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Signs of Small Pet Parasites

Signs of small pet parasites are fairly easy to detect. While not necessarily life threatening, parasites are definitely irritating for both pets and owners. Some common signs of small pet parasites can be easily diagnosed and treated by owners.

External parasites such as fleas, ticks, and ear mites commonly infect small pets - seeing them constantly scratching could be your first sign of parasitism. Fleas and ticks live on the pet's skin surface and feed on body fluids, leaving reddish brown specks and wounds in serious infestations. You can easily catch fleas and ticks by simple inspection, but the real problem lies in permanently getting rid of them. An untreated flea and tick case may lead to serious problems like anemia. Never use flea and tick medications that are prescribed for other animals. You will have to use flea products continuously, usually at least once a month, to make sure that all fleas and their eggs have been killed. While these medications can also eliminate fleas and eggs in your vicinity, you would also have to thoroughly sanitize your pet's cage, bedding, and your entire house. Ear mites, unlike flea and ticks, are microscopic and exhibit less obvious signs of small pet parasites.

Signs of small pet parasites such as worms are less obvious. Your pet may acquire these parasites through contaminated water or feeds. Signs of worms in your small pet include dull fur, diarrhea, cysts, mucous or blood in the droppings. A vet will confirm the presence of such parasites and you may need to present a sample of your pet's droppings for diagnosis.

In ferrets, coccidia is a common internal parasite. Coccidia is a protozoan that can be transmitted through contact with an infected animal's feces. This parasite then goes on to live on the ferret's intestines. Common signs of small pets parasites like coccidian are diarrhea and vomiting; and in advanced cases, stool with blood and mucous. Ferrets in this condition can be treated with either sulfadimethoxine or trimethoprim-sulfadiazine.

Internal parasites do not generally bother guinea pigs but they can be susceptible to coccidia, which can be easily treated. However, you should know that two drugs: streptomycin and dihydrostreptomycin are extremely toxic to guinea pigs and can cause fatal reactions in them.

Tapeworms are the most commonly reported parasites among rabbits. Like coccidia in ferrets, tapeworms can be transmitted through food or water contaminated by an infected animal's feces.

If you think your small pet is infected with an internal parasite, do not attempt to provide treatment unless you are an experienced owner. Bringing your pet to the vet is always your best option when you see signs of small pet parasites.

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