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Importance of Parasite Prevention for Pets

Most pet owners have at least some awareness of parasites. These are creatures that live either on or inside your pet’s body and survive by drawing their nutrition from your pet. As you can imagine, the effects of living with parasites are at best unpleasant for your pet, and at worst, can have life-threatening consequences. Three of the most common parasites are fleas, ticks and heartworms. Here’s what you need to know about why protecting your pet from these parasitic creatures is so important.


Protecting your pet from fleas

Fleas are probably the most common of all parasites. These tiny, wingless creatures are nearly impossible to see with the naked eye and live on your pet’s body, buried within the fur where they bite through the skin to drink your pet’s blood. There are several reasons why it’s important to protect your pet from fleas.

  • Fleas reproduce very quickly, and even two pairs of fleas can turn into hundreds within a few months.

  • Flea saliva causes allergic reactions in many pets, causing unbearable itchiness and associated problems.

  • Fleas can carry and transmit tapeworms, which are another parasite that could affect your pet and make them sick.

  • Fleas will also bite and feed off humans.

  • Large infestations of fleas can lead to your pet becoming anemic from blood loss

  • Fleas are notoriously difficult to get rid of!  They are much easier to prevent.


Protecting your pet from ticks

Contrary to popular belief, ticks can actually be found all across the United States and so veterinarians recommend year-round protection against them, irrespective of where you live. These small creatures are particularly prevalent in rural areas where they hide in grasses and woodlands to drop onto passing people or pets. They also feed on blood and will feed for several days before dropping off and waiting for a new host to pass by. Here’s why you need to make protecting your pet from ticks a priority.

  • Ticks are well-known for carrying and transmitting diseases, some of which can have life-threatening consequences for your pet.

  • Some ticks have saliva that contains a neurotoxin which can paralyze your pet, including their respiratory system, which can also be life-threatening.

  • Ticks will also feed on humans if they can.

  • The consequences of tick bites can affect your pet’s quality of life.


Protecting your pet from heartworms

There are many different types of worms, but heartworms are undoubtedly the most serious in nature. Dogs are the most natural host for heartworms, but cats can be affected too. Heartworms are transmitted through the bite of a mosquito carrying the parasite. Once your pet has contracted them, the immature heartworm will travel to the blood vessels serving the heart and lungs where they will mature and grow. There are a range of reasons why it is essential that you protect your pet from heartworms.

  • Heartworms can grow up to a foot in length. When they mature and are able to reproduce, their growing numbers will clog up the blood vessels, preventing normal blood flow and causing damage to the major organs.

  • Heartworms are nearly always fatal if they are left untreated in dogs.

  • A bad infestation could see a dog having upwards of 100 heartworms.

  • Heartworms can cause permanent damage to your pet’s organs and body systems.

  • Heartworm infestations initially have very few symptoms, meaning that damage can be done to your pet’s health before they are detected.

The good news is that there are lots of different preventatives available that can be used to successfully protect your pet from these parasites and more.

Our dedicated veterinarians in Santa Teresa can work with you to determine which preventatives are right for your pet and will create a schedule for when they should be administered to ensure that your pet has adequate protection all year round.

Please call El Abrigado Animal Clinic at (575) 589-1818 to speak with our veterinary team and schedule a veterinarian appointment in Santa Teresa, New Mexico.

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