Parasites are generally broken down into two categories: external and internal. The most common external parasites which may affect your pets are fleas, ticks, lice, mites, and demodex and sarcoptic mange. Generally, the only external parasites tested for during a comprehensive preventive care exam are fleas, ticks, and lice. A flea comb is used to check for flea “dirt” (feces and/or eggs), and we look and feel for live fleas and ticks while examining your pet. Other external parasites are microscopic, and diagnostic testing is not generally done until there are symptoms that indicate a need. However, the doctor always checks your pet’s ears and skin for any abnormalities during the exam.
The most common internal parasites which pose a health risk for your pet are heartworms, whipworms, hookworms, and roundworms. As a part of a comprehensive preventive care exam, we obtain a fecal sample from your pet and test for hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, and other intestinal parasites which are less common but still pose a threat to your pet.
We also collect a small sample of your pet’s blood to test for heartworms and 4 tick-borne diseases. Heartworms are potentially fatal internal parasites and are transmitted by mosquitos. (Did you know it is possible for ONE bite from an infected mosquito to infect your pet?)
All of these parasites are treatable, but more importantly, they are preventable. Since treatment can be both costly and risky to your pet’s health, we always recommend prevention over treatment. Many parasites are contagious to humans, making prevention even more important. (Did you know one of the leading causes of blindness in children is from a common intestinal parasite?)
If your pet is not on regular parasite preventives, please let us advise you on the best way to protect you, your family, and your pet.