When it comes to fleas, worms and ticks, prevention is better than cure. Speak to our team so we can help you work out your pet’s individual needs.
Preventing fleas in cats and dogs
Fleas are small, brown insects that feed on the blood of your pet.
They are picked up by contact with other animals or from visiting an environment where fleas are present.
While only the adult fleas are found on your pet, their eggs, pupae and larvae live in your house, for example on your pet’s bedding.
Therefore, if adult fleas are found, it is important to treat for all stages of the flea lifecycle to prevent re-infestation.
There are a variety of products available. Some just treat adult fleas while others also work against other stages of the lifecycle. Your practice team will be able to advise you on the most effective products for your pet’s specific situation.
Many owners think that fleas are just a summer problem when the temperatures are warmer. However, fleas can be a year-round problem and maintaining flea protection throughout the year is advised.
Fleas can cause itchiness and skin disease and, in severe cases in very small or young animals, can cause blood loss anaemia. Fleas can also transmit diseases and tapeworm.
Preventing ticks in cats and dogs
Ticks are small, eight-legged oval-shaped insects which attach themselves to a host animal to feed on their blood. They are greyish-brown in colour and can sometimes be mistaken for a wart or skin tag.
They can be picked up by your pet when they are moving through undergrowth or long grass and will crawl into the haircoat and find a place to attach on the skin.
When feeding, the tick will embed its mouth parts into your pet’s skin. Careful removal is required as accidentally leaving the mouthparts behind may cause local irritation or infection. A tick removal tool can be used to assist with this.
Contact us if you require help removing a tick or if you need advice on preventative tick treatments.
Preventing worms in cats and dogs
There are two common types of worm that can infect cats and dogs and live within their digestive tract – roundworms and tapeworms.
Puppies and kittens can be infected with roundworms at birth, so require frequent treatment in their first few months of life.
Adult cats and dogs may also pick up worms in their day-to-day life, so regular treatment is required also.
The frequency of this treatment will depend on your pet’s lifestyle.
For example, dogs in regular contact with young children should be wormed more frequently, as roundworms transmitted via infected dog poo may cause serious health issues such as blindness in people.
Similarly, cats who are regular hunters are likely to be exposed to higher burdens of worms and will need more frequent treatment.
Another parasite to be aware of is lungworm, which can cause coughing and in some cases, potentially life-threatening clotting problems.
Lungworm can be contracted from eating infected slugs and snails or from contact with their slime. Where needed, lungworm prevention can be incorporated into your pet’s usual preventative treatment plan and you should speak to the team about your pet’s individual level of risk.
Please speak to our vets or nurses if you would like advice on how often to worm your pet, and which product would be best for them.