Parasite Prevention and Treatment
When your cat or dog goes in the backyard, park, woods or other place to play or crosses paths with other animals, they’re at risk of picking up parasites. These harmful pests can spread bacteria and viruses that cause illness and disease. Some of these parasites or illnesses can be passed on to you and your loved ones. At Hôpital vétérinaire des Trois-Lacs, our veterinary team can help you manage parasites in your pet with diagnostic tests and preventive or curative treatment.
What types of parasites can my pet pick up?
Fleas, ticks, heartworm and intestinal worms (roundworms, tapeworms and hookworms) are the 4 most common types of parasites found in pets.
How do parasites affect pets?
Different kinds of parasites affect cats and dogs differently.
Fleas reproduce very quickly and can cause serious infestations. They bite cats and dogs and feed off their blood, causing itching and, in some cases, anemia.
Ticks are more solitary parasites. They spread Lyme disease, which can cause joint pain and fever. Ticks bite animals and stay attached to their skin so they can feed off their blood.
Heartworm affects dogs. It’s transmitted in summer though mosquitoes that spread the infective larvae of the host dog. These parasites are very dangerous to dogs, because they attack the heart and pulmonary arteries.
The last type of parasite is intestinal worms, which live in the intestines of cats and dogs. They can cause abdominal pain and a swollen belly, along with diarrhea and blood in stool.
How are parasites treated?
Fleas and ticks can be treated with a simple antiparasitic product you can buy from the clinic store.
Intestinal worms, like tapeworms and roundworms, are treated and prevented through deworming. We recommend deworming puppies and kittens starting at 6 weeks old. Adult cats and dogs should receive deworming treatments 2 to 4 times a year, depending on their lifestyle. Your vet will let you know the right deworming schedule for your pet.
Treating heartworm involves more risk than treating other parasites, and that’s why prevention is so important. Antiparasitic products to prevent heartworm are available with a prescription. They get rid of larvae before it reaches the worm stage.