A simple way you can help keep your pet healthy is by protecting him or her against parasites. Heartworms, fleas and other internal and external parasites are much more than just pests; they can cause life-threatening conditions in your pet—and cause severe, potentially fatal, health problems for you and your family. We will recommend the best preventive regimen for your pet, based on lifestyle and risk factors. We can also provide expert advice on keeping your household safe from parasitic infection.


Fleas are small, wingless, brown, fast-moving insects that live in your pet’s fur.  If ingested while your pet is grooming themselves, fleas can transmit an intestinal parasite called tapeworm. Fleas are not only an annoyance but as they feed on blood, in kittens or puppies or cats and dogs with a large flea infestation, anemia can develop quite quickly resulting in weakness and even death. Some animals also develop an allergy to flea saliva, which will cause them to scratch excessively which can create infections and severe discomfort.

Signs that your pet may have fleas:

  • Scratching Hair loss, sore patches
  • Very small dark spots in the fur (flea dirt)
  • Redness and irritation 
Flea Prevention and treatment

At Ettrick Animal Hospital, we have many products available that will help to protect your pet from fleas. Products are available in tablet form or as a spot on treatment, which is applied to a small area of skin.

If your pet has fleas, treatments will kill any fleas that live on your pet but you will also have to treat your home with a veterinary grade household flea treatment. Please ask us for more information.


Are extremely common parasites that live in your dog’s intestinal tract and feed on partially digested food.


• Their mother – puppies can be born with roundworms, as the larvae are often transmitted from the mother just before birth or through nursing.

• Environment – by accidentally ingesting eggs from the environment—the eggs can be present in soil or on plants or other objects.

• From eating infected animals – such as rodents, birds and some insects.

  • Malnourishment.
  • Stunted growth
  • Weakness  
  • Potbelly
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Worms that are visible in the feces or vomit
Treatment and Prevention
  • A high-quality veterinary wormer will safely and effectively kill worms
  • Keeping your pet on a regular schedule of wormer will prevent roundworm. Some heartworm medications also control roundworm.

Tapeworms use their hook-like mouthparts to attach to the wall of the small intestine.


Unlike other intestinal parasites, dogs cannot become infected by eating tapeworm eggs. Tapeworms must first pass through an intermediate host (a flea) before they can infect a dog. During grooming, a dog ingests the tapeworm infected flea. As the flea is digested in the dog’s intestine, the tapeworm egg is released, hatches and anchors itself to the intestinal lining

  • Scooting
  • Licking or biting at their backend
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • White segments in their feces or vomit
Treatment / Prevention
  • A high-quality veterinary wormer will safely and effectively kill worms
  • Keeping your pet on a regular schedule of wormer will prevent Tapeworm.

Whipworms attach themselves to the intestinal lining in the cecum and colon (large intestine). They have a high level of reinfection, which can make them difficult to get rid of.


Whipworm eggs can live in an environment anywhere from a few months to years and can be present in soil, food or water as well as in feces or dead animals. Pets become infected when they swallow the eggs.

  • Weight loss
  • Anemia
  • Diarrhea (can be bloody)
Treatment / Prevention
  • A high-quality veterinary wormer will safely and effectively kill worms
  • Keeping your pet on a regular schedule of wormer will prevent Whipworm.
  • Some heartworm medications also control Whipworm.

When they bite, mosquitoes can transmit heartworm infection and those heartworms can wreak havoc on your dog or cat. These parasites can severely and sometimes fatally damage the heart, lungs, and blood vessels. Some pets may not show any signs of infection; in those that do, symptoms can vary widely.

In dogs, signs of heartworm disease include:
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swollen abdomen (caused by fluid accumulation from heart failure)

Canine heartworm infection can also lead to a life-threatening complication called “caval syndrome” (a form of liver failure); without prompt surgical intervention, this condition usually causes death.

Although often thought to not be susceptible to heartworm infection, cats can indeed get heartworms. Cats can suffer from a syndrome referred to as heartworm-associated respiratory disease (HARD); the symptoms can be subtle and may mimic those of asthma or allergic bronchitis. Signs of respiratory distress, such as rapid or difficult breathing, wheezing, and panting, are common. Other symptoms include coughing, vomiting (typically unrelated to eating), and loss of appetite or weight. Heartworm infection is more difficult to diagnose in cats than it is in dogs.

Treatment for heartworm infection is far more expensive than prevention—and it can actually kill your dog. There is no approved treatment for cats. Some cats spontaneously rid themselves of the infection; others might not survive it and even one or two adult heartworms in a cat can cause serious problems.

Fortunately, there are simple ways to keep your dog or cat safe:
  • Annual Heartworm testing through a painless blood sample
  • Use of heartworm prevention year-round