Internal and external parasites can be very irritating and in some cases can cause serious illness in our furry family members. To keep your pet protected and as healthy as possible we recommend regular parasite prevention. Your local Vetlove clinic can provide up to date information on how to protect your beloved four legged friend from parasites such as; intestinal worms, heartworm, fleas and ticks.
Intestinal worms are easily preventable and a good quality intestinal wormer is a vital part of your pet’s general healthcare.
Dogs and cats can be infected with a variety of intestinal worms including; hookworm, roundworm, tapeworm and whipworm.
Infection can occur from walking or sniffing the ground contaminated with microscopic worm eggs or larvae or licking contaminated surfaces. Hunting is also a source of infection, particularly in cats, as worm larvae can be found in lizards, birds, insects and mice. Indoor cats and dogs are still at risk as worms can travel indoors through insects, lizards or on our shoes and clothes.
The ingested eggs or larvae will mature into adult worms inside the intestines of a pet and begin to lay eggs which then pass out with the faeces.
Worms can cause problems in your pet such as diarrhoea, weight loss, bloating and in some cases anaemia. It is also important to note that worms can be transmitted to people and cause illness. Especially at risk are young, old or immuno-compromised family members. Signs of worms in your pet can include; white flecks or worms in the faeces, frequent licking or scooting on their bottom. Dogs and cats can transfer worms to us through licking or even just being patted and groomed.
It is essential to develop a worming prevention program with your vet to help protect your pet and your family. There are many types of worming products out there and it can be challenging deciding which one is best for your pet and when you should be giving them.
Dog and Cat Worming Schedule:
|Age||How Often to Worm|
|6 – 12 weeks old||Every 2 weeks|
|12 weeks to 6 months old||Every month|
|6 months to Adult +||Every 3 months for rest of pets life|
Fleas are tiny blood sucking parasites that infest your pet’s skin and fur and cause discomfort and itchiness. Once a flea infestation is established it can be difficult to eradicate, fleas spread quickly and can be difficult to see with the naked eye.
Fleas can jump remarkably far from other animals and the surrounding environment, which is why they can infest your pet and your house so easily. Fleas can lie dormant in the environment such as carpet, furniture or beds for months and are just waiting to hitch a ride on you or your pet. The fleas you might see on your pet is only 5% of the household population.
Fortunately flea prevention is very safe and cost effective and therefore it is relatively easy to keep your pet happy and free from unwanted hitchhikers!
One of the first signs you may notice is scratching or chewing. On closer inspection you may see the adult fleas crawling over your pets skin or even black specks which are flea droppings. A few fleas can very quickly turn into hundreds, as female fleas lay up to 30+ eggs a day. This coupled with how persistent they are in the environment can make it near impossible to prevent fleas on your pet without good regular flea control. Untreated flea infestations can cause severe skin irritation, open sores and even skin infections caused by self trauma from intense itching. Some animals are allergic to fleas, whereby a single flea bite can cause severe itching. Veterinary treatment is needed for all skin conditions.
Flea prevention is the best way to protect your four legged friends and your household from fleas. There are many great flea preventatives available but not all are created equal and it is important to find the best product for your pet. Spot on products, tablets and tasty chews are all available options depending on what suits your pet.
Shampoos and rinses are available to kill fleas on your pet, however they do not provide any long lasting prevention. Always read the product instructions carefully as not every product is the same and some products are toxic to certain species.
Vacuum multiple times a week for several weeks to remove eggs. Warming your home and the vibrations caused by vacuuming entice the eggs to hatch and allow for easier removal.
Wash your pets bedding weekly.
Sprays and foggers can be used for your household (seek professional direction)
Your local VetLove team will be more than happy to guide you in the best and most convenient flea prevention and can assist you in ridding your house of this dreaded pest. All our team are trained in flea management and flea products and are happy to chat with you in developing an effective flea prevention regime.
There are many species of ticks residing in Australia with approximately 70 species across the country. The most common are the brown dog tick and the paralysis tick. The paralysis tick is the most deadly to our furry family members. It is found in most bushy coastal areas of eastern Australia and is prevalent from early Spring to late Autumn. However, they can still strike during winter, so all year around protection is vital to keep our pets safe, even our indoor pets.
When the paralysis tick attaches to a cat or dog, it releases a powerful neurotoxin into the bloodstream causing paralysis by affecting the muscles and lungs. This can lead to death. There is no immunity or vaccine to the paralysis tick and pets can deteriorate very quickly after a tick has attached.
Paralysis ticks can be identified by being lighter in colour and with its legs attached close to the head. It can be difficult to identify if it is not engorged, therefore it is essential to take your pet to a vet if you have found a tick on your pet.
Paralysis Tick Signs:
Retching, gagging or drooling.
Change in vocalization sound.
Weakness in legs or uncoordination.
Difficulty in breathing
There are multiple products to help protect your pet including collars, sprays, washes, spot-ons and tablets or chewables. Not all products provide 100% protection and not all products will work as effectively.
Regular tick searches every day and after walks is recommended. This is best done by running your fingers through their fur, between toes, lips and ears. It is important to get your pet to a vet immediately if you find a tick.
Visit or speak to our team at VetLove for advice on making sure your loved family member is protected all year around. No one wants to fall victim to the nasty paralysis tick.
Heartworm is one of the more overlooked part of our pet’s health. This is because it isn’t always so obvious when our pet’s are infected and the prevalence in Australia is not fully understood. Heartworm is a parasitic worm that is transmitted by mosquitoes. As mosquitoes are a part of life in Australia and impossible to barricade, prevention is the key to protection.
Heartworm is a slow onset and subtle disease. Often signs are missed or overlooked, with many months or even years passing before clinical signs are noticeable. Signs are associated with the heart as the adult worms disrupt the blood flow through the heart and cause increased strain and pressure on the heart.
Heartworm signs in dogs include; lethargy or exercise intolerance, weakness, chronic coughing, breathing difficulties, bloated abdomen and in some cases your vet may hear a heart murmur. Cats are less likely to show signs of heartworm infestation and may only develop lethargy or a cough.
In cases that go undetected and untreated, heartworm is nearly always fatal.
If you suspect heartworm, take your pet to your vet for a checkup.
If heartworm is suspected in your pet, a blood test and potentially x-rays will diagnose heartworm. If your pet tests positive for heartworm, treatment will be necessary to stop progression. Treatment is available, but since treatment is complex and can take months; prevention is better and easier than cure.
Prevention comes in many forms from tablets to spot ons or an injection that will last a year. Prevention should start at 12 weeks of age and continue for your pets entire life. Any break in preventatives will put your pet at risk of infection and a blood test will be needed to test for heartworm. If your pet is delayed with starting on their heartworm prevention, a blood test will need to be performed before beginning heartworm control.
Heartworm can be easily prevented, all of us here at VetLove are happy to show you how to best protect our furry companions.
We welcome you to our caring family and look forward to becoming part of yours.
- Nobby Beach