Parasite Prevention

A Winning Strategy to Keep You, Your Family, and Your Pets Safe

 

Parasites have the ability to transmit potentially fatal diseases to our pets every day, which is why understanding parasitic diseases and ways to prevent them is a critical component to our pet’s health.

Most pet owners think of fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes as just everyday pests that become more prominent during the summer and fall months, but they are a year round reality that must be focused on even during the colder temperature months. Parasites survive winters in protective surroundings that may exist under houses, in garages, or in rodent burrows.

Parasites are harmful to your pet as well as a risk to your family because they can transmit a range of diseases detrimental to humans. For more specific information about parasitic disease control for your pet, take a look at our Parasitic Disease Control Charts.

Disease Transmitted by Mosquitoes

Disease Transmission Symptoms Treatment Prevention
West Nile Disease
  • Birds act as a host for West Nile Disease.
  • Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds.
  • Infected mosquitoes can then transmit the virus to humans, dogs, and cats.
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • There is no specific treatment for West Nile Disease infection.
  • Treatment would consist of supportive care and managing symptoms based on standard practices for animals infected with a viral agent.
  • Veterinarian recommended topical parasite prevention
Heartworm Disease
  • Mosquitoes become infected with microfilariae while taking blood from an infected animal.
  • The microfilariae then mature to the infective larval stage within the mosquito.
  • The mosquito then infects a dog, cat, or other mammal and rarely, but sometimes a human.
  • Persistent cough
  • Fatigue- Weight loss
  • Decreased appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Complicated and expensive process for treatment in dogs with the use of an arsenic based drug.
  • There is no current treatment for heartworm disease in cats.
  • Veterinarian recommended oral parasite prevention.
  • Some medications are species specific.
  • Owner’s responsibility to faithfully maintain the prevention program

 

Disease Transmitted by Fleas

Disease Transmission Symptoms Treatment Prevention
Bartonella
  • More commonly known as “The Cat Scratch Disease”
  • Fleas are most commonly responsible for the transmission of the Bartonella bacteria to humans, dogs and cats.
  • Severe Pain
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Rashes
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Lab tests are used to detect infection, but may be extremely difficult to diagnose.
  • Six month treatment with the use of antibiotics is recommended.
  • 95% of patients respond to treatment without damage to the kidneys or liver.
  • Veterinarian recommended topical flea prevention or repellent.
Tapeworms
  • Tapeworms are most commonly transmitted when a cat or dog ingests a flea while cleaning themselves.
  • Children and some adults are also at risk.
  • Tapeworms are flat, segmented worms that live in the intestinal tract.
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Decreased Appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Weight Loss
  • Segments of worm visible in bowel movement
  • Laboratory testing is required to properly diagnose tapeworms.
  • If tapeworms are not detected in the fecal sample, blood testing may be required.
  • Deworming medications are most commonly used for specific treatment of tapeworms.
  • Other supportive care may be required.
  • Practice good hygiene and consistently clean pet’s waste.
  • Veterinarian recommended topical flea prevention or repellent.

 

Disease Transmitted by Ticks

Disease Transmission Symptoms Treatment Prevention
Lyme Disease
  • Transmitted to humans, cats, and dogs by the bite of an infected tick.
  • The black-legged or deer tick are the primary vectors.
  • Red, expanding rash
  • Muscle and Joint Aches
  • Swollen Lymph Nodes
  • Patients treated with the appropriate oral antibiotics in the early stages of Lyme Disease usually recover completely.
  • More progressed illness may require intravenous treatment.
  • Approximately 10-20% of patients will have persistent or recurrent symptoms following treatment.
  • Immunization to prevent Lyme Disease.
  • Veterinarian recommended topical tick prevention or repellent.
Ehrlichiosis
  • Transmitted to humans, cats, and dogs by the bite of an infected tick.
  • The long star tick is the primary vector of Ehrlichiosis.
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Anorexia
  • Weight Loss
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Occasional Neurologic Disease
  • Diagnosis of Ehrlichiosis is based on the presence of characteristic signs and is confirmed with blood work testing.
  • Treatment usually consists of oral antibiotics.
  • Reinfection may occur following treatment, requiring additional courses of therapy.
  • Veterinarian recommended topical tick prevention or repellent.
Anaplasmosis
  • Transmitted to humans, cats, and dogs by tick bites primarily from the black- legged tick and the western black-legged tick.
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Painful joints
  • Swollen Joints
  • Diagnosis of Anaplasmosis is based on the presence of characteristic signs and is confirmed with blood work testing.
  • Treatment usually consists of oral antibiotics.
  • Further treatment and testing may be needed dependant on patients clinical signs.
  • Veterinarian recommended topical tick prevention or repellent.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Transmitted to humans and dogs by tick bites.
  • Decreased appetite
  • Fever
  • Depression
  • Muscle and Joint Pain
  • Swollen Lymph Nodes
  • Edema of the face and legs
  • Diagnosed through blood tests can become positive as early as four days after the tick bite.
  • Patients will begin treatment with antibiotics for 10-14 days.
  • Patients that develop severe disease may need to be treated for shock and severe nervous system symptoms.
  • Veterinarian recommended topical tick prevention or repellent.

Let us help you win the fight against disease. Enter to

Win a Year’s Supply of Parasite Prevention!

Visit the hospital any time during the month of March to enter your pet into a free drawing to win!

For more guidance for your specific pet, speak to your veterinarian at 603-893-1646.
We recommend year round heartworm prevention, intestinal parasite prevention and flea and tick prevention for dogs and cats.

Other Resources:
1- “Think 12 in 2013” American Heartworm Society:
2- “Tick Myth
3- “Lyme Disease Severity Map
4- “Cost of Heartworm Prevention