Unfortunately, our pets can be affected by a number of parasites, including fleas, ticks and worms. It is important to have a prevention scheme in place, and that’s where we can help. Recommendations may vary from pet to pet as it is important to take into account each individual’s risk factors when giving advice as to which product is most suitable. We offer a wide variety of products that can be tailored to your risk factors, convenience and budget – so don’t hesitate to ask for advice.
Fleas are small, wingless insects. Over 2,000 species of flea exist but there are only a few that are found on our pets, although they can also bite people too! They cause irritation due to moving through the coat and feeding behaviours, which can lead to scratching and over grooming. Some animals are even allergic to them. Fleas can also transmit other parasites such as the tapeworm Dipylidium Caninum. If fleas are found on your pet or a flea problem is suspected, we also recommend environmental treatment to reduce reinfection as over 90% of the flea lifecycle takes place in the environment.
Ticks are small arachnid insects, in the same family as spiders. There are a number of species found in the UK, although these are thought to be changing in recent years as a response to global warming. They are generally found in grass and greenery, and attach to the pet’s skin in order to feed on their blood. They can also transmit a number of diseases, some of which can also be passed to people, such as Lyme disease. Whilst prevention of ticks is the ideal, if you see a tick on your pet then it is important to remove it. This can be done yourself, however the most important consideration is to ensure that the tick’s head is removed intact by twisting rather than pulling the tick out. If any parts of the tick are left behind, they can go on to cause more problems. We stock tick removers here, which make the job easier, but if you’re unsure just book in for one of our nurses to get the job done.
There are 2 important categories of worms that we think about in our dogs and cats and these are roundworms and tapeworms.
Roundworm adults tend to live in the gastro-intestinal tract of our pets (although some of them have complicated life cycles involving migration through the body) and are passed on via the faeces to other animals. Most of them don’t often cause dangerous clinical signs in our pets (other than lungworm) however, they can be transmitted to people. Obviously, this is something we would rather prevent, especially as the people most at risk of roundworm infection are children and people who are otherwise unwell. General hygienic precautions play a big part in reducing the risk of transmission, i.e. hand washing and picking up dog faeces to reduce environmental contamination. However, another important step is preventative treatment in our pets themselves.
‘Lungworm’ is a potentially fatal disease in dogs caused by the worm Angiostrongylus Vasorum. This is a type of roundworm that is carried by slugs and snails. Dogs may show signs of coughing, but sometimes the first signs they show are neurological, as the worms can also cause bleeding. Lungworm is a potentially treatable condition, but nevertheless some dogs don’t make it. However, the good news is that it is easily prevented by using the right roundworm control product. Not all preventative wormers are licensed against lungworm, so it is important to seek veterinary advice on which is the most suitable product for your dog.
Tapeworms are transmitted in different ways to roundworms. They can either be passed on to other dogs via fleas or via raw meat. This is part of the reason why regular preventative flea treatment is recommended, and why we don’t tend to recommend feeding your pet raw meat.