A common everyday health concern for pet owners is the disease that can be carried by parasites. They may be small, but parasites can pack a deadly punch. For this reason, at East Valley Animal Hospital (serving Gilbert, Chandler, and Mesa), we stress the importance of proper pet hygiene and preventative care. Planning ahead can go a long way in protecting your furry friend from pet parasites.
When it comes to pet parasites, fleas are less known for carrying deadly diseases. However, in 2017, fleas in several Arizona counties were found to be carrying bubonic plague—that’s right, the disease that took millions of lives in the Middle Ages! Fleas are generally carried by wild animals. And when your sweet fido or fluffy take a trek outdoors, they can pick up those same tiny insects. Fleas may just bite your pet and move on, but if your pup or feline’s coat becomes infested with fleas, the chances of them spreading to the rest of the family are high. That’s why we recommend keeping a close eye on your pet’s grooming and behavior and being certain to give them their preventative flea medications.
We may think of ticks as being more of a problem in the lush and forested Northwest regions of America, but in fact, they are located all over the country. The most typical disease associated with tick bites in the state of Arizona when it comes to your furry friends is Ehrlichiosis—a bacterial illness that causes flu-like symptoms within a week or two of a tick bite. And although the Metro-Phoenix area does not have as many trees and wild creatures as are found in the greater United States, ticks are still a concern for those living in urban areas. Precautions for city-dwellers and suburbanites should be taken, such as checking your pet’s fur for ticks after being outside and using preventative medications.
Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes and are very deadly to pets. As the name suggests, once your dog or cat is infected, the larvae travel to the heart, where they take up residence and grow. The condition can be treated, but its very costly and requires hospitalization of your pet. Prevention is always the best approach where heartworms are concerned. It’s quite easy, and depending on the medication you choose for your pup or feline, it requires a monthly dose (cats are only a monthly dose) or a dose every six months.
Preventative medications for these and other pet parasites are available in oral, topical, and injectable forms for pets. To choose the best option for your pet, consult one of our East Valley Animal Hospital veterinarians. And when it comes to purchasing your medications and other pet supplies, our clients enjoy using our convenient online pharmacy, which ships directly to your doorstep. Questions? Give us a call and we’ll do our best to answer your concerns about pet parasites or any of your pet’s needs.
Photo by Sarah Pflug from Burst (8/7/2018)