The is an abundance of parasitic creature that can wreak havoc with your pet’s health. These tiny creatures can make their homes on your pet’s skin, in their hair, their digestive system and even in some of their vital organs such as the heart and lung. Whilst they are microscopic in size, don’t let their small stature fool you. These little guys can do a lot of damage to your pet’s health and in some cases be fatal.
The three main types of parasites that we concern ourselves with are fleas, worms, and ticks.
Fleas: Flea is used to describe over 2,500 different types of flightless insect that lives on the external surface of mammals or birds. They are hematophagists which means that they feed on the blood of their hosts. Their bites cause irritation to your pet’s skin and will result in excessive scratching and gnawing which can result in damaged and broken skin and in turn secondary infections of the skin.
Worms: Not the ones that you’ll find in your garden or your compost bin, these are parasitic worms that live internally within the infected host. There is a vast range of these worms and but the ones we are most concerned with in Australia for your dog or cat are heartworm, roundworm, tapeworm, hookworm, whipworms and in very minor cases lungworm. These can have symptoms such as weightless, diarrhea, blood loss, breathing issues, coughing and general discomfort. Some of these worms can be fatal, all of them can cause serious damage to your pet’s health and if left untreated lead to other more complex and harder to treat issues.
Ticks: Another hematophagous (blood sucker). Ticks come in many different varieties, some worse than others but none of which are good. A tick will latch onto your pet, latch onto their skin and begin to feed on their blood. They’re problematic because some have a toxic in their saliva that they inject into their host as an anticoagulant (blood thinner) that can make your pet very ill and in the case of the paralysis tick can be fatal.
There is a wide variety of choice for treatment and prevention for each of these parasites and what is best for your pet may not be what is best for someone else’s. Our house call vets will be able to explain to you what will work best for your pet and tailor a Vets on Call protection plan for specifically designed for your pet and their needs.
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