Preventive Services

You can help keep your pet healthy by protecting him or her against parasites. Heartworms, fleas, ticks, and other internal and external parasites are much more than just pests; they can cause life-threatening conditions in your pet—and cause severe, potentially fatal, health problems for you and your family. We will recommend a preventive regimen for your pet based on lifestyle and risk factors. We can also provide advice on keeping your whole household safe from parasitic infection. Set up an appointment with us to discuss parasite prevention, or call us to refill your pet’s medication. Protect your pet and your family today!

Parasite Prevention

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Why prevent parasites?

Parasites can cause mild to very severe symptoms depending on the parasite and the severity of the infestation. Mild symptoms range from nothing at all, to vomiting and diarrhea. Keep in mind that chronic vomiting and diarrhea can become a severe situation quickly, especially in small and young animals. Some parasites in large enough infections can even cause death. Internal parasites take nutrients away from your pet, while external parasites can irritate the skin. Heartworm infection is very difficult to treat and can be fatal. We have a wide variety of products to treat and prevent parasites and several different ways to administer them. We can find the best solution for you and your pet.

Another strong reason to be vigilant about parasites is zoonosis. This is any infectious disease that can be transferred from our pets to us and vice versa. Of the 1412 pathogens known to affect humans, about 61% are zoonotic. Parasites found in fecal matter are among the infectious agents that can be passed between us and our pets. The severity of disease caused by infection from these parasites varies from parasite to parasite and person to person. Generally, the young and old and those with a compromised immune system are most at risk for serious side effects.

Bugs and Poo – what they tell us about your pet

Fecal Examination:

Fecal Flotation – A fresh stool sample (from the last 24 hours or sooner) is mixed with a solution in a test tube. This solution causes the parasite eggs and ovum to float to the top of the test tube. The tube is spun in a centrifuge for further separation. A sample of the fecal mixture is placed on a microscope slide. The slide is examined under a microscope as parasite eggs cannot be seen by the naked eye. A registered veterinary technician views the slide under different magnifications and lighting to identify and grade the type and severity of the infection. The results are reported to the veterinarian who prescribes the appropriate medication for treatment. Along with the medication, we provide you with printed material for your reference. To ensure successful treatment of the infection, we’ll ask you to bring your pet’s fecal in for a post-treatment examination.

Giardia Snap Test:

Giardia is a single-celled organism infecting the intestines of dogs and cats. To determine if your pet is suffering from an infestation, a fresh stool sample is mixed in a solution and placed on a “snap tester”. This works similarly to a pregnancy test. The test looks for a specific antigen related to giardia and we’ll know within 8 minutes if your pet is infected or not. Although we can sometimes see giardia on fecal floats, it’s not always evident in the stool, making the snap test so important. We recommend snap tests for all new puppy and kitten patients and any patients with diarrhea or vomiting.

Flea Prevention and Control

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Fleas can cause problems for pets ranging from minor to life-threatening. Not only can these parasites cause severe itching, irritation, and allergies, but they can also transmit tapeworms and diseases. Fleas can infest dogs, cats, ferrets, mice, and rats. And fleas don’t just stay on pets; they can bite people, too. For more information, contact us or see the flea article in the Pet Health Library on our site.

You don’t want these blood-sucking parasites on your pet or in your home. We can help keep them away or help you get rid of them if they’ve already found their way inside. Call us to find out how to eliminate and control fleas or to start your pet on a preventive today.

Heartworm Prevention

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When they bite, mosquitoes can transmit heartworm infection. And those heartworms can wreak havoc on your dog or cat. These parasites can severely and sometimes fatally damage the heart, lungs, and blood vessels. Some pets may not show any signs of infection; in those that do, symptoms can vary widely.

In dogs, signs of heartworm disease can range from coughing, fatigue, and weight loss to difficulty breathing and a swollen abdomen (caused by fluid accumulation from heart failure). Canine heartworm infection can also lead to a life-threatening complication called “caval syndrome” (a form of liver failure); without prompt surgical intervention, this condition usually causes death.

Although often thought to not be susceptible to heartworm infection, cats can indeed get heartworms. Cats can suffer from a syndrome referred to as heartworm-associated respiratory disease (HARD); the symptoms can be subtle and may mimic those of asthma or allergic bronchitis. Signs of respiratory distress, such as rapid or difficult breathing, wheezing, and panting, are common. Other symptoms include coughing, vomiting (typically unrelated to eating), and loss of appetite or weight. Heartworm infection is more difficult to diagnose in cats than it is in dogs.

Treatment for heartworm infection is far more expensive than prevention—and it can actually kill your dog. There is no approved treatment for cats. Some cats spontaneously rid themselves of the infection; others might not survive it. And even one or two adult heartworms in a cat can cause serious problems.

Fortunately, there’s a way to keep your dog or cat safe: by administering monthly heartworm preventives. Most heartworm medications also protect your pet against other parasites, such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, ear mites, fleas, and ticks. We can recommend a regimen of prevention for your pet.

Tick Prevention

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Ticks are becoming more and more prevalent in North America, and they’re now being found in areas where people and pets didn’t previously encounter ticks. These parasites aren’t just a nuisance; they can cause serious—and sometimes deadly—diseases, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, and tick paralysis. Contact us immediately if your pet starts coughing or has joint pain, trouble breathing, fever, weakness, or loss of appetite, weight, energy, or coordination.

Keep ticks off your pet by keeping your dog or cat on a tick preventive. Even indoor-only pets are at risk because ticks can hitch a ride inside on your clothing or shoes. Tick preventives are safe and effective at controlling ticks and the diseases they carry. Call us to get your pet protected today!

Don’t panic if you find a tick on your dog or cat, even if your pet is on a preventive. Some preventives kill ticks after they’ve come in contact with your pet. Ticks can hide under your pet’s fur, so as an added measure of protection, we recommend checking your pet for ticks every time your pet comes in from outside. And don’t hesitate to ask us any questions you might have.