Parasite Prevention & Control
Safe Parasite Treatments for Pets in Mississauga
Your dog or cat is not just a ‘pet’. It’s a member of the family. Parasites cause many health problems with our pets, some of which are life threatening. It’s important keep our pets free of parasites, and to find and treat parasites quickly when they are present.
Pets can get parasites from a wide variety of places – outside, other animals, feces, from their mothers, and so on.
If your pet begins to display unusual behaviour or habits, such as diarrhea, bloody stools, loss of appetite, increased appetite, difference in water consumption, etc. , you should bring them in for an assessment.
However, most of the time our pets show no external signs of a parasitic infection.
When we discover internal parasites, we have safe and effective treatments to eliminate them and reduce the harm to your pet as much as possible. We will do our best to help control your pet’s parasites. Our ability to intervene and treat the parasites will differ, depending on the progression of the infection and type of parasite.
If you think your pet may have a parasite, or you would like to schedule a check‐up, just click here to book your next appointment.
Ticks are gross, bloodsucking parasites. However, their appearance is not the problem.
They also carry many dangerous diseases, like Rickettsial diseases, viruses, and more infections that are still being understood. You must be aware and concerned about ticks passing to yourself and family members, as people can suffer from these diseases for decades if not quickly diagnosed. In Ontario, quick diagnosis is usually not accomplished.
Ticks have four life stages – egg, larva, nymph, and adult. Hard female ticks lay between 2,000 to 18,000 eggs before dying, while soft female ticks will lay eggs several times throughout their lifetime. Either way, these eggs hatch to release more ticks that must feed on blood regularly throughout their lifetime to survive. With a host, ticks can live for up to 3 years!
Ticks infest birds, lizards, and all animals, including people.
Does My Pet Have Ticks?
Ticks are not easy to detect, as only large ones full of blood are large enough to see plainly. You can check your pet’s fur for lumps or adult ticks. You will never find small ticks.
With your hands, feel your pet’s body for any small lumps. Be sure to check under your pet’s tail, around the toes, under the armpits, and in the ears. Ticks like these darker, more secluded locations.
You can also use a flea comb to check for these bumps. If you feel the lump, stop brushing and investigate.
If you find a tick, it looks like a skin lump, but you will see the legs moving under the tick. Do not pull it out of your pet’s skin. This can be harmful!
Although ticks are often too small to see, they can transmit Lyme and other diseases if your pet isn’t on preventive treatments.
How Do I PREVENT and TREAT a Tick Infestation?
We are pleased to provide you with excellent tick products.
Currently there are two excellent products available, with more coming in the next few years. Ticks are extremely hard to kill. One product is a liquid to squirt onto the skin once monthly, and the other is a chewable pill that is given every 3 months.
We currently recommend tick control all year round, except for December, January, and February during cold winters.
It is important to not be fooled by claims made on the packaging of some veterinary products labelled for prevention of heartworm disease that also claim to prevent ticks. The tick that they make a claim about does NOT carry Lyme disease, and is only located in the southern States, so it is really of no use to you. Please ask us if you have any questions about this matter.
Please see www.canlyme.com for further information on tick prevention.
What Diseases are Associated with Ticks?
Ticks can transmit many serious diseases, both to animals and humans. Even just one tick bite can cause an infection, so be sure to have you pet checked regularly for ticks and tick‐borne diseases.
Lyme disease is one of the diseases most commonly transmitted by ticks. It can lead to lameness by infecting your pet’s tissues and inflaming the joints, kidney damage, and even nervous system and heart disease.
Other diseases transmitted by ticks include Ehrlichia, Babesia, Anaplasma, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, viral meningitis/encephalitis, and more.
In your pet’s routine check-up, we screen for most of these diseases, we check for signs of ticks, and we discuss with you the information you need to know about ticks in detail.
Our staff know how to assess your pet for signs of ticks and tick‐borne diseases. We would be happy to answer any questions you have about ticks and tick control.
Firstly, it is important to know that people do not get lice from pets, and vice versa.
The female louse attaches her eggs to an animal’s fur. These are called nits, and will hatch in 7‐10 days. Lice only live around 1 month, during which they progress from nit, to nymph, to louse.
Two types of lice exist: sucking lice and biting lice.
Sucking lice penetrate your pet’s skin and cause discomfort with their continual feeding. These lice feed on blood. Sucking lice do not infect cats.
Biting lice do not penetrate the skin, but cause great irritation to your pet. These lice feed on body secretions, dead skin, and hair. Biting lice infect both cats and dogs.
Does My Pet Have Lice?
Both nits (eggs attached on your pet’s fur) and lice can be seen by the naked eye. Lice have six legs, no wings, and do not move quickly, like fleas do. They are lighter in colour than fleas.
You can use a flea comb to check for nits on your pet’s hairs. The empty shells might look like dandruff, but they will stick to the hair in a way that dead skin would not.
Your pet may tip you off if they have lice by intense, unusual scratching and itching.
How Do I PREVENT and TREAT a Lice Infestation?
We will customize a treatment plan for your cat or dog. The treatment for lice is the same as flea treatment, and we are pleased to provide effective and safe products to help rid your pet of lice:
- Initial bath in flea shampoo if infested
- Monthly liquid pills or a 6 month injectable (for cats). These are non-toxic for animals and people. You must treat all pets in the household. The pills must be given on time and at the end of a good meal. These are especially helpful as insecticide sprays are not desirable, especially with children, pregnancy, asthma, etc.
- Monthly topical treatments on the skin.
At home, you can keep your pet’s coat groomed to assist in the nit removal and lice treatments. Be sure to keep all combs and brushes clean, and have your other pets checked for lice as well.
Once your pet is free of lice, wash blankets, bedding, and any other places your pet likes to rest. Do a thorough cleaning of your home to eradicate any remaining lice.
What Diseases are Associated with Lice?
The biggest issue with lice is the discomfort to your pet. However, there are some more serious conditions that can arise through lice.
Severe lice infestations can cause anemia from blood loss – this is most commonly seen in puppies and kittens.
Lice can transmit other diseases as well, but this is rare.
The Clarkson Animal Hospital team is ready to help you prevent, diagnose, and treat lice. Contact us for an appointment or if you have any questions.
The adult female flea lays about 2000 eggs over her lifetime. The eggs fall from your pet’s fur into your house to hatch into larvae. These will live and feed in your carpets, upholstered furniture, pet’s bedding, etc. The larvae soon pupate (cocoon) and can live in your house for up to a year. The adult fleas will emerge from the pupae when they are ready, and will immediately seek out a host (your pet or yourself) for a blood meal every 30 minutes!
Adult fleas live exclusively on your pet. Once the eggs tumble off your pet, the other two stages of the life cycle (larvae and pupae) live in the environment (your house).
Does My Pet Have Fleas?
The way to detect fleas is with a good flea comb. This is easy, inexpensive, and effective.
Comb through to the skin over the back and sides of your pet. Pull out the fur and debris from the comb and look for adult fleas (unmistakable – they’re the only bugs jumping around in your pet’s fur). You can also look for the flea dirt (flea excrement – which is undigested blood – is black pepper‐like specks which turn red‐brown when wet).
You should flea comb your pet 1‐2 times weekly from May to December.
How Do I PREVENT and TREAT a Flea Infestation?
We are pleased to provide you with excellent flea products:
- Monthly liquid pills
- 6 month injectable (for cats)
- 3 month chewable tablets (for dogs)
These prevent fleas from multiplying after feeding from your pet. They are non‐toxic for animals and people. You must treat all pets in the household. The pills must be given on time and at the end of a good meal. These are especially helpful when insecticide sprays are not desirable, especially with children, pregnancy, asthma, etc.
Monthly topical treatments on the skin start working as soon as the flea comes into contact with your pet. They kill fleas before they have a chance to lay eggs. These are tough on fleas but easy on your pet. They kill nearly 90% of existing adult fleas in just hours – and 98‐100% within 24 hours! Swimming and regular bathing do not affect the efficacy.
What Diseases are Associated with Fleas?
Fleas can cause Allergic Dermatitis, which causes intense itch. Dogs will get hot spots as they chew or scratch their own skin. Cats will usually get scabby lesions over the neck and back to the tail (MiliaryDermatitis).
Fleas also transmit tapeworms. You will see the segments of these worms crawling at or around the anus, or in the stools. They are white, about 1/4 inch when fresh, and look just like rice grains when dried up. Tapeworms can be a hazard to people.
All of our staff are fully versed in the language of “flea” and look forward to answering any questions which you may have regarding fleas and flea control.
A single mosquito bite can transmit the heartworm infestation, causing a very serious condition for your dog or cat.
A heartworm infestation can cause significant damage to the heart, blood vessels, and lungs. In dogs and cats, heartworm disease can be fatal.
Unfortunately, heartworms are difficult to treat. For dogs, the treatment is expensive and – more importantly – dangerous. For cats, no approved treatment exists.
Symptoms of heartworm are extremely varied, with some pets not showing any signs at all. Cats are particularly difficult to diagnose.
Here are some of the more common symptoms you can look for:
Heartworm Symptoms in Dogs
- Weight loss
- Difficulty breathing
- Rapid breathing
- Fainting after exercise
- Bulging chest
- Swollen abdomen
- Not showing signs at all
Heartworm Symptoms in Cats
- Can suffer from Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease (HARD)
- Can resemble asthma or allergy symptoms Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty breathing
- Rapid breathing
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Not showing signs at all
If you think your pet may have heartworms, we urge you to contact us for an appointment.
Because the symptoms can be hard to diagnose and the current treatment options are not ideal, the best thing you can do for your furry family member is to prevent heartworm disease before it has a chance to infect them.
Thankfully, heartworm prevention is easy and safe. Monthly heartworm preventative medication during peak mosquito seasons can guard your friend against contracting heartworm.
This medication also protects your cat or dog against roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and fleas.
At Clarkson Village Animal Hospital, we will assess your pet and determine the best preventive options to keep the parasites away. We have many excellent medications available to us, so don’t hesitate to set up an appointment and safeguard your pet’s health.