Spring Is Here, And Parasites Are Not Far Behind

Heartworms are among the most dangerous parasites that infect dogs and some cats. Thousands of cases of canine heartworm disease are reported in the US every year, many of those in Colorado. Currently Rising Sun Animal Care has heartworm positive patients who are facing toxic and expensive treatment for heartworm disease, completely refuting the belief that there is no heartworm disease in Colorado. The adult heartworm lives in the pulmonary arteries and the heart itself, blocking the proper functions of the heart and lungs, and eventually causing death of the pet. The disease is spread between pets by mosquitoes. Since there is no such thing as an outdoor only mosquito, all dogs and cats are at risk for the disease unless they are receiving regular prevention. A lifetime of prevention is less expensive and less toxic than one treatment.

Intestinal parasites come in several forms, are contagious to pets and people, and can cause severe disease in susceptible patients. Hookworms live in a dog’s small intestine. They feed on the lining of the intestines, leaving ulcers that can lead to anemia. In humans, hookworms migrate through tissue close to the skin, causing painful itchy rashes. Roundworms are persistent parasites that can lay up to 100,000 eggs in a single day. Eggs are passed in feces, and are ingested by the next animal or person to be infected. In pets, they hatch and the adult worms set up house in the intestines. In people they “get lost” and migrate through the body causing damage to eyes, skin, lungs and intestines. Tapeworms also live in the intestines, depriving the host pet of nutrients, and occasionally growing large enough to cause an intestinal obstruction. Tapeworms are spread by fleas, which are rarer in Colorado than in other states, but are not absent. Articles every year about plague in the prairie dog populations make it clear that fleas exist in Colorado. And visits to more humid states will expose your pet to a full force flea infestation.

Fleas and Ticks are parasites in their own right, and they also carry other diseases (tapeworms, plague, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever). While we don’t see many fleas and ticks in the metro area, they are out there. In addition, travel to other areas may expose your pets, even though they are safe while at home. Let us help establish a parasite prevention plan consistent with your lifestyle. Our screening test, to ensure freedom from heartworms, three tick borne diseases, and intestinal worms, is discounted with the attached coupon. $47 total will allow us to test for heartworms, lyme disease, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, and fecal ova and parasites. This discounted test is provided by our reference laboratory so unlike most of our nearly immediate in house testing, the results will be available the next day. This will allow us to determine what your pet may have been exposed to over time, and initiate treatment if needed. We then can discuss your lifestyle, and determine which parasite prevention plan makes sense for you to maintain your pet’s health.