Parasite Prevention

Parasites can cause many diseases, some life threatening. Signs of parasitism include diarrhea or soft stools, vomiting, lethargy, weight loss, poor coat, coughing and difficulty breathing.

Parasites can cause primary disease by themselves and can make other conditions and illnesses worse. Some parasites are zoonotic, which means they can go from pets to people. Some parasites can cause more severe infections in people than they would have in pets. So it is very important to follow your veterinarians’ recommendations on parasite prevention.

How do you test for and treat Heartworm Disease?

This is a blood test that can be done in our office, with results in as little as 10 minutes. We recommend having this test before your pet is placed on monthly heartworm/parasite prevention, and then again on a yearly basis.

Heartworm disease is prevalent all over the world. It is a very serious and potentially fatal disease in dogs. A monthly chew/pill or an injectable heartworm prevention medication is an easy and affordable way to prevent this disease.

What are some common parasites in the Maricopa County area?

Ticks, heartworm, intestinal parasites, and less commonly fleas, are all found in the Maricopa County area. Common intestinal parasites include hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, coccidia, and giardia.

What are the general deworming recommendations?

There are some parasites that may not be detected with fecal testing, therefore a general dewormer is a great way to rid your pet of potential infections of common intestinal parasites. For new pets, puppies or kittens we will recommend a deworming treatment, followed by fecal testing to best evaluate if your new pet is parasite free. After this, we recommend giving your pet an easy to administer monthly parasite and heartworm preventive chew/pill.

What is a fecal test and why should it be done?

Yearly testing of your pet’s fecal (poop) sample is recommended to evaluate for possible infections with intestinal parasites. Your pet’s fecal sample will be tested by a what is called a “fecal float” or “fecal evaluation by centrifugation”. These tests look for the microscopic eggs that parasites lay that cannot be seen by the naked eye. Fecal testing is important to prevent parasites, but is also very important if your pet has clinical signs of infection, such as diarrhea or vomiting.

What is flea/tick prevention?

These are once monthly preventatives that are applied to the skin between the shoulder blades, helping reduce the chance of flea bites and tapeworms. In addition, these dewormer medications help prevent itching misery, flea allergy dermatitis, and diseases that fleas and ticks carry and transmit to your pet. Fleas and ticks can carry such diseases as Lyme disease, ehrlichia, rocky mountain spotted fever and tick paralysis.

What is Tick Fever and how can it be detected?

Tick Fever is caused by a type of bacteria called Ehrlichia. This bacteria is spread by different types of ticks and is found in the Maricopa County area. Dogs with tick fever can be listless, have a change in appetite and may have enlarged lymph nodes. There may be a fever or abnormal bleeding as well, but some dogs do not show any signs or symptoms at all. Diagnosis is made through a simple blood test and tick fever is typically treated with antibiotics.