Parasites, whether external or internal can cause incredible discomfort for your furry friend and could even be potentially life-threatening. In this post, our Hoquiam vets will discuss what the most common types of parasites are and why preventing parasites in your dog is so important to their health.
Parasites That Affect Dogs
Parasites can be either external or internal and will survive by feeding on either your dog directly or on the nutrients that are present within your dog's body. This can result in a variety of health conditions and concerns as well as further complications. This makes it very important to ensure that your dog has adequate parasite prevention and that you bring them in for an examination as soon as possible if you see any of the signs of parasites in or on your dog.
Do I Still Need To Worry About Parasites If My Dog Doesn't Socialize?
It is entirely possible for your dog to become infected with parasites even if they have had no contact with other animals. Some parasites can be picked up from feces, the ground or water outside or even passed to a puppy from the mother before birth. Once a dog is infected it can be notoriously difficult to treat the parasites. This is why the best solution is to practice preventative measures. Some of the common types of parasites that can affect dogs are:
This parasite is often spread by mosquitoes. Once your dog is infected the worm will grow, reproduce, and spread throughout the dog's body. They got the name heartworm for their unfortunate habit of embedding in the heart muscle. They can be found in an infected dog's heart, lungs, and blood vessels. The issue with diagnosing them is that by the time the symptoms show the infection is quite severe. These worms can cause massive damage to internal organs. Humans are unlikely to get infected with this parasite.
This parasite can be passed in from mother to child before birth. It can also be transmitted by eggs that are excreted and then accidentally swallowed. The egg can live for weeks without a host and can also infect humans, especially human children. This can stunt growth and create a large round stomach area on your pet.
These horrifying creatures can infect your dog either through consuming an infected mother's milk, consuming the eggs or they burrow into the skin. These creatures are little vampires that live off of the blood of animals by entering the GI tract and tearing holes in the lining causing ulcers which they feed from. They can prove deadly to young puppies and cause anemia in adult dogs. These vile creatures can also burrow into human skin. Like roundworms, sandboxes are notorious for aiding in the transmission of these parasites.
Fleas are one of the most common types of parasites that can infect your dog. This parasite is external and will live hidden within your dog's fur and feed on their blood through the skin. They are normally an annoyance, constantly biting and causing skin irritation. They can be a disease vector for tapeworms.
Ticks are another blood-sucking parasite that lives externally on the skin of the animal they have infected. Ticks are known for transmitting diseases to not just dogs but to human hosts as well and will travel from an infected dog to their owners if the opportunity presents itself.
Parasite Prevention To Help Protect My Dog
The best way to protect your dog is to keep up with their vaccinations. Your vet will be able to advise you of a schedule for inoculation. Annual wellness examinations can help detect any potential parasites that your pet may have contracted.
Parasites are horrifying and pose a significant danger to your dog. Please keep you with a prevention practice to protect your canine companions.
Getting Your Pet Their Shots
Vaccinations are designed to protect your dog against contagious, common and possibly even life-threatening diseases. The vaccines which we recommend for your dog will be based on where you live and what your pet's lifestyle is like.
There are core vaccines that we recommend for all dogs and there are "lifestyle vaccines" which are recommended for pets who are often in contact with other animals. To learn more about the vaccines we recommend for your pet, take a look at our vaccine schedules.
Your adult dog will require booster shots regularly in order to maintain their protection against diseases. In most instances, boosters are given to your pet annually, or, once every three years. Our vets will let you know when your dog's booster shots are due.