The following is a list of parasites that we routinely see infecting dogs. Protect your dog against the following:
External Parasites (found on the hair and skin of dogs)
Found almost everywhere in the world, all dogs are at risk for flea infection . Fleas not only cause skin disease, but typically transmit other serious illnesses, such as tapeworm and bacterial infections. Protect your dog against fleas and ticks with a monthly dose of veterinary-approved Simparica, a soft, tasty chew. You should have received a free dose, along with an complementary dose of Heartgard, at your first visit, but if you did not, let us know and we’ll get you both. In Rockland, it is necessary to keep dogs on a flea and tick preventative year-round. You can purchase Simparica from our online store using the link below. As of May 2018, the manufacturer is offering a 35 dollar rebate on a box of 12 doses.
Mites, especially ear mites, are occasionally seen in dogs, especially puppies. Mites are highly contagious to other animals, cause significant irritation and pain, and can lead to bacterial infections. Other types of mites, like sarcoptic and mange mites, live on the skin of dogs, but are also more likely to be seen on puppies and young adults. Like ear mites, they can be a source of secondary infection and intense itching.
Ticks are extremely prevalent in our area. In fact, the tick population in Rockland County is at an historic high. Ticks carry serious diseases and are a source of skin irritation. In our area, 1 out of 8 dogs test positive for some tick-associated pathogen! Therefore, it is essential to protect your dog against ticks, for both his safety and your family’s (dogs can bring ticks into your home and deposit them on furniture and in your bedding. For protection, we recommend the above-mentioned product, Simparica, but if your dog will have a lot of exposure to tall grass and brush, you should add the protection of a Scalibor collar. Preventic collars are extremely safe and can be used in conjunction with Simparica.
Giardia are tiny single celled protozoa that are transmitted to puppies when they drink water containing their spores or come in contact with the spores in the environment. Giardia infection causes moderate to severe diarrhea and/or vomiting in young puppies, but it is not unheard of for puppies or dogs to test positive without showing any signs of infection. In a study conducted by Idexx laboratories, 18% of all dogs that presented with vomiting or diarrhea tested positive for Giardia, hence the importance of stool testing every time your dog has an upset stomach. Giardia is treated with an antibiotic. More on Giardia on the Companion Animal Council’s website.
Coccidia are single celled organisms that cause moderate to severe diarrhea in dogs. Approximately 6 out of every 100 puppies tests positive for the parasite. They are treated with an antibiotic. More on Coccidia on the Companion Animal Council’s website.
Roundworms are the third most common parasite found in puppies and young adult dogs. Puppies commonly acquire roundworms from their mother so all puppies are treated with a deworming medication during their first and second visit at Rockland, but puppies can also catch the parasite from the environment. Since roundworm can potentially blind humans that are infected with the parasite, all pet owners should test their pet’s stool annually and keep their dog on a monthly preventative like Heartgard. You can learn more about roundworms on the Companion Animal Council’s website.
Also contagious to humans, Hookworms are acquired by dogs when they eat grass in areas where animals infected with the parasite defecated. Hookworms are long lived in the environment, so treatment may only temporarily eliminate the disease because the dog can reinfect once he or she returns to the environment and browses more grass. That’s why a monthly preventative like Heartgard is so effective.
Like hookworms, whipworms are acquired by dogs when they inadvertently ingest feces, dirt or grass in an environment where another animal infected with the parasite defecated. Whipworms are extremely long lived in the environment so reinfection is not uncommon. Fortunately whipworms are the least frequently seen parasite when we test puppies and adult dogs.
Tapeworms are acquired if the dog ingests an infected flea or when your dog hunts and eats prey such as mice. Owners are often grossed out to find ‘something writhing’ in their pet’s stool. These are tapeworm segments, or proglottids, that can go on to infect other animals (or family members!). If you discover that your dog has fleas, it’s important the he or she is also treated for tapeworms.
The rate of heartworm infection in our area is on the rise as dogs rescued from hurricane affected areas in the south are transported up to New York for adoption. Heartworm disease is an extremely debilitating disease that can lead to death if untreated. The treatment for the disease, a dilute form of arsenic, can be as dangerous as the disease itself, so the best route of safety is prevention with a product like Heartgard. Heartworm is carried by mosquitoes so both indoor and outdoor dogs are at risk.
For More On Canine Parasites, Use This Link to Visit the Companion Animal Parasite Council’s Website
A year-round parasite control plan for both external and internal parasites not only protects your dog, but your family. At the very minimum, all dogs in our area should be on a monthly flea and tick preventative, and another monthly preventative that prevents infection by Heartworms. If you expect your dog to be areas where there is a high presence of ticks (tall grass and shrubby areas frequented by deer), you should consider adding a tick collar.