Although Edmonton is not crawling with dangerous insects, it has a high enough population that you should be concerned about parasite prevention. Ticks, for instance, prey upon dogs and cats in three out of four life stages and are not as rare as we might hope. At the moment, there are 17 known species. Keeping pets safe from fleas and ticks through preventative care is very important. Our veterinarians are here to help you protect your pets and ensure they stay happy all year long without unwanted passengers.
What Is a Parasite?
A parasite is an organism that lives on or in a host animal, consuming the food that is meant for the dog or cat. Sometimes parasites even consume parts of the animal itself. Cats and dogs can transmit parasitic infections both to one other and to your family, which makes it crucial you’re always up to date on pet parasite prevention.
There are many types of parasites. Among the most common are fleas, which bite and irritate dogs and cats. This can cause allergic dermatitis, which may, in turn, cause excessive scratching or loss of fur. Fleas can also transmit tapeworms.
Heartworms are another common parasite. They are transmitted by mosquitoes and live in the lungs of cats and dogs. As the worms grow, they can cause heart disease and respiratory problems that may be life threatening. Other types of internal parasites include hookworms, tapeworms, roundworms, whipworms. and coccidian.
What Can You Do?
While ticks are fairly uncommon, you should still examine your animal’s fur after they’ve played in tall grass. Edmonton does harbor dangerous ticks, which can transmit diseases to your pets, so it pays to be careful. Note that ticks are also dangerous to you as well, so you should wear gloves to perform the examination and use tweezers to remove any insects you find on your pet. If you do find a tick, the best thing you can do is bring in your pet to the veterinarians at Mercy Animal Hospital and we will remove it for free. We will take the tick and send it to the Alberta government for testing and let you know if your pet is at risk for lymes disease. If you do want to remove it yourself, stop by our office and pick up our specialty tick removing devices sponsored by Zoetis.
Click Here to learn more about the Government of Alberta submit a tick program.
What Can We Do?
Unfortunately, even knowing the signs doesn’t always guarantee you can recognize parasites in your pets. The experts at our animal hospitals can help detect parasites through microscopic analysis and prescribe a course of prevention and treatment. Many parasites, including heartworms are preventable. We will do our best to educate and inform you about how to best keep your pets safe from parasites year-round! If you have any additional questions about pet parasite prevention, please contact the experience team at Mercy Animal Hospital for answers.