You’re grooming your pet and you feel a lump. You run your hand through the fur until you locate the lump, part the hair, and gasp! It’s a tick! You know it’s a tick because the mouth is stuck in your pet’s skin. Ticks and other parasites can harm your pet and cause some unexpected health issues. At Clairmont Animal Hospital, we want to help you keep your household animals healthy by learning to identify parasites that may be thriving on your animals:
The Basic Parasites and How They Affect Pet Health
It is important to have a basic understanding of some of the most common parasites so you know how to identify which ones can really affect your pet’s health.
You may not see the flea, but you will see what the flea leaves behind. Flea dirt (excrement) is black in color and small, like bits of dirt. You will likely see redness on the skin from flea bites, and your dog will scratch from the irritation. Excessive scratching can lead to skin infections.
They are somewhat round and range in size from nearly microscopic to as large as a ¼-inch after a meal. Ticks carry diseases that are spread through the tick’s mouth when it is attached to your pet. Ask your veterinarian about the best method to remove ticks from your pet.
Found in and around your pet’s ears, these mites are tiny and white in color and are too small for you to see. Ear wax is their meal. Your pet will scratch its ears or shake its head to soothe the mite-bite irritation. Not only can this lead to infection, but it can also cause blood pockets from broken vessels that may need surgery to clear.
Depending on the variety of mite, symptoms can range from skin irritation, scratching, hair loss, and mange. Yes, mites can transfer to humans.
Cats and dogs and humans attract their own, distinct types of lice. Scratching and hair loss are symptoms of a lice infestation on your pet.
If you suspect these pests are alive and well on your fur babies, schedule a wellness appointment with us. We can help!
Parasites and Disease
Fleas and ticks are the most common external parasites found on your pets and can transmit diseases to you and your family like:
- Lyme disease
What to Do to Protect Your Pets
There are plenty of ways you can protect your pets from these potentially dangerous parasites. Make sure to do the following:
- Daily grooming of your pet will help you spot signs of external parasites
- Keep pet bedding and litter boxes clean
- Be consistent with applications of veterinarian-approved parasite prevention products—don’t skip a scheduled dose!
- Clean up after your pet in outside areas
At Clairmont Animal Hospital, our staff wants your pet to live a happy and healthy life. Disease and infections caused by parasites can be uncomfortable for your pets and can lead to serious infections, chronic illness, and even death.
Watching for signs of parasites is the first step against infestations on your pet and in your home. Talk to us at your next wellness check about the best methods of parasite control. You can call us anytime at (404) 633-6163 with questions or concerns about your pet’s health.