Michigan Humane Society

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Make Your Pet’s Health Care SIMPLE: Parasite Control

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Pets can often harbor zoonotic parasites meaning they can be transmitted to the human members of your family as well as being harmful to your pet. Making sure your pet is on a year-round parasite control program will help protect your pet and family.

  • Intestinal worms and parasites: These include roundworms, hookworms and whipworms. Eggs and worms are found in and transferred through fecal material. A yearly stool sample is necessary for helping to diagnose these types of worms. Make sure you ask your vet which treatment is best for the particular type of worm your pet is infected with. Oral monthly prevention can be given as well as regular deworming. Coccidia and Giardia are other intestinal parasites that can cause diarrhea and must be treated. These are common in puppies and kittens. Tapeworms are transmitted by the ingestion of fleas and small rodents. Small segments can be seen in fecal material.
  • Heartworm: Pets can be infected with heartworm through a single common mosquito bite, and worms travel through the bloodstream into the heart and lungs. While potentially fatal, it is preventable. Treatment is possible, but difficult and costly. Monthly heartworm preventative is affordable and will keep your pet protected. MHS requires an annual blood test to make sure your pet is not infected prior to starting preventative.
  • Fleas: One female flea can produce up to 1,000 eggs in her short lifetime. It takes as little as 13 days and as long as a few months for fleas to complete their life cycle. Getting rid of fleas can be done with the right medication, knowledge and help from our experienced veterinary team. Preventing fleas is MUCH easier than treating them. Year-round, monthly flea prevention is recommended and comes in topical or oral forms. Fleas can carry many diseases and can cause uncomfortable skin problems for your pet with just a few bites. For every five fleas found on your pet, there are 10 ready to hatch, 35 in the larvae form (the stage between the egg and the adult) and 50 eggs, all in places your pet spends the most time.
  • Ticks: Ticks are bloodsucking parasites that are found in many areas of Michigan. Ticks are the source of many serious diseases of pets and humans including Lyme disease. Ask our veterinarians to recommend a topical tick prevention that is right for your pet.
  • Ear mites: Common especially in kittens and puppies, ear mites are easily transmitted from pet to pet. If one pet in your household has ear mites, all should be treated. They are diagnosed by taking an ear swab of your pet’s ear debris. They can be treated with a topical medication. Treatment can take two to three months.
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