Parasite Prevention For Your Pet

Your pet is the perfect host for parasites!  What’s not to love?  Your pet provides a warm furry home and a free meal for many parasites as well as free transportation. And, in the summer, pets spend more time outdoors so there’s more opportunity for parasites to hop on board.  Many parasites cause health problems and may even be uncomfortable to your pet.   Some can even be transmitted to people.  You can help avoid disease by providing proper prevention and following recommendations for routine screening of diseases such as annual heartworm tests, which test for heartworm as well as Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases, and fecal testing, which looks for intestinal parasites.

Heartworm Prevention

Heartworms are a serious pest that can present a risk to your dog’s life. Heartworms are transmitted by a bite from an infected mosquito. Once the animal is bitten, the worms develop inside the animal’s body, sometimes growing as much as a foot long. Treatment of heartworms involves special medications and strict rest for several months. Some areas of the country are more affected by heartworm infestations than others, but heartworm disease has been diagnosed in all 50 states. Regular heartworm prevention for dogs will protect your pet against this life-threatening problem.  A tasty monthly pill is all it takes to prevent heartworm disease. And, annual heartworm testing will help us make sure your preventive is working.

Tick Prevention

Dogs in the Burke, VA area are also vulnerable to tick bites, which can cause a number of serious illnesses, including Lyme disease. These diseases can make your dog very sick and can be a cause of higher veterinary bills. Most flea prevention products also include tick prevention. Our veterinarians at Burke Animal Clinic can advise you on the best product for your dog’s needs.  Flea and tick prevention products include topical ointments, oral chews, and collars. And, keep in mind, preventives must be applied or given regularly, according to the instructions from the manufacturer. If a product is supposed to be given every 30 days, it stops working on day 31!  We’ll help you find the right product for your pet.

Annual screenings are another important tool in the effort to protect your pet from tick-borne diseases.  The annual test we do for heartworm also tests for Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases.  And, don’t be surprised if you see a tick. For some preventives to work, the tick has to bite. Check out our website for easy removal instructions. Or, give us a call – we’d be happy to remove it and answer any questions.

Flea Prevention

Flea infestations are a common problem for pet owners. These tiny insects hide in grassy areas, just waiting for your dog to walk by so they can jump on a host that will provide the blood they need to live and multiply. A flea infestation is miserable for both the pet and the pet owner, both of whom can suffer from bites.  These pests live in carpeting and upholstery. Getting these pests off your dog and out of your home can be an expensive, ongoing effort. Fortunately, a wide range of flea prevention products are available, including topical ointments, pills or collars that will ensure that your pet is not a suitable home for fleas and their offspring.

Usually, one product will get rid of fleas as well as ticks. So, the same rules apply – preventives must be applied regularly according to the instructions from the manufacturer. And, for flea prevention, the preventive must be applied to all pets in the home, even indoor cats. If your dog goes outside, fleas will hop on for a ride into your home. And, cats are just as cozy a home for fleas as dogs! If your pet does get fleas, we can help you through the process.  The bottom line for you and your pet, it will take three months to get rid of those pesky critters.  Our veterinarians at Burke Animal Clinic can help you figure out the best preventives for your pet.

Intestinal Parasites

Dogs and cats are common victims of several intestinal parasites frequently referred to as worms. They are in the environment naturally and pets pick them up during normal, everyday activity.  The most common are roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. Most of the time you’ll be able to tell if your pet has worms by their symptoms and you may even see them in your pet’s stool. You may see diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, or have just a general sense that your pet is not his or herself.   Most heartworm preventives also prevent these intestinal parasites. Annual fecal testing is key, too. Once detected, these parasites are treatable. Most importantly for people, some of these parasites can be transferred to pet owners. Prevention and regular screenings, as well as washing your hands, are your best defense!

Make Burke Animal Clinic Your Veterinarian in Burke, VA

The veterinarian and staff at Burke Animal Clinic work hard to provide compassionate, holistic care for all our patients, in Burke, Fairfax and surrounding communities. We offer a wide range of veterinary services, including wellness care, care when your pet becomes sick, diagnostic services, pharmacy services, vaccinations, spay and neuter services, dental care, nutritional counseling and urgent care. Your pet’s annual exam is the perfect time to talk about parasite prevention.  Call Burke Animal Clinic today at 703-569-9600 for an appointment with one of our vets.

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