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Parasites and Your Pet
Heartworms are deadly worms carried by mosquitoes. If an infected mosquito bites your dog, your dog will get worms that live in the pet’s heart. Heartworms will eventually kill your dog. Signs of a serious heartworm infection include coughing and difficulty exercising and breathing.
Heartworm preventatives such as Revolution and Heartguard are available
from a vet or online. These products are cheaper from Australian
websites such as pets-megastore.com.au.
I've been ordering from Australia for years and it's worked great. I use
Revolution in summer to kill fleas and heartworms, and generic ValuHeart
in winter. Even when fleas are gone, you must treat for heartworms
because they can grow months after infection.
If your dog is infected you can do the "fast kill" method where your vet injects the dog to kill the worms. It's expensive and your dog must stay very still for weeks. You can also do the "slow kill" method where your pet takes antibiotics for months.
Heartworm preventative will not kill existing adult worms, but it will prevent new ones. Adult worms will die in about two years. Even if you can't afford to treat existing heartworms, starting them on preventative will keep your dog from further infestation.
Flea-and-tick season is generally April-Sept. depending on where you live. Fleas move fast, so they can be hard to see. Look for flea dirt, which looks like black specks but turns red when you rub it.
Fleas can carry tapeworm eggs. If your pet eats an infected flea it can get tapeworms. Look for small, seed-like particles where your pet sleeps. If you know your dog has tapes, ask your vet for a pill without a fecal test to save money.
Ticks can cause diseases such as Lyme. Some flea treatments, like Revolution and Frontline, also kill
ticks. You can get cheap tick collars from pet and discount stores, and
very effective tick collars from your vet.
A hot spot is a moist, red,
strong-smelling, infected area on the dog's skin. If you see your dog
constantly scratching or licking the same spot, check for an oozing, red
area. You can treat hot spots yourself:
Most puppies and kittens have roundworms. Dogs can also get hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. Your vet can test babies and adults for worms. If you are sure your dog has worms, save money by asking your vet for a wormer without a fecal test. Wormers can be bought very cheaply at farm supply stores.
Mites are tiny and hard to see. Some mites cause mange, a disease that causes itching, hair loss, and sores. Ear mites are common. They produce wax in the ears, causing your pet to scratch his ears and shake his head. You can get treatment from your vet or pet stores.
NOTE: The information on this page is not meant to diagnose or prescribe for you. The decision to use, or not to use, any information on this page is the sole responsibility of the reader. Opinions expressed here are those of the site owner.