Parasites: The Ins & Outs

Have you heard your veterinarian or other animal health care professional talk about parasites before, but didn’t really know what they were referring to? Let’s discuss the ins and outs of parasites!

Ectoparasites (external) are ones that most pet owners are already aware of, as they are often visible and a nuisance. These parasites live off of a host like our dogs and cats, and in some cases us too! Fleas, ticks, lice, and mites are all ectoparasites. They live externally, using a host to get a blood meal to survive, reproduce or mature during different stages of their life cycle. Having your dog on a flea and tick prevention or your cat on a flea and tick prevention will help you keep your pet comfortable and ectoparasite free. Fleas reproduce and become very active when the weather changes to warm and humid. Many clients have been into the hospital to purchase flea and tick medication, as they start pulling ticks off of their dogs this spring as the temperature gets warmer. Ticks can be found in long grass, wooded areas and fallen leaves. If you are a visitor to Cobble Hill Mountain or other local hiking trails, keeping your dog on some form of tick control is a good plan. If you see your pet excessively scratching, licking or chewing on their skin or shaking their head, give us a call at 250.743.3223 and we’ll book your pet to see a veterinarian.

Onto endoparasites, also known as internal parasites or worms! These parasites live inside your pet’s intestines and can cause health concerns. The most common internal parasites are tapeworms, roundworms, whipworms, hookworms and protozoa (more commonly known as giardia and coccidia). The internal parasite’s eggs are not visible to the human eye, but can be detected by a microscope. If you come in for a visit with your dog due to diarrhea, the stool sample will be checked for internal parasites in our laboratory. Annual fecal testing can determine internal parasite burdens. Loose stools, bum scooting, or vomiting can be signs that your dog or cat may have internal parasites. For the health and well-being of your pet, have a conversation with your Veterinarian about parasites today. Contact us!

Written by Meghan Seal, Inventory Specialist