Parasitism and Deworming
Animals act as ideal hosts for worms and other parasites. They're much more likely than humans to harbor worms or other pathogens of that sort in their bodies because they tend to sniff at, lick up and gobble down anything in their path, including garbage, dirt, fleas, feces, and vomit. Even if your dog or cat isn't inclined to eat things he shouldn't, he could still contract a parasite from coming in contact with an infected animal.
If you suspect your dog or cat may be suffering from a parasite, come to Tchefuncte Animal Hospital for evaluation, testing, and appropriate deworming services without delay.
Certain parasites can be zoonotic- transmissible to humans, so it is extremely important to ensure your pet is properly treated and protected so you and your family will be as well.
Symptoms of Intestinal Parasites in Pets
A variety of worms can set up shop in your pet's intestinal tract, including hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms and whipworms. Coccidiosis and Giardia are also commonly found as well. Regardless of the precise parasite plaguing your pet, the symptoms are similar:
- Swollen stomach
- Weight loss
- Lethargy caused by anemia (decreased red blood cell count)
- Abnormal hair coat
How to Confirm the Presence of a Parasite
A stool inspection is the easiest way to diagnose a tapeworm or other parasite. When you visit our Madisonville veterinary hospital to have your pet checked for worms or other parasites, plan to bring a stool sample in a clean plastic baggie. Then the veterinarian will perform a laboratory analysis on the sample to determine the presence of a parasite. The veterinarian may elect to send the sample to a reference laboratory for ELISA testing or other tests if the initial screening test does not show any parasites at that time. It is also recommended that a routine fecal examination be done every 6 months even if the pet appears asymptomatic.
Heartworms are another type of worm that can invade your dog's heart, lungs and blood vessels. Mosquitoes transmit this parasite which migrates from the skin to the cardiovascular system and can grow up to a foot long and can be quite numerous. Our Madisonville veterinarian will perform a blood test to diagnose heartworms. This test should be done annually, regardless if the pet is on heartworm preventative or not.
The Process of Pet Deworming
We have many different types of prescription deworming products to choose from. We will prescribe the best treatment for your pet based on the parasite(s) present and the age, size and health status of your pet.
Please visit the Companion Animal Parasite Council’s website http://www.capcvet.org/ for further information on parasitism.
If your dog (or even cat- yes they get heartworms too!) is heartworm positive, we may recommend blood tests, x-rays, and completing other tests, we put your dog on a particular type heartworm prevention medication as well as doxycycline to weaken the worms via destroying gut bacteria that they require. Several week later, treatment may begin in the form of several injections over a one to two-month period. We'll offer tips to ensure your dog gets enough rest so he can recover quickly and safely.
The American Heartworm Society has excellent information on heartworms as well: https://www.heartwormsociety.org/
How to Prevent Worms and Other Parasites
Keep your pet healthy by avoiding a parasitic infestation in the first place. We recommend prescription medication for your dog to prevent heartworms and other intestinal parasites. You should also do what you can to keep your pet flea-free, including flea preventative and even flea collars.
Also, remember to bring your pet to our Madisonville veterinary clinic for annual checkups. We can catch worms and other parasites early to help ensure an effective treatment.
Schedule a Pet Exam and Deworming with a Madisonville Veterinarian
Tchefuncte Animal Hospital is your source for affordable, effective pet health and deworming. To schedule an appointment for your pet, please contact us online or call (985) 845-7484.