Parasites are defined as organisms that live in or on another body, referred to as the host, and gain an advantage at the expense of the host. An external parasite attacks the host by either sucking their blood or feeding on their skin. Most common external parasites are fleas, ticks, lice and different types of mites.
If you are checking your pet on a regular basis for any signs of parasites, you will most likely be able to see parasites such as fleas or ticks. Sometimes you will see flea dirt which is the feces of fleas, and a tick can sometimes look like a skin tag or growth on your pet. If you want to remove the tick yourself, make sure you have a good pair of tweezers or a Tick Twister and get as close to the skin, so you remove the head as well. If the body is pulled out, but the head is left in, it can still inject diseases if it was infected.
Other external parasites are not as easy to detect visibly on your pet because they are microscopic. That’s when watching for symptoms like excessive scratching, hair loss, redness and skin irritation, scabs, and discomfort or restlessness. External parasites are easily treated with broad-spectrum dewormers prescribed by your veterinarian. Beware of over-the-counter dewormers, these products are not adequately regulated, so their safety is unknown.
Ear mites look like coffee grounds inside the ear, so some owners mistake them for just dirty ears. An ear cleaner won’t kill the ear mites, so if the debris persists after a good cleaning, you should speak to your veterinarian about treatment.
Contact Lomsnes Veterinary Hospital to learn how you can prevent external parasites on your pets.
Written by Lomsnes Veterinary Hospital