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Vaccinations and Parasites: Get Informed

Vaccinations are key to protecting your pet against most major infectious diseases. In general, we believe the following are essential for every cat or dog:

  • Rabies (both cats and dogs)
  • Canine distemper
  • Canine hepatitis
  • Canine leptospirosis
  • Canine parvovirus infection
  • Canine parainfluenza
  • Feline panleukopenia
  • Feline calicivirus infection
  • Feline distemper
  • Feline leukemia
  • Feline viral rhinotracheitis

Our staff will also make specific recommendations regarding the best vaccination schedule for your pet.

Fleas and Ticks

Fleas and ticks are a big concern, and the potential health problems they cause are significant. Flea and tick products generally fall into one of two categories: neurotoxic insecticides and insect growth regulators (IGR). Neurotoxic insecticides target adult fleas and ticks and work by paralyzing the insects before neutralizing them. IGRs target parasites in the early stages of life by preventing the growth of eggs into larvae.

Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal condition caused by foot-long worms that live in the heart, lungs, and related blood vessels. While dogs are more prone to heartworm infestations than cats, there is an effective treatment regimen for dogs. However, the same medication cannot be used in cats, so prevention is the only way to fully protect them against the disease. We generally recommend having your pet tested annually since early detection efforts are the best defense against infection.

Intestinal Parasites

Most intestinal parasites are not clearly visible in feces; therefore, we screen for infection via microscopic analysis in our laboratory. The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) recommends a fecal analysis be performed 2-4 times during the first year of life for puppies and kittens, and 1-2 times per year for adults.

A number of heartworm preventives are also effective against certain intestinal parasites. Depending on the product, this may include protection against hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, or tapeworms. However, no single treatment can eliminate every parasite, and we recommend you contact us to determine what is appropriate for your pet.

Which Product is the Best?

Dog

The short answer is “it depends.” For every pet, the best product is the one that accounts for his or her lifestyle and addresses specific parasites common to where you live. At the Animal Hospital of Pittsford, we can discuss the pros and cons of any product, and we’re proud to offer competitive values on parasite prevention and treatments through our pharmacy.

On the Web

The Pet Health Center at WebMD offers these helpful guides:

Visit the Companion Animal Parasite Council.

Visit the CDC’s Healthy Pets, Healthy People.

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