First and foremost, remember to regularly deworm them, prevent fleas and ticks, and maintain the hygiene of the environment in which our pets live. Regular veterinary check-ups are also essential, as they allow for early detection of parasite infestations* and prompt action to combat them.
Common parasites in dogs and cats: symptoms and modes of infection
Dogs and cats can be exposed to various types of parasites, both external (ectoparasites) and internal (endoparasites). The most common external parasites include fleas, ticks, and lice, while internal parasites include roundworms, tapeworms, flukes, and coccidia. The modes of infection vary depending on the type of parasite but can involve contact with other animals, contaminated food, water, or soil. Symptoms of parasitic infection may include weight loss, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, anemia, itching, or behavioral changes.
Preventing parasites: prophylaxes and protection of animals
Parasite prevention is crucial for maintaining the health of dogs and cats. It is recommended to regularly use antiparasitic treatments such as spot-on drops, tablets, or flea collars. Additionally, it is important to maintain the hygiene of the animal, regularly clean the environment, and avoid contact with wild animals. It is also worthwhile to visit a veterinarian regularly, who can recommend appropriate prevention and treatment.
Parasites in dogs and cats and human health: zoonoses
Some parasites in dogs and cats can be transmitted to humans, causing so-called zoonotic diseases. Examples of such diseases are Lyme disease, babesiosis, toxoplasmosis, and dirofilariasis. To reduce the risk of infection, it is necessary to maintain hygienic measures such as washing hands after contact with animals or avoiding contact with feces. Prevention of parasites in pets also contributes to the protection of human health.
Parasitic diseases during international travel with dogs and cats
During international travel with dogs and cats, animals may be exposed to local species of parasites that are not present in their place of residence. Before departure, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian to learn about potential risks and apply appropriate prevention measures. It is also important to check regulations regarding the transportation of animals and required vaccinations or health certificates. Upon return from travel, it is recommended to conduct a follow-up examination with a veterinarian to detect any potential parasitic infections.
Climate change and its impact on the spread of parasites
Climate change affects the spread of parasites, which can lead to the emergence of new species in a given area. This is associated with changes in the occurrence of vector-borne diseases, such as ticks or mosquitoes. Pet owners should be aware of these changes and adjust prevention measures while monitoring the health of their dogs and cats to respond quickly to any potential threats.
Parasites in dogs and cats can affect the health and well-being of animals and pose a threat to humans. It is important to approach prevention, hygiene, and monitoring of the health of our four-legged friends consciously. Pet owners should also be prepared for challenges related to international travel or climate changes, which can influence the spread of parasites. Regular consultations with a veterinarian will help maintain animal health and prevent parasitic diseases.
*Transmission of a biological infectious agent from a carrier (human or animal) to a susceptible individual or animal.
Beugnet, F., & Marié, J. L. (2009). Emerging arthropod-borne diseases of companion animals in Europe. Veterinary Parasitology, 163(4), 298-305. doi:10.1016/j.vetpar.2009.03.028
Bowman, D. D. (2009). Georgis’ Parasitology for Veterinarians. St. Louis, MO: Saunders Elsevier.
Chomel, B. B. (2014). Emerging and re-emerging zoonoses of dogs and cats. Animals, 4(3), 434-445. doi:10.3390/ani4030434
Day, M. J. (2011). One health: the importance of companion animal vector-borne diseases. Parasites & Vectors, 4, 49. doi:10.1186/1756-3305-4-49
Dryden, M. W., & Rust, M. K. (1994). The cat flea: biology, ecology, and control. Veterinary Parasitology, 52(1-2), 1-19. doi:10.1016/0304-4017(94)90031-0
Gray, J. S., Dautel, H., Estrada-Peña, A., Kahl, O., & Lindgren, E. (2009). Effects of climate change on ticks and tick-borne diseases in Europe. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infectious Diseases, 2009, 593232. doi:10.1155/2009/593232
Little, S. E. (2012). Advancements in flea control: the old, the new, and the unknown. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice, 42(4), 827-840. doi:10.1016/j.cvsm.2012.04.002
Medlock, J. M., & Leach, S. A. (2015). Effect of climate change on vector-borne disease risk in the UK. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 15(6), 721-730. doi:10
Shaw, S. E., & Day, M. J. (2005). Arthropod-borne infectious diseases of the dog and cat. London: Manson Publishing.
Taylor, M. A., Coop, R. L., & Wall, R. L. (2016). Veterinary Parasitology. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.