Pets are more than just our best friends. They give us unconditional love and are the most loyal companions we could have in our lives. But sometimes, they are haunted by pesky parasites, making their life unbearable.
A filthy environment, a walk in the park, eating infected soil, mosquito bites, and contact with infected pets are among the many reasons your pets acquired external and intestinal parasites.
“Parasites are organisms that feed on the nutrients in your pet's body. It weakens the immune system and transmits fatal diseases resulting in the sudden death of your fur babies.”
What are the common parasites in cats and dogs?
Cats and dogs are very prone to parasite infestation, which they get from their environment.
As fur parents, we must be aware of two classifications of parasites that affect your pet's overall well-being.
Internal Parasites live inside your pet's gastrointestinal tract, heart, lungs, and blood vessels lining. They suck on the blood, and the nutrients of your cats and dogs and, worst, may damage the lining of the intestine resulting in malnutrition, stomachache, diarrhoea, blood in the stool, vomiting, and many more.
These internal parasites include Roundworms, Hookworms, Whipworms, Heartworms, Lung Nematodes, Canine Lung Fluke, Tapeworm, Trichinella Canis, Liver Fluke, Toxoplasma, Canine Black Fever, Canine Eye Worm, Canine Babesia, Oesophageal Nematodes, Canine Tongue Worm, Amoeba, Trypanosoma Cruzi and Coccidia.
External Parasites or Ectoparasites exist in your cats' and dogs' skin and coats, causing skin issues and life-threatening illnesses. It includes Mange Mites, Worm Mites, Ear Tick Mites, Fleas, Hard Ticks, Lung Wall Ticks, Lice and Soft Ticks.
What happens if your cats and dogs have parasites?
"If they roam the body, they can easily cause problems such as diarrhoea, vomiting, loss of appetite, intestinal perforation and bile duct blockage."
Intestinal parasites can also lead to secondary bacterial infections that can cause a bloated stomach, blood in the stool and other toxic and allergic reactions in dogs.
Skin Disease Problems
Ectoparasites cause itchy skin and hair loss in pets, spreading throughout the body in severe cases.
(credits to: NexGard & Alan R. Walker)
“Tick bites in dogs cause babesia infection. This disease damages the dog's red blood cells and affects the dog's urine by turning it red or soy sauce coloured, as well as showing symptoms such as high fever, anaemia and rapid weight loss.”
If not treated promptly, it can eventually lead to death. It is also difficult to cure completely and may require lifelong blood transfusion treatment.
Heart Disease Problems
Aedes, Anopheles, and Mansonia are types of mosquitoes that spread heartworms in cats and dogs from a blood meal with pets infected with heartworms. They carry thousands of Microfilariae, or tiny baby heartworms, which develop into infective larvae in their stomachs and will pass to your pets if they bite them.
Heartworm is a silent killer in cats and dogs. A very terrible parasite as it grows in the bloodstream of your pets and can affect the heart, lungs, and arteries in the long term. It can directly lead to heart failure, even affecting the liver and kidney - which may result in sudden death.
How can I tell if my pet has internal or external parasites?
In the early stages of ectoparasite infection, pets usually show signs of chewing their tails and scratching their bodies and ears more frequently than before; they also tend to be irritable and suddenly lie down and lick their bodies during sleep and between play sessions.
Fleas in dogs, lice in cats, and other external parasites can be visually seen directly on your pets' skin.
“In the early stages of pet infection with internal parasites, they appear thinner than usual, depressed, diarrheic and easily fatigued.”
Parasite infection needs to be confirmed, and pet parents can visit a reliable veterinarian to have their pet's faeces and blood tested to ensure the diagnosis of parasite infestation.
Parasite infestation in your cats and dogs is a severe problem. It is essential as a pet owner to note that if you can see the signs and symptoms, you must consult your veterinarian immediately.
How to deworm your pet at home?
Deworming your pet is recommended when treating parasite infestation.
Always consult your veterinarian for the proper diagnosis, and once your pet’s veterinarian gives a signal, you can create a schedule of home treatment against these pesky parasites.
Cats and Kittens Deworming Time
(credits to: wikiHow YT channel.)
Spring is the best time to deworm your cats and dogs. Parasites are most vicious and active during this season.
“March to June is the recommended deworming month for adult cats. Deworming for nematodes and tapeworms in adult cats can be done every two to six months or every one to three months.”
Recommended deworming schedules for kittens begin at two, four, six, and eight weeks of age and repeat every twelve and sixteen weeks. Always consult your veterinarian for proper treatment of deworming your kittens, cats, and even pregnant and lactating cats.
Dogs and Puppies Deworming Schedule
(credits to: Indian Trail Animal Hospital)
If you have a puppy, you should worm them early on in life, often at 2, 4 and 6 weeks. After your puppy reaches 12 weeks of age, you can continue to treat your puppy every three months for life with an effective all-wormer.
“It is essential to deworm your adult dogs once a month, from March until June. You can continue deworming your dogs with an all-wormer every three months as long as needed by consulting your veterinarian.”
The best time to deworm in vivo or using tablets and syrups is 3-4 hours after your pet has eaten, and fast for 5-6 hours after deworming to ensure that the medication is fully effective.
In vitro deworming or topical solutions protect your pup for up to a month.
It is not necessary to bathe your pet before deworming, but if you do wash, it is best to leave the coat to dry for a day before dabbing the dewormer on the back of the neck where your cats or dogs cannot lick it.
Recommended combination of dewormers for cats and dogs.
For deworming domestic cats that are entirely indoors and do not go out.
For deworming cats who are always outdoors.
For fussy indoor dogs with intestinal worms that spend much time at home.
Dewormer drops are more convenient for dogs that are picky eaters and resistant to worming.
For energetic dogs who go out daily and often need to socialise with their friends.
Monthly oral Nexgard Spectra.
For newborn kittens or puppies.
- Give a dose of REVOLUTION Plus Cat Fleas & Ticks Management for Small Cats and Kittens and Drontal Deworming Syrup for puppies.
Deworming your cats and dogs is an essential routine for pet owners. Remember that our pets are our fur babies and part of our precious family.
Keep them safe against these pesky parasites by always consulting your veterinarian if signs and symptoms appear, and keep your environment clean promote by proper hygiene, pet care, grooming!