Parasite protection for pets
Did you know that you should be regularly treating your pet for parasites, even if they don’t have them? Fleas, worms and ticks don’t only cause animals discomfort, they can also be passed on to you and your family, as well as spread harmful conditions.
Talk to us about the flea & worm treatments and tick control methods that are available for your pet.
Pet parasite problems
When it comes to treating your pet for parasites, a preventative approach is strongly recommended. However, it’s also important to know which symptoms to look out for so you can treat your pet quickly and effectively should they develop a problem.
Below is a list of the common symptoms associated with fleas, worms, and ticks. Mites of the ear and skin (in particular) can also cause problems for pets. Book a parasite consultation with one of our friendly team for advice.
Fleas live in warm environments such as your pet’s fur, home furnishings, and grass in the warmer months. They can also have up to 50 offspring every single day, which can make them extremely difficult to get rid of. Dog, cat, and rabbit fleas will jump onto you, your family, and other pets.
Fleas survive by drinking warm blood and when they ‘bite’ it will result in a sore, red, itchy bump; this is because flea saliva is an allergen. Additionally, the more fleas your pet has, the more bites they will experience, which in extreme cases can cause anaemia and even death.
Symptoms of a flea problem on your pet may include:
- Black/brown/reddish dots scurrying in your pet’s fur.
- Black/brown/reddish ‘dandruff’ in your pet’s fur (flea droppings, also known as flea dirt).
- Sore, red, itchy lumps appearing on your pet’s flesh (you and your family may also experience this).
- Subdued behaviour.
- Frequent scratching.
- Weight loss (this is typically a symptom that only affects elderly and very young pets).
Top tip: A great way to check your pet for fleas is to run a flea comb through their fur. As you move the comb, hold a piece of damp kitchen towel underneath. Any fleas or droppings will fall onto the paper. If you discover fleas, simply squash them with the back of your nail before they have the opportunity to hop onto your furniture.
The most common way for an animal to develop a worm infestation is by swallowing fleas (whilst grooming themselves), which typically carry worm eggs. The egg then hatches into a worm in your pet’s stomach where it will survive by feeding on the food there. Then, depending on the type of worm, it may migrate through the body tissue until it reaches the lungs or heart, in many cases causing fatality – ask us about protecting your pets from lungworm, heart worm, and other types of worms.
Symptoms of a worm problem in your pet may include:
- Dry, coarse or greasy fur.
- Losing weight (despite eating normally).
- Sickness and diarrhoea.
- What looks like grains of rice wriggling in your pet’s vomit and faeces.
Please note: Lungworm in dogs is typically spread by snails, slugs and frogs, and can be fatal. You should therefore be cautious whenever your pet is exposed to environments where you may find these animals, such as ponds, rivers, puddles and communal water bowls. Additionally, don’t leave your pet’s toys in the garden overnight. They may become damp and cold and attract slimy garden creatures.
You can help protect your dog from lungworm by keeping up to date with their parasite treatments, providing they cover this harmful critter.
Ticks are blood-sucking critters that are about all year round, but are more prevalent during warmer months. They are typically found in grasslands (especially long grass) and places where sheep and deer graze.
If the tick that bites your dog (or you) is infected, they can transmit Lyme disease, a potentially debilitating condition.
Symptoms of a tick problem on your pet may include:
- Excessive scratching and licking in a particular spot.
- An initial ‘bullseye’ rash around the tick bite site.
- Intermittent lameness.
Ticks should always be removed with a special tick removal tool, which enables you to twist and pull at the same time. If you pull a tick straight out and leave the head in your pet’s body, this can increase the risk of disease transmission.
Parasite control for your pet
Unfortunately there is no ‘one size fits all’ treatment for parasites. You are therefore strongly recommended to speak with a veterinary professional about your pet’s needs to ensure that they are being protected effectively.
At STAR Vets, our team is made up of friendly experts who are each dedicated to providing unrivalled preventative care. Therefore, if you are ever concerned that your pet has parasites, or would simply like some advice about preventing an infestation, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Join our Shining STAR Wellness Plan and get a range of pet parasite protection included!