Parasites such as fleas, ticks, intestinal worms, and heartworms are some of the most common afflictions that pets suffer from. They can cause pain, sickness, and even death in pets, and zoonotic diseases can even spread to human family members and infect your home. In short, parasites are a serious issue.
In the warm Texas environment, it is important to be particularly vigilant, as parasites can survive year-round. And some parasites, like heartworms, thrive in hot weather.
In the following description, common parasites are described, and information about their treatment and prevention is provided.
Fleas are small insects that inhabit the skin and coat of dogs and cats. They are known to cause itchy and irritating bites on both animals and people. A severe infestation of fleas can even lead to anemia, and potentially death, for the affected animal. To prevent fleas, keep your pet clean with regular grooming, keep your pet on preventative medicine year-round, and keep your house and yard clean.
Ticks are insects that latch onto their hosts and do not let go until they are embedded in the skin unless forcibly removed. In addition to being unsightly, they can carry within their tiny jaws not only a painful bite but many serious diseases, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, and more. To prevent ticks, keep your pet on a preventative year-round, carefully inspect their skin and coat after spending time outside, and have them regularly groomed.
Heartworms are an internal parasite that infects their hosts via the mosquito. A single mosquito bite is all it takes for a pet to be vulnerable, and in the environment of Northern Texas, mosquitos are all too common. Therefore, we recommend that all pets be on heartworm medication year-round. Heartworms ultimately cause permanent organ damage and death in the animals they infect. Their treatment is also difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. Prevention is critical.