Parker County Today April 2018 - Page 52

our expertise: VET COLUMN Parasite Prevention By Stacy McLeod, DVM North Texas Veterinary Hospital 8283 FM 920 • Weatherford, Tx M ost of us are looking forward to warmer weather and more time outdoors, but re- member spring and warmer weather also brings increased exposure for us and our pets to para- sites. We recommend protecting your pets from both internal parasites (heartworms and intestinal parasites) and external parasites (fleas and ticks). Our pets are not the only ones that can be af- fected by these parasites. Many of these can also affect humans so prevention is key. 50 Heartworms are spread by mosquitos, and in- fections with heartworms are frequently seen in our area. A mosquito picks up the larvae from another infected animal. It continues to mature while in the mosquito, which then transmits it when it bites the next dog. The larvae continue to develop in the dog and eventually travel to the heart. The mature adult worms cause damage to the heart, lungs, and blood vessels. By the time your dog shows symptoms, they are usually in congestive heart failure. While it is a treatable disease, the treatment is much more expensive and difficult than prevention. Pets should be test- ed before starting them on heartworm preventa- tive and each year while they are on it. This is important because even the best pet parents are still human and there is also that sneaky pet that likes to hide treats rather than eat them, so com- pliance is not a guarantee. We recommend year- round prevention. An added benefit for most heartworm preven- tatives is that they take care of some, if not all intestinal parasites as well. These are either giv- en as a monthly oral dose or injection every six months. Intestinal parasites include hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, and tapeworms, just Dr. Stacy McLeod to name a few. These worms not only rob your pet of nutrition