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ProHeart 6

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Internal & External Parasites

Prevention of internal and external parasites not only protects your pet, but protects you and your family too.

External Parasites

  • Fleas are pesky blood sucking parasites. They can be found everywhere. It is a common misconception that the only way your pet can get fleas is to go around other pets who have a flea infestation. While they can get them that way; it is also possible that you could bring some in from your yard, a friend’s house, paper sacks, etc. One flea can lay up to 50 eggs PER DAY! So you can go from one to one thousand in no time. Not only do fleas make your pet itch and scratch; they can also cause flea allergy dermatitis and may transmit tapeworms. Treatments associated wtih these conditions will more than likely cost more than just a once monthly dose of flea prevention.  There are so many kinds of flea prevention available it can be confusing.  Let us help you decide what is right for your pet.   
  • Ticks are also blood feeding parasites. Ticks are attracted to movement and heat. They will wait in a wooded or grassy area for their host to walk by. When they see an opportunity they will jump on and begin to feed. If a tick attatches and is not removed quickly; they can transmit  Lymes, Ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever to your pet and to you.  Like flea prevention there are many different options regarding tick prevention. Let Dr. Jones help you sort through the options. We want what is best for you and your pet. 

Internal Parasites

  • Heartworms are parasites spread through mosquito bites. A mosquito picks up microfilaria from another infected animal,  and after living in the salivary glands of the mosquito for two weeks it becomes infective. A mosquito then takes a blood meal off an animal and releases heartworm larvae into the wound.  The larvae then continue to grow as they find their way through tissues to the animal’s heart and lung vessels. Once there they reproduce, and if left untreated can cause major damage and possibly death. Adult heartworms can be as big as spaghetti strands! It is much more cost effective to prevent your pet from getting heartworms than it is to treat your pet once infected. Heartworm disease is found in all 50 states. Here in Missouri we recommend keeping your pet on heartworm prevention year round. If you have not had your pet on heartworm prevention we can run a heartworm test in house in 10 minutes. If that test is negative then we can start your pet on heartworm prevention. Just like flea and tick prevention there are many options available as far as prevention goes. Dr. Jones will recommend a product that is just right for you and your pet.
  • Tapeworms are the most common intestinal parasite seen with the naked eye. They are hard to detect under the microscope. Pet owners will commonly find little moving white rice like segments in their pet’s stool, dried segments around where the pet sleeps, and sometimes they will be stuck to the hair around the pet’s anus. These segments that pet owners find are actually from one worm that is still attatched to the pets intestine. A tapeworm can be 1-2 feet long! Most of the time owners will not notice any symptoms from their pet.  Pets most commonly get tapeworms by eating fleas, mice, rats, squirrels, and rabbits. Luckily, treating your pet for tapeworm is pretty easy and effective. Deworming your pet will not prevent future tapeworm infections. We recommend quarterly deworming if your pet is commonly exposed to tapeworms.
  • Roundworms are a type of intestinal parasite that can be spread from pet to human. Typically pet owners will not see the worm unless the pet has a heavy infestation. In that case the worms may be seen in the pet’s stool, or the pet may vomit up the worms. These white tubular parasites can grow to be 3-5 inches long. Adult dogs may not show any signs of infection, but they may have a pot belly appearance. They can be passed to adult dogs through eating wild animals, or feces that is infected.  Roundworms are very commonly seen in puppies. Mothers can pass the roundworm larvae during pregnancy or through her milk. As with adult dogs; puppies may not show any symptoms, have diarrhea, have a pot belly appearance, or worms may be seen in stool or vomit. Severe infestations can cause death in puppies. Roundworm eggs can be seen by reviewing a stool sample under a microscope. Using a dewormer will rid your pet of roundworms, but will not prevent further contamination. Using monthly heartworm prevention can help prevent roundworm infestations.
  • Hookworms are another example blood sucking parasites that can be passed from pet to human. The larvae can be spread by ingestion, burrowing into the skin, or passed from momma to puppy. Once the larvae have found their way to the intestines they hook onto the intestine and begin feeding. Because they feed on blood; hookworms can cause anemia. If left untreated it can even cause death. Hookworms are diagnosed by finding eggs when looking at a stool sample under a microscope. De-worming will get rid of the worms. Keeping your pet on heartworm prevention can also prevent further infections.
  • Whipworms are blood sucking parasites. Unlike most other parasites whipworms are not likely to be transferred from to pet to human. Pets get whipworms by ingesting the eggs. Once they get to the large intestine the adult worms actually burrow into the wall of the intestine. Infected pets may not show any signs, or they may have diarrhea, possibly with blood in it, or weight loss. Whipworm eggs can live in the soil for YEARS, and can even resist freezing! Whipworm eggs can be seen by looking at a stool sample under a microscope. Treating your pet for whipworms is quite simple, but it does not prevent re-infestation. Keeping your pet on a monthly heartworm preventative can help prevent whipworms.