Veterinary Medical Center of Caldwell recommends year-round pet parasite prevention for dogs and cats in the Caldwell, NJ area. Consistent prevention methods and annual testing for parasites are essential to protecting your pet against infection and infestation. Pets do not always show obvious signs of internal or external parasite infection, making prevention that much more important to your pet’s routine. Ask your veterinarian for what parasite prevention products they recommend for your pet’s lifestyle.
The most common internal parasites we see in pets in the Caldwell, NJ area are tapeworms, whipworms, hookworms, roundworms, and giardia. Most of these parasites are shed in the stool of infected pets or are picked up from the environment, but they can sometimes be tracked into homes via the soles of your shoes or in items like potting soil. These parasites can also infect humans and cause illness. Because it is possible to track these parasites inside our homes and they are often undetectable in the environment, it is especially important to keep both indoor and outdoor pets on year-round parasite prevention.
Fleas and ticks are common external parasites that can be transmitted between animals or get picked up from the environment. Animals that are exposed to the outdoors, even through an open window or enclosed patio, or to other animals should receive routine pet parasite prevention to keep them protected against infestations. External parasites can also carry other parasites, like tapeworms, and diseases such as Lyme, Ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Even if your pet has been treated for fleas, there is a chance they will become re-infested without consistent prevention methods. If your pet has had fleas in the past, ask our team for recommendations on how to rid the pests from your home.
Heartworms are a common, and potentially fatal, parasite transmitted by mosquitoes. Common symptoms in dogs and cats include coughing, intolerance to exercise, and lethargy, and if undetected for long enough, can even include sudden death. Our veterinarians recommend annual heartworm testing for dogs and year-round prevention methods for dogs and cats to not only prevent, but also detect and treat heartworm disease as early as possible.
Heartworms are a type of roundworm that live in the blood vessels and arteries in and around the heart and lungs. Clinical signs of heartworm disease can take months to manifest, making early detection and treatment all the more important. Signs of heartworm infection may include chronic coughing, heavy breathing, loss of appetite, and weight loss.
Mosquitoes are the primary vector of heartworm disease transmission. While some mosquitoes do not carry heartworms, many do, and all it takes is one infected mosquito to infect your pet. Transmission happens when the mosquito takes a blood meal from your pet, and in the process passes the heartworm larvae into your pet’s bloodstream. In addition to causing trouble for your pet, being infected with heartworm also makes your pet a carrier with the potential of spreading the disease to other pets if a mosquito bites them.
Yes, canines and felines are both at risk for heartworm disease without proper protection.
If a dog infected with heartworms goes untreated for long enough, symptoms will start to appear. These generally include:
- Mild cough
- Reluctance to exercise
- Fatigue after moderate activity
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
Cats also do not show symptoms of heartworm disease until it has progressed. In the case of cats, treatment is not possible. For many, there may be symptoms like the ones listed below, but sudden death is also possible.
- Asthma attacks
- Lack of appetite
- Weight loss
Heartworm disease can be diagnosed via blood testing, X-rays, or echocardiograms.
The answer is prevention, all year-round.
You can also try to limit your pet’s contact with mosquitoes, but heartworm preventatives are the best line of defense.
No, heartworms cannot survive inside the human bloodstream.