PARASITES AND YOUR PET
Thank you very much for entrusting your pet’s health to us at Mission Animal Hospital. As your integrative veterinarian in San Luis Obispo, we take a holistic and common sense approach to keeping your pet in optimal health, and want to work with you as your partner in keeping your pet free of parasites. In light of a recent study showing that 1 out of 7 humans nationwide has been exposed to their pet’s worms, it is logical to keep our pets as free of parasites as possible…. for their sake, and yours. With that as a warmup, here we go….
The risks of cats developing parasites is dictated by their age and the time they spend outside. About 75% of kittens are born with roundworms, which can easily be killed by oral pyrantel dewormers. If you have children, it is VERY IMPORTANT to kill your pet’s roundworms, as they can create permanent blindness in children if accidentally ingested.
Once you have eliminated roundworms from young cats, they can only get more parasites in one of two ways– by having fleas, or by going outside and eating prey like mice and other rodents. In either case, tapeworms are the most likely culprit. If your cat lives inside and you do not have fleas in its environment, it likely doesn’t need to be dewormed.
We use two different dewormers for cats, both of which are applied topically to the skin over the neck and shoulders. The old days of having to pill a cat are gone.
If you want to kill ALL worms– roundworms, tapeworms, and the less common hookworms and whipworms– on an intermittent basis, we use Profender. Note that this does NOT kill fleas. If your cat goes out only rarely and you never see a flea, you should use this twice annually. If your cat goes out more frequently you should use it more frequently.
If your cat spends a lot of time outside, or if flea control is a concern for you we recommend Revolution. It’s life insurance in a tube for your cat. Used on a monthly basis, this will not only prevent fleas and many forms of ticks, but also roundworms, heartworm, and ear mites– a broad spectrum approach to ensuring your cat’s health. We sell Revolution as individual doses or in packages of six.
The first paragraph of our cat summary, above, also applies to puppies. Simply put, roundworms are present in most pups, are easily killed with pyrantel, and are a risk to humans– especially kids.
Parasite control in the adult outside dog, however, is a little more complex. That is because they not only get fleas and tapeworms– like cats– but some dogs… like ours… actually like to eat poop– which is a GREAT way to get different parasites.
On an intermittent basis, we use Virbantel tablets to eliminate ALL intestinal parasites from your pet. It is a very safe and effective drug, but bear in mind that it has no residual activity. If you want ongoing protection, you should use Interceptor Plus monthly…. more on that in a moment.
The other big concern we have in the SLO area is canine heartworm, which is increasing in frequency each year. This is transmitted solely by mosquitos from other infected dogs, coyotes, and fox. No mosquitos = No heartworm disease. But here’s the thing– HEARTWORM DISEASE CAN KILL YOUR DOG.
If this worries you, you can minimize your dog’s exposure to mosquitos with insect repellants and by choosing where and when to walk, or you can eliminate the concern by using a monthly dose of an oral pill called Interceptor Plus. We sell these as individual doses or in packages of six, as well. .
CONFUSED YET? Here are your answers in 50…. well, 150…. words or less:
Kittens and puppies get two doses of oral pyrantel to kill their roundworms.
Cats: Because of its broad spectrum protection against fleas and parasites, we recommend Revolution. If fleas are not a concern, you can use Profender.
For intestinal parasites alone, on a one time basis– Virbantel pills
For complete intestinal parasite and heartworm prevention– oral Interceptor Plus
For protection against fleas only– oral Comfortis
For protection against both fleas and ticks– use either…
–NexGard chewable tablets once a month, or
–Bravecto chewable tablets, once every 3 (THREE) months.
For maximal protection against ALL parasites– use Interceptor Plus and either NexGard or Bravecto
The last part of this discussion centers around the fact that most pets’ parasite risks change with the season and their lifestyle. An indoor Chihuahua in winter does NOT have the same risks an outdoor Labrador in summer does. If your pet is not exposed to ticks, don’t try to prevent them. If your cat never goes outside and you don’t have fleas in the house, I’m not sure we should be deworming them. Just as with any other medication, let common sense be your guide.
And the very last thing to remember? We’re Mission Animal Hospital, and we’re here to help you… however we can.