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Parasites

What is a parasite?

A parasite is an organism that lives at the expense of another living being. In our pets, these usually take the form of intestinal worms (internal parasites) and fleas and ticks (external parasites).

Fleas
With the advancement of flea control like Advantage, Advantix, Frontline, and Comfortis, fleas are no longer the nuisance they once were for you and your pet. Advantage, Advantix, and Frontline are a liquid applied down the pet’s back which kills all fleas and continues killing them for 1 full month. Comfortis is a pill that is given by mouth every month with a meal. Both products are SAFE for your pets. Do NOT confuse these products with others you find in the pet stores. Those products are insecticides which can potentially harm your pet.

Are flea collars very effective?
Not really. Since they are placed around the neck of the pet, they usually cannot kill any fleas which are around the tail of your pet. The insecticide from flea collars is designed to be absorbed into the pet’s blood stream and can be toxic. There are much better forms of flea control. Call us for more information.

Heartworms
Heartworms are parasites that actually live in the dog's heart. There is a blood test available to test for heartworm. Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes, so dogs and cats both are susceptible to this parasite. There is a once a month tablet (for dogs) and a once a month topical (for cats--Revolution) that is used for prevention. Visit the tab labeled Heartworms for more information.

Lice
Lice are small grayish parasites that attach themselves right to the skin and tend to be on the front end of the dog. Advantage, Advantix, and Frontline do kill lice as well, but we recommend repeating the treatment every 2 weeks instead of every month. Lice are very species specific and cannot be transferred to you.

Ticks
Preventic Tick Collars and Frontline or Advantix Liquids are available for tick prevention on dogs. (Frontline can be used on cats). You should know that ticks carry a vast array of diseases including Lymes Disease. There is a vaccination for dogs against Lymes Disease but the best protection is prevention with the above products.

Worms
Certain parasites, such as tapeworms, are visible to the naked eye, but others must be detected under the microscope. If you will bring in a stool sample, we will be glad to examine it microscopically to see if your pet has worms. But remember that all pets must have an annual exam to be receive a prescription medication.

I saw small worms caught in the hair on my pet’s hind legs and tail. What are they?

Small white worms about the size of a grain of rice in length are tapeworm segments. They come from swallowing fleas or from eating mice. There are tablets you can purchase from our veterinarian to eradicate tapeworms.(All pets must have an annual exam – by an Animal Medical Center Veterinarian, before a prescription medication is administered). There are NO products in the pet stores or grocery stores to kill tapeworms. Also, in order to keep them away, you should practice good flea control.