As a responsible pet owner, one of your main goals is to keep your pet healthy. Every dog, whether or not they spend a lot of time outdoors, can become the host to a number of parasites. It is not unusual for a dog to become infected with multiple types of external and internal parasites in their lifetime.
Heartworms, fleas and intestinal parasites can cause severe discomfort and health problems to the infected pet. Fortunately, these parasites are easy to control, treat, and/or prevent.
Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal disease affecting dogs in all 50 states. The American Heartworm Society (AHS) suggests a conservative estimate of one million positive cases in the U.S. each year.1
Although preventable, dogs continue to suffer from this life threatening disease.
Heartworm disease is transmitted via infected mosquitoes. Once an infected mosquito bites a dog, microscopic larvae migrate through the mosquito bite into body tissues and find their way to the blood stream, eventually maturing in the lungs and heart. Heartworm infections can progress to life-threatening heart disease.
Treatment of heartworm disease is a long and costly process. Adult heartworms can be killed using adulticide medication, but it requires multiple injections over 30 days that may require hospital stays. Your veterinarian may also recommend strict exercise restrictions.
Without treatment, the disease may progress, leading to increasingly severe health conditions and even cardiac failure/death.
Fleas are the most common parasite affecting dogs and puppies. In just 30 days, 10 fleas can become an infestation of up to 250,000 adult fleas on your pet and in your home.3
Besides the discomfort of flea bites, fleas can cause medical problems in pets including Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD), which can lead to hair loss, skin inflammation and irritation. In large numbers, fleas can cause anemia from blood loss which can be fatal if your pet is young or feeble. Also, fleas are carriers of a common tapeworm, which can cause cramping and gas.
There are a number of intestinal parasites that can infect dogs including:
The problem with intestinal parasites is that you cannot always see them. And for the most part, your pet can carry on with life without any real impact on its health. Some of the common worms that can infect your pet are:
Dogs can become infected with roundworms by eating soil or feces contaminated with eggs or by eating infected hosts such as mice or birds. If the problem is serious your dog may vomit these worms or pass them (whole) in the stool. In addition to causing vomiting and diarrhea, roundworms in your dog, especially on puppy may cause them to look bloated or ‘potbellied’. They also cause loss of energy and poor condition.
These intestinal parasites can cause anemia (and sometimes death) in puppies as they attach to the intestine and suck blood. Dogs are infected by ingesting larvae from contaminated areas, via the mother’s milk or when larvae penetrates the skin.
Dogs can become infected when ingesting contaminated eggs in their environment, much like with roundworms. The eggs are very resistant to temperature and environmental extremes. They can live in the environment for 4 to 5 years! Whipworm infections can cause severe diarrhea, intestinal blockage and weight loss.
Dogs can become infected by swallowing fleas while grooming. They can be seen externally when segments break off. These segments vary in length, are usually white and can be seen contracting and expanding around the rectum. These segments then die and you might spot what looks like grains of uncooked wild rice or sesame seeds on your puppy bedding. Tapeworms can cause irritation and cause dogs to “scoot” their rear-end along the ground. They also cause weight loss, diarrhea and a dull coat. Go to the CDC website to see how your pet's parasites could affect your health.
The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) recommends year-round treatment with heartworm preventatives that have broad-spectrum activity against intestinal worms and year-round flea preventatives. Advantage Multi® for Dogs (imidacloprid + moxidectin) Topical Solution helps provide this recommended standard of care in one convenient topical application. Consult your veterinarian to develop a total pet parasite protection program that's right for your pet.
*Advantage Multi® for Dogs is not indicated for tapeworms. Please consult your veterinarian for treatment options.
Not for human use. Keep out of reach of children. Children should not come in contact with the application site for two (2) hours after application.
1The Team, Vol. 6, No. 4, p. 10.
2 American Heartworm Society, www.heartwormsociety.org, Canine Heartworm Disease, September 9, 2010.