Introduction to Parasites
Parasites are nasty things for your pet, and even yourself, to deal with. What you might not realise is there are so many of them. Not just the occasional flea, oh no. You’ll be able to see just how many threaten your pet on a daily basis by becoming familiar with this guide.
Though it might send a shiver down your spine, it’s a topic that needs to be addressed. Thankfully, you can raise your awareness on these pesky parasites and learn which ones your pet is prone to getting, what they look like, where they come from, what they do, how to spot them, how they infest your pet and people, what health risks they cause, how to prevent them and how to get rid of them altogether.
“Just a few fleas isn’t that much of a big deal, though, right?”
– Wrong… very wrong!
For vets up and down the country, it’s all so common to witness pet owners who have a trivial approach to parasites. Many think the word “parasite” just means that sometimes a cat or dog can get a flea or two and everything is okay really. But this view is incorrect and damages your pet’s welfare.
‘Parasites’ doesn’t just mean a flea. It’s a whole plethora of different parasite species, from ticks to lice, to mites and internal worms. These unwanted creatures come in various forms and there are more of them around than you can possibly imagine. They also lay eggs in surprising quantities and hatch at alarming rates. Infestations can get out of control.
Parasites don’t just bite or make your pet a bit unwell. They can be much more dangerous than that, and much more dangerous to you and your family.
Here are some statistics and facts about parasites that will make you feel glad you’re learning more about them for your pet’s sake:
- Fleas are capable of laying 2,000 eggs in their lives
- Heartworms can live as long as 7 years
- Roundworms can infect a puppy through the mother
- Fleas are able to survive 100 days without feeding on blood
- Hookworms can produce as many as 10,000 eggs every day
- Tapeworms can be as long as 15 feet, and some have been recorded even longer
- Fleas can feed on 15 times their own weight in blood every single day
- Ear mites are very contagious to other pets in the household
- Parasites can cause serious disease e.g. ticks can carry Lyme’s disease
- There are over 800 types of tick
- There are two types of canine lice – one that feeds on blood, one feeds on skin
- Mosquitoes can infect your pet with heartworm
And these are just some of many daunting details on parasites.
Though some parasites and diseases are more likely to occur in other countries, do not assume your pet is not at risk. This guide is going to tell you all you need to know about parasites so you are better aware and more prepared over your pet’s health.
An additional aspect to this guide is the health risk parasites have to humans. Not everyone notices that the parasitic risks to pets can be a problem for their owners too. Not only do these parasites get into your home environment posing a risk of infesting other pets and re-infesting, but they also run the risk of infecting you.
Many parasites do not carry over to humans, but quite a few do. Catching mites from your pet will irritate both parties immensely, and can make checking, treating and having your usual interactions with your pet a lot harder. Having a case of mites isn’t such a bad thing, however, compared to the disease pet parasites can transfer over to you.
Yes, really. Some parasites carry disease that affects both your pet and you, if it can pass to humans. This makes parasite awareness even more important, because you don’t just need to know about how these unwanted critters work, but how they impact the health of everyone you care about, right from your beloved pet, to your family members and yourself.