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Minnesota Veterinary Hospital Blog

Parasite Prevention


Parasites that affect dogs and cats can be found either internally or externally. The pest may attach itself to the pet's fur, the animal may ingest it, or it may get infected through a mosquito bite. When left untreated, parasite infestation can cause serious discomfort or even life-threatening complications for the pet. Since animals depend on their owners to keep them well, it's essential for anyone who owns a dog or cat to be aware of the various parasites, their symptoms,and how to treat them.

Internal Parasites

The most common types of internal parasites include:

  • Coccidia: When this parasite gets inside the intestines of dogs or cats, it may cause diarrhea, dehydration, and weight loss. In severe cases, coccidia cause liver failure and death.
  • Cryptosporidium: Dogs or cats may ingest this parasite through contaminated water, food, or the feces of another animal. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and lethargy.
  • Giardia: Animals are infected with this parasite in the same manner as cryptosporidium. Typical symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, and gas.
  • Heartworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and whipworms: All of these worms are tiny and may initially cause no symptoms. Eventually, they may get into the blood stream and threaten to cause organ failure.

External Parasites

The most common types of external parasites include:

  • Fleas: This parasite can cause itching, biting, scratching, skin irritation, and bald spots of fur. Pet owners should treat their animal, home, and yard to prevent fleas.
  • Mites: Mites hide inside of a pet's ears or beneath the fur. Signs of infestation include an oily coat, scratching, and scabs in the affected area.
  • Ticks: Ticks are concerning because they can carry serious diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme Disease. The most likely locations include the ears, belly, legs, and face. Pet owners should regularly check their dog or cat for ticks and remove them immediately.

Our Parasite Prevention Products

Minnesota Veterinary Hospital is pleased to offer My Vet Store Online for customers to order flea and tick prevention, heartworm prevention, or any other medications their pet needs.


Photo credit:  blueorangestudio