We're lucky in Montana to have relatively little trouble with parasites compared with warmer, more-moist climates. But, they do exist here in Montana, and can cause severe, even life-threatening illness in many animals. The most common parasites we see in our area are ticks and intestinal parasites, but occassionally we do also see fleas, lice and mites. In fact, ear mites in young cats is very common in our area, and nearly every puppy and kitten has intestinal worms, as well.
Fortunately, there are effective ways to rid your pets of these unwanted hitchhikers. But, careful thought must go in to combating these pests, as some treatments can have serious side effects. What works for one parasite might not work for another, so it is also important to carefully identify which type of parasite your pet is infested with to be sure your dog or cat is not unnecessarily treated with ineffective medications. For these reasons, most medications for parasites are by prescription only.
Treatment with over-the-counter medications without an accurate parasite identification by your veterinarian is often unsuccessful and can occassionally make your pet sick. And, over-the-counter medications are often inferior in quality, potency, and effectiveness.