Fleas are not life threatening but they can carry Tapeworm larvae, and for some pets their bite starts a nasty allergic reaction, Flea Allergic Dermatitis.
Fleas might have a preferred food source but they will bite and suck the blood of any warm body around, which could be you.
Fleas have been around for thousands of years and are very adaptable; they are most active in spring and autumn. Understanding their lifecycle is key to preventing these critters from infesting your pets and home. Adult fleas are the life stage that will arrive on your pet. These adults feed and lay eggs. The eggs fall off your pet into the environment – your dog’s bed, the carpet, your bed. When the time is right these eggs hatch out into the next life stage, a larva. This microscopic worm burrows down away from light.
When it has eaten enough it pupates. This is the clever bit. The flea inside the pupae can wait until the conditions outside are optimal before hatching. The new adult flea needs warmth, humidity and food. How do they know ‘food’ is ready for them? They feel vibrations from movement and can also sense change in the level of CO2 in the environment. For every adult you see there are eggs, larvae and pupae stages just waiting to re-infest your pets.
Ticks carry serious diseases. It is important to understand that not all types of ticks carry these diseases and not all of the carrier type will be infected.
It is traditionally thought that ticks are picked up by pets out in the bush, but some ticks live just as happily in a domestic environment. Ticks have various hosts during their life-cycle, so even in your garden your pet could pick up a tick that was dropped off by a passing mouse, bird, etc.
The majority of tick-borne diseases are passed on when ticks feed off your pet. It is important to use a good quality anti-tick treatment and to follow the instructions. Frequent grooming and careful examination after walks to remove ticks before they attach is very effective.
There are many types of anti-parasitic flea and tick treatments on the market. Our staff can assist you to set a protocol which will suit you and your pets. It is important to always follow the manufacture’s instructions, and we recommend year-round treatment due to the flea life-cycle and mild winters when ticks and fleas can remain active.
Dogs and cats are curious creatures and will sniff, lick, and eat all sorts of things whilst investigating their environment. Then, when they are done with that, they will greet each other, and you, with a lick and a nuzzle, and groom themselves and their friends. This is the way worms are transmitted.
Intestinal worms often go undetected as patients are asymptomatic. A large infestation, or very young, very elderly, or immune compromised pets, can show signs such as loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, anaemia, and weight loss.
Licking around the anus, or scooting on their bottom, can also be a sign of worms, especially tapeworm. Some life stages of these worms can migrate to other areas of the body such as the lungs, the eye, and muscle tissue etc.
Spirocerca lupi is a deadly worm that lives in the dog’s oesophagus. This worm is spread just like the others and burrows through the wall of the intestinal tract, through the blood vessels and then burrows into the wall of the oesophagus. The nodules that they create here, and live in, can, over time, become cancerous. Clinical signs of Spirocerca infestation are often only seen when the disease has progressed to a non-treatable stage.
Signs of Spirocerca are regurgitation of food, difficulty swallowing, and weight loss.
Deworming tablets and other preparations are safe and easy to give as many are made in a palatable form. Puppies and kittens should be dewormed monthly until six months of age, and adults dewormed a minimum of three times a year. It is essential to use a broad-spectrum de-wormer to cover all types of worms. Not all de-wormers are active against Spirocerca. Please ask staff about this to ensure your pets get the best cover.