Pesky Parasites

We all enjoy spending time with our pets. Not only do they bring us a considerable amount of joy, they can also keep us healthy. Did you know just spending some quality time with your pet can decrease your blood pressure and so reduce the risk of having a heart attack?

But what about the other little critters you could be sharing your time with? Parasites are a subject that can often leave us feeling a little itchy but many people don’t realise just how many can invade your home every day. Learning about them is the best way to tackle them!

What’s that lurking in your home?

A flea is a small, wingless insect that bites its host and sucks its blood. They have back legs that are modified for jumping and they lay numerous eggs every day which drop to the ground and then hatch into flea larvae in your carpets, flooring and bedding. However, they will only hatch when it’s warm enough and when they know there is a meal passing by. They can cause some nasty reactions so it is critical to use preventative flea control all year round. When treating the environment it is important to treat all areas that the pet goes. If you are worried about a flea infestation in your home why not book a free flea consultation with one of our vets.

Not always just a walk in the park

Just one pile of dog poo can contain a million roundworm eggs and even if you scoop the poop, eggs can still remain in the left overs and could even go on to affect humans. Roundworms are large white worms, with cylindrical bodies. Adult roundworms live in the small intestine and feed on the gut contents. To tackle this problem ensure your pet has a regular roundworm treatment at least twice a year.

Long grass, where the bloodsuckers lie in wait

Ticks cling to the tips of long grass waiting for a passing meal ticket. If an unsuspecting cat or dog wanders by, the tick jumps on board and uses its specially designed mouthparts to bite into the skin. If your dog or cat spends a lot of time in long grass or woodland then make sure you are treating them with a product that repels and kills ticks. Never just pull a tick off as it will remove the body and leave the mouthparts under the skin which can cause a nasty reaction. If you ever notice a tick on your pet then call and book an appointment with one of our nurses who can remove the tick safely and free of charge if you are on our healthcare scheme.

What’s that lurking at the bottom of your garden?

Your garden can be a haven for lungworm carriers, your dog can become infected with lungworm by ingesting infected slugs or snails. However it is not simply eating the little critters that can put your pet at risk, coming into contact with the slime can be as deadly. Remember that toys and bowls left outside and covered with slime pose just as much risk as your dog eating a slug or snail directly. As foxes can similarly become infected by this parasite, they can also spread the infection by shedding larvae into the environment. Disease in dogs is usually related to the respiratory system, and symptoms can include coughing, difficulty breathing, discharge from the nose, retching and it can be fatal. Regular preventative treatment should definitely be used if you see slugs and snails in your area.

Fly away with me

Heartworm is not normally a parasite we hear about and that is mainly due to the fact we don’t have it here in the UK, but it is a threat elsewhere in Europe and in other areas of the world. If contracted and left untreated the disease can lead to heart failure, breathing difficulties, lethargy and even death. If you and your pet travel abroad make sure all preventative treatment has been given to stop any casualties while you are away.

Our healthcare club provides essential preventative healthcare including parasite control. It is a simple and affordable way to spread the cost and gives you other benefits such as vaccinations, nurse checks, nail clipping and many more saving you up to 24% every year. This then leaves you with complete peace of mind when you are cuddling up with your furry friends.

(P.S. We’re going to be at Bark in the Park on September 16th, why not come along and meet our team?)

Kelly Hanks RVN