External Parasites and Your Pet

External parasites in pets.

It isn’t very pleasant to find something living on your pet that you did not invite into your home. External parasites are a hazard of pet ownership, but with the help of Ten West Bird and Animal Hospital, you can develop a pet wellness plan that makes sure that you identify and eradicate external parasites as quickly as possible. 

Identifying External Parasites

When it comes to external parasites in pets, knowing what the possibilities are can help you to identify and more efficiently treat an unwanted guest. 

Here in Texas, finding something moving on a dog or cat probably means one of a few possibilities:

  • Fleas—Perhaps the most common ectoparasite in dogs and cats, fleas are small (smaller than a grain of rice), and tend to be dark reddish-brown. Their numbers tend to peak in the warmer months of the year. 
  • Ticks—These six-legged creatures can range in size from about the size of a poppyseed in nymph form to a grape when engorged. They use pets (and people) as hosts to feed on and sometimes carry diseases like Lyme disease. 
  • Lice—Lice can happen in pets just like in people. Thankfully, though, the lice that live on pets don’t transfer to people and vice versa. Lice are quite small and colorless and lay their eggs (nits) on the shaft of individual hairs.
  • Ear mites—Tiny mites unable to be seen without magnification, ear mites live in the ear canal and munch on ear wax. They can create a lot of irritation and discomfort within the ear itself. 
  • Skin mites—Not visible to the naked eye, skin mites like Sarcoptes and Demodex affect the hair follicle and are responsible for the condition. While you will not be able to see these creepy crawlies without a microscope, hair loss is often evident.
  • Maggots—Maggots are fat little grubs that are larval flies. They feed on dead and dying tissue and during the warm months will appear very quickly on wounds or unhappy skin. 

Preventing and Treating Unwanted Bugs

Most external parasites in pets are very treatable and often preventable. That is why establishing a good prevention program with one of our expert doctors during your pet’s wellness appointment is so important. With some strategy and a little luck, you may never have to worry about external parasites in your pet.

Now more than ever we have very safe and effective options to prevent and treat just about any unwanted house guest you can think of. 

If you do notice a skin problem or identify an external parasite, do not delay in contacting us. It is important that we verify there is nothing else going on (seasonal allergies, food sensitivities, secondary skin infections, and contact irritations can all complicate things) so that we can create an effective plan for your pet.