It’s essential to keep on top of parasite treatments – do you know the signs of infection?


Did you know that as well as causing discomfort, parasite infestations can be fatal to your pet if they’re left untreated? For that reason it’s extremely important to make sure you regularly administer parasite control to your pet.

Fleas

Fleas are perhaps the most common parasite to infest household pets. They live in warm environments – your pet’s fur and even your clothes and furniture and can be passed from your companion to you and your family.

Fleas can have thousands of offspring in their short lifespans, which can make it particularly difficult to eliminate them. They survive by drinking blood; flea saliva is an allergen which results in in the red, itchy bumps you will see on your pet’s skin. In addition, fleas can carry nasty diseases which can be transferred to your pet or family if they bite.

Symptoms of fleas include:

Excessive scratching

Red/brown specks moving in your pet’s fur

Subdued behaviour, often a result of feeling unwell following flea bites

Red, itchy, sore spots (these may appear on other pets and members of your family as well as the infected pet)

Worms

Worms are also a risk to your pet, although different animals are susceptible to different types of worm. Many of them live in your pet’s gut and can cause them to become very unwell if they are not treated quickly and effectively. In the worst cases, worm infestations can even be fatal.

Symptoms of worms include:

Increased appetite

Weight loss, even if your pet is eating more than usual

Dry/coarse fur

Sickness and diarrhoea

Visible worms (resembling grains of rice) in your pet’s vomit, faeces and around their bottom

Dogs and cats should receive regular preventative treatment against parasites, but the exact treatment and dosage will depend on your pet’s breed and size. Ask a member of our team for more information on the treatment to give your pet, or if you believe your pet has an infestation of any type of parasite.

Lungworm

The lungworn is a parasite that can cause serious health problems in dogs and can even be fatal is not diagnosed and treated.

Slugs and snails carry the lungworm larvae, and dogs can become infected when they accidentally (or purposefully) eat these common garden pests whilst rummaging through undergrowth, eating grass, drinking from puddles or outdoor water bowls, or pick them up from their toys.

Which dogs are at risk?

Dogs of all ages and breeds can become infected, but younger dogs seem to be more prone to picking up the parasite and dogs who are known to eat slugs and snails are also considered at high risk.

Prevention & treatment

Treatment is available and can result in full recovery, but as this parasite can be fatal it is important to consider prevention. Preventative products are available and with regular use prevention is easy to achieve.

Your veterinary surgeon can recommend a parasite control programme for your dog. If your dog eats slugs and snails, but is not showing any symptoms, arrange a check-up with your veterinary surgeon as a precaution.  Always speak to your vet because not all worming products are effective against this particular parasite.

Ticks

Ticks are fairly common ectoparasites of dogs (and cats). How often you see ticks on your dog and how severe a tick assault will be depends on the region of the country in which you live, the time of year (tick activity varies in warm and cool weather), the habits of your dog, and how and when you use tick control products. Some ticks can infest dogs that spend most of their time indoors and even dogs that only spend brief periods of time outside can have ticks.

How will ticks affect my dog?

Ticks attach to your dog by inserting their mouthparts into your dog’s skin. Many ticks also produce a sticky, gluelike substance that helps them to remain attached. After attaching to your dog, ticks begin feeding on your dog’s blood. The places where ticks attach can become red and irritated.

Although rare, ticks can consume enough of your dog’s blood to cause a deficiency called anaemia. Certain female ticks can also cause a rare paralysis in dogs as a result of a toxin they produce while feeding. More important, ticks are capable of causing many diseases in your pet. The disease with which most people are familiar is called Lyme disease.   Lyme disease can cause arthritis and swelling of your dog’s joints, resulting in painful lameness.   Your veterinarian can answer questions about the diseases that are important where you live.

How do I prevent my dog from getting ticks?

It is very difficult to prevent your dog’s exposure to ticks. Ticks can attach to your dog when he or she goes with you on walks, hikes, or during any outdoor activities.

The best way to prevent ticks from attaching to your dog is by the regular use of tick control products. Your veterinarian can advise you about the best product for your dog and your situation.

If you would like more information about parasites, or you’re worried your pet has a worm or flea problem

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can call us at Livingston on 01506 437096 or at Bathgate on 015 06 634176.