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How can I Know if my Pet has Parasites?

How do I know if my dog has parasites? I have a five-year-old Jack Russell. My dog goes to the vet twice a year and...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Oct 8th 2008

How do I know if my dog has parasites?
I have a five-year-old Jack
Russell. My dog goes to the vet twice a year and
has blood work done before I put her on
Revolution. Can the blood tests detect

Whitby, Canada

Three classes of parasites are common in dogs and cats. Each class causes unique symptoms.

Skin parasites such as fleas and mites are very common. In some instances, fleas or flea feces may be present on infested pets. In many other cases the parasites are not detectable with the naked eye but may cause hair loss, scabs or red skin. Skin tests are used to detect skin parasites.

Blood parasites such as heartworm are common in many parts of the world. Blood parasites may cause heart problems, anemia, and immune system disorders. Blood tests are required to check for blood parasites.

Intestinal parasites comprise the third class of animal parasites. Intestinal worms and microscopic parasites such as Giardia and coccidia fall into this class. Intestinal parasites may cause diarrhea or vomiting, but many infested pets show no symptoms whatsoever. Microscopic evaluation of the stool is required to check for intestinal parasites.

No test for parasites is 100% accurate. Therefore, if you want to keep your pet free of parasites your best bet is to use a broad spectrum anti-parasite agent on a regular basis. Revolution is one such agent. If your dog receives Revolution each month, it is unlikely that she is infested with parasites. Advantage Multi is another effective broad spectrum anti-parasite agent. Interceptor and Heartgard Plus also prevent most parasite infestations when combined with a flea preventative such as Advantage, Frontline, Comfortis or Vectra 3D.

Some animal parasites can spread to people. Intestinal roundworms are the most dangerous. Broad spectrum anti-parasite medicines do not only help to keep your pet healthy. They also help protect the people in the house.

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