Parasites in your Vail Valley Pet

  • Blog >
  • Parasites in your Vail Valley Pet
RSS Feed

Parasites in your Vail Valley Pet

 At Mountain Mobile Vet & The Animal Hospital Center, we have been seeing a rise in the number of Parasites in pets, both internal and external parasites. So many of our customers feel that because we live at a higher altitude , that their pets are immune from parasites! This is an assumption, but surely not what we are actually seeing!

So do pet owners know what to look for if their pet has a parasite?

Signs of internal parasites in your pet can be dependent on the type, volume and duration of the infection, as well as your pet’s current health status but most common signs are diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, lethargy, poor hair coat, pot belly appearance, scooting on the hind end, poor growth rate in puppies and kittens, as well as weight loss.

Internal parasites are most often detected thru evaluation of the stool.

Many of our customers will say, “ but the feces look normal so I don’t want to have one checked!” And , what we as veterinarians are discovering here in the Vail Valley, is that more often than not, these pets are carrying parasites, they just cannot be visible in the stool.

Veterinarians are able to do what we call a “Fecal Float,” where the feces are examined under a microscope and the eggs of the parasite may be seen. Newer tests referred to as “antigen tests” also can detect if your pet it currently fighting an internal parasite.

Typical parasites affecting dogs and cats include Hookworms, tapeworms, Roundworms and Whipworms.

Locally, we commonly see Tapeworms, which are acquired most commonly by your pet ingesting wild animals, birds, rodents, and carcasses, as well as  Roundworms, which are very common in puppies and are spread thru the feces. 

Another internal parasite we see here in the Vail Valley, are heartworms. Heartworms are not common here, as we do not have a long summer season as in more humid, warm areas such as Texas and Florida, but because so many of our local clientele do originate from other states, annual heartworm testing is recommended. Heartworm is a parasite which is transmitted via a mosquito, and is spread thru the bite of the mosquito and over six months, develops into very large worms that lodge in the heart of your pet. Signs can be exercise intolerance, coughing, lethargy, collapse and death. This disease, if caught early can be treated, but it is expensive and can be hard on your pet.  We say, Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to internal parasites in your pet!

External parasites pets can aquire include lice, mites, mange, fleas and ticks. Signs typically include hair loss, itching, scratching and rubbing, as well as secondary skin infections.

External parasites most commonly can be seen, but in addition a “skin scrape” can be performed on your pet for those parasites buried in the skin layers.

Many  ticks can carry dangerous infectious diseases such as lymes, ehrlichia , babesia, and anaplasmosis.

In conclusion,Topical as well as oral meds can be used preventatively for many of these parasites, so during the warmer months, it is strongly recommended you use a veterinarian prescriped preventative.

We look forward to seeing you!