Parasites

As the weather warms up, we start to see more parasite problems for all sorts of pets.

Here are some of the more common parasites we come across, as well as some information on the problems they cause and how to get rid of them.

Fleas

Fleas are relatively easy to spot, and if not, your pet will let you know! Look out for these clues:

  • Your pet might constantly be scratching or chewing and become quite irritable.
  • You might notice red, sore-looking bumps or blisters on your pet’s skin.
  • If you look close enough, you might see ‘flea dirt’ – this is a flea waste product that looks like tiny little flecks of pepper.
  • Sometimes, you can even see the fleas moving around themselves – tiny little brown or black wingless insects, with an incredible jump!

Flea bites are not only uncomfortable and frustrating for your pets, but they can also lead to serious wound infections, anaemia, tapeworms, and dermatitis.

Moving swiftly is the key to flea treatment! You will need to treat:

  • Every pet in your household
  • Pet bedding
  • Carpet
  • Furniture
  • Any other soft furnishings a flea or its eggs might be hiding

If you have any questions or require parasite product advice, organise an appointment with your vet.

Ticks

Ticks can be found in every state of Australia. There are many different species of ticks, and some pose a significant threat to the wellbeing of our pets. The most common species that affect our pets are the paralysis tick, the bush tick, the cattle tick, and the brown dog tick.

  • Paralysis ticks are particularly dangerous, as they deliver a neurotoxin into our pet’s bloodstream as they feed, leading to severe paralysis of the muscles – including the heart, proving fatal.
  • Brown dog ticks are not deadly themselves but can cause dermatitis and anaemia, as well as carry some nasty diseases, including Ehrlichiosis, which has only recently been discovered in more northern parts of Australia, and is spreading to some southern parts.

The best practice is to regularly check your dog for ticks after being outside – run your fingers through their coats to feel for any unusual lumps on their skin. Be sure to check over your pets’ entire body, especially:

  • Around their head and ears
  • Inside their ears
  • In their mouths
  • Under their tail
  • Between their toes
  • Underneath their collar

Ticks are sneaky and can easily latch on to many different areas on your pet.

If you come across a tick, be sure to give us a call to organise its removal as soon as possible – it is vital to act quickly and we will ensure to remove all of the tick – even a small part leftover can continue to cause problems for your furry friend.

Keeping your dog protected year-round from ticks is key - we recommend tick prevention treatments like spot-on drops or tick collars. Speak to us today for our recommendation and prevent your pet from any unnecessary discomfort and illness.

Mosquitoes

Dogs, cats, rodents. and birds make for easy targets and tasty snacks for mosquitoes. While the mosquito bite itself is more annoying than threatening, mosquitoes can spread heartworm and other potentially fatal parasites to your pets.

We recommend making sure there is no stagnant or still water around the backyard – this is where mosquito larvae grow. If possible, bring your pets indoors between dusk and dawn, or make sure they have a safe, meshed area to sleep in. Pet safe mosquito and insect repellents are available that may be used. Speak to us if you have any concerns about mozzies in your area.

Intestinal worms

Many different worms can affect our pets! Some species are not exclusive to cats and dogs, but rodents, birds, and reptiles too. Some more common worms we see are:

  • Roundworm
  • Hookworm
  • Tapeworm
  • Whipworm
  • Heartworm

These worms can be transmitted in several ways, including:

  • Coming into contact with (or eating) soil, grass, or faeces containing larvae or eggs,
  • Coming into direct contact with an infected animal
  • Transmitted in-utero or through milk fed to babies
  • Via insects, such as mosquitoes and fleas

Symptoms associated with worm infestations can include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Bloody stools
  • Anaemia
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Visible worms – either in stools or around the anus
  • Lung disease

Prevention is the best cure - by administering regular preventatives which are available in various forms and combinations with other parasite control products. Ask your clinic for advice on the best preventative for your pet. If your pet is unwell, please book a consultation.

Giardia

Giardia is a lesser-known parasite that is surprisingly common. It is a microscopic protozoan that can infect humans, dogs, and cats.

Giardia contaminates bodies of water – it can be ingested by your pet when drinking or having a swim, this is why we see cases of giardia infection more often in the warmer months. Signs your pet may be infected include:

  • Chronic diarrhoea
  • Reduced activity
  • Sudden or inexplicable weight loss
  • Bloody stools

Giardia is not usually life-threatening, but it is important to treat as your pet will feel unwell.

Give your local vet team a call or book an appointment if you think your pet may have giardia, it can be easily treated with after diagnosis.

 

If you have any concerns about parasites and your pet, please organise a consultation to discuss these with your vet.


Where can my dog pick up fleas?

There are a lot of places and ways for your dog to pick up fleas this spring. We’ve listed them all here in one handy place.

Other animals
Your dog can pick up fleas through contact with other animals, and we don’t just mean other dogs. Fleas aren’t picky as to where they hang out and can transfer from other household animals like neighboring cats and even rabbits.

Dog parks
Dog parks can be a happy hunting ground for parasites like fleas. Some dog owners may not be aware that their dog has a flea infestation and bring them to a dog park to play with and run around other dogs. In this situation, fleas can easily spread to other dogs in the park.

Dog Daycare/boarding kennels
Like a dog park, a pet parent may inadvertently cause the spread of fleas to other dogs by sending their infested dog to daycare. Most good daycare facilities will check that all their clients are regularly flea treated and wormed.

Backyard
As you now know, fleas can transfer from other animals who frequent your yard and leave flea eggs in the environment.

Your home
Poor flea control during the winter months can mean flea eggs are in your home waiting for the right conditions to hatch when the temperature warms up. Treatment all year round is vital to prevent this from happening.

If you are starting to think that your pet can get fleas anywhere – you are right! Your dog should be protected all year round regardless of if your dog is exclusively inside or not. You can discuss the many options available with one of our veterinary team to find the right solution to protect your pet.


Man petting happy brown dog

Is your fur baby up to date with parasite protection?

It is that time of year for Spring cleaning and organising, a great time to add making sure your fur baby is up to date with their parasite treatment into the spring-cleaning schedule. Fleas and worms can be very harmful to your pet and cause them much discomfort. Here, we go through some symptoms to look out for and the best way to make sure your furry family member is protected all year long.

Man petting happy brown dog
Is your fur baby up to date with parasite protection?

Fleas are parasites that live externally on the skin of an infested animal. Flea’s bite in order to draw blood from their host, this can be irritating and painful to animals while also causing damage to their skin.

Adult fleas are small, dark insects visible to the naked eye who move quickly around the host animal. While fleas are often difficult to see, ‘flea dirt’ (flea faeces) can often be seen in the coat or on the skin when the hair is parted.

How to know if your pet has fleas

Contrary to popular belief, fleas do not always cause excessive scratching. It is possible for some animals to show little evidence of flea infestation. Some cats will scratch at fleas only when they are not being observed. Other animals can be more sensitive and will scratch and bite intensely at the area, which can lead to infection. Your pet could also be allergic to flea’s, causing severe skin reactions.

Symptoms to watch out for are:

  • Excessive scratching
  • Redness of skin
  • Bald patches
  • Visible fleas on your pets’ skin

Signs that your pet has worms

While roundworm and tapeworm are the most common variety of infestation, there are many different types of worms that can infect your pet. Some worms are transferred via animals such as mice, rats or even insects like fleas, while others can be transferred through environmental contamination in high-risk areas where there is a lot of animal traffic such as dog parks.

Different types of worms tend to have similar symptoms; however, it is important to remember that your pet may not show symptoms at all!

Symptoms of worms in your pet may include:

  • Noticeable weakness
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Weight loss and
  • Abnormally swollen stomach

Managing fleas and worms

Prevention is the key to managing both fleas and worms in your pet. Treatments can come in the form of tablets or topical treatments that are applied directly to the skin. It is crucial to follow the instructions on your chosen treatment and that you are treating your pet at the proper time, whether it be a 1-month or 3-month treatment, to ensure that they are always protected.

We have put together a handy treatment schedule so you are 100% sure that your pet is protected, and you can track when they need their next treatment. Save the image and print it to hang up at home.

If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, make an appointment so see one of our veterinarians as soon as possible to receive proper treatment.

Parasite Protection Calendar
Parasite Protection Calendar