s immune system; mites can easily transfer between animals, so prevention and treatment is essential.
Intestinal Parasites - hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and whipworms are the most common types of Intestinal parasites; if left untreated, these parasites can cause vomiting, diarrhea, weakness and weight loss; intestinal parasites can also be transferred to humans through feces.
Fleas, Ticks & Intestinal Parasites
You may not always be able to detect parasitic infestations on your pet. Fleas can burrow deep under your pet’s fur, and some ticks can be the size of a pinhead, making them difficult to see. Intestinal parasites, like roundworms, can cause diarrhea, but many infected pets don’t show any signs of illness at all. One flea can lay 50 eggs a day on your pet. Wherever your pet goes, these eggs will drop off and mature to new, adult fleas.
Most intestinal parasites are not overtly visible in feces. Here, at Friendship Veterinary Hospital we screen for infection by microscopic analysis in our laboratory. The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) recommends that fecal analysis be performed two to four times during the first year for puppies and kittens, and once or twice per year for adult pets.
Ticks can transmit infections like Lyme disease, and fleas can transmit tapeworms and Bartonella, a bacteria that causes “cat-scratch fever” in humans. These can be detrimental to both your health and your pets.
Heartworm Prevention for Dogs & Cats in Florida
Heartworms are a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets. Twelve-inch long worms can live in the heart, lungs and blood vessels of infected pets, causing lung disease, heart failure, organ damage, and fatality.