Common Parasites That Can Harm Your Pet

A parasite is an organism that lives off a host – either on or inside the host’s body – and is harmful to the host’s health. Unfortunately, there are several types of parasites that threaten the health of pets, and it’s up to pet owners to protect their dogs and cats from these harmful organisms.

The 3 Most Common Types of Pet Parasites


1. Intestinal Parasites

Intestinal parasites are a type of internal parasite that lives inside a pet’s intestines, affecting the pet’s gastrointestinal tract. They can be contracted when a pet unknowingly ingests something like water or food that has been contaminated with a parasite’s eggs or spores. The most common types are hookworms and roundworms, but pets can also be infected with whipworms, tapeworms, coccidia, and giardia.

2. Heartworms

Heartworms are another internal parasite that affects a pet’s heart, lungs, and circulatory system. They are contracted when a pet is bitten by an infected mosquito. The mosquito deposits heartworm larvae into the pet’s bloodstream during the bite. The heartworms then grow, mature, and reproduce inside the pet’s circulatory system. Heartworms can be life-threatening for pets and treatments aren’t always 100% reliable (plus, no treatment exists for cats). So, heartworm prevention is essential.

3. External Parasites

The most common external parasites that affect pets are fleas and ticks both can carry dangerous diseases and cause allergic reactions that result in dermatological problems for pets.

How Are Parasites Treated?

If we suspect a pet might have a parasite, we first perform an examination and testing to verify the presence of parasites and determine the type of parasite in order to recommend an appropriate treatment. Treatment for parasites in pets varies greatly depending on the type of parasite. For example, a pet with fleas will likely be treated with a medicated bath while a pet with intestinal parasites will be given a deworming medication.

Parasite Prevention With Desert Paws Mobile Veterinary Care

When it comes to parasites and pets, we always recommend prevention as the best medicine because parasites can easily be prevented, saving your pet from discomfort and safeguarding their health. Our veterinarians with Desert Paws Mobile Veterinary Care can recommend a parasite preventive regimen for your pet based on their individual lifestyle, medical history, other pets in the household, and their exposure risk.
To learn more about protecting your pets from all kinds of harmful parasites or schedule a preventative care appointment, we welcome you to contact us today.