Pet Health Library

Parasite Protection for Dogs

Background

Your dog can get parasites from many different sources, including contact with infected dogs or from a contaminated environment.

External Parasites

External parasites live on your dog’s body and can cause scratching, head-shaking, biting, or red and irritated skin. Your veterinarian can usually diagnose these by finding them on your dog or doing various skin tests. The most common external parasites are:

  • Ear mites
  • Ticks
  • Fleas
  • Lice
  • Mange mites

Internal Parasites

Most internal parasites live in a dog’s intestines and are diagnosed through an examination of your dog’s feces. These parasites often cause diarrhea, but they also may cause vomiting and weight loss. Some common internal parasites are:

  • Coccidia
  • Giardia
  • Hookworms
  • Roundworms
  • Tapeworms
  • Whipworms

Fleas & Ticks

The best way to protect your dog is with year-round use of a veterinarian-approved preventive product. There are oral medications, topical treatments, and collars that can keep fleas and ticks from harming your dog and infesting your home.

Your veterinarian can recommend the product that is best for your dog. Even if your dog is on preventive medication, be sure to inspect your dog and yourself for ticks after walks through the woods, fields, marshes, or visits to the dog park.

Infogram showing where to look for a  tick on a dog

Heartworm

Transmitted by the bite of a mosquito, heartworms are extremely dangerous and can be fatal. Unlike intestinal parasites, heartworms live in a dog’s heart or near the heart in major blood vessels.

Heartworm and other parasites are a risk no matter where you live. However, they can easily be avoided with a preventative medication or treatment prescribed by your veterinarian. Be sure to give the medication or treatment as directed and on time. If you miss a dose, contact your veterinarian.

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Primary Care

AMC’s Primary Care Mission

AMC’s Primary Care Service aims to provide the highest quality primary veterinary care and to educate our clients about the latest in healthcare and preventative medicine, so they can make informed medical decisions for their pets, enabling their companions to live longer, happier, and healthier lives.

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