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Worm Warning! Protect your pet from deadly parasites

Summer weather may mean more time outdoors for your furry loved one - and more exposure to parasites that can steal their health. Roundworms and tapeworms can often be seen in the fecal checks we recommend; other parasites are more difficult for us to detect. Worm larvae can lay dormant in your dog's or cat's body for months or even years. Many of these parasites are zoonotic, meaning they can transfer from pets to humans.

Tapeworms. Tapeworms are commonly transmitted to your pet by fleas. An end segment of the long, segmented worm can sometimes be seen in the stool like a grain of rice.

Roundworms. Kittens and puppies are often infected with roundworms through their mothers even before they are born. We suspect roundworms when we see a pot-bellied appearance and poor growth.

Whipworms. Whipworms are tiny, thread-like parasites that can be difficult to see and diagnose. More common in dogs, symptoms are chronic weight loss, diarrhea, and mucous in the stool.

Hookworms. Hookworms can be transferred anywhere infected dogs have passed eggs in their stool. Infected puppies who become severely anemic from blood loss often don't survive. Symptoms include weight loss, bloody diarrhea, and progressive weakness.

Heartworms. Transferred through mosquito bites, this infestation is often fatal. These worms can grow 12 inches long and can infest your pet's heart, lungs and blood vessels. Because it is so difficult to cure, we recommend keeping your dog on heartworm preventative year-round.

We carry preventatives that are effective against heartworms as well as other intestinal parasites, and fleat preventatives are the only way to protect against tapeworms. Since infected pets may appear healthy in early stages, it's important to have them tested regularly and keep them on a consistent parasite prevention program.

Get your pet tested for worms today, and learn more about a parasite prevention program! Call, email, or schedule an appointment today.

Family Animal Medicine
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