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The Importance of Parasite Control in Dogs

Parasites are a continuous threat to your dog's health and comfort, ranging from an inconvenient annoyance to potentially life-threatening. In this blog post, our West Chester vets discuss how dogs become infected by parasites and why parasite control is essential to keeping your canine happy and healthy. 

Dogs & Parasites 

After a parasite invades your dog's body, it feeds on its resources, often jeopardizing your pet's health by stealing its nutrients. Some parasites cause severe, irreversible damage to your dog's organs. 

Dogs can contract various types of parasites, such as heartworms, hookworms, tapeworms, ticks, fleas, and lice. In this post, we'll cover common parasites, emphasizing the importance of parasite control in dogs to protect their health and explaining how your vet can help you keep parasitic infections at bay. 

How Your Dog May Become Infected

Did you know that your dog doesn't need to interact directly with other animals to acquire a parasitic infection? This is because parasites can be passed from mother to child in utero. Insect bites are another potential mode of transmission. 

Here are a few parasites that are often diagnosed in dogs:


Mosquitoes often spread heartworms, which get their name from their unfortunate habit of making their home in the heart muscle. Heartworms can then grow, reproduce, and spread throughout a dog's body. 

Heartworms can often be found in an infected dog's heart, lungs, and blood vessels. This parasite can be difficult to diagnose since symptoms often do not appear until the infection has significantly advanced. These worms can cause massive damage to internal organs. However, people are unlikely to become infected. 


This parasite is frequently transmitted through eggs that are excreted and subsequently swallowed by the new host animal (in this case, potentially your dog). A mother dog may also transmit roundworms to her young before giving birth. 

Capable of surviving for weeks without a host, the eggs also pose a risk of infecting humans, especially children. Roundworms have the potential to stunt growth and leave infected dogs with a pot-bellied appearance. Additionally, worms may exit the body from both ends. 


These horrifying creatures can infect your dog by entering its system through the consumption of an infected mother's milk or eggs or by burrowing into the skin. Little vampires sustain themselves by entering the GI tract, tearing holes in the lining, and feeding on the blood of animals, causing ulcers.

Young puppies are at risk of deadly consequences, while adult dogs may suffer from anemia. Additionally, these vile creatures can burrow into human skin. Sandboxes, like roundworms, are notorious for serving as vectors of transmission—raising the question of why we allow kids to play in them.


The classic pest that infests your dog's fur. They are normally an annoyance, constantly biting and causing skin irritation. They can be a disease vector for tapeworms.


These little bugs bury their heads into the flesh of their victim. They can spread Lyme disease and can attack humans.

How to Prevent Parasites in Dogs

After realizing the numerous parasites that can affect our four-legged friends and understanding their potential impact on health, dog owners naturally ask how they can prevent their pup from becoming infected with parasites in the first place. 

To safeguard your dog, maintain their vaccinations regularly. Consult your vet to establish a vaccination schedule. Ensure your dog undergoes an annual wellness check for the vet to conduct tests and detect any infestation.


Even the healthiest dog faces a significant danger from parasites. To safeguard your dog and your family, we advocate employing various practices and products for parasite prevention.

Incorporating parasite control into your dog's routine healthcare is essential. During your pet's annual exam at our West Chester veterinary clinic, our experts can examine your dog for signs of parasites. Our veterinarians can recommend suitable parasite control measures or products based on your location, your dog's risk factors, health status, and more.

Feel free to ask any questions or concerns about parasite prevention and control; we're here to help.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you have questions about parasite prevention for dogs, or is your pup due for their preventive medication? Contact our West Chester vets to schedule an appointment today.

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