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Parasites

  • Fleas
  • Mites & Lice
  • Ticks
  • Worms

Fleas

Adult fleas feed on a blood source, whether the source is animal or human. They reproduce very quickly and lay their eggs throughout the home. An adult female can lay 20-50 eggs per day. Only 5% of fleas live on the pet, 95% live in the environment, carpets, bedding. Adult fleas can live for up to 2 months.

The eggs will hatch when the temperature and humidity is right. Larvae emerge, taking 1-2 weeks to develop. Pupae is the final stage of the cycle before it turns into an adult flea, which can take several days or weeks. They can easily lay dormant for months or even a year when undisturbed. Stimuli for pupae to hatch include warmth, vibration and carbon dioxide, indicating an animal food source.

Fleas can cause severe skin irritation, allergic dermatitis and anaemia if not controlled. Fleas can also carry tapeworm larvae, which could infect your pet if ingested.

Signs your pet has fleas:

Keep a look out for the following flea early warning signs:

  • Your pet itching, scratching or chewing at themselves, possibly leading to hair loss and red or irritated skin
  • Visible fleas or flea dirt (flea faecal matter) on your pet
  • Although many pets are very itchy and uncomfortable, some pets may show no signs at all and fleas can sometimes be difficult to see.

How can I prevent or get rid of fleas:

There are several easy-to-use spot-on treatments available, used to prevent or treat flea infestations. Please give us a call for advice on the best product for your pet as almost all products are species and weight specific.

Cats are especially sensitive to some ingredients used in some dog treatments and it can be poisonous to them.

It is always very important to read the label carefully and seek advice before use as some products are poisonous to certain animals.

An environmental treatment for your home is advised when treating for fleas, as they live mainly in carpets and bedding.

We would always recommend that you give us a call for a chat about special home flea sprays that stop the development of flea eggs and larvae and kill adult fleas.

Vacuum your house frequently for a number of weeks to ensure you capture as many eggs and larvae as possible. Empty your vacuum cleaner after every clean so they don’t have a chance to re-infest your house.

Wash your bedding, curtains, pet’s bedding and toys in hot soapy water to remove and kill eggs, larvae and pupae.

Treating your pets regularly is vitally important. It helps reduce the potentially harmful effects of parasites, not just for the health of your pet, but in order to help protect you and your family. There are a variety of preventative treatment options available for your pets, we will be happy to advise you.

Mites & Lice

There are several different species of mites and lice that can affect dogs, cats, rabbits and small rodents:

  • They are tiny creatures, usually under a millimetre long, that live in your pet’s hair, on their skin, in their ears or burrow into their skin.
  • They are usually passed from pet to pet, but they can come from the environment too.
  • They can cause irritation, hair loss, dry/flaky skin, excessive scratching or chewing of the skin, inflammation and even infection.

Common Mites and Lice include:

  • Ear mites
  • Sarcoptes mite (mange)
  • Demodex mite (mange)
  • Biting lice and Sucking lice

Treating your pets regularly is vitally important. It helps reduce the potentially harmful effects of parasites, not just for the health of your pet, but in order to help protect you and your family. There are a variety of preventative treatment options available for your pets, we will be happy to advise you.

Ticks

Ticks are blood-sucking parasites that can transmit very serious diseases. They are small, round, often shiny and can vary in colour, they are often mistaken for skin tags or lumps.

They lie in wait in long grass and vegetation and attach to a dog, cat or even a person as they brush past. Once attached they pierce a hole through the skin and feed on blood.

Ticks can cause allergic reactions or infections at the site of the bite if they are not removed properly. Lots of ticks can also lead to anaemia, especially in young animals.

Some ticks can also transmit nasty diseases.
These diseases include: Lyme disease, Babesiosis and Ehrlichiosis. If you notice any of these symptoms of these diseases and suspect your pet may have been bitten by a tick, contact your vet urgently for advice.

Preventing Ticks

The most effective way to protect pets against tick-borne diseases is to use flea and tick prevention. Our staff can advise you on a variety of prescription flea and tick options best suited for your pet, including collars, topical solutions, and tablets that kill and repel ticks. These products should only be used under a veterinarian's supervision and according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Other ways to help prevent ticks:

  • Avoid long grassy areas - stick to paths or open spaces
  • Avoid places known for ticks
  • Regularly check your pet for ticks - most commonly found on the head, ears, armpits and belly.
  • If visiting a new place, check how common ticks are in that area.
  • Avoid exposing your skin while out for a walk – wear long sleeve tops, full length trousers.
  • After walking, check your clothes for ticks and brush off any you find immediately.

Worms

Endoparasites (worms) are parasites that live and feed within a host. They are among the most common parasites in cats and dogs and, if left untreated, have the potential to cause health problems in our pets.
Some worms are zoonotic which means they can also infect humans. There are many types of worms, the main species that affect pets in the UK are roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, whipworms and lungworm.

Lungworm

Lungworm is a potentially life threatening parasite that is being seen more commonly across the UK.

  • It mainly affects dogs and foxes, but can infect other animals.
  • When a lungworm is ingested by a dog, the adult worm lives in the heart and major blood vessels that supply the lungs.
  • Dogs often become infected by eating infected slugs and snails, or even their slime trail left over food and water bowls, or toys left outside can be enough to cause infection too.

Early symptoms can vary but look out for:

  • Coughing
  • Lethargy
  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Unusual Behaviour
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea

As the infection worsens, so do the symptoms:

  • Excessive bleeding from minor wounds
  • Nose bleeds
  • Bleeding into the eye
  • Anaemia
  • Seizures

If lungworm is treated early, the dog can make a full recovery, but reinfection is always possible so, prevention is always advisable! This must be monthly and can only be prescribed by your vet.

Roundworm

These worms look like strands of cooked spaghetti and are the most common intestinal parasite seen in dogs and cats but they can affect reptiles and birds.
Worm eggs and larvae are passed in the faeces of infected animals. Some can survive in the soil for a year or more.

The eggs/larvae are ingested by a host, this could be a mouse or bird that is then eaten. Adult animals may show no obvious signs, but young animals can be more severely affected.

Symptoms:

  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Lethargy
  • Poor coat condition
  • Pot Belly
  • Stunted Growth

If a person accidentally swallows these eggs, the larvae can cause disease or even travel to the eyes where they can potentially cause blindness.

Tapeworm

These worms are segmented and look like a grain of rice. They can sometimes be seen in the pet’s faeces or around the anus. The most common host is the flea, this is ingested as the animal grooms itself. Tapeworms eggs/larvae can also be passed in the faeces of infected animals, where they are ingested by a host.

Hookworm

These can be found in dogs but are less common in cats. Hookworms are small, thin, parasitic worms that latch onto the lining of the intestine and feed on their host’s blood. Hookworm larvae can be present in soil. Adult animals may only appear under the weather but, in younger animals, lethargy, poor appetite, diarrhoea containing blood, and anaemia may occur. If people walk barefoot over soil containing hookworm larvae, the larvae can burrow into the skin and cause intense itching.

Whipworm

Whipworms affects dogs but rarely cats. Animals may not show symptoms but, in heavy infestations, the worms cause damage to the intestines which can lead to diarrhoea containing blood.

Worming our pets regularly is vitally important. It helps reduce potentially harmful effects of parasites, not just for the health of your pet, but in order to help protect you and your family.

There are a variety of options available for worming your pets, give us a call to discuss the best options for you and your pet.

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