There was a time when parasites such as fleas, ticks and roundworms were considered to be no more than an unpleasant nuisance for our furry friends. We know now, however, that they can cause serious illness and even death. Ticks can transmit infections like Lyme disease, and fleas can carry tapeworms and Bartonella, the bacteria that causes “cat-scratch fever” in humans. Another type of parasite, a heart worm, is transmitted by mosquitoes and “lives” in your pet’s lungs and heart, causing damage to these organs and in some cases, even death. Intestinal parasites, such as roundworms and hookworms, also can threaten pets and are even transmissible to humans.
You may not always be able to tell if your pet has parasites. Fleas can hide under an animal’s fur, and some ticks are only the size of a pinhead, making them very difficult to find. Roundworms can cause diarrhea and other problems, but many infected pets don’t show any symptoms or signs of illness.
The “good” news is that we can perform tests to determine if your pet has parasites, examine him or her for evidence of fleas or ticks and recommend helpful medications. Preventing parasites also helps protect children and other family members, so it’s all the more important that we work with you to keep everyone healthy.