Pet Health

Fleas and Ticks

Fleas are a bloodsucking parasite. In small animals they can be so bad as to cause anemia. This could require a blood transfusion to save the dog. In addition, fleas pass on tapeworms to a dog. There are a variety of flea controlsavailable. Some heartworm preventions also control fleas.

Ticks are a small parasite that suck blood and are painful. While they can be found anywhere on a dog, they prefer ears and between toes. Ticks can pass on diseases such as ehrlichiosis, lyme disease and rocky mountain spotted fever. If your dog is tested for the presence of heartworms, many of these diseases are also tested for at the same time. Special collars are usually recommended to provide tick prevention.

Intestinal Parasites

Hook, Round and Whip worms Intestinal parasites such as hook, round and whip worms can be acquired from the mother dog to puppies or from the soil. Dogs like to sniff and taste. This is how they pick up a variety of parasites in the soil, via contaminated feces. Round worms can sometimes be seen in a dog's stool. Hook and whip worms cannot. Worms can be passed on to small children who run around barefoot. Most heartworm preventions will also control these worms. Routine deworming is recommended to help treat these intestinal worms.

Single celled organisms Coccidia and Giardia can cause symptoms such as diarrhea and lethargy. De-worming a dog will not remove these organisms. The veterinarian needs to perform a fecal (stool) check to detect the presence of these organisms. Appropriate medicine will then be prescribed.


Mosquitoes spread heartworms. Mosquitoes not only suck blood, they transmit a whole variety of diseases. In dogs the one most commonly encountered is heartworms. Heartworms live a long time and will not be removed by over-the-counter worm treatments. The only prevention for heartworms is monthly treatments available at a veterinarian.

A dog must be free of heartworms before taking a preventative medicine. There are tests that will detect the presence of mature heartworms in a dog. Do not wait for symptoms to appear. By the time symptoms appear, much damage will have been done to the dog. They are shortness of breath, coughing, lack of energy, easily tiring, poor haircoat and similar more. These symptoms are not restricted only to hearm disease. Treating a dog for heartworms is expensive, time consuming, and requires months of patience and care on the part of the owner.

Do yourself and your dog a favor. Prevent heartworms.

Combination Medicines Most heartworm preventative medications will prevent not only heartworms but also intestinal parasites as well. In addition, some will sterilize or kill fleas. Due to the many options available with heartworm prevention, it is advisable to ask the veterinarian which medicine is best for your pet, your environment and your budget.


Fight wounds These can range from small bite wounds and scratches to major trauma and damage. The most common scenario is for an animal that has not been spayed or neutered getting loose and getting into fights. An untreated bite or scratch can swell and abscess and cause your pet a great deal of pain. In addition, cats can spread viral infections by way of bites. More serious injuries could require suturing or amputation of a limb. It is important to get your animal proper medical attention as soon after the injury as possible.

Hit by car Fights and car injuries frequently appear similar. Fractures are common when a car hits a dog or cat. Most likely the veterinarian will need to take x-rays of the animal to determine the seriousness of the injury.

Household accidents Many times small breed animals can fall off something like a bed and injure themselves. This could be as simple as a sprain or as serious as a fracture. Other accidents such as tripping over an animal, dropping the animal or the animal eating their favorite toy can occur. When these happen, call your veterinarian.

Poisoning This could be from antifreeze in the driveway, rat poison, prescription medications or a variety of drugs and chemicals that are not good for a dog or cat. Time is critical. Your veterinarian will let you know what to do and where to take your pet. Call the veterinarian immediately. The ASPCA has an Animal Poison Control Center that is manned 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Their number is (888) 426-4435. Currently a $65 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card.