Parasite control de-mystified!
There are many parasites that can harm our dogs and working out how to best treat and prevent them can appear daunting!!
There are two types of parasites – those which live on your animal called ectoparasites and those which live in your animal called endoparasites.
Fleas - Fleas are a very common parasite that most of us will have seen on our pets if not in a circus! They are extremely irritating to dogs and if left can cause anaemia in puppies and severe skin reactions and infections in adult dogs. They will also quickly infest your house and bite you! There are oral or spot on products to prevent and treat flea infestations. Your dog is most likely to be bothered by these pests in spring and autumn, but in reality they can be an all year-round problem, thanks to centrally heated houses with wall-to-wall carpeting.
Ticks - Ticks are unpleasant parasites that can transmit a range of diseases including Lymes disease when they attach and take a blood meal. They are normally picked up in long grass or in woodland areas, especially where there are Deer or sheep around. Removing a tick with tweezers: Make sure you grab the tick by the head and not the body and gently twist. If you grab the tick by the body you may detach the head and this can cause an infection. Ticks can be controlled with collars, spot-ons or tablets.
Fox mange (mites) – Fox mange can quite commonly infect dogs. It causes extreme itching and hair loss and inflammation around the ears, elbows and hocks.
Ear mites – Ear mites can be seen with the naked eye although they live deep down in the ear canal. They cause ear infections with head shaking, ear scratching and lots of ear wax.
Lice – Rarely seen on healthy dogs but can affect dogs that are rescued or very unwell. They cause itchy or scaly skin.
Lungworm – This is the most important parasite in dogs as it is currently the only fatal parasite in the UK. It causes serious signs such as unstoppable bleeding, coughing and collapse. Dogs become infected by eating slugs, snails or grass in which a slug or snail have slithered over for 2 weeks previously. Slugs are infected from ingesting fox poo. Lungworm is becoming increasingly common in Britain and is now carried by 1 in 5 foxes in our area. The only licenced prevention and treatment of this disease is a monthly spot on. These worms will never be seen in the faeces.
Round worm – visible as long and thin worms in the faeces. They can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and weight loss, which can be very severe in puppies. The toxocara species also pose a severe public health risk and can cause blindness in children. Children acquire the disease from playing in the garden/soil which a dog has defaecated. If you have young children monthly worming is recommended for their safety.
Tape worm – flats segments in the faeces that look like grains of rice. They contribute to a flea infestation and also cause anal irritation and scooting.
Hook worm – Visible as long worms with a hook on the end. They can cause diarrhoea, sickness and anaemia,
Whip worm – Visible as very thin and small worms in the faeces. They cause diarrhoea and weight loss.
All dogs needs are different due to their different lifestyles and habits. We will help you find the best protocol for your dog. Sign up to our health plan for discounts and to spread the cost with a monthly direct debit!
Category: Small Animals