CAPC primary guidelines
Editors' note: This is an abbreviated version of the CAPC primary guidelines. A complete set of guidelines can be accessed at http://www.capcvet.org/.
Considerations of pet health and lifestyle factors
• The animal's nutrition status, including the potential for parasite exposure through food or water;
• Clinical presentation of the animal (health and vaccination history);
• Age (puppies, kittens, and geriatric animals are at greater risk than healthy adults).
Lifelong prevention of common internal and external parasites
Pet-owner awareness of heartworms and fleas can serve as the foundation for effective prevention and control of other parasites. Ascarids, hookworms, and whipworms are the most common intestinal nematodes in companion animals, and ascarids and hookworms are a significant cause of zoonotic disease. Several tapeworms of dogs and cats can also cause zoonotic infections. Fleas and ticks produce disease through blood loss, injection of salivary proteins, and transmission of infectious agents. Environmental transmission stages are a source of infection for pets and humans. While the CAPC guidelines currently focus on these common internal and external parasites, a more comprehensive list is detailed on the CAPC Web site, http://www.capcvet.org/.
Recommended protocol for common helminth and arthropod control:
• CAPC recommends year-round treatment with broad-spectrum heartworm anthelmintics that have activity against parasites with zoonotic potential for several reasons:
• Dogs and cats should be placed on year-round preventive flea and/or tick products as soon after birth as possible (consistent with label claims) for the life of the pet.
• A thorough physical examination and complete history are important for the diagnosis, treatment, and control of most parasites and should be performed at least annually by a qualified veterinarian.
• Pets should be fed cooked or prepared food (they should not be fed raw meat) and provided fresh, potable water.
• Periodic (annual is ideal) retesting for canine heartworm infection will help ensure that preventive practices, including owner compliance, are adequate.
• Periodic retesting for feline heartworm infection should be considered. Although feline heartworm testing achieves different objectives than canine testing (because of differences in testing methods, test performance, and parasite biology), it plays an important role in heartworm management and monitoring. Cats should be tested for heartworm infection to: