Parasite Prevention
Parasite Prevention
Parasite Prevention

Parasite prevention for pets can be confusing, especially if you’re a first-time pet owner. Protecting your dog or cat from parasites helps maintain the health of everyone: your pet, yourself, and your family.

We’ve compiled an easy resource below for parasite prevention in dogs and cats.

Please call us to book in for your pet’s next parasite prevention treatment!

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Heartworm

Heartworm is a serious and potentially fatal disease that can affect both dogs and cats. It is caused by a worm that lives in the heart and the major blood vessels in the lung leading to serious heart and lung disease.

Heartworm is transmitted from one animal to another via mosquito. The mosquito bites an infected dog and takes some of it’s blood which is then transmitted to the next dog that it bites, passing on the immature form of the parasite. The immature form of the parasite eventually migrates from the skin and develops into an adult heartworm which is found in the heart and lungs of the infected animal.

The mosquito mode of transmission means that all dogs and cats are at risk, even if they don’t mix with other animals. Heartworm disease is more common in the dog. Disease does occur in the cat but the incidence is far lower.

Dogs with heartworm disease can be treated with drugs to kill the parasite but the treatment itself is very risky and potentially fatal. Obviously, prevention of this disease is far better than a cure!!

The GOOD NEWS is that the disease is completely and easily preventable. Puppies and kittens are started on prevention from 8-12 weeks of age and MUST be kept on prevention for life. There are many choices of prevention available right here from the Hospital. Some examples are listed below.

There are several treatments available for heartworm prevention.

The most convenient is a yearly heartworm injection that is often given at the same time as the annual vaccination.

The heartworm injection is given at 12 weeks of age (at the same time as vaccination), 6 months of age (at the same time as desexing) then just once a year with the annual check up and vaccination. There is no risk of lapsing with prevention as a reminder is sent out annually.

Most owners are happy that they no longer have to remember to give monthly prevention.

Advantage is a liquid that is applied to the skin at the back of the neck every month. It also provides protection against fleas.

Heartgard is a monthly meat flavoured chewable which many dogs regard as a treat.

Sentinel Spectrum is a flavoured tablet that is given once monthly which also protects against fleas and all four types of intestinal worms.

Advantage is a liquid that is applied to the skin at the back of the neck every month. It also provides protection against fleas and both roundworm and hookworm in cats. Its ease of use makes it very popular amongst cat owners who have trouble orally worming their cats.

Intestinal Worms

The four types of intestinal worms that infect puppies and adult dogs are roundworm, hookworm, tapeworm and whipworm.

Roundworm infection is very common and most puppies are infected from a very young age from their mother. Infection may cause vomiting, diarrhoea, bloated abdomen and ill thrift.

For this reason, all puppies need to be wormed every 2 weeks until 12 weeks of age, then monthly until 6 months old and then every 3 months for life. An allwormer such as Popantel, Drontal, Milbemax or Canex that target all four types of intestinal worms needs to be used.

The three types of intestinal worms that infect kittens and adult cats are roundworm, hookworm and tapeworm.

Roundworm infection is very common and kittens are infected from a very young age from their mother. Infection may cause vomiting, diarrhoea, bloated abdomen and ill thrift.

For this reason, all kittens need to be wormed every 2 weeks until 12 weeks of age, then every 3 months for life. An allwormer such as Popantel, Milbemax, Drontal or Felix plus paste can be used. Advocate is a topical product that treats both roundworm and hookworm as well as heartworm and fleas. The topical mode of application makes it easy to use for all kittens and cats.

Can these worms be passed to humans?

Ingestion of roundworm eggs by humans, particularly children, may result in migration of a worm larvae through the body, which may cause damage and possible blindness.

Due to this potential hazard, as well as infection of the dog or cat, regular worming of all dogs, puppies, cats and kittens with an allwormer is essential. In addition, children should be taught to always wash their hands prior to eating.

Care in cleaning litter trays is also important to ensure people are not infected and daily disposal of “doggy doo” from the yard is also advisable.

Fleas

Fleas continue to be a very common problem in all dogs and cats. Flea bites can be a serious problem for both the animal and human members of the household. Many pets become allergic to the flea bite, leading to flea allergy dermatitis which can have long term, serious consequences for the pet. Signs of the disease include dermatitis, self-trauma, hair loss, excessive licking and chewing and depression in severe cases.

As part of the flea’s life cycle, they must bite a pet and ingest some of its blood so that they can lay their eggs. When the flea bites, it injects some of its saliva which is what the animal becomes allergic to. Pets that have flea allergy dermatitis only need to be bitten by one flea to start the whole cycle of dermatitis off again.

The adult flea only makes up 5 % of the total flea population. The rest of the population is made up of eggs, pupae and larvae in the animal’s environment, which are not visible to the naked eye. Therefore if we see only a small number of adult fleas, we know there is likely to be a large infestation already present in the home. Fleas require a warm environment to complete their life cycle which explains why they are more of a problem in the warmer months. However heating our homes during winter ensures year round infestation of our pets and our homes. For this reason, we strongly advise using effective flea control all year round. It is much easier to prevent fleas than get rid of them once you have an infestation.

So what can I do to control fleas on my pet and in my home?

There are several very effective easy to use products available to eliminate fleas on your pet. Most of these products are safe to be started at 8 weeks of age.

Advantage and Advocate are applied to the skin between the shoulder blades once a month and is available for both dogs and cats. Nexgard and Bravecto are oral flea control products that are also available for flea control.

Advantage is a liquid that is applied to the skin between the shoulder blades every month. It also protects against heartworm as well as sarcoptic mange and ear mites in dogs, and intestinal worms in cats

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