Spring is here in Vancouver! The sun is shining, dogs and cats are running in the grass, cherry trees are blooming, and the eggs are waiting…That’s right; parasites are excited about spring too! Now that your pets are spending more time outside, there are a few things that you should know about intestinal parasites.

There are many ways pets come into contact with parasites in Vancouver. While exploring on your walk, your dog may come in contact with another animal’s feces, or consume parasitic eggs by licking the ground. Your furry friends can also find larvae by eating fleas, snails, mice, birds, and rabbits. If you think your cat isn’t hunting because you aren’t receiving “gifts” at the front door, don’t be fooled…he just doesn’t want to share! Puppies and kittens are particularly susceptible to parasites as they can get them from their mother before and after birth, so it is extra important to deworm while they are young.

Why should you be worried about parasites? They can cause internal harm to your pet through various symptoms, such as weakness, weight loss, anemia, poor growth, vomiting, and diarrhea. Worst of all, they can also infect you and your children. This is called Zoonosis and will be discussed in another blog.

If you’d like to drop off a fecal sample from your pet, we can run an in-house test called a fecal flotation. We can detect the eggs of intestinal parasites from a fecal float, but it depends on the parasitic life cycle. Just because we don’t see eggs does not mean that your pet is clear of internal parasites. Your veterinarian can detect signs that can help distinguish what treatment, if any, is best for your pet.

There are many ways to treat your pet for parasites, and we would love to work with you on deciding which method is best for your pet’s lifestyle. Options include topical medications (placed on the skin) and oral medications (liquids or tablets).

Remember to pick up after your pet and to deworm them on a schedule decided between you and your veterinarian.

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