Fleas, ticks and worms
When it comes to fleas, worms and ticks, prevention is better than cure. Start as you mean to go on with a treatment regime.
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.
Whilst only the adult flea is found on your pet, eggs, larvae and pupae will be in your house, so once adult fleas are found on your pet, it is important to break their life cycle to prevent a re-infestation.
There are a number of products available. Some just treat adult fleas whilst others interrupt the life cycle.
Your vet will be able to advise you on the most effective products.
Many owners think that fleas are just a summer problem because fleas like warmth. However, as we all now have central heating in our houses, fleas have become a year round problem so it is essential to maintain your flea protection for 12 months of the year.
Fleas can cause scratching and skin disease, and in severe cases in very small or young animals can cause anaemia. Fleas can also transmit other diseases, including a species of tapeworm.
There are also different species of fleas which can infect rabbits and hedgehogs.
Ticks are oval shaped insects which attach themselves to a host animal to feed.
They look like greyish/brown warts. They can be picked up by your pet when they are moving through undergrowth or long grass.
When feeding, the tick will cement its mouth parts onto your pet, so never just pull a tick off as you may leave its head under the skin which can then become infected.
Use a tick removal tool which, when used correctly, ensures that all the tick is removed, then remember to kill the tick so that it cannot run off and attach itself to someone else’s pet.
There are two common types of worm that can infect cats and dogs – roundworms
Puppies and kittens are usually infected with roundworm at birth, so require frequent treatment in the first few months of life.
Cats and dogs can also pick up worms in their day to day life, so regular treatment is required in adults too.
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 there is risk of roundworms causing disease such as blindness in children, and cats who are regular hunters are likely to be exposed to higher burdens of worms and will need more frequent treatment.
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.
One of the roundworms that has been on the rise in more recent years is canine lungworm. This can cause coughing, and potentially fatal clotting problems. Lungworm is passed on by slugs and snails, so if your dog likes to play in the garden they may be at increased risk of lungworm and need more frequent worming treatment.