Parasites are organisms that feed on or within animals. Fleas, ticks and lice are the most well known offenders, but there are many other parasites that you may be unaware of. The harm parasites can cause range from minimal irritation to potential fatality if left untreated. No matter how careful you are, your pet is still at risk of contracting unwanted parasites. The first step of parasite prevention is to appropriately deworm your puppies and kittens in early life, this is because young animals can acquire parasites from their mother before birth or even through her milk.
Recognizing external parasites is not always as easy as visualizing the parasite. Sometimes they are too small to be catch of glimpse of, this is when your animal can give you clues that sometimes just isn’t right. Clinical signs may include:
- Constant itching, chewing and licking
- Patchy hair loss
- Irritated skin or scabbing
- Constant scratching of their ears or head shaking
Unfortunately, internal parasites can only be noticed in two ways, either through clinical signs or by seeing your animal’s feces having unwanted wiggling guests within. Clinical signs may include:
- A pot-bellied appearance
- Vomiting, diarrhea or rapid weight loss
- Lethargy and loss of appetite
There are excellent parasite control products available. Speaking with your veterinarian can help you develop a parasite control protocol that will best fit you and your animal’s lifestyle to have them fully protected and safe.