My pet does not go outside. Does he/she still need flea/tick/heartworm prevention?
Heartworm infection can occur after a single mosquito bite, so even indoor pets are at risk. Even though your pet may not spend any time outdoors, fleas and ticks can attach themselves to your clothing. So you could be bringing in these parasites to your pet unknowingly every time you enter your home. Ask your veterinarian about the benefits of preventative measures to protect your pet from these pests.
How can my puppy/kitten have worms? I have been very careful to not expose her/him.
Almost all puppies are born with intestinal parasites or are infected from their mothers while nursing. Kittens can also be infected by their mother’s milk.
Both puppies and kittens should be dewormed every 2 weeks, beginning at 2 weeks old for puppies and 3 weeks old for kittens. Monthly deworming should begin at about 8 weeks for kittens and 12 weeks for puppies.
Are the intestinal parasites in my pet a danger to my family?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta recommends all puppies and kittens be dewormed at appropriate intervals (every 2-3 weeks), at least 3 times. This is important for both the pet and human family members who can suffer from shared roundworms and hookworms. Cohutta Animal Clinic also recommends fecal exams at the first and last puppy office visits to monitor any parasite problems. For more information on these parasites or how they can affect your family please visit: http://www.petsandparasites.org
I was late giving my pet his/her monthly heartworm preventative. What should I do?
Even if you miss one dose or were late in giving your pet his/her monthly heartworm preventative, your pet could have become infected if he was exposed during that lapse. Call your veterinarian if you have been late or missed a dose. He or she may recommend a heartworm test, and then put your pet back on a regular preventative schedule.
Why does my pet need to have a blood test before starting heartworm medication?
Your pet needs to be tested for infection before he/she is place on preventative medication so as to avoid harmful or possible fatal complications. If a heartworm-infected animal is started on a monthly preventative, immature heartworms (microfilariae) can die suddenly and cause a serious, shock-type reaction. Also, heartworm preventatives will not kill adult heartworms, so an infected animal needs to be treated to kill these parasites.