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Dogs are at risk of contracting parasites as they are ever-present in our environment, but you can keep your pet safe by regularly providing them with tick, flea and worm treatment.

All year-round flea, tick and worming treatment is just one of the many benefits of joining our Pet Health for Life Plan.icon tick white

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Ticks in Dogs

Ticks are related to spiders and have eight legs. There are several different tick species, and they vary in size from about 1mm to 1cm long. As they feed on your dog’s blood, they swell and become more obvious to see. They are common in grasslands and woodlands but can also be found in domestic gardens. They are in all areas of the United Kingdom.

You are most likely to come across ticks during the spring and autumn seasons, but they are active throughout the year. Unlike many other parasites, ticks do not fly or jump but climb or drop onto your dog's coat when they enter their habitat, especially in the long grass. Once on your dog, they screw themselves into the skin and feed on blood.

Ticks can irritate your dog and spread microbes that cause diseases such as Lyme disease and the potential for other diseases more prevalent in Europe. As a dog owner, it is good to use a tick treatment to either repel ticks or neutralise them. Tablets, spot-on treatments and collars are available to help fight ticks, and it is best to consult your vet about which is most suitable for your pet.

Fleas in Dogs

Fleas are small, dark brown insects that are prevalent across the United Kingdom. Fleas on dogs are more than just a summer problem as they can survive and bother your pet all year round.

Dogs typically get infested with fleas through contact with other animals or fleas in their environment. This insect's robust back legs enable it to jump from a host or the surrounding environment onto your dog.

Fleas are one of the most common external parasites in dogs and are the cause of many skin irritation problems. Adult fleas can stay in its cocoon for up to 6 months before emerging and just one female flea can produce enough eggs to escalate the problem around your home quickly. Although Fleas may be visible on your dog, they may be in other areas your dog has been. Fleas are continually shedding eggs in your home and can lead to a home flea infestation. Flea bites to you and your family can be costly and complicated to treat. Don't underestimate the harmful effect fleas have on your dog. Once on your dog, fleas can bite every 5 minutes leaving your cat or dog itchy and uncomfortable. You only need to bring one flea inside your home to start an infestation. 

Fleas live on a variety of animals such as rabbits and hedgehogs, as well as cats and dogs. When your pet is outdoors, fleas from the eggs left behind by other animals can jump on your pet. Once on your pet, they feed on his or her blood and start laying eggs.

Treating your pet with our vet-recommended treatment plan will effectively kill fleas and disrupt their life cycle.

There are numerous flea treatments on the market which provide year-round prevention. It is best to consult your vet to find the safest, most effective and most sustainable product for your dog. Spot on treatments and medication in tablets and injections are the preferred long-term flea control methods. Some products attack adult fleas, while others work by interrupting flea development – and some newer products on the market do both!

Worms in Dogs: Lungworm, Roundworm & Tapeworm

The thought of worms in our canine friends can be very unpleasant and some of them can also be a risk to children and adults. However, understanding prevention options for worms in dogs is an integral part of responsible dog ownership.

Various worms can infect your pets, and they can pose a threat to your family. Worms are prolific across the United Kingdom. Certain worms can produce more than 100,000 eggs per day, which are then passed in the pet’s faeces and spread throughout their living environment. Worms that target pets include roundworms, hookworms, lungworms, and tapeworms.

Every dog is at risk for worms, no matter where they live or how much time they spend outside. There are three types of worms we worry about – roundworms, tapeworms and lungworms. Worms are usually transmitted through the faecal-oral method. That means that your pet may have come across microscopic parasitic eggs that are present in faecal material. Some worms, such as tapeworms, are transmitted via fleas. The parasite lives inside the flea, so when a dog accidentally eats fleas, they become infected. Some tapeworms can be transmitted when a dog eats raw meat.

Lungworm is spread via foxes, slugs and snails and is a potentially fatal parasite for dogs. Within 50 miles of our practices, there have been 209 reported cases of lungworm*.

Your family can accidentally ingest worm eggs that have been passed through your pet’s faeces. The eggs can then hatch in your intestinal tract, and the worms can travel to various tissues in the body, including the eyes and brain, potentially causing serious infections.

Worms are a year-round threat and the only way to keep your pet and family safe is through proactive actions to get the best products. Lungworm, which is passed on by slugs and snails, is potentially fatal and many over-the-counter products do not tackle this worrying parasite. 

There are many ranges of worming treatments available including tablets, liquids, granules and spot-ons. Please be aware that many products available elsewhere other than those sold at Leadon Vale Veterinary Centre may be ineffective at treating all the species of worms and fleas your pet could get.

Lungworm Advice for Dog Owners

Lungworm is a potentially serious and sometimes fatal condition that affects dogs. At Leadon Vale Vets, we urge dog owners to be aware of the signs of lungworm and to take steps to prevent this infection.

Lungworm is caused by a parasitic worm that resides in the heart and lungs of dogs. The infection can be caught after the ingestion of slugs, snails, or frogs carrying the larvae of the lungworm, and is more common in dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors.

The early signs of lungworm in dogs can be subtle and may be overlooked or mistaken for other conditions. These signs can include coughing, breathing difficulties, reduced appetite, weight loss and lethargy. If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog or suspect a lungworm infection, seek veterinary advice immediately.

Treatment of lungworm usually involves medications that are designed to kill the worms and reduce the inflammation and damage in the lungs. In some cases, dogs may need to be hospitalized for supportive care.

To help prevent lungworm infection, we recommend the following tips:

  1. Minimise your dog's exposure to snails, slugs and frogs.
  2. Clean your dog's water bowl regularly and avoid letting them drink from puddles or other outdoor water sources.
  3. Consider using a monthly preventative treatment that protects against lungworm.
  4. Regularly deworm your dog according to your vet's advice.

By following these tips and seeking prompt veterinary care if you suspect your dog has lungworm, you can help keep your furry friend healthy and happy.

Spread the Cost of Parasite Prevention With Pet Health for Life

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Our Pet Health for Life Plan is a great way to spread the cost and save on your pet’s routine healthcare. You will receive all the essential treatments to keep your dog free from ticks, fleas and worms alongside routine checks which keep your dog in the best possible health and help them lead happier lives.

Click here to find out more and to sign up online

Lungworm FAQs

What are the signs of lungworm in dogs?

Lungworm in dogs is a parasitic infection that can cause a range of symptoms. The signs of lungworm can vary depending on the severity of the infection, the age and health of the dog, and other factors. Here are some of the common signs of lungworm in dogs:

  1. Coughing - this is one of the most common signs of lungworm infection in dogs. The cough may be persistent and can sometimes be accompanied by phlegm or blood.
  2. Breathing difficulties - lungworm can cause breathing difficulties, including shortness of breath and wheezing.
  3. Decreased appetite - dogs with lungworm may show a decreased appetite and a general lack of interest in food.
  4. Weight loss - if the lungworm infection is severe, the dog may begin to lose weight rapidly.
  5. Lethargy - dogs with lungworm may show a lack of energy and interest in exercise or play.
  6. Vomiting - in some cases, lungworm infection can cause dogs to vomit.
  7. Changes in behaviour - dogs with lungworm may exhibit changes in behaviour, such as restlessness, agitation, or depression.

If you suspect that your dog may have lungworm, it is important to take them to see your vet as soon as possible. Lungworm can be a serious and potentially life-threatening condition, but it can be successfully treated if caught early.

How do dogs get lungworm?

Dogs can get lungworm by ingesting snails, slugs or frogs infected with lungworm larvae. This can happen when dogs accidentally eat these creatures, drink contaminated water or eat grass that has come into contact with infected snails or slugs. Lungworm infection is more common in dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors. Preventive measures include avoiding contact with snails and slugs, providing clean drinking water and regular deworming.

Can a dog recover from lungworm?

Yes, with appropriate treatment, dogs can recover from lungworm. Treatment usually involves medication to kill the worms and supportive care. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for a successful recovery. Preventative measures, such as regular deworming and minimising exposure to snails and slugs, can also help to reduce the risk of lungworm infection.

What are the first signs of lungworm in dogs?

The first signs of lungworm in dogs can include coughing, difficulty breathing, reduced appetite, weight loss and lethargy. If you notice any of these symptoms or suspect a lungworm infection, it is important to seek veterinary advice immediately for prompt diagnosis and treatment.

How quickly does lungworm take to develop?

The time it takes for lungworm to develop in a dog can vary depending on several factors, including the dog's age, immune system and the severity of the infection. In general, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months for a dog to develop symptoms of lungworm after being infected with the parasite. However, some dogs may not show any symptoms at all, making it difficult to know if they have been infected. If you suspect that your dog may have been exposed to lungworm, it is important to speak to your vet and have your dog tested for the parasite to ensure prompt diagnosis and treatment if necessary.



*Source: My Pet and I, March 2023

Leadon Vale Veterinary Centre Ltd