One of the many concerns that our veterinarians at Prairie Creek Pet Hospital in Sioux Falls often hear is how to prevent or control a parasite infestation. Pets should be examined for parasites at least every six to twelve months. Additionally, pet owners want to prevent the spread of parasites from animals to people, so cleaning up feces regularly and not feeding your pets raw meat are recommended for parasite control.
How to Prevent Parasites
As with most medical conditions, 'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure'. Your pets can become infected with parasites such as heartworm at any time of the year, even if they are predominantly housebound. Flea and tick infestations will typically be more likely during warm weather seasons. But, these parasites can survive through the winter if they are brought into the home.
Here are some tips to prevent parasites from affecting your pets:
- Feed your pets only cooked or prepackaged foods
- Use a skin treatment that prevents flea and tick problems
- Follow your veterinarian’s recommendations for at-home parasite treatments
For puppies and kittens, an anthelmintic treatment should be given to your pet starting at two weeks of age and repeating every two weeks. Afterward, a regular broad-spectrum parasite control treatment should begin that protects the pet from heartworm, intestinal parasites, fleas, and ticks.
Parasite Control for Pets
Once your pet has been treated for parasites at an animal hospital, there are some ways to prevent future infestations. Parasite control begins with an examination of your pet's lifestyle and the prevalence of parasites in your community. Keep a watchful eye by examining your pet's feces at least two times per year (four times is recommended during the first year of life).
If you live in an area where Lyme disease is present, then your dogs should be vaccinated against Borrelia burgdorferi. At least once per year, visit your local Sioux Falls veterinarian for the following parasite control measures:
- Annual heartworm testing for dogs
- Annual testing of cats before receiving heartworm medication
- Annual tests for tick-transmitted pathogens
- Monthly deworming medications
- Regular fecal examination for parasites
Other best practices include spaying or neutering your pets if you don't plan to have a litter. Also, cover your children's sandbox when not in use, and keep garden areas free from fecal contamination. Most importantly, always pick up your pet's feces immediately when walking your dog in public or your yard.
Do You Need Help Preventing Parasites?
Choose Prairie Creek Pet Hospital serving Sioux Falls, Hartford, Harrisburg, Dell Rapids, Brooks, and the surrounding communities for your parasite prevention needs. Call us today at (605) 339-8900 to schedule an appointment.