Parasites can cause a variety of health problems for your pet - and even death. One of the biggest concerns is the potential for them to spread to humans. Described below are the common parasites in cats and dogs.
Worms are internal parasites that can cause a variety of symptoms. Sometimes animals demonstrate few to no outward signs of infection despite having a potentially serious health problem. Some parasitic worms are hazards for humans as well. Below are the most common worms found in animals on Guam:
Heartworms are transmitted through mosquito bites and can be detected through a blood test. Heartworms cannot be spread to humans.
Roundworms & Hookworms live in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and can be transmitted through the skin via infected soil and fecal-oral contact. They easily pass through the placental barrier from mother to offspring. These worms can be transmitted to humans.
Whipworms live in the GI tract as well. Their eggs can live in soil and are transmitted through ingesting fecal matter.
Tapeworms also live in the GI tract and are transmitted from the ingestion of fleas, rodents and rabbits. These worms are detected through a fecal examination. Though some types of tapeworms are very dangerous to humans, Guam does not have any of these types of tapeworms.
Fleas are an external parasite that CAN be transmitted to humans. Fleas can cause mild to severe itching, scratching, biting and chewing in you and/or your pet. Some animals also have an allergy or are hypersensitive to flea saliva, resulting in skin irritation and problems. This flea allergy can be detected in a blood test.
An untreated flea infestation can lead to anemia and possible death in small animals. Veterinarians detect fleas by examining your pet, looking closely for fleas, flea dirt or small black specks of dried flea feces.
Ticks are another external parasite that CAN be transmitted to humans. Ticks attach themselves by biting the skin and feeding on blood. Ticks can cause mild local irritation to severe anemia in an animal. Ticks often carry other diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Ehrlichia, which they can transmit to both animals and humans.
Ticks may also cause tick disease by releasing sporozites into the animal's blood stream after feeding for 2-3 days. These sporozites attach themselves to red blood cells inside the animal and can spread throughout the body. Some tick disease can be spread from a pregnant mother to the unborn offspring or from biting.
What You Can Do About It
All pets should be on a parasite preventative program because Guam is infested with internal and external parasites. Mosquitoes are very abundant and transmit heartworm disease to pets on island. The soil is contaminated with Hookworms, Roundworms and Whipworms because fecal matter is left on the ground. Fleas and ticks thrive in warm, humid, dark areas (leaf litter, soil, debris etc.). 95% of them exist in the environment and only 5% of them live on our pets.
Indoor cats are not immune from parasites. Learn why here.
Wise Owl offers both preventative and curative treatments for parasites. We prefer to prevent parasites to save your pet the discomfort of parasite infestation and minimize your family's risk.
Our preventative programs range to include products that require biweekly, monthly, 3-month, 8-month or yearly application. Find the program that is right for you and your pet.