Internal Parasites

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Internal Dog and Cat Parasites

There are many parasites that your pet may have exposure to over its lifetime. Some may have been acquired from their mother and puppies or kittens, and many come from their everyday environments. Wildlife can leave parasite eggs in the dirt or on our lawns, and pets often pick these up while licking their feet or their fur after a fun time rolling in the grass.

Internal or intestinal parasites in pets are a common issue and can become quite serious if not caught early on. As a pet owner, it is wise to know the signs that your pet has a parasite and seek treatment from our veterinarians immediately to prevent the problem from getting out of hand. This is especially true for puppies and kittens, who can have life-threatening parasite infections. Parasites are not easily visible to the naked eye, we often can only find their eggs under the microscope, and we often don’t see physical worms. This is why it is very important to have your pet examined as soon as possible and to have a fresh stool sample tested. 

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We empathize; it isn’t fun to be asked to bring in a stool sample! We do try to emphasize though that protecting your pet by addressing parasites is important for both you and your pet. Many intestinal parasites such as roundworms are a hazard not only to pets but to humans also, especially young children. Thousands of people get parasites from their pets each year and in some situations, suffer permanent health issues as a result.

We go through all the bases with you when you and your pet visit us. Should your pet need treatment for any parasite we will ensure that it is provided and is effective. Discover the basics of pet internal parasite treatment below.

Common Dog and Cat Parasites Include:

  • Whipworms
  • Roundworms
  • Tapeworms
  • Hookworms
  • Lungworm
  • Giardia
  • Toxoplasmosis (Cats)
  • Coccidia

These parasites may not be noticeable in an adult dog or cat, but if found upon testing them it is important to still treat your pet. Puppies and kittens are more likely to have a life-threatening infection.

Often, pets with intestinal parasites show signs or symptoms until the infection becomes severe, although there are a couple of exceptions. The first is Roundworms, they can occasionally be seen in your pet’s stool or vomit. Tapeworms are the second exception. They are shed egg-filled segments that look a bit like grains of rice. These segments can be seen on or in your pet’s stool, around their anus, and in areas of your home where your pet tends to rest.

How Do You Know if Your Pet Has a Parasite?

Signs and symptoms of intestinal parasites aren’t often obvious, and unfortunately, most symptoms can also be considered nonspecific. In other words, signs of intestinal parasites can be attributed to many different health problems.

But there are still some common symptoms we tend to look out for, these include:

  • Diarrhea, with or without blood or mucus
  • Scooting
  • Vomiting
  • Distended Abdomen (belly)
  • Weight loss
  • Decreased activity
  • Dull coat

Pets become infected with intestinal parasites in several ways, including:

  • Drinking contaminated water.
  • Encountering other infected animals.
  • Encountering fecal material containing these parasite eggs or larvae.
  • Swallowing fleas that are carrying the infective stage of Tapeworms.
  • Nursing from an infected mother.
  • Predation or hunting, which transmits the parasite from a rodent or another hunted animal. 

Why Take Parasites Seriously?

Pets can indeed have parasite infections that do not have many symptoms. However, even though there are not any symptoms, that parasite is always stealing nutrition from your pet and compromising their overall health. This is a particular problem for puppies and kittens, who can die from parasites. Adult dogs and cats can also have significantly compromised health from parasites. If they develop another condition, the parasite may begin to seriously harm them. 

Best Parasite Treatments for Pets

If you’re wondering how to remove parasites from dogs and cats, you’re not alone. You’ll need your veterinarian to diagnose and identify the parasites your pet has, to treat them effectively. Just like with human medication, your pets must take all the medication to completely rid their body of the parasites.

Treatment from Champlin Park Pet Hospital

Pet parasite treatments are available here at Champlin Pet Hospital. Reach out to ask us about cat and dog parasite treatment costs and any other questions you have. Our knowledgeable staff are happy to help you.