Parasite Detection, Prevention and Zoonosis
Parasites are the most common cause of illness in young mammals, a constant health threat to older animals, and a potential zoonotic threat to humans. (Zoonosis - human disease transmitted by animals). We include laboratory tests for intestinal parasites and heartworms during the annual wellness examination.
Children are especially susceptible to roundworms and hookworms. Dog and cat common roundworms are known to cause blindness in children. Hookworms can cause larval migrans through the skin resulting in a rash. Common dog tapeworms (Dipledium caninum) are not a threat to people, but there are other very deadly tapeworms (to humans) that are associated with dogs in developing countries. Protozoal parasites can cause diarrhea. It is essential to routinely test and treat our dogs and cats for these parasites. Therefore, we perform a parasite examination for each dog and cat during the annual wellness examination and vaccination appointment.
For the intestinal parasite exam, we look at your pet's fecal sample under a microscope. This is why we ask you to bring a fresh one to your appointment. For new patients without recent parasite testing history, It is our protocol to perform this initial test as well as a follow-up test, 3 weeks later. This 3 week window is important because of the parasite's life cycle.
Heartworms are parasites that are transmitted to dogs and cats by mosquitos. Heartworms are not a health risk to people, but they can be fatal to dogs and cats. And the treatment for an infection can be both exand risky.
Town & Country tests dogs for heartworms, annually. We use a unique test that checks your pet's blood specifically for these parasites. We also strongly recommend heartworm prevention for both dogs and cats. We offer many options for your pet, such as Heartgard Plus, Advantage-Multi and Trifexis.
Of all the parasites that plague pets, fleas seem to be most common and troublesome. They not only can cause pruritis (itching) they also can transmit the common tapeworm (Dipledium caninum). Adult fleas that are seen on your pet represent only a small part of the infestation problem. Where an infested animal travels or lies down, flea eggs are deposited, and larva develop. That means that furniture and beds can become havens for developing fleas and tapeworms. Fleas are a 12-month problem in our community. We have excellent products to eliminate and prevent fleas on our pets and in our homes. Talk to us about Frontline Plus, Advantage-Multi, Trifexis and Capstar.
These parasites are particularly dangerous to pets and to people. They are commonly found in and around our community. They are the vectors for diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme Disease, and Erhlichiosis. If your pet has been exposed to ticks, then talk to us about testing for these diseases which may lay dormant in your pet and not show clinical signs until weeks or months after the tick bite. We have products that can help reduce the exposure of you pet to tick bites and the transmission of the disease causing organisms. We offer Frontline Plus and Advantage-Multi to help protect your pet from ticks.
Mange is primarily a disease of dogs (although rare kinds of mange can be found in cats). Various mites cause mange. These mites are microscopic animals that infect the skin. The two most common mange conditions are Demodectic Mange (Red Mange) and Sarcoptic Mange (Scabies). Demodectic Mange is transmitted from mothers to offspring. It is not contagious to people. It causes hair loss and skin infections. Sarcoptic Mange causes intense pruritis (very itchy). It is easily transmitted between dogs and is contagious to people.