Choosing to provide monthly parasite protection from your dog is a wise choice for the health of your pet, your family and your community as a whole.

We regularly test for internal parasites during our preventive health exams and we see dogs with parasites regularly.

We strongly encourage everyone to properly protect their dog from parasites.  It is not just to protect them, but to protect you and your family as well, as many are easily transferable to humans.

Below we will outline the main parasites we see in Richmond.

pet medical services lab at Island veterinary hospital richmond

Parasites in Dogs


Fleas are tiny, wingless insects that feed on mammals, including dogs.  Fleabites can make your pet so miserable that they bite and scratch themselves raw.  It is essential to get rid of them as quicly as possible, before their population grows.

In Richmond, it just doesnt get cold enough to kill fleas. What was once a thought of as a seasona issue is not the case here at home in Richmond.  Fleas are a year-round problem here.


Heartworms enter a dog’s bloodstream from the bite of an infected mosquito. The worms mature in the heart and clog it.

In the past, we didn’t worry too much about heartworms in Richmond, but that position is changing. It is important to inform your veterinarian of where you travel with your dog.  For example, heartworm is prevalent in the Okanogan so if you travel there, it is a risk factor to consider when choosing approporiate parasite protection or testing.  In many parts of the North America, annual testing for heartworms is as standard as getting vaccines, and while we are not there yet in Richmond, we see that changing.


Roundworms are an extremely common parasite. Roundworms and can pose a significant risk to humans. Contact with contaminated soil or dog feces can result in human ingestion and infection. Roundworm eggs may accumulate in significant numbers in the soil where pets deposit feces. Once infected, the worms can cause eye, lung, heart and neurologic signs in people.

Children, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems are most at risk.


Hookworm is acquired by puppies from their mother while nursing or by adult dogs swallowing the parasites eggs. Hookworm larvae live in the soil and can be ingested when a dog comes into contact with them or through routine self cleaning.


Tapeworms are ingested by your dog via a host that is harboring a tapeworm egg.  this is usually an adult flea.


Although ticks aren’t as common in the city, they still pose a threat to our dogs, especially in well wooded areas and areas with a high wildlife population.  A tick will often hide out in tall grass awaiting a host who comes near enough for it to attach onto. They cannot jump or fly, but they are quick to grab onto you when brushed up against.

They pose a substantial risk to our pets by carrying diseases. The most common occurring from tick bites are Tick Paralysis, Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. There is little risk of disease if the tick is removed quickly and properly after attaching on to you or your dog. So it is important to seek advice from us if you find a tick on your dog.