Pets are prone to many parasitic infections.

Fleas

Fleas are the number one cause of skin problems in dogs and cats. Some pets suffer from an allergic reaction to the flea saliva which can trigger a severe skin reaction. Fleas also transmit the common flea tapeworm and can cause anaemia. Pet fleas will also bite people although they cannot live on humans. Therefore, a proper parasite control is important not only for your pet, but also for your whole family.

Luckily, there are many safe and effective treatments available these days.

How to treat your pet

As a careful pet owner you need to use a product specifically designed for your species of pet, taking into consideration its size and weight. Products designed for dogs containing Permethrin can be extremely toxic for cats, for example. Therefore, we recommend a ‘prescription only’ product. This is a ‘spot on’ treatment which is applied directly to the skin on the back of your pet’s neck. This treatment is far more effective than over the counter treatments. It usually kills existing fleas within 24 hours and gives protection for up to 4 weeks.

You need to also treat your home to kill off all flea eggs and larvae. You can do this by vacuuming all areas where your pets usually sleeps. Wash your pet's bedding at 60 degree centigrade. Finally spray your home with a recommended household insecticide. Then do not forget to do the same for your car, if your pet has been in it.

Ticks

Ticks are normally found in rural areas, especially where other animals graze. Ticks attach themselves to your pets as they brush past. To start off with they are tiny but as they feed on your pet's blood, they grow rounder and larger.

Ticks are especially dangerous for dogs as they tend to love countryside walks; they can cause anaemia but in adult pets (and indeed also humans), however, the main risk is Lyme Disease.

Pet owners should be especially careful when travelling abroad, as ticks in warmer climates carry further serious illnesses.

How to protect your pet against ticks

We recommend a spot-on treatment which will prevent ticks biting and can be applied monthly or at least 48 hours before travel abroad. Another solution is a special collar which provides ongoing protection for up to 8 months.

How to remove ticks

You should never remove ticks by pulling them out, as all that you are doing is detaching the tick's body from its head, which stays buried in the pet's skin. Ticks have very strong jaws that will remain lodged in the skin of your pet and may cause further infections.

The best way is to obtain tweezers specifically designed to remove ticks. They do so by gripping the tick close to the mouth parts and all you need to do is twist it out, which will release it safely.

Intestinal Parasites

Unfortunately, all cats and dogs will get worms at some stage in their lives. Most common intestinal parasites in cats and dogs are hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, tapeworms, and coccidia. All of these parasites can cause serious health issues for your pet. Moreover, some of them are also transferrable to humans. That's why we recommend regular routine testing and treatments. Our recommendation is that your pet is treated every 3 months.

Heartworm Disease

This is a deadly disease carried by mosquitoes. Heartworms reside in the heart and lungs of infected dogs and cats. Fortunately, this is disease is preventable and there are a number of preventative treatments that we can offer you. Call us for more information.

Lungworm Disease

Dogs get lungworm by eating larvae found in infested snails, slugs or frogs. They can also accidentally eat infected tiny slugs if they are on a toy or their fur. The lungworm larvae then grow inside the dog and adult lundworms move through their body to live in their heart and blood vessels. Fortunately this disease is preventable and there are a number of preventative treatments that we can offer you. Please contact us for further information.

For more information, please contact our friendly team.

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Leadon Vale Veterinary Centre Ltd