We firmly believe in providing regular parasite control for your pet; worms, fleas, ticks and lice can endanger your pet’s health and well-being, in the case of kittens, for example, they can even be fatal. We provide advice and guidance on the best parasite control for your pet; please ask at reception for further information. Prescription-only parasite control medicines are far more effective than treatments you can buy ‘over the counter’, and we do not recommend this type of treatment for your pet. If you need help applying parasite control medication, then our practice nurses would be pleased to assist you.
Almost all puppies and kittens are infected with roundworms as they are passed on from mother to baby. We recommend monthly worming from 8 weeks old until three months of age to combat this. After this period of time, a worming strategy needs to be put in place for the lifetime of your pet.
Roundworm eggs are found in the soil, they are moist and sticky and so are easily transferred into the house on people’s shoes, or animal’s fur. The eggs are swallowed as your pet grooms himself/herself, and the eggs hatch out into worms inside your pet. They can be passed on to humans, especially children, where serious infestations can cause severe symptoms, including blindness (toxocariasis).
Pets can also catch tapeworms by either eating fleas – which often contain tapeworm eggs – or by eating infected mice, birds, raw meat or faeces. Tapeworm segments look like flattened grains of rice. If you suspect a tapeworm problem is it also advisable to treat for fleas.
Toxocara is one species of tapeworm that can spread from animals to humans, rarely Toxocara can cause blindness in humans, and is also known to be dangerous for pregnant women.
Lungworm is picked up by eating slugs and snails, either intentionally, or in mouthfuls of grass or vegetation. Lungworm is becoming more common and can be potentially fatal if not diagnosed and treated. Symptoms may be mild but can include a severe cough and life-threatening clotting problems.
Please be aware that no worm control medication will prevent re-infestation, as they only kill worms already present in your pet. Therefore, it is important to treat your pet regularly, especially if they hunt or scavenge.
Fleas commonly cause itchiness and annoyance to pets and their owners. Some animals can become allergic to flea saliva, and this can cause much more marked symptoms. Signs your pet may have fleas include excessive scratching, small scabs and spots on the skin and small brown specks in their fur, which is flea ‘dirt’ (excrement).
Fleas are often contracted from other animals, both wild and domestic, and the environment, the animals are housed in.
It is important to remember that only 5% of the fleas will be on your pet, 95% of fleas live in the local environment in the form of eggs, larvae and pupae. These live in your pet’s bedding, carpets, upholstery and any soft furnishings within your home. Therefore, it is equally important to treat your home by thoroughly vacuuming and using a household flea spray.
The use of a good flea treatment each month will prevent your dog or cat picking up fleas in the environment outside and bringing them into your home.
Other parasite treatments
Other parasites that affect cats, dogs and rabbits are ticks and lice, some products protect more than one type of parasite. Reception or your vet will advise you on products that he/she feels are most suitable for your pet.