Parasite prevention may not be the first thing that you think about when your new puppy comes to live with you. However, preventative health care should be a significant priority for any dedicated pet owner. This is because your pup’s body is as fragile as your own, and this means that she has the potential to be affected by a range of different health problems and illnesses caused by exposure to parasites.
What are the most common parasites affecting puppies?
While there are many different types of parasites that can affect our animals, some are more likely to than others. Some common puppy parasites that you need to be aware of include:
Fleas are microscopic creatures that live on your pup’s skin and feed off of her blood. They transmit a toxin when they bite your pet, and this causes their skin to become extremely itchy. For this reason, excessive scratching is one of the most obvious symptoms of a flea infestation. Some fleas can also carry infectious diseases such as tapeworms, which they can then pass to your puppy. Fleas reproduce rapidly, meaning the problems that they cause can worsen just as fast.
Ticks are also an external parasite, although they are bigger and can be seen by the naked eye. They drop onto your puppy from nearby grasses and branches and then swell in size as they feast. Ticks are well known for carrying and transmitting serious diseases including ehrlichiosis, babesiosis and Lyme disease. Their bites can potentially also cause mild to severe paralysis thanks to a toxin in their saliva.
Mange is fairly common among young dogs, with the creatures that characterize it being spider-like mites that burrow beneath the surface of the skin to lay eggs. It is highly contagious and causes a variety of skin-based symptoms including irritation, open wounds, scabs and crustiness.
Ear mites are tiny, infectious organisms that are almost impossible to spot with the naked eye. If you clean your puppy’s ears, you may notice small white dots moving around in the residue – these are ear mites. Ear mites live off of the skin and wax in your pup’s ears and can cause severe irritation and infection.
There are many different types of internal worm that can affect our puppies, with tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms and heartworms being some of the most commonly diagnosed. These live inside your pup’s body, deriving their nutrients directly from her so that they can grow and reproduce. Worm infestations can take several forms, but they all have the potential to cause permanent damage to your puppy’s body – or worse. Heartworms are one of the most serious health problems affecting dogs across the U.S. and left untreated, they are nearly always fatal.
How to prevent parasites from affecting your puppy
No caring and committed owner wants to think about their precious furbaby being affected by parasites. Fortunately, there are ways to ensure that this doesn’t become an issue for you and your puppy. Here is what you need to know about preventing the common puppy parasites listed above.
Preventing fleas and ticks
Fortunately, when it comes to preventing fleas and ticks, manufacturers have created combination treatments that are able to repel both types of these parasites in just one solution. These tend to be available in different formats including sprays, lotions, shampoos, collars and even medications. In the case of fleas, keeping your home clean, vacuuming regularly and paying special attention to carpets, floorboards and low furniture is also highly beneficial.
Unfortunately, there are currently no definitive preventatives for mange. However, good general health and regular brushing have been shown to be fairly effective in helping dogs to avoid the condition. Your vet will also be able to monitor your pup closely to check for this condition.
Worms can potentially be devastating for your darling dog, but there are a wide range of effective preventatives available. Regular worming treatments should be part of your dog’s standard healthcare routine and your vet will be happy to help you decide on the best worming treatment for your furbaby. In addition to this, your vet will request fecal samples at each check-up your pet attends. Although not all worm problems will show up in your pet’s feces, many do, and this means treatment can be started promptly to resolve her condition. Make sure you clear up any bowel movements left in and around your property and dispose of them properly so that re-infestation can’t occur.
As with all types of preventative, each has a short lifespan of effectiveness and it will be necessary to ensure that you re-administer your chosen product before the previous one ends. Failure to do so could see your puppy vulnerable to becoming affected.
Need more information about the most common puppy parasites or want to arrange a parasite prevention appointment for your pet? Our team of expert veterinarians would be thrilled to help. Contact our vets in Bastrop LA at 318-310-7730 to get in touch and learn more about parasite prevention recommendations.