Like humans, pets can get parasites. These are small organisms that live off of a host and can cause a range of problems for your pet, from mild to deadly. That's why it's important to talk to our veterinarians at Pasquotank Animal Hospital in Elizabeth City about parasite prevention for your pet.
How Do You Know If Your Pet Has a Parasite?
There are several ways to tell if your pet has a parasite:
Changes in Appetite
When pets have a parasite, they may become ravenous or lose their appetite altogether. If your pet is eating more than usual, it could be a sign that it has tapeworms. It may also vomit or have diarrhea.
Another common sign of parasites is weight loss, even if your pet's appetite hasn't changed. This is because the parasite is taking nutrients away from your pet. A sudden decrease in weight should be a cause for concern and you should immediately take your pet to an animal hospital.
Changes in Behavior
Pets with parasites may become lethargic or irritable. If your usually active dog is suddenly lounging around all day, it could be a sign that something is wrong.
How Do Pets Get Parasites?
There are a few ways that pets can contract parasites:
Eating Contaminated Food
Foods that are contaminated with parasite eggs can infect your pet. This is why it's important only to feed them food meant for pets and keep their food bowls clean.
Coming Into Contact with Infected Animals
Other animals can be carriers of parasites, even if they don't show any symptoms. If your pet comes into contact with an infected animal, it can contract a parasite.
Dirty environments are a breeding ground for parasites. If your pet lives in unsanitary conditions, it is more likely to get parasites.
What Are the Risks of Parasites?
There are a few risks that come with having parasites:
One risk is anemia, which is a decrease in red blood cells. This can happen when parasites suck the nutrients out of your pet's blood. Anemia can cause weakness, pale gums, and lethargy. In severe cases, it can be fatal.
Another risk is organ damage. Some parasites, like heartworms, can cause damage to the heart and lungs. This can lead to respiratory problems and even death.
Some parasites, like tapeworms, can cause intestinal blockages. This can lead to pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. If not treated, an intestinal blockage can be fatal.
Call Our Animal Hospital to Schedule an Appointment
If you're concerned that your pet has a parasite or would like to start a parasite prevention plan, contact Pasquotank Animal Hospital in Elizabeth City, NC. Call our team today at (252) 264-3371 to learn more or to book an appointment.