What are external parasites, and how can my dog get them?
External parasites are infestations that cause severe skin issues. Our most common one is fleas, which cause many skin diseases in pets. Many pets have flea bite allergies, and the scientific name for that is flea bite dermatitis. Pets can easily get fleas from outdoors, and you can also carry them in on your shoes, or if you have an indoor-outdoor dog, they can carry it in. You can also have an indoor-outdoor cat. Regardless of the method, infestations can occur within days. Fleas are year-round once the eggs are laid, so you may not see any, but the eggs have already been planted and will hatch once it's a little bit warmer out or when they're more comfortable. You can easily prevent fleas with some FDA-approved flea preventatives. We carry Bravecto, which is tick and flea and lasts about three months.
We carry Simparica Trio, which covers several other things as well. For cats, we have Revolution Plus.
Next on the tier is ticks. Ticks are easily found in the woods. That's where they're most commonly found. They can also be in tall grass, shrubs, bushes, and things like that. Ticks attach to the head, neck, ears, and paws. They can also attach under the ears, under the legs, near the groin, and other such places on your dog. Once the tick has been picked up, it can grow and feed on your pet's blood. So from there, cats and dogs can get diseases such as Lyme, Ehrlichiosis, or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Easy ways to prevent that are with FDA-approved flea and tick preventatives. Bravecto is one, and so is Simparica Trio. For cats, Revolution Plus is the best preventative.
They must also be vaccinated for Lyme disease. Lyme disease is transferable to you, so it's very important for your pet to get vaccinated for it or at least be on a preventative for it. Next on the list is lice, which is species specific. They live in your pet's hair and survive on skin debris, subcutaneous secretions, or host blood. Adult lice are visible to the naked eye, just like in humans. Direct contact with the infested animal or any contaminated bedding, collars, or grooming tools can spread lice. They are likely to congregate in densely populated areas such as boarding or grooming facilities. They are also preventable with our FDA-approved flea and tick preventatives.
Our last one today is mange or mites, which cause mange. Demodex mites are the most common, and they are parasitic and attach to the follicle. This can lead to thickened skin for your pet, hair loss, or secondary infections. Sarcoptes scabiei or sarcoptic mange burrows into your pet's skin. Mange can be prevented with Ivermectin, which is also a heartworm preventative. Otodectes cynotis or ear mites live in your pet's ear, and cats are their preferred host. Revolution Plus also stops those. The last one is called Walking Dandruff, which looks like little white specs on your dog's fur. However, when you go to wipe it off, it doesn't want to budge. That is also preventable with some of our flea and tick preventatives.
Emilee Kellar - RVT
Leo's Pet Care Veterinary Clinics
How soon should I bring my pet in if I suspect they have parasites?
If you suspect your pet is showing signs of a parasite infection, immediately visit your veterinarian so that your pet can receive quick and effective care before it becomes a serious health threat.
How will the veterinarian diagnose parasites if they're found in my pet?
External parasites are easy to see most of the time. If they're not, an ear swab for mites is a way to visualize them. We also do a skin scrape to look under the microscope and see what we have going on.
Is ringworm a parasite?
Ringworm is actually a contagious fungus. It is not a parasite. It is spread via direct contact with the infected animal or the fungus itself. It is only called a ringworm because of its appearance as a circular rash, which somehow relates to a worm.
Why is early detection so critical for parasites in my pet?
It is very important to catch parasites early before your pet's life is put in danger. Some of these infestations are fatal.
If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (317) 721-7387 , or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media https://www.facebook.com/leospetcare, https://www.instagram.com/indianapolis_vet/