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The Importance of Parasite Control in Dogs

Parasites pose a constant threat to your dog, ranging from an annoyance to a life-threatening danger. In this post, our Clackamas vets will discuss some parasites your dog may contract and why it's crucial to prevent infection and practice parasite control.

What is a parasite?

A parasite is an organism that feeds on your dog without providing any benefits. It robs your dog of nutrients and can potentially inflict irreversible damage on your dog's organs.

How do parasite infections happen?

Your dog can become infected without coming into contact with other animals. This is because infection can occur through insect bites, exposure to other animal feces, or even transmission from mother to child before birth. Once a dog is infected, removing certain parasites from their hiding place becomes extremely difficult.

This is why taking preventative measures is the most effective strategy. Here are some examples of parasites that dogs could carry:

Heartworm disease

Mosquitoes frequently transmit this parasite. When the worm infects your dog, it multiplies, and spreads throughout his body. They got the name "heartworm" because of their unfortunate habit of embedding themselves in the heart muscle. They can be found in infected dogs' hearts, lungs, and blood vessels.

The difficulty in diagnosing them is that the infection has advanced to a severe stage by the time the symptoms appear. Heartworms can cause significant damage to internal organs.


This parasite can spread from mother to child before birth. It can also be spread through eggs that have been excreted or accidentally swallowed. The egg can live without a host for several weeks before infection.

In dogs, this can lead to stunted growth and a pot bellied appearance. Furthermore, it causes worms to emerge from both ends.


These horrifying creatures can infect your dog in a variety of ways, including consuming infected mother's milk, eating eggs, or burrowing into the skin. These creatures, which resemble miniature vampires, survive by feeding on animal blood after entering the GI tract and tearing holes in the lining, resulting in ulcers.

They pose a serious threat to young puppies, potentially fatal, and can cause anemia in adult dogs. Furthermore, these vile creatures are capable of burrowing through human skin. Sandboxes are notorious for serving as a transmission vector, raising the question of why we let children play in them.


The classic pest that infests your dog's fur is normally an annoyance, constantly biting and causing skin irritation. It can also serve as 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

Keeping up with your dog's vaccinations is the most effective way to keep them safe. Your veterinarian can give you a vaccination schedule. Make sure your dog gets an annual wellness check so your veterinarian can look for infestations.


Parasites can significantly endanger even the healthiest dog. Therefore, we recommend various practices and products for parasite prevention for dogs to safeguard both your pup and your family.

Incorporating parasite control into your dog's routine healthcare is essential. When your pet undergoes their annual exam at Clackamas, your veterinarian can actively assess your dog for any signs of parasites and prescribe appropriate parasite control measures or products tailored to your location, your dog's risk factors, health status, and more.

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.

If it is time for your pet's vaccinations or you have questions about parasite prevention, please contact our Clackamas Pet Clinic vets today.

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Clackamas Pet Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of your companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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