Parasite Screening and Prevention

Dogs and cats routinely come into contact with a number of parasites that can cause disease.


Intestinal Parasites

These parasites live in the digestive tract of dogs and cats. Most are contracted through contact with soil, water or eating wild animals. Worms (roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms) as well as microscopic parasites called protozoa (giardia, coccidia and tritrichomonas) are all common in the environment. Regular parasite screening of your pet’s feces to check for the presence of these parasites allows us to treat any infestations before they cause harm.


Heartworm

These parasites are contracted through mosquito bites. They migrate through the lungs and live in the heart. Because of their location, treating these worms can cause problems as dead heartworms can block major blood vessels. We recommend regular heartworm prevention for all dogs. Cats are not the natural host for these parasites, but larva migrating through the lungs can cause asthma like symptoms and adult worms can enter the heart causing serious disease or sudden death. Prevention is recommended for some cats, particularly those living in high risk areas. A routine blood test can determine if your pet has heartworm disease. We can help you determine if your pet should be on heartworm prevention.


Fleas

In Sonoma County, fleas are present year-round. In winter months, the number of fleas drops dramatically while they flourish in Spring and Summer. Many pets are allergic to flea saliva causing itching, red skin, odor and fur loss. Healthy pets and those eating a healthy diet tend to have less fleas. There are a variety of products that can be given as needed to prevent fleas. In addition to conventional flea treatments, our office has natural food supplements, shampoos, sprays and non-toxic area treatments to prevent infestations.


Ticks

Tick bites can cause irritation and itching. In addition, ticks can carry diseases that can affect dogs. Inspecting your pet on a regular basis for ticks and removing them promptly with the proper technique can greatly reduce the risk of these illnesses. Ticks tend to be found in the highest numbers during moist warm weather. Our office can teach you the proper method for tick removal. In addition, we can discuss with you the preventive treatments available for ticks and help you choose the best option for your pet. We also offer routine blood testing to determine if your pet has been exposed to the most common diseases carried by ticks. We can treat your pet for tick borne diseases if needed.