Parasite prevention for pets of all ages
Parasites such as fleas, ticks, and worms can cause a variety of problems for your pets including itching and irritation, and more serious health complications and diseases.
Some pet parasites can also affect your human family and your home. An outbreak of fleas in your home can be tricky to eradicate as they multiply at an alarming rate and like to live and breed in carpets and furniture.
The best way to deal with parasites is to prevent them from becoming an issue, and that means treating dogs and cats regularly with vet-recommended preventative products.
Get in touch with Towcester Vets about parasite prevention for your pet today.
Common pet parasites – the facts
There are different species of these external parasites, including dog fleas, cat fleas, rabbit fleas, and even human fleas; different species of fleas can infest more than one host species.
Signs of fleas include:
- Your pet is scratching or biting themselves a lot
- Bad/sore patches from the above
- Red/irritated skin, spots, or thickened skin in areas
- Tiny dark specks in their fur or small brown/black insects crawling or jumping
- Unexplainable insect bites on you or your human family
Fleas can take hold of even the cleanest pet and most spotless home, given the chance. It is estimated that around 95% of flea eggs, larvae, and pupae live in the environment, and not on pets. They survive by drinking warm blood and can lay up to 50 eggs per day, live between 14 – 365 days, and jump more than one hundred times their body length.
Besides the irritation they cause, flea larvae can become infected with tapeworm eggs and fleas can carry myxomatosis – a deadly disease in rabbits. In extreme cases, having a lot of flea bites can cause anaemia and even death.
How to avoid flea infestations:
Regular vet-recommended, preventative flea treatments are vital to protect your pets and your human family.
You can also check your pet at home for fleas and flea dirt with a flea comb, kitchen towel, and a bowl of water. Put any small dark specs you find on kitchen towel and add water – if they turn red (indicating blood) then your pet probably has fleas. You may also see fleas crawling on your pet’s skin.
Worms are internal parasites that can cause suffering to your pet, illness, and even death. Some worms can spread from pets to people and cause disease, so it is vital to treat worms in pets before they can take hold. Lungworm in dogs is particularly nasty and left untreated can be fatal for them.
Pets can pick up worms by:
- Being around other infected animals
- Eating worm eggs or larvae in infected faeces or in the grass
- Eating parasites, prey animals, or raw meat that is infected
Roundworm is commonly found in kittens after being passed to them via their mother’s milk.
Common signs of worms in pets include:
Tapeworms: You may notice individual segments of these flat worms that look like grains of rice in your pet’s faeces or on their anus, ‘scooting’ their bottom on the ground, weight loss
Hookworms: Pale gums, anaemia, weight loss, weakness, bloody diarrhoea, itchy paws, poor growth – can be fatal
Roundworms: Rice or spaghetti-like worms in faeces, vomiting, diarrhoea, swollen and painful belly, weakness, dull coat, weight loss
Whipworms: Diarrhoea, bloody stools, anaemia, weight loss
Lungworm in dogs: Weight loss, difficulty breathing, coughing (with blood), lethargy, unexplained bruising and bleeding, seizures, collapse, shock, blindness – can be fatal
Regular pet worming treatments are essential – talk to our team at Towcester Vets about the best worming treatments for your pets and how often to administer them.
Ticks are most prevalent in warmer months but can be problematic all year round in certain locations. They are most common in areas of long grass and where livestock and wildlife graze. Ticks will jump onto dogs (or humans) and sink their mouthparts in to feast on the host’s blood.
They must be removed as soon as possible with a special tick removal tool, making sure that the head comes out too, as some ticks can transmit Lyme disease. It is wise to check your dog, and you, for small bumps on the skin after walks.
You may also notice:
- An initial ‘bullseye’ rash around the tick bite site
- Intermittent lameness
- Headaches have been reported in humans
Talk to our team about whether it is advisable to treat your pet against ticks.