Fact or Fiction: The Bug Edition

There are often misconceptions about the parasites our pets may encounter. Below we help to separate fact from fiction regarding a few of our most common parasites.

Fact or Fiction: Fleas live on your pets.
Fiction: Fleas actually use our pets as a fast food restaurant. They ‘jump’ on for a meal and ‘jump’ off to live in our houses and lay their eggs. This is why it is so hard to get rid of flea infestations without the use of an appropriate product.

Fact or Fiction: I can’t see worms in my pets’ stool, therefore they don’t have any.
Fiction: We can only see 3 of the most common parasites with the naked eye. The roundworm which resembles spaghetti, the tapeworm that resembles rice grains, and the whipworm which has a whip-like appearance. The whipworm is so small that most of the time owners will miss it. There are dozens of other parasites that your pet could have, which means that most of them are invisible to the naked eye.

Fact or Fiction: My dog only goes outside for bathroom breaks; is he is still able to contract Heartworm Disease?
Fact: Heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes. While it is true that our modern houses are fairly bug proof, mosquitoes can still get in and most dogs will at least go outside to use the washroom. Therefore, we should consider all dogs as having the potential to be exposed to heartworm disease and take the necessary precautions.

Fact or Fiction: Can I see Ringworm in my pets stool?
Fiction: This is a terrible name for this pathogenic condition. Ringworm, contrary to popular belief, is not actually a worm but a fungus. For this reason you will not see it in the stool, but as a rash like lesion on the skin.

Fact or Fiction: A tick must be attached to my pet for 12-24 hours before any disease can be transmitted.
Fact: A tick must be attached and feeding for approximately 12 -24 hours before they start transmitting any disease they may be carrying. This includes Lyme disease. Therefore, if an owner is diligent and is checking their pets (and themselves) twice daily (morning and night) then there is less chance of disease transmission. We would still recommend preforming a 4Dx screening test which tests for Lyme, heartworm and two other tick transmitted diseases to ensure that your pet is not at risk.

Talk to your veterinary team for more details on the parasites found in your community and the preventative products that may fit your lifestyle.



This article was written by Sherry Anne Noseworthy, Registered Veterinary Technician, of Fifth Avenue Veterinary Clinic. We provide team-based vet care for pets and their families from our animal hospital in Orangeville, Ontario.

POSTED: 2017-04-05 Bookmark and Share
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