Heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis)
This is an infection spread through mosquito bites. Mosquitoes pick up larval heartworms (Microfilaria) from an infected dog´s bloodstream and carry them to other dogs. In adulthood the worm can grow up to 14 inches long. It lives in the heart and pulmonary arteries of an infected dog. The worms take up a significant amount of the heart, leading to less blood being pumped. This can cause permanent life-threatening damage to the heart and lungs. The immature larval forms that circulate through the bloodstream can also lead to kidney disease. The symptoms of heartworm disease in dogs include coughing, shortness of breath, and lethargy. Heartworm disease is preventable and generally treatable.
In the UAE, heartworms are not a problem, but keep in mind that your pet could have been infected in a country where it was before coming here. This parasite is not contagious to humans!
This is a one-celled organisms (protozoa) that can inhabit your pet’s intestinal tract. In the very young and debilitated adult animals this parasite can cause significant life threatening diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration. After infection, the intestinal cells rupture, releasing immature coccidia (oocysts) into the stool. The oocyts survive in the soil for some time where they are ingested by unsuspecting pets. The infection can also be spread when your pet eats an infected mouse. This parasite is not contagious to humans!
Giardia are actually protozoans (single celled organisms) and are commonly found in the intestines of many animals, including cats and dogs. Diarrhea, bloody or mucousy stool, increased gas, and weight loss can all be seen in the affected puppies and kittens. Giardia is transmitted through the ingestion of cysts in contaminated food or drinking water. Cysts may also be found in streams or other water sources.
Some dogs and cats will carry Giardia organisms and not show any signs of disease. Giardia can also be transmitted from animals to humans causing similar symptoms to those found in animals.
Removing a tick from a dog or cat is a procedure that can easily be performed by owner. The best way to remove a tick is by applying constant, gentle pressure backward, until the tick comes out.
Ticks can leave a swelling on your pet’s skin once removed. Even if you don’t see any ticks, you might detect a swelling on the pet’s skin caused by a tick bite. These bumps can last up to two or three weeks, with or without the possibility of a retained tick head.
Fleas attack dogs and cats (and almost every other animal). A flea bite itches about 10 times more than a mosquito bite. This leads to the animal scratching and biting at the affected area so much so that it doesn’t get any rest. The effect is even worse if the animal is allergic to flea saliva, a very common allergy in animals. Fleas can also transmit parasites such as tape worms. There are many products available to get rid of fleas and keep your pest free of them.
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