Debunking common myths about parasites


Thrive Pet Healthcare provides parasite prevention reminders to share with clients

Year-round parasite prevention is important for pet parents to stay on top of, however some clients do not understand a lot about the common parasites that pose a risk to pets. To combat this and provide digestible client education, Thrive Pet Healthcare is debunking some of the myths surrounding fleas, ticks, mosquitos, and more.

"Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes don't care if you walk on two legs or four, they'll happily bite anyone in the household," said Kelly Cairns, DVM, MS, DACVIM (SAIM), vice president of Medical Excellence and Education at Thrive Pet Healthcare, in a news release.1 "These pests can easily hitch a ride on people, other pets, or even enter through open doors and windows, putting your family at risk of bites and potentially serious illness."

Thrive suggested reminding clients that fleas and ticks can often jump from pets to humans and vice versa so it’s important to check your pet’s body and your own when outside, especially in high grass or wooded areas. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 467,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year and is present in all 50 states, with regions in the Northeast at higher risk.1,2 This number could potentially be higher with the amount of unreported or undiagnosed cases.

Image courtesy of Thrive Pet Healthcare.

Image courtesy of Thrive Pet Healthcare.

"If you have a dog or cat, chances are higher that you will encounter fleas and ticks than households without pets, making it incredibly important to have your pet on a year-round flea and tick treatment," said Cairns. "Veterinarian-prescribed preventatives are the best way to reduce the likelihood of your pet bringing fleas and ticks into the home and protect pets from harmful parasite-related illnesses."1

Having an effective preventative against mosquitos carrying heartworm is also important as it is present in all 50 states, like fleas and ticks, with a higher volume of cases in the south and northeast. According to Thrive, there are 22 mosquito species in the United States that carry heartworm, active at different times of the year and over 200,000 pets in the US were diagnosed with heartworm disease in 2022.1

"It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito for your dog or cat to get heartworm disease," said Cairns. "Once infected, treatment can be costly, with possible side effects and no guarantee of success. Ultimately, the risk of infection and high cost of treatment outweigh the cost of prevention."1

Some common myths include1:

Myth 1: Pets who stay indoors are not at risk. Parasites can easily enter homes through doors and windows or be carried in by latching onto people or pets.

Myth 2: There’s no need to worry about parasites during winter. Warm indoor temperatures can create breeding grounds for parasites. Ticks can also hide in leaf litter during the winter to stay warm. Traveling and unknowingly bringing back parasites with could potentially cause exposure to parasites during winter months.

Myth 3: Certain areas of the US are not at risk of parasites. While there are some areas of the US that are at a higher risk, owners from all states should maintain their pet’s prevention routine. Heartworm can be carried by mosquitoes in all 50 states. Any region that has soil, grass, vegetation, and some moisture can create livable environments for parasites.


  1. Veterinarians dispel common myths about pets and pests. News release. Thrive Pet Healthcare. May 1, 2024. Accessed May 6, 2024.
  2. How many people get Lyme disease? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. February 9, 2024. Accessed May 6, 2024.,and%20treated%20for%20Lyme%20disease
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