Pet Parasite Prevention in Decatur
Parasites can wreak havoc on our pets (and household) and can be very hard to eliminate. Fleas and ticks are especially hardy in winter, lying dormant until spring. The problem with parasites is that their bite is much worse than their “bark.” In addition to infesting areas (and hosts) in large numbers, fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes can also transmit diseases that are harmful to pets. That’s why we at Fairview Hospital for Animals are so dedicated to parasite prevention.
How to Prevent Infection
There are several ways to minimize your pet’s exposure to parasites and decrease their chances of becoming infected.
- First, talk to your veterinarian about available parasite preventives. We carry a variety of quality products to protect dogs and cats from heartworm disease, Lyme disease, and other problems, and would be happy to recommend the best ones for your pet.
- Consider having your dog vaccinated for Lyme disease.
- Check your pet (and yourself) for ticks and fleas before entering the house.
- Keep your home tidy—clear out the trash regularly, vacuum the carpets, and change the sheets.
- Ticks like to hide in tall grasses, woodpiles, bushes, and heavy brush. If any of these can be found in or near your yard, try to clear them away as much as you can.
- Avoid walking your dog or cat in heavily wooded areas.
- Be wary of allowing your pet to mix with other animals that do not belong to you; they may not be current with their parasite preventives.
The Most Common Parasitic Diseases
- Heartworm disease: A progressive disease spread by mosquitoes. As heartworms multiply and mature inside their host, they start blocking the major arteries and blood vessels leading to and from the heart and lungs. Treatment is possible but expensive and time-consuming. Furthermore, your pet can still be left with lasting effects, including a weaker heart.
- Lyme disease: Lyme disease is caused by bacteria carried by the black-legged tick. When these bacteria enter your pet’s bloodstream, it might take several months for the infection to become noticeable. The most common symptoms are inflamed joints, lameness, lethargy, weakness, and fever.
- Ehrlichiosis: Another disease transmitted by ticks, ehrlichiosis affects dogs and can be deadly if it reaches the clinical/chronic stage. Symptoms include fever, appetite loss, swollen lymph nodes, and lethargy.
- Flea allergy dermatitis: Some pets are more sensitive to fleas than others and will develop an allergy after they’ve been bitten. Pets that are allergic will develop serious rashes and hot spots on their skin. It’s important to try and treat this problem before it leads to secondary skin infections.
If you have any questions about parasitic diseases or keeping your pet protected, call (217) 428-7709. We’re always happy to help you!