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Keeping parasites at bay

13 July 2018

There’s one subject that’s guaranteed to generate the same ‘skin-crawling’ reaction in pet owners - worms and fleas! We know this topic makes for uncomfortable reading, but it’s an important part of pet care.

Here are some frightening facts on the subject:

  • 1 in 3 pets have tapeworm at any one time
  • 1 in 5 pets have fleas

We love owning pets but one of the downsides is the little critters that plague our furry friends. From fleas and worms to biting insects and mites, there are a whole host of horrors that can make their home on your pet’s body. These parasites have become adept at proliferating in numbers.

Picking up parasites isn’t a damming testimonial of your care as a pet owner. Dogs and cats can contract them from anywhere. However with regular treatment, and taking proactive steps to prevent reinfection, you can keep your pet in tip top condition.

Whilst some parasites may be hard to detect, left unchecked the problem can become very serious and in some cases life-threatening. There is also the potential for infections to pass from animals to humans, with young children at particular risk.

Here’s the lowdown on the things you need to know:

The two most common worms to affect cats and dogs are roundworm and tapeworm.

Roundworms look like fine spaghetti. Animals become infected by eating prey or through contact with other animals’ faeces. The best way to detect an infection is to check your pet’s poop. Puppies and kittens can be affected from birth as mothers can pass them on. Left untreated roundworm can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, weight loss and digestive problems, and can be fatal.

Tapeworms grow in segments (like grains of rice) which become chains. Again, check your pet’s faeces to spot an infection as they don’t always produce any obvious signs. Tapeworm can be contracted from fleas as they carry the eggs. By keeping fleas at bay you’ll minimise the risk of your pet contracting them.

Remember: Worming treatments only kill the current infection: a regular worming routine is essential to keep it in check. Not all treatments tackle both worms, so speak to our knowledgeable staff for guidance on the best products for your pet and how often they should be used.

Other preventative measures include regularly disinfecting your home including your pet’s food and water bowls with a pet-friendly product, disposing of faeces carefully, and washing your hands before handling food.

Ectoparasites (found on the outside of our animals) also pose a problem:

Fleas can be detected on your pet’s fur as tiny black spots. Other signs include scratching, sore spots or skins irritations. The good news is that fleas can be easily prevented, the downside is that you need to treat your whole home to eradicate the eggs.

Ticks are a rising concern, and can be picked up when walking through woodland areas. They look like small spiders with bulbous bodies and attach themselves to the skin to feed on blood. Bites can transmit disease: the longer they’re attached the greater the chance. Squeezing or pulling can cause the head to remain buried into the skin.

But, fear not! Our classroom-trained staff can talk you through the best remedies on the market. Our recommended products are easily available on our website and can be placed on repeat so you never run out. 

If you feel like you’re under siege, we’re on hand with the latest advice so pop into any of our branches for guidance and parasite-free peace of mind.