Preventing Parasites in Our Pets
Creepy, crawling, blood sucking, and generally disgusting.
Creepy, crawling, blood sucking, and generally disgusting. This alone is reason enough to take parasite prevention seriously, but they can also make our dogs and cats seriously ill. Some can even spread to humans!
Fleas are blood suckers, and their saliva causes our pets to itch. Fleas can suck enough blood from our pets to make them very sick. They can also carry diseases that infect humans, such as “spotted fever” and “cat scratch fever”.
Only adult fleas live on our pets. 95% of their life is in the environment. That is why spot-ons such as Advocate are great at prevention as they last a whole month. There’s also now a tablet available for dogs called Bravecto that protects our pets for 3 months.
Pets get worms from swallowing the eggs, which can be found in anything that comes into contact with faeces, like the ground or other pets. Some worms are a health risk to humans, particularly young children and the elderly. It can be difficult to detect if pets have worms as they may not show symptoms until they are very sick. This makes it even more important to protect against worms.
The main intestinal worms are tapeworms, roundworms and hookworms. One sign that your pet may have a worm problem is scooting around on their bottom. This is a sign that there is irritation around the rump area. Other signs are vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness, weight loss, or an abnormally swollen belly, particularly in younger pets. The best way to prevent infection is a Drontal tablet, given every 3 months.
Heartworms are spread by mosquito bites, which injects the worms into pets’ bloodstreams. From there they travel to the heart. As they grow they obstruct blood flow, leading to illness and death. This more common in dogs than cats. However for the rare cat that does get heartworm, it takes less worms to cause severe illness. Heartworm prevention comes in the form of a spot-on, or a convenient yearly injection.
The main method is regular use of tablets or spot-ons. Other tips include cleaning bedding and sleeping areas regularly, feeding quality premium food to maintain health, and removing faeces from the yard regularly.