Parasite Testing, Treatment, and Prevention

EarMitesDid you know dogs and cats in Lambertville, New Hope, and surrounding areas have tested positive for all of the following: heartworms, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, lungworms, giardia, coccidia, demodex mites, scabies mites, fleas, and ticks?

Parasitic infections or infestations can cause acute or chronic diarrhea, dermatitis, heart and lung damage, anemia, and vomiting.  In addition, some parasites such as ticks and fleas serve as vectors for other infections, such as Lyme disease, Ehrlichia, Anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, tapeworms, and Hemobartonella.  Many of these infections and infestations can cause life-threatening disease to dogs and cats.  Several parasite infections, roundworms and hookworms, can be transmitted to people.

It may not be obvious that your pet harbors parasites.  While some parasites, including fleas, ticks, tapeworm segments, and roundworms, can be seen with the naked eye, many must be identified through microscopic or laboratory examination of feces, blood, or other tissues.

Assessment for parasites is often recommended if a pet’s history, symptoms, and exam are suggestive of parasites.  Once a parasite is confirmed or highly suspected, appropriate treatment is instituted.  Luckily, the majority of antiparasitic medications are very safe and easy to give.  Follow-up testing to make sure all parasites have been removed is usually recommended.

We recommend dogs receive a blood test once yearly to check for heartworm disease and all dogs and cats receive a fecal exam once to twice yearly to check for gastrointestinal parasites.  Dogs should receive year-round monthly heartworm preventative and flea/tick control.  Cats that go outdoors should receive year-round monthly flea/GI parasite control.  Indoor-only cats usually need more limited flea and parasite control.  There are many heartworm, flea, and tick preventatives available in oral and topical formulations — we are happy to discuss your pet’s lifestyle and make recommendations.