Pets can become infected with a number of different parasites that may not only affect their everyday quality of their life, but also can cause diseases. Ingleside Animal Hospital provides the guidance needed to protect pets with the safest and most effective products available.
The Common Flea
The good news is that with today’s preventives, fleas no longer need to be commonplace. Fleas and their bites are not just annoying. For some pets, flea bites and the accompanying saliva triggers an allergic reaction and symptoms can be severe.
With proper home care and preventives, fleas and home flea infestations can be a thing of the past. It is much easier to prevent fleas on your pet, before they infest your home environment.
There are many good reasons to be vigilant, since fleas pose health threats to your pet and your family. Fleas carry several types of internal parasites, especially tapeworm. Fleas can carry the mites that cause sarcoptic mange, demodectic mange, and cheyletiella dermatitis, all of which can be transmitted to humans as well.
Protecting your dog from ticks is an important part of disease prevention. Regrettably, there are several diseases that can be transmitted to your pet from a tick bite. Some of the most common tick-borne diseases seen in the United States are Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, and tick paralysis.
Treatment and Prevention for Fleas & Ticks
It is not easy to avoid ticks from getting on your pet. Ticks tend to be in shrubs and in tall grasses. If you walk on outside trails or paths in wooded areas, try to stay toward the center of the path. Inspect your dogs for ticks each day.
Ingleside Animal Hospital recommends the use of topical flea and tick preventives, along with environmental control, when faced with emergent flea and tick infestations.
We recommend the use of Vectra 3D for dogs and Vectra for cats. Vectra is a topical insecticide that safely kills and repels fleas, ticks, flies, and mosquitoes. It is also water resistant and delivers 30 days of protection.
Protect Your Pet From Heartworm
Heartworm is one of the more serious parasites that prey on dogs and cats. More common in dogs, heartworm is spread by mosquitoes, so it is more prevalent in humid climates. Nonetheless, it not uncommon in Arizona, so we endorse rigorous prevention protocols due to potential for fatality.
Ingleside Animal Hospital recommends the use of Heartgard Plus and Sentinel for heartworm and intestinal parasite prevention. Heartworm tablets safely prevent heartworm disease and certain intestinal tract parasites. Ingleside Animal Hospital requires annual heartworm testing, in accordance with the Companion Animal Parasite Council’s recommendations and guidelines, in order for these medications to be dispensed.
Other Internal Parasites
Annual fecal parasite exam testing is also recommended, as some parasites are not prevented with commonly used parasite preventives. And some parasites are zoonotic—which means they are pose health hazards to humans—and therefore need to be identified and addressed. Children are particularly at risk.
Learn more about the many parasites pets are at risk for from the Companion Animal Parasite Council.
Preventing parasites from harming your pet and family is just one of the many services Ingleside Animal Hospital provides. Please feel free to contact us with any concerns you may have.
Stop by to pick up your tick and flea preventives, stocked in our onsite pharmacy, or order online.
Parasitic Diseases & Infections More Common to Arizona
Here in the Phoenix area ehrlichiosis, otherwise known as tick fever, is the most prevalent of the tick-borne illnesses. Seen more in dogs, ehrlichiosis is a type of bacterial infection that inhabits a cell and destroys white blood cells. In advanced stages, this is a serious condition that requires advanced treatment. Detection of the disease can be made during routine screenings. If tick fever is suspected, standard fluid tests, including complete blood counts (CBC), biochemistry profile, and urinalysis is warranted. Treatment for ehrlichiosis will vary. Our veterinarians will select drugs and therapies based on the stage of illness your dog is experiencing.
Coccidioidomycosis, or Valley Fever, is more prevalent in dogs than cats and in desert climates, so it is a concern for Arizona dog owners. Valley Fever comes from inhalation of a soil-borne fungus that normally affects the respiratory system. However, it can spread out into other body systems.
Currently there is no vaccine for Valley Fever. Things you can do to reduce the likelihood of your dog’s exposure to the fungus are to avoid activities that generate dust—reduce digging behavior, prevent sniffing in rodent holes, and avoid long walks in deserted areas.
Early symptoms of Valley Fever include coughing, fever, weight loss, and lack of appetite and energy. More advanced symptoms might include lameness, bone swelling, or joint or lymph node enlargement.
Testing for Valley Fever may include:
- General blood tests and blood cell counts
- Chest X-rays
- Bone and joint X-rays
- Valley Fever blood test (also called cocci test, cocci serology, or cocci titer)
Antifungal medication is the course of treatment for Valley Fever, along with supportive care for other symptoms. While a dangerous disease, with early diagnosis and adequate antifungal therapy, most dogs recover from Valley Fever.