Here is a question many dog and cat owners ask. How did parasites get on my pet? Keeping parasites such as fleas, ticks,and heartworms off of your pet is an important step in assuring the health of your dog or cat. In order to protect your furry friend form the different types of parasite, it’s vital that you know how these pests are transmitted to our pets.
Unlike many other pests, ticks don’t fly or jump. They are arachnids and crawl onto pets from grass shrubs or bushes. Once they attach to the fur, the ticks crawl upwards and look for a place to begin feeding.
Almost three hundred thousand dogs in the US or infected with heartworms each year. Heartworms are transmitted to dogs or cats through infected mosquitos. When a mosquito bites a pet, the heartworm migrates to the heart and large blood vessels of the lungs. Heartworms can grow up to 16 inches in length.
Ear mites live on the surface of ear canal skin in pets and are barely visible to the human eye. While most mites are naturally occurring, some dogs are susceptible to troublesome infections. Ear mites are highly contagious and spread through social interaction with other infected dogs.
Fleas are the most common external parasites found on dogs and cats. They use their strong back legs to jump from their environments or another host onto our pets. Fleas may be transported into your yard by wild animals including raccoons, squirrels and other small rodents.
Tapeworms are long flat worms that attach themselves to a pets intestines. Dipylidium caninum is the most common type of tapeworm that is transferred to dogs through the ingestion of infected fleas. Because fleas are an intermediate host of these parasites, it’s important to use year round flea prevention to protect your pets.