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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 Des Moines 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 being in contact with other animals because various infection methods include insect bites, exposure to other animal feces, and even transmission from mother to child before birth. Once a dog is infected, removing certain parasites from their entrenched location becomes extremely difficult.

This is why implementing preventative measures is the most effective approach. Here are some examples of parasites that dogs may carry:

Heartworm disease

Mosquitoes frequently transmit this parasite. When the worm infects your dog, it grows, reproduces, and spreads throughout his body. They got the name "heartworm" from their unfortunate habit of embedding themselves in the heart muscle. You can find them in an infected dog's heart, lungs, and blood vessels.

The problem with diagnosing them is that the infection has progressed to a severe stage by the time the symptoms appear. These worms can cause extensive damage to internal organs. It is unlikely that humans will become infected with this parasite.


This parasite can be transmitted from mother to child before birth. It can also be transmitted through eggs that have been excreted or accidentally swallowed. The egg can survive without a host for weeks before infecting humans, particularly children.

In dogs, this can result in stunted growth and a pot-bellied appearance. Furthermore, it causes worms to emerge at both ends.


Horrifying creatures can infect your dog in a variety of ways, including by consuming infected mother's milk, ingesting 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 to form ulcers.

They are a serious threat to young puppies, potentially fatal, and can cause anemia in adult dogs. Furthermore, these vile creatures are capable of burrowing into human skin. Sandboxes, like roundworms, are notorious for acting as a transmission vector, which begs the question of why we allow children to 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 vet can give you a vaccination schedule. Make sure your dog has an annual wellness check so that your veterinarian can test 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 Des Moines, 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.

We are also pleased to address any questions or concerns you might have regarding parasite prevention and control.

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 Des Moines Veterinary Hospital vets today.

Welcoming Your Pets to Our Animal Hospital 

Des Moines Veterinary Hospital welcomes cats, dogs, fish, small mammals, and their owners to our clinic! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Des Moines companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's appointment.

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