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Parasite Prevention

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.