UTICA, Mich., Sept. 23, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A Utica veterinarian is reaching out to pet owners and stressing the importance of preventative care in managing pet parasites. According to Dr. Vernon Harp of Macomb Veterinary Associates, medicines designed to prevent infestations by parasites such as fleas, ticks, roundworm and hookworm can spare animals from serious illnesses and lengthy treatments at the vet clinic. "Parasite prevention should be a priority, along with pet vaccinations, dental care and yearly checkups," says Dr. Harp.
The veterinarian points to fleas and ticks as common examples. The bites of these pests can cause a skin irritation called dermatitis. Animals typically respond to this irritation by licking, biting or chewing at the skin, which facilitates bacterial infections. Dr. Harp notes that severe flea and tick infestations can also spread diseases, saying, "Ticks can spread Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Fleas can introduce tapeworms to a pet's system." He recommends that pets receive regular examinations at an animal hospital to stop any flea or tick infestations early. Oral or topical medications administered by the animal hospital in Utica can also eliminate infestations.
Dr. Harp goes on to state that some parasites require prevention because they are difficult to treat effectively. Heartworm, for instance, is spread by mosquitoes and causes small worms to grow inside a dog or cat. They are so named because they make their home in the heart and lungs, eventually causing debilitating cardiopulmonary disease. "Pets are unable to pass heartworms from their systems without veterinary treatment," says Dr. Harp. "Prevention is extremely important." He adds that topical and oral preventatives work well against heartworm, but only if the larvae are less than 45 days old. The animal hospital will usually prescribe monthly medication to guarantee constant protection.
Dr. Harp cites other parasites that can infest unprotected animals. Roundworms are a common example, entering a dog's intestines and lungs to cause coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal distention and weight loss. Regular fecal examinations and monthly treatments can prevent roundworm infestation. Hookworms can be ingested or penetrate the skin to create symptoms similar to those of roundworm, and they can spread to humans as well.
"Monthly testing and preventative medication can remove the threat of both kinds of worms," says the Utica veterinarian. "Our message is that pet owners should do all they can to prevent parasites from damaging their pets' health. Many pets harbor internal parasites without showing any outward signs until the illness is so severe that harm to the patient has already occurred and parasitic disease is more difficult and costly to treat. Therefore periodic testing for internal parasites should be performed via blood tests and fecal tests to determine their existence and treatment and routine preventative medications be given to prevent their occurrence."
Macomb Veterinary Associates provides wellness packages, surgery, pet dental care, lab work, microchipping and other health services for pets.
Macomb Veterinary Associates, 1-888-667-5235