Fleas, ticks and worms
None of us likes the idea of our pets picking up parasites, but even the best cared for animal will inevitably come into contact with fleas, ticks and worms at some point. Here is some more information about those most likely to affect your dog or cat, together with advice on effective treatment.
If you are travelling abroad with your pet, there are other parasites to be aware of; we have more information on travel here.
If you have any concerns about fleas, ticks or worms, please talk to one of our vets.
Preventative treatment against fleas will stop your pet from getting an infestation. If your pet has fleas they may show signs of being very itchy and irritable. When searching through the coat, you may be able to spot the fleas, but more likely you will notice small black specks (flea dirt). When placed on white paper and dampened with water, this flea dirt (actually flea faeces) will turn red due to the digested blood they contain.
For complete protection against flea infestation we recommend using a prescription product as these are often more effective than the over the counter preparations. There are many different types available including collars, ‘spot-ons’, and tablets, so please call or come in so we can discuss what would best suit you and your pet. If you are having trouble getting on top of a flea infestation it is likely you will need to treat your house as well as your pet.
Roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and whipworms are all internal parasites that could potentially cause problems.
Round worms such as Toxacara canis commonly cause disease in young puppies and kittens. Round worms can cause diarrhoea, pot belly and general poor growth. In addition, round worm infections are zoonotic (can spread to humans) and the migration of larvae can cause serious disease. Therefore a rigorous worming protocol is advised.
Usually we worm puppies and kittens monthly until they are 6 months old, and thereafter at least every 3 months is recommended. You will need to use a monthly product to protect against lungworm. Again there are several products available so please call us to discuss.
Canine angiostrongylosis (lungworm) is an emerging disease with increasing numbers of diagnosed cases in dogs. It can be transmitted via the ingestion of slugs or snails and can cause serious disease. Again there is an effective spot on product available to protect against lungworm, or alternatively a monthly tablet may be given.
A tick bite not only has the potential to cause a localised infection, they can also transmit more serious diseases. You may have heard of Lyme disease which can cause disease in both people and dogs. This disease causes flu-like symptoms including fatigue, loss of appetite, fever and arthritis. If left untreated for long periods it can lead to serious complications, and even prove fatal.
There are several options for tick control including collars, spot-ons, and chewy tablets. We would recommend routine use of these products during spring and summer when tick number are highest.
If you would like to discuss any of this with one of our vets, then please get in touch.