Prevention of internal parasites is preferred over treatment due to cost of treatments, inconvenience of treatments and discomfort to the pet. Luckily, most parasite-related illnesses are preventable.
There are several simple ways to protect your pet from internal parasites.
- Use a pooper scooper. You can prevent contamination by picking up feces from your yard immediately—do not let it sit. As feces breaks down, eggs form and seep into the soil. A dog or child can play in the soil and spread contamination. When you take your dog for a walk, be responsible and carry something to pick up waste.
Feed your pets cooked or prepared food - never raw meat - and provide fresh water daily.
- Have your pet's stool sample examined by your veterinarian every 6 - 12 months.
- Ask your veterinarian to place your pets on preventive flea and internal parasite medication as soon as possible after birth or adoption. Treatment and control of internal parasites should be performed at least annually by a veterinarian.
- Annual re-testing for heartworm infection will ensure that preventive practices are sufficient.
One of the most effective ways to protect your pet from internal parasites is to use a parasite prevention product. There are safe parasite preventives available through all veterinary clinics. But they must be used consistently. Year round treatment with a broad spectrum parasite product is key because:
- Although experts agree that heartworm transmission does not occur year round in all areas, a significant portion of the U.S. experiences transmission during most of the year.
- The presence of mosquitoes and their ability to transmit heartworm is unpredictable.
- Pets may travel to regions where transmission is active.
- Pets are exposed to and become infected with roundworms and hookworms (A. caninum) throughout the year. Therefore, fecal matter capable of transmitting parasites can be shed into the environment regardless of season or climate.
- Adult dogs may develop outwardly visible infections, leading to environmental contamination.
Using an internal parasite medication is even more important in households with infants and small children. Internal parasites can be transmitted to infants and children if they rub their hands on the pet's fur. The risk of parasitic infection in pets and zoonotic parasite transmission increases in the absence of year round internal parasite prevention.
One SENTINEL® Flavor Tabs® tablet given once a month protects against heartworms, hookworms (A. caninum), roundworms, whipworms and controls flea populations. Milbemycin oxime, one of the active ingredients in SENTINEL® Flavor Tabs®, is the active ingredient most trusted by veterinarians for use in their own pets. It provides the spectrum of control required by Centers for Disease Control and Companion Animal Parasite Council guidelines.
You should always watch your pet for signs of internal parasite infection. Parasites can be observed in pets' feces or in bedding, among other places. Usually, internal parasite infections are marked by decrease in appetite, bloody stools, diarrhea and a decrease in activity level. Many internal parasite infections do not show any symptoms, so regular veterinarian visits are important. If you suspect your pet has internal parasites, prompt treatment is crucial because some cases can be life threatening.