Internal and External Parasites can affect both animals and humans. The fact that many of your pet’s potential parasites can also affect humans (zoonosis) makes it doubly important to keep your pet parasite free. Some parasites can be avoided by diligent routine prevention programs.

Parasites come in many forms and affect various parts of the body. Geographical location, lifestyle, housing conditions and species play a role in which parasites are likely to be a problem for your pet. The organisms discussed in WBVC’s web site are those we need to be aware of in our geographical area.

1. External Parasites

  • Fleas are a major problem in the Vancouver area.
  • Ticks hikers and camping enthusiasts may find ticks on their pets.
  • Mites Ear mites and Demodex mites are quite common; Sarcoptes and Cheyletiella mites are less of a problem in dogs and acts however Cheyletiella is common in rabbits. These parasites tend to be medically managed if they occur, rather than by routine prevention.
  • Lice are seen occasionally.

2. Internal Parasites

  • Intestinal: these include Roundworms, Whipworms and Tapeworms. Hookworms are rarely detected in our area. Giardia and Coccidia are common parasites that are usually managed by treatment, rather than by routine prevention.
  • Vascular: although currently not an endemic problem in the Vancouver area, Heartworm is prevalent in several nearby resort destinations.


Through routine screening and the use of safe, effective preventive products parasites can be kept at bay! Parasites need their host animal in order to exist. It is not in a parasites’ best interest to kill its host (although this can, and does happen), however, they often result in a less than optimal physical condition. Poor hair coat, inflamed itchy skin, intermittent diarrhea and poor physique can be markers for parasitism. In many cases the host can appear perfectly normal while harbouring and spreading these organisms.

Fecal parasite examinations can detect if your pet currently harbours intestinal parasites. If organisms, or their eggs, are detected upon this microscopic examination appropriate medications can be dispensed to treat the infection.

Blood tests, that can done rapidly in clinic, can detect the presence of heartworm.

Flea combs and skin taping can be used to detect superficial parasites.

Skin scraping is required to detect mites that dwell deep in hair follicles.