Dr. K’s Pet Clinic is your partner in preventing parasites in your pet. We will develop prevention protocols for your pet against the four most common pet parasites—heartworms, intestinal worms, fleas, and ticks—and provide you with the parasite prevention products that best fit your pet’s needs.
Heartworms and pets
Heartworm infection begins with a mosquito bite that transmits the heartworms in their immature form (i.e., larvae) into your pet. The larvae migrate over about six months in your pet’s bloodstream to your pet’s heart and lungs, maturing and growing, often up to a foot long. In dogs, the worms breed and multiply, and hundreds can become packed in the heart. Eventually, your dog will develop a cough and become weak, and may succumb to heart failure. Cats, however, harbor only a few worms since they are not natural heartworm hosts, although they react with a severe inflammation called Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease (HARD). Treatment is available for dogs with heartworm disease, but not for cats, and the first sign of a problem in your cat may be sudden death.
Intestinal worms and pets
Three intestinal worms most threaten your pet’s health—hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms, which all steal nutrition from your pet.
- Hookworms — These worms also ingest your pet’s blood, which can cause anemia, especially in young pets.
- Roundworms — Almost every kitten and puppy has roundworms, which can be passed from their mother through nursing, and to puppies during pregnancy. Roundworms can grow to seven inches long, and can cause an unthrifty pot-belly appearance, and sometimes intestinal obstruction.
- Whipworms — Whipworms, whose eggs can remain infective in the soil for years, are most commonly found in adult pets, and cause chronic diarrhea and weight loss.
Fleas and pets
Fleas can move long distances, and are a threat to all cats and dogs, including indoor-only pets. Fleas crawl on and bite your pet’s skin, causing itching and pain, and also suck blood and cause potentially life-threatening anemia, especially in young pets. When pets bite or scratch at fleas, they can damage their skin and develop bacterial skin infections (i.e., pyoderma). Many pets are allergic to flea bites and develop painful, itchy flea allergy dermatitis, which requires prescription medications to alleviate the itch, and treat the sores and a possible secondary bacterial infection.
Ticks and pets
Ticks are common parasites that attach to pets, usually when they walk in wooded areas, and transmit diseases such as ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, tick paralysis, and cytauxzoonosis (i.e., bobcat fever). These tick-borne diseases cause problems such as fever, arthritis, and low blood platelets. Bobcat fever is hard to treat, and is often fatal for cats. Ticks are hardy and can survive in all types of environments, and cause problems for pets year-round.
Pet parasite prevention products
Many parasite prevention products are available, but Dr. K’s team keeps protection simple for you with two preventives for dogs and two for cats.
- Interceptor for dogs — Interceptor is a monthly flavored tablet for puppies and dogs at least 3 weeks of age and weighing at least two pounds. Interceptor protects your dog against hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, and heartworms.
- Bravecto for dogs — Bravecto, which comes as a flavored chew or in topical form (i.e., applied to the skin), can be administered to dogs at least 6 months of age and weighing at least four and a half pounds. Bravecto kills black-legged, American dog, and brown dog ticks for 12 weeks, and the lone star tick for eight weeks, and prevents flea infestations for 12 weeks.
- Revolution for cats: Revolution is applied topically at the neck base to cats 8 weeks of age and older. Revolution protects cats and kittens against fleas, heartworms, roundworms, hookworms, and ear mites.
- Bravecto for cats: Bravecto is also a topical preventive that is applied to the skin of cats at least 6 months of age who weigh at least two and a half pounds. Bravecto protects cats from fleas for 12 weeks, the black-legged tick for 12 weeks, and the American dog tick for eight weeks.