Parasites are a constant danger to your dog that can range from an annoyance to life-threatening. In this post, our Orange Park vets will go over some of the parasites and why it is so important to prevent the infection and practice parasite control for dogs.
What is a Parasite
A parasite is an organism that feeds on your dog without offering any benefit. They steal nutrients from your dog and some can cause irreversible damage to your dog's organs.
Why should I worry if my dog doesn’t interact with other animals?
Insect bites, other animal feces, and even being passed down from mother to child before they are born are all ways for your dog to become infected. Once a dog is infected, it can be difficult to get some parasites out of its nest. As a result, the best solution is to take preventative measures. Some parasites that dogs may have include:
Mosquitoes are a common vector of this parasite. Once infected, the worm grows, reproduces, and spreads throughout the dog's body. Because of their unfortunate habit of embedding in the heart muscle, they were given the name heartworm. They can be found in the heart, lungs, and blood vessels of an infected dog. The problem with diagnosing them is that by the time the symptoms appear, the infection has progressed quite far. Internal organs can be severely damaged by these worms. It is unlikely that humans will become infected with this parasite.
This parasite can be transmitted from mother to child before birth. It can also be transmitted through eggs that are excreted and then swallowed. The egg can survive for weeks without a host and can infect humans, particularly children (which makes you question every sandbox you played in as a child). In dogs, this can cause stunted growth and a pot-belly appearance. Worms also emerge from both ends.
These dreadful creatures can infect your dog by consuming infected mother's milk, eating the eggs, or burrowing them into the skin. These creatures are tiny vampires that feed on the blood of animals by entering the GI tract and tearing holes in the lining, causing ulcers. They are lethal to young puppies and can cause anemia in adult dogs. These heinous creatures can burrow into human skin as well. Sandboxes, like roundworms, are notorious for being vectors of transmission (why do we let kids play in sandboxes?).
The classic pest that infests your dog’s fur. They are normally an annoyance, constantly biting and causing skin irritation. They can be a disease vector for tapeworms.
These little bugs bury their heads into the flesh of their victim. They can spread Lyme disease and can attack humans
How to Prevent Parasites in Dogs
Parasites are prevented in dogs by keeping up with their vaccinations. Your vet will be able to advise you of a schedule for inoculation. Make sure your dog goes for an annual wellness check so your vet can test for infestation.
Parasites are terrifying and can be fatal to your dog. Please continue to use preventative measures to protect your dog. Dogs and children are disease vectors in outdoor sandboxes.Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.