Flea, Tick, & Heartworm Prevention for Pets In Philadelphia, Montgomery & Bucks County

Protection from fleas, ticks, heartworms, and intestinal worms is an essential part of your pet’s lifelong preventative care. These pests will always be around, and therefore be a constant threat. Fortunately, they can be kept at bay with the help of quality parasite preventatives, which we carry at our hospital. We offer treatments designed specifically for dogs and cats, with doses based on weight. In addition to preventatives, World of Animals Veterinary Hospital also strongly recommends annual parasite screens to check for signs of heartworms and intestinal worms. If needed, we can also administer parasite treatment for an existing infestation in your pet.

Intestinal Parasites

Any pet can be affected by intestinal parasites. The eggs of these parasites, which infect pets, can be tracked into the home via the soles of your shoes and can even be found in brand new indoor plant potting soil—even “indoor only” pets are at risk. The parasites we typically see include roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, whipworms and giardia. Roundworms are most commonly found in puppies. Puppies purchased from pet shops and puppy mills are more likely to have these parasites due to the close quarters to which they’re confined. These worms are acquired through fecal-oral transmission and often use dogs and cats as their host. If left untreated, intestinal inflammation, failure to grow, and anemia can occur. The hookworm is another parasite found in puppies commonly, for they are transmitted through their mothers’ milk. The infestation of hookworms is caused by ingestion of parasite eggs or larval penetration of the skin. A dog or cat infected by this parasite will often look unhealthy and have a poor appetite. Diarrhea, pale gums, and poor hair quality are other clinical symptoms of the parasite’s presence.

External Parasites - Fleas & Ticks

Fleas and ticks are common external parasites of dogs, cats and other mammals. Fleas and ticks are transmitted animal to animal as well as through the environment. Many pets are exposed to fleas and ticks outside in yards, patios, dog parks or on walks. Humans can even bring fleas into their homes on their shoes and clothing. Fleas and ticks cause itching, hair loss, allergies, anemia and skin infection. They can also transmit parasites, such as tapeworms, and serious diseases, such as Ehrlichiosis and Lyme disease. Pets should be on flea and tick prevention year-round. Remember: The key to preventing fleas and ticks is monthly application of a veterinary-prescribed and recommended maintenance program. Without consistent monthly administration, your pet will be susceptible to fleas and ticks. A flea or tick problem on your pet means a flea or tick problem in your home. Understanding the flea and tick life cycle and methods for its control can be a daunting task. We will gladly assist you in this process. We can provide you with safe, effective flea and tick prevention and if necessary, treatment.


Transmitted by mosquitoes, heartworms are a common and potentially deadly type of parasite that affects both dogs and cats. Symptoms include mild to persistent cough, difficulty breathing, reduced appetite, and weight loss, intolerance to exercise, lethargy and sudden death. Prevention and early detection are key when it comes to combating the serious disease caused by heartworms.

cat and dog flea tick heartworm prevention philadelphia pa

Common Heartworm FAQs

Heartworm disease is a disease in which heartworms mature and proliferate in the blood vessels around the heart and lungs. This condition can be life-threatening if it is left untreated. In extreme cases, a dog can have as many as 250 heartworms living in their body. The presence of heartworms can result in heart failure, lung disease, and other organ diseases.

Heartworms are nematodes transmitted to their hosts by mosquitoes. To clarify, not all mosquitoes are carriers of heartworm larvae, but they are the primary vector for heartworm disease spread among dogs and cats. When a mosquito ingests heartworm larvae from a host, they then pass the larvae to the next host when they take a blood meal. The larvae travel through the animal’s blood stream and mature in stages, eventually migrating to the blood vessels of the heart and lungs, where they grow into adult heartworms.

In the early stages of infection, dogs and cats may not show any outward sign of illness. But if the heartworms persist, symptoms will eventually become apparent, and they include:


  • Mild cough
  • Reluctance to exercise
  • Fatigue after moderate activity
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss


Heartworm disease in cats is not as common as in dogs, but infection is possible. Unfortunately, if heartworms are able to mature in a cat, the cat will likely not survive. Also, there are no available heartworm treatments for cats.

Signs that may occur in a cat with heartworm disease include:

  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Asthma attacks

The best line of defense against heartworm disease is heartworm preventative. Both dogs and cats should receive this treatment throughout the year for maximum protection. You can also try to limit your pet’s contact with mosquitoes, but this is not easy given the small size and elusive nature of mosquitoes.

Common Parasite FAQs

Intestinal parasites affect both dogs and cats, and typically include roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, and giardia. As you can expect, these pests take up residence in the intestines of animals, and may cause conditions such as vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and poor coat quality in those infected.

Many puppies and kittens arrive at their first vet visit with worms in their systems. Some worms can be transmitted to puppies and kittens through nursing from their infected mothers. They can also be acquired via fecal-oral transmission, which is common among puppies and dogs that live in close proximity to one another.

It’s important to protect your pet from intestinal parasites, as they can make your pet very sick, and pass on their infestation to another dog or cat. We offer a variety of worm preventatives at our hospital, and we can also provide deworming treatment to your pet should they ever need it.

Fleas and ticks are notorious pests that make our skin crawl. Fleas can be a major pain to get rid of if your pet, and by extension your home, acquires an infestation. Ticks are a little less overwhelming for most pet owners to deal with, but they are no less loathsome.

Both of these pests are often carried into the home from outside, especially when pets and people spend time out in wooded areas with lots of brush and grass. But your pet (or you) can also pick up fleas and/or ticks by coming into contact with another pet. Because these parasites are so prevalent and sneaky, keeping your pet protected from infestations is paramount.

Signs your pet has fleas or ticks include:

  • Scratching (indicates itching)
  • Hair loss
  • Allergies
  • Skin infections
  • Anemia (occurs in more serious cases)

Fleas and ticks are also capable of passing on other parasites or diseases to animals and people, including tapeworms (transmitted by fleas), Lyme disease (transmitted by deer ticks), Ehrlichiosis, and more.

Monthly flea and tick preventative is the single best way to keep your pet (and your house) pest-free. In fact, we recommend year-round protection against fleas and ticks, even during the winter months. This ensures consistent coverage for your pet, and maintains their protection going into the spring and summer seasons.

Get the best care for your best friend.

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