At Scott County Animal Hospital we believe strongly in parasite control to prevent disease in both animals and humans. Proper parasite control involves an assessment of your pet's exposure to parasites of all kinds. The most common parasites we deal with include heartworms, fleas, ticks, and intestinal parasites like hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, and tapeworms.
Monthly heartworm preventatives will control heartworms in dogs and cats, and most also control some internal parasites. All pets should have an annual heartworm test performed on a small blood sample.
Monthly use of flea and tick preventatives will keep these pests from invading your home and infesting your pet. Flea and tick prevention also prevents exposure to a variety of insect-borne diseases such as Lyme disease. As fleas are part of the tapeworm life cycle, controlling fleas will also control some tapeworm problems.
To control internal parasites, we strongly recommend monthly use of heartworm preventatives. Depending on your pet's exposure, you may also need to give an oral dewormer to clear your pet of all parasites. It is important to remember that many parasites are zoonotic, which means that they can affect humans. Unfortunately, when parasites transfer from pets to humans, they don't always behave in the same way as they do in pets. Hookworms, for example, migrate under the skin or to the eye in humans, while in pets they stay in the intestines. Parasite control is essential in preventing such terrible diseases in your family.
Regular fecal examination (at least once a year) will detect most internal parasites. An annual heartworm test will detect heartworm disease. Be sure to have these tests performed on your pet at his or her annual wellness examination.