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Parasite Prevention

Sarasota, FL, is no stranger to parasites like fleas, ticks, mosquitos, and intestinal parasites. Parasites like these are troublesome, and pose serious risks to our pets. Avoid the diseases, illnesses, and general irritations parasites cause by administering continuous, year-round parasite preventatives. This is for the benefit of your pet, the pet population at large, and in some cases, your human family too.

Parasite prevention is easier than treatment, in every single case. The medical team at The Animal Medical Clinic of Gulf Gate effectively prevents parasites in its patients using a two-step prevention method: continuous preventative medication and annual parasite testing.

Your veterinarian will help you choose preventative medication that is most suitable for your pet and your lifestyle. Our recommendations are easy-to-administer, and generally come in the form of a pill, treat, or collar. Parasite testing comes in the form of a fecal test or blood sample, depending on the type of parasite being tested for.

Keep reading to learn more about common parasites, how to prevent infestation in your pet and, in some cases, how to keep your human family safe too:

    Fleas bite and latch on to the skin. The saliva of flea bites can lead to a variety of ailments, including allergic reactions, dermatitis, tapeworms, and bacterial infections like Bartonella. In serious and untreated cases, anemia and/or death can result. Flea populations peak in the warmer months. But, fleas are present in the environment year-round. Fleas also multiply quickly and are transmissible from animals to people. Female fleas can lay up to 50 eggs in a single day!

    Ticks carry dangerous conditions like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Bartonella, anaplasmosis, tick paralysis, and ehrlichiosis. Ticks are commonly found in wooded areas, grassy terrain, and humid climates. That's why it's imperative that you check your pet's skin and coat during daily grooming, especially after spending time outdoors. Ticks are also transmissible from animals to people.

    Mosquitos cause itchy, uncomfortable bites. Mosquito bites also pass heartworm larvae to an animal, which poses the life-threatening risk for heartworm infection if unprotected. Dogs are natural hosts of heartworm disease, but cats can get sick with heartworms as well. Heartworms are brutal parasites that occupy the heart, lungs, and blood vessels. Ultimately, heartworms cause irreversible damage that is highly fatal - and a very long, painful disease to treat and/or manage. Signs of heartworm infection are minimal until disease progression is in its late stages. Save your pet from the pain of heartworm disease by keeping up with monthly preventatives!

    Intestinal Parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, whipworms, and giardia and coccidia are very common in pets and will result in serious illness if left untreated. Worms are easily spread through contact with contaminated soil and the stool of other pets. This means your pet can contract intestinal parasites simply by going outside. However, infection is easily prevented.

Puppies and kittens are most at risk for intestinal parasites due to their premature immune systems, so it's best to begin parasite prevention methods during the first year of life and keep up with preventatives and annual fecal exams for the rest of the pet's life.

People are not safe from contracting intestinal parasites either. This means continuous parasite protection for your pets also protects you and your family! Children have the highest rates of infection due to lack of hygiene after playtime. Infection in humans can range from mild dermatitis to severe illness. To prevent exposure, wash your hands frequently after interacting with animals, wear gloves when handling pet waste, and pick up and dispose of pet waste properly and promptly.

  • Roundworms look like angel hair spaghetti. Heavily infected pets may pass roundworms in their stool or vomit.

  • Hookworms look like a fishing hook - hence their name! Hookworms are typically about 1 inch in length, and have teeth that attach to the lining of the intestine causing painful ulcers and bloody diarrhea.

  • Whipworms curl at one end like a whip and are about 2-3.5 inches in length. Whipworms cause bloody diarrhea. Cats are rarely infected.

  • Tapeworms are extremely common in pets, and are transmitted by an intermediate host like a rabbit, rodent, or flea. Tapeworms cause intestinal obstruction, which can be life-threatening.

  • Giardia & coccidia are protozoal intestinal parasites, meaning they are single-celled organisms and not visible with the naked eye. Giardia can cause illness at any age, including vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. Coccidia tend to cause illness in younger pets.