FACTS TO KNOW ABOUT PARASITES & YOUR PETS
HOW BEST TO PREVENT THEM
Preventative care is one of the most important steps you can take to keep your four-legged friends healthy and happy. It’s important to protect your pets from parasites and the diseases they carry.
Fleas are one of the most common parasites seen in dogs and cats in the south. They can live more than 100 days without a host and can jump 8 inches high. That’s 150 times its height! They can also cause other parasitic infections such as tapeworms.
SCREENING AND PREVENTION
Dogs and cats are likely to become infected with parasites at some point in their lives. If left undetected and untreated, they will impact a pet’s well-being – from simply being irritating to causing a variety of life-threatening conditions. Some parasites can even infect and transmit a disease to humans, with children being an especially vulnerable target! Parasites don’t discriminate; both indoor and outdoor pets are at risk.
When it comes to parasitic illness, it’s always better to prevent than to treat. That’s why Blue Ridge Animal Hospital recommends annual testing for intestinal parasites, tick-borne diseases, and heartworm, as well as staying up on your pet’s monthly preventative medications.
HEARTWORM AND TICK-BORNE DISEASE TESTING
Dogs (and cats) of any age or breed are susceptible to heartworm infection. Heartworm disease is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito infected with a parasite (Dirofilaria immitis.) If untreated, heartworms can cause serious heart and lung disease that can lead to death. Improvements in client education have increased client awareness of heartworm and its risks, yet infection rates have remained steady. More needs to be done to ensure client compliance for heartworm testing.
Ticks have been around since the time mammals appeared on the earth. However, in the past ten years, the tick population has exploded to significant levels. With this comes an increased risk of contact with the literally thousands of tick species in existence today. Our exposure to ticks is greater than ever before. This is not just because there are more of them, but also due to other environmental and cultural factors. These include a rise in the deer population (white-tailed deer in particular); warmer winters; decreased use of insecticides; increased travel throughout the country; and suburbanization, or the migration of people into areas previously inhabited by wildlife.
Most people know that ticks transmit Lyme disease, a chronic and debilitating illness, but they also carry bacteria that lead to other acute illnesses, such as anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis. Some ticks carry more than one of these diseases, which can lead to co-infection. These diseases vary in severity depending on patient age and overall health, and all are zoonotic, meaning they can infect humans and other non-canine family members.
The presence of one or more of these illnesses can be determined by a simple blood test. Therefore, we recommend all pets have this test performed on an annual basis, allowing for any detected problems the opportunity to receive an immediate intervention.
Blue Ridge Animal Hospital
224 W. Wade Hampton Blvd.
Greer, South Carolina 29650
Hours of Operation
Monday & Wednesday
Wednesday only closed 1-3PM
Tuesday & Friday
In the event of an emergency during our normal office hours please call ahead if possible and proceed directly to our practice. For after-hour emergencies, we advise that you contact the pet emergency center shown below:
Animal Emergency Clinic
Monday-Friday: 6pm - 8am
Saturday: 12 noon - Monday: 8am
Holidays: 12am - 12pm
The materials offered on this website are intended for educational purposes only. Blue Ridge Animal Hospital does not provide veterinary medical services or guidance via the internet. Please consult your pet's veterinarian in matters regarding the care of your animals.