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  5. Ick, Ticks!
  6. Parasite Control
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 Intestinal Parasite Control

Parasites. Ew…the word makes most of us cringe. Parasites can affect any living creature, both inside and out. Here we will address internal parasite concerns for your dog or cat living in our beautiful region of the Palouse. If you are interested in the most common external parasite in our region, please check out our other article entitled “Ick, Ticks!”.

The most common internal parasites affecting pets of the Palouse are intestinal parasites. These include many different types of worms, the most common of which include roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and whipworms. Intestinal parasites can be acquired at birth from an infected mother, via hunting (ingestion of rabbits and rodents), flea infestation, ingestion of raw meat diets, ingestion of feces, or snuffling around in an environment contaminated with feces from an infected dog/cat/raccoon/coyote/other animal. Once the infective eggs are ingested by your pet, they will develop into parasitic worms in their intestinal system. Initially, your pet may show no symptoms whatsoever; however, as the infection progresses, your pet may start to show symptoms (depending on the species of parasite) that may include: vomiting, lack of appetite, diarrhea, blood in the stool, flatulence, abdominal pain, weight loss, anemia, anal itching, or scooting. Occasionally, worms may become visible in the stool, vomitus, or around the perianal region. Pets often re-infect themselves from their own environment, which has been contaminated by their own waste during an infection.

Parasites certainly pose a health risk for our companion animals, but did you know that roundworms and hookworms are also dangerous to humans? Feces infected with roundworm eggs are especially harmful to babies and children, leading to serious complications including blindness. To avoid this, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advises monthly intestinal deworming of dogs and cats in households with children. It is also recommended to pick up stool in your yard within 24 hours of deposit to avoid allowing parasite eggs to become infective, clean out litterboxes daily, and to keep sandboxes covered when not in use. Sandboxes look a lot like a giant litterbox to neighborhood cats, and are a common source of child infection.

Monthly or at least quarterly deworming is also recommended for dogs and cats with lifestyles that cause high exposure (hunting, roaming, dog parks, city parks, raw meat diet, etc.). Pets with low exposure should be dewormed (or at minimum have a parasite test performed on a fresh stool sample) at least annually.

There are multiple safe and effective deworming medications available for both dogs and cats. Our veterinarians recommend treating with broad-spectrum deworming medication, so that all potential parasites are killed with one medication. We have several effective medications for both dogs and cats that are safe for regular or intermittent use. Alpine Animal Hospital is proud to announce a new deworming option: Interceptor Plus is a new formulation of a long-standing good product, making it one of the most broad-spectrum dewormers available. It prevents and controls roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, and heartworms. Due to its ability to prevent heartworm disease, a simple blood test is required before prescription to ensure your dog hasn’t already been exposed to heartworms.

For the safety of your pet and family, please schedule an appointment today to talk with one of our veterinarians about starting your pet on a regular deworming schedule.
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Phone: (509) 332-6575
Fax: (509) 334-4561
Mon - Fri 8am - 5:30pm
Sat 8am - 4pm

Alpine Animal Hospital
4853 SR 270
Pullman, WA 99163
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