When warm weather makes a comeback, so do parasites! Small but far from inoffensive, they pose genuine risks to pet and human health. Here are the main parasites that may affect cats and dogs.
Ticks are increasingly common in Quebec. There are many tick species, but the one people fear the most is the deer tick, capable of spreading the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium that causes Lyme disease. Despite its name, this tick feeds on the blood of nearly all animals it encounters, including pets. Ticks can also transmit diseases such as anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis.
Your pet is at risk of being exposed to ticks whenever the outdoor temperature rises above 4°C. It is therefore important to protect your cat or your dog as soon as the weather gets warmer.
This parasite affecting dogs is transmitted by mosquitoes biting contaminated animals, spreading it to other animals they later bite (immature worms and larvae are found in the blood of infected dogs).
Heartworms cause dirofilaria, a potentially deadly disease that can be detected with tests conducted six to seven months after the initial infection.
While animals can remain asymptomatic for a long time, the disease is still serious and treating it, although possible, is complex. An adequate protection is necessary to prevent heartworms from affecting your loyal companion.
Up to one out of three animals carries intestinal worms. Every day, these worms lay a large number of eggs that can be transmitted to other animals or spread to humans, and contaminate the environment.
Worms can affect pets of any size, as well as humans, with children and people in poor health being the most vulnerable. Since some worms can be passed on through the placenta or the mother’s milk, it is recommended to deworm puppies and kittens more frequently.
Most often, no worms can be observed in the stools—they remain in the intestine. Tiny eggs can be found in the feces and can be detected by a veterinary team with a stool analysis.
Fleas are a parasite very commonly found in cats and dogs. A single flea can bite 400 times a day.
Since they feed on blood, fleas can lead to anemia when in sufficient number. They can also cause allergic dermatitis and, when ingested, facilitate the transmission of flat worms (when an animal uses its mouth to scratch, for example).
If you find one flea on your pet, chances are that you’ll find more of them, since a female flea can lay up to 20 eggs every day! If your pet has fleas, your veterinarian will be able to recommend to best treatment to get rid of them.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR PET AGAINST PARASITES?
Prevention is the best protection against parasites. Start a treatment against parasites now to protect your dog and family.
To obtain your pet’s protection safely in times of social distancing, call or send an email to your usual Anima-Plus clinic’s team.
*Note : Although current circumstances surrounding COVID-19 limit veterinary activities to essential and emergency care, parasites do not take a break. Therefore, protection treatments against parasites cannot be delayed. This is why the Ordre des médecins vétérinaires and the Association des médecins vétérinaires en pratique des petits animaux recommend providing treatments against parasites to existing patients with up to date medical records.