Checking for worms is a common part of pet wellness testing. These pesky parasites can cause all kinds of health problems that, if left untreated, can be life-threatening. With prompt medical intervention, however, your furry friend can thrive. Thankfully, there are also ways to prevent infestations in the first place. To ensure your dog or cat’s health, here’s what you should know about worms.
Causes & Symptoms
Dogs and cats are vulnerable to roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and whipworms, all of which can live in the intestines. Pets can also contract heartworms, which live in the heart, blood vessels, and lungs. Intestinal infestations are usually the result of eating fleas carrying larvae or wild animals carrying worms. Also, nearly all puppies are born with roundworms because most dogs have the larvae in their tissue, which migrate to puppies during pregnancy. Symptoms of an intestinal infestation include diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, and a potbelly appearance.
Heart infestations, on the other hand, spread via the bites of infected mosquitoes. Symptoms of heartworm disease include those listed above, as well as coughing and fatigue. If your dog exhibits any such signs for more than two or three days, head to the vet for pet wellness testing right away.
Treatment & Prevention
To treat parasites in the intestines, veterinarians may administer dewormer orally or via injection. This broad-spectrum medication can kill a wide range of adult worms in a matter of days. However, your vet may recommend one more treatment in three to four weeks to kill any new worms that were unaffected by the first treatment because they were larvae at the time. As for preventing future infestations, do not let your pets eat feces or drink standing water. Staying on top of flea and tick prevention also reduces the risk of a pet contracting parasites.
Because of their location, heartworms are much harder to treat. With early intervention, though, it may be possible to eliminate the infestation entirely. Depending on the extent of the infection, your vet might prescribe multiple oral medications and order you to restrict the animal’s exercise, which facilitates recovery. Injections may also be necessary and, in severe cases, surgery is required to remove the worms. Thankfully, preventing heartworm is easy. Pet owners can administer oral tablets monthly to protect their furry friends.
If you think your dog or cat might have worms, head to Alexandria Pike Animal Hospital for pet wellness testing. Located in Southgate, KY, this full-service vet hospital is staffed by friendly providers who treat each pet as they would their own. This preventative care-based practice offers free animal vaccines for life if you pay a one-time fee and bring your furry friend in every year for an exam. To learn more about their pet wellness testing, visit their website. To schedule an appointment for your dog or cat, call (859) 781-1800.