by Annette M. Dixon, DVM
Are you one of those pet owners that thinks the threats of parasites disappear over the winter? Parasites may hibernate through the winter, however those parasites are just waiting for the first warm day to come out and cause irritation and even illness.
If you had a flea problem last fall, do not be fooled and just assume you are flea free now. The flea eggs, larvae and pupae left in your environment may be alive and well. If so, they are just waiting for the right conditions to hatch and continue their maturation into adult fleas.
One way to stay ahead of the fleas is to keep all of your pets on a high quality, name brand monthly flea preventative such as Frontline Plus, Certifect, Advantage, etc. And all pets means all pets. To have complete flea prevention, your inside cats and dogs and your outside cats and dogs need to be on the product. If your flea preventative directions is to apply monthly, it needs to be applied monthly. You cannot skip a month or a pet and expect complete flea protection.
Heartworms are carried by mosquitoes. Heartworms affect both dogs and cats. Your dogs and cats need to be on heartworm preventative year round. This means the heartworm preventative is given once a month, every month. Owners can have the false sense of security that the mosquitoes are gone during the winter. However mosquitoes may be hiding out in your gutters, bird baths, old tires, etc just waiting for a warm winter day. All it takes to infect your pet is one bite from an infected mosquito. Year round heartworm preventative is cheaper and far less heart breaking than having to treat your pet for heartworms. Do remember, heartworms kill.
Intestinal parasites, such as roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms and whipworms, are always a threat to your pet. Intestinal parasites are found in the soil and other dogs’ and cats’ feces. Puppies and kittens get intestinal parasites in their mother’s uterus and through their mother’s milk. Dogs and cats are born with intestinal parasites. These parasites migrate through the pet’s body throughout their lifetime. By giving your pet a general dewormer at least yearly, you can help control the intestinal parasites. It is far better to dewormer regularly than to wait for sign of illness or diarrhea to do so.
Your veterinarian can advise you on the best and safest products available for your pets. It is far easier to prevent parasites rather than to eradicate parasites. Parasites can be life threatening to your pets.
If you have any questions on parasites or medical problems, please call the Clarksville Veterinary Clinic at 573-242-3233. For grooming and boarding questions, please call Clarksville Grooming and Boarding at 573-560-3233.