THIS PAGE PROVIDES BASIC INFORMATION REGARDING EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL PARASITES
Parasites are organisms that live on or in another organism (your pet(s)). They usually enter the body through mouth, skin or paws. Most internal parasites (worms, protozoa) live in the digestive and intestinal tracts of pets. Some live within the organs. Proper identification of parasites is necessary to accurately eliminate. Stool and blood tests are required before the correct type of medication can be prescribed. External parasites include fleas, ticks, mites and cuterebra. Identification can be easier because many of the external parasites can be seen. However, accurate identification is still necessary to correctly eliminate.
Parasite infestations can cause serious health problems. Pets should always be examined and treated by veterinarians. Some parasites are considered zoonotic, meaning that people can also become infected. Most parasites can be easily controlled or eliminated with topical medication. Always use medication prescribed by veterinarians as many over-the-counter treatments can be very dangerous for pets.
Examples: worms and protozoa – may cause diarrhea, weight loss, anaemia.
Worms: roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms and whipworms.
Protozoa: giardia, coccidia, toxoplasma.
NOTICE: some of these internal parasites can be dangerous even for people.
How to prevent: have a stool sample examined (ova, parasites); deworming.
When to have a fecal exam done: if the animal traveled outside GTA, played with wildlife, visited animal shelter, had fleas, had any worms in stool or near anus, has had a history of internal parasites.
Examples: Fleas, ticks, mites, lice, flies, mosquitoes, maggots.
Fleas may cause allergies, transfer tapeworms.
Ticks transfer diseases like: Ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, cause tick paralyzes in the dog.
Mites cause skin problems: mange – demodecosis, scabiosis, notoedrosis (cats), ear problems (otodectosis)
Mosquitoes transfer heartworm parasites and can cause allergic dermatitis.
Flies cause skin problem through the larval stage developments.
NOTICE: if you leave parasites uncontrolled they can infest your house and you.
There are lots of pests control products for animals: sprays, dips, powders, dusts and oral medication. Before using flea and tick control products read instruction carefully. Follow directions exactly, use latex gloves if possible. For cats use only products labelled “for cats”. Store products away from the food and children
For more information please visit Companion Animal Parasite Council