Spring is a great time to be outside with your dogs and enjoy the fun activities, but outside activities increase exposure to some uninvited party guests. Fleas, ticks, mosquitos, and intestinal parasites are quick to foil fun festivities. Exposure to such parasites as hookworms and roundworms increases as our dogs frequent areas where other animals have had eliminations, dog parks being prime location. These intestinal parasites can cause gastrointestinal issues, anemia, and pose a significant threat to humans as well.
In addition to intestinal parasites, mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas can be more than just a nuisance – they can be a source of disease for our pets! Preventative care from these “guests” is very important for the health of your furry friends. Mosquitos carry heartworms, which can easily cause heart and lung failure in dogs. All it takes is one full-grown adult heartworm (which can grow to almost a foot in length) to really cause some damage. Tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme or Ehrlichiosis, can have serious health consequences for both dogs and people. Fleas can cause intense itching, skin issues, anemia, and can carry blood parasites that cause disease.
The great news is, there is a way to help prevent most of these problems for your pets. There are many safe and effective options for routine prevention. Many monthly heartworm preventatives help control intestinal parasites party poopers as an added bonus. There are many safe and effective products on the market for fleas and ticks, from topicals on the skin to chewable tablets. Your veterinarian will be able to give you guidance on the best choice for you and your pet.
Heartworms, fleas, ticks, and intestinal parasites can be great trouble for our four-legged friends and ourselves. Outdoor activities can increase exposure to these problems but that doesn’t mean you should spend your summer hiding indoors! Routine use of effective preventatives is a great way to help decrease the risk of problems from these unwanted “guests.” Talk to your veterinarian about the best choices for your pets and get out there and enjoy the great outdoors!
Dr. Nancy T. Peterson
As your Des Moines, IA pet hospital, we’re here to help! Call us anytime at 515-274-3555!