Reasons Parasite Prevention Is Necessary for Dogs

With so many things to discover in the fascinating outside world, dogs like to wander. When outside, they like to explore, chew, and dig. Unfortunately, that leaves them vulnerable to many dangers. Heartworms, hookworms, roundworms, giardia, and other parasites are lurking out there just waiting to infect your dog.

Dog running outside

Once infected, parasites in dogs are serious and even life-threatening if not properly treated. Heartworms, the deadliest parasite for dogs, can obstruct blood vessels and enter the heart chamber. This can lead not only to a damaged heart, but also harm to the lungs, liver, and kidneys. Hookworms attach to a dog’s small intestines and suck blood from the dog. If undetected, this may lead to anemia and hemorrhaging. Roundworms are parasites sometimes found in puppies, but adult dogs may contract roundworms by eating feces or contaminated dog food. Roundworms affect the intestinal tract and sometimes the lungs, which may lead to pneumonia. Giardia is a parasite contracted from contaminated water. Giardia will eat the lining of a dog's intestines leading to inflammation, weight loss, and bloating. For all these reasons, visiting a veterinary service in Jacksonville, FL, for parasite prevention is necessary.

Parasite prevention is important through all stages of a dog’s life. If you bring your dog to the vet on a regular basis, your vet will most likely consider parasite prevention in their treatment protocols. But it doesn’t hurt to ask about specific treatments. If a dog has a parasite, it can make other medical conditions worse. It will also lower the dog’s natural ability to fight routine infections.

Understanding When Something’s Wrong

The hard part of caring for you dog is knowing when they’re ill. Unfortunately, dogs can’t tell us if they’re feeling sick or where something hurts. Dogs naturally want to please their owners. They will often show affection and eagerness to play because they think that’s what’s expected of them. So, it’s important to watch your dog carefully to see if they exhibit any unusual behaviors. If nothing is seriously wrong, wait a day or two to see if your dog keeps up the unusual behaviors. If they continue to act differently, a trip to the vet is in order.

Different Types of Parasites

Besides heartworm, hookworm, roundworm, and giardia, there are a host of other parasites that could infect your dog. Vets puts parasites into the categories of internal or external. Internal parasites are parasitic worms that live inside a dog’s body. Dogs contract intestinal parasites through contact with bodily fluids of an infected animal, ingesting infected fleas, or even from a mosquito bite.

External parasites are easier to detect as they live on a dog’s body. These include fleas, ticks, and mites that bite into a dog’s skin and draw nutrients from the dog’s blood. An infectious bite can lead to Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, and babesiosis. These diseases aren’t always deadly if treated properly.

Beagle vet checkup in Jacksonville, FL

Protecting Your Dog from Parasites

Luckily, with today’s treatment methods, it’s easy to protect a dog from contracting a parasite. Your vet will know which parasites are most common in the area where you live. Based on this, the vet will prescribe preventative drugs and treatments to help your dog stay healthy. It’s also important to keep your regularly scheduled vet appointments so your dog stays current on treatments. There are also external parasite prevention products that you can use in your home and yard which the vet can help you find.

You can follow this common-sense advice from vets as well. Never feed your dog raw meat. Keep your home clean and vacuum frequently. And clean up any animal feces in your yard on a regular basis.

To learn more about parasite prevention for dogs, contact Forever Vets Animal Hospital at 904-733-5100. We have 8 convenient locations with extended hours. Serving Jacksonville, Orlando, Nocatee, St. Johns, St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra and more.