Pet Parasite Prevention
in Keller, TX

Parasites can cause all kinds of health problems in dogs and cats, and they do not always result in external symptoms. This makes annual parasite testing and monthly parasite preventatives a must for your pet! Here at Creekside, we offer parasite testing as well as monthly preventatives to keep your pet healthy and happy. 

Intestinal Parasites that Affect
Dogs and Cats

Intestinal parasites we typically see at Creekside Pet Care Center include roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, and giardia. These pests lay eggs which can get tracked into the house or unknowingly ingested by your pet, leading to them becoming infected. Whether your pet is indoor-only or indoor/outdoor, they could be at risk for intestinal parasites. Another issue is that these parasites can infect humans as well, so protecting your pet also protects your human family members by extension.

External Parasites Found on Dogs and Cats

The most common and troublesome external parasites affecting dogs and cats are fleas and ticks. These critters love feeding on mammals, especially our pets! Fleas and ticks are most often found in tall grass and thick brush in wooded areas, but fleas can also spread to your pet from another animal, or from being brought into the house on your clothes or some other surface. Common conditions associated with flea and tick infestations on pets include hair loss, itchy skin, allergies, anemia, and skin infections. Fleas and ticks can also spread other diseases to your pet, such as tapeworm infection (from ingesting an infected flea), or Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (all spread by ticks). Pets here in Texas need to be on flea and tick prevention all year round. Monthly application of a vet-recommended and prescribed preventative should keep these pests at bay.

Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease is transmitted to dogs and cats by mosquitoes and is very common here in Texas and the surrounding states. Clinical signs can take months to appear, and typically include chronic coughing, lethargy, exercise intolerance (pets infected with heartworm can weaken quickly), listlessness, trouble breathing, and loss of appetite. In advanced cases, heartworm disease can be fatal. Prevention and early detection of heartworm disease is critical to preventing the severe damage heartworms can inflict on your pet’s heart and lungs.

Heartworm FAQ

See our frequently asked questions about heartworm below to learn more.

A heartworm is a parasitic roundworm that lives in the blood vessels and major arteries of the heart and lungs. Heartworm disease is the result of heartworm infection inside the body, when the heartworm larvae transmitted by one or more mosquitoes travel through your pet’s bloodstream and mature around the heart and lungs.

Mosquitoes are the primary vector for heartworm infection. Luckily, not all mosquitoes carry heartworm larvae, but if a mosquito takes a blood meal from a heartworm infected animal, they become a carrier of the disease. Once they bite your pet, they unknowingly pass the heartworm larvae into your pet’s bloodstream. Then, your pet becomes a carrier and potential source of infection for other animals around them. This is why routine testing and monthly, year-round prevention are so important.

Yes, dogs and cats can both become infected with heartworms.

If your dog does show symptoms of heartworm disease, they might include:

  • Mild coughing
  • Labored breathing
  • Fatigue after just moderate activity or exercise
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lack of interest in exercise
  • Weight loss

Cats may also not show clinical symptoms of heartworm right away. But when they do, they typically include:

  • Coughing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Asthma attacks
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy

Heartworm disease is generally diagnosed by performing a blood test. The blood test evaluates for a heartworm antigen, which stimulates an immune system response. However, this antigen may not be apparent if your pet is in the early stages of infection. Other methods for detecting heartworm disease include CBC and thyroid testing, X-rays, or echocardiograms.

Prevention is the absolute best way to protect your dog or cat from heartworm infection. It is virtually impossible to keep mosquitoes away from your companion, because they are simply too small and elusive to stop every time. You can certainly take steps to minimize the presence of mosquitoes around your property and within your home, but keep in mind that no barrier is 100 percent impenetrable to mosquitoes.

Keeping your pet fully up to date with their heartworm preventative all year round is the most surefire way to protect your pet from heartworm disease.

No. Heartworms can be transmitted by mosquitoes into our bloodstreams, but they can’t survive and proliferate like they do in dogs and cats.

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