Dog scratching itself behind the ears.

When you committed to care for your dog or cat, you didn’t vow to care for any tagalongs that might come with them. Taking care of external pet parasites is a big part of your pet’s wellness program. Don’t worry, that’s part of our job at True Care Veterinary Hospital

External Pet Parasites You Might Find

It helps to know what you are looking for when it comes to pet parasites. Some are more common than others, but there are several different external parasites we find on our patients in New Jersey.

If you find an unwanted guest on your pet, it is helpful to be able to differentiate what it might be. Some of the more common external parasites that our doctors diagnose include:

Fleas—Adult fleas are about the size of a poppyseed and are a brown-to-black color. They are often found around the rump area and may leave droppings that look like coffee grounds behind. Sometimes it can be hard to find the actual fleas, especially on cats who groom well. 

Ticks—Depending on their life stage, a tick may be just a few millimeters in size to the size of a marble when engorged with blood. They often appear to be shaped like an apple seed and may be firmly attached if feeding when found. 

Lice—Clear-to-white in color, lice are often a similar size to a flea. Thankfully, they tend to stay on their species of choice. 

Mange—This skin condition is caused by skin mites. Although you may see hair loss and scaling, you are not able to actually visualize these mites without the aid of a microscope.

Ear mites—As their name suggests, ear mites live in the ears, feasting on ear wax and causing irritation. You will need magnification to see them, but you can see their droppings in the form of black, crumbly debris in the ears. 

While most pet owners are capable of diagnosing problems like fleas without our expertise, many skin conditions can appear similarly. It is important to come in to see us if your pet is having skin problems so that we can properly diagnose what is happening. Treating ear mites when your pet has yeast otitis is unlikely to help and may cause further issues. 

Parasite Prevention as Part of Pet Wellness

Of course, our goal is to avoid you ever needing to deal with external parasites on your pet. Parasite prevention is a cornerstone of pet wellness. Most pet parasites are preventable.

At your pet’s routine wellness examinations, our expert team will make recommendations for safe, effective products that we feel will work best for your pet. We base these recommendations on your pet’s age, size, lifestyle, environment, and other risk factors. Thankfully, we have some great options at our disposal. 

If your four-legged friend is having skin issues, or if you find an external parasite, however, do not worry. Once we are able to diagnose the cause of the problem, we can outline a treatment course for your pet. This will often include preventives to ward off future issues as well as treatment of secondary issues such as infection or itching. 

If you need help with a potential external pet parasite or don’t have a parasite prevention plan in place, don’t hesitate to contact us. When it comes to pet health, we are more than happy to help.