As soon as the snow starts melting and the days get longer, people often have one thought on their mind: SUMMER! Summer is a fun season-for a lot of people it includes going to the lake, hiking, camping, and travelling! The heat of the summer brings more than just flip flops and fun times though- it also brings out parasites. Throughout the busy scheduled summer it is important to remember to prepare pets for any adventures they may be going on as well.
For cats that are going outside or going to a boarding facility, we recommend three vaccinations: FVRCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis Calicivirus Panleukopenia), Rabies, and Feline Leukemia Virus. Most cats that go outdoors hunt birds and mice- animals that are often carriers of parasites. For these cats we recommend an intestinal de-wormer. The two most common feline de-worming options we use are in one of two forms: topical liquid, or an oral pill. Both of these options protect against hookworms, roundworms, and tapeworms.
Dogs that come into contact with other dogs, whether it is at a dog park, daycare, boarding facilities or the groomer, should be vaccinated against DAPP (Distemper Adeno Parainfluenza Parvovirus), Rabies, and Bordetella. Options for intestinal de-wormer as well as external parasite protection include a topical product and/or an oral pill or chew.
By knowing what harm can be caused by internal and external parasites, the importance of preventative medicine can be understood. A lot of parasites can also be transferred to humans, so by protecting our pets, we are protecting ourselves. This is especially important in homes with children, as children are often crawling or playing in areas that pets also spend time in.
Hookworms suck blood by attaching their sharp teeth into the lining of the small intestine. Humans can also be infected by hookworms- this can occur by stepping in contaminated soil or eating vegetables grown in contaminated soil. Roundworms are a common cause of diarrhea and vomiting and in severe cases can lead to obstructed intestines. Humans can get canine roundworm by putting dirty hands in mouths, and it causes visceral larva migrans- a condition in which the worm displaces itself in the eye and can result in blindness.
Any animal that goes outside is at risk of coming into contact with ticks, it is the temperature and environment determine the prevalence. Ticks insert their mouthparts into skin and feed on blood. Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be transmitted to dogs and humans by ticks. We recommend that all dogs be protected against ticks in the spring and summer. We typically recommend an oral chew that protects for three months, which is convenient for busy summer schedules. There is also a topical option that is applied monthly, however it is toxic to cats so this must be taken into consideration in multi-pet households.
Of course there are many other parasites such as Fleas, Otodectes (ear mites), sarcoptes (mange), and demodex that also cause discomfort, and one of the topical de-wormers we carry also protect against these. As we continue to move through spring and into summer, all of the listed parasites will only become more likely to infect your pets. It is always easier to prevent than to treat!
Written by Liz Espejo, RAHT