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Parasites

There are lots of internal and external parasites that affect our pets.  Some pets may be more at risk to some parasites than others.

For a complete parasite control programme which is based on your pets’ lifestyle please contact the surgery and arrange an appointment with one of our vets or nurses.

Worms

We advise the following worming regime for most puppies:

  • Worm from 2 weeks of age, every 2 weeks up to 3 months of age
  • Then every month up to 6 months
  • Then every 3 months through adult life  (those in close contact with children should be wormed more regularly)

Intestinal (gut) worms are the most common worms found in dogs and cats.  They include roundworms and tapeworms.

Roundworms

These are very prevalent in dogs and cats.  The most common roundworm in dogs is Toxocara canis.  In adults infection is usually asymptomatic, however in puppies can be fatal.  Puppies and kittens are at risk of higher worm burdens as the worms can be passed from the mother before birth via the placenta or through milk during lactation.  Roundworm eggs are also passed in the faeces so animals are at risk of contracting worms from the environment, and cats that hunt may pick up infection from their prey.

Toxocara canis can be spread to humans, especially young children, through in ingestion of worm eggs from faeces or contaminated soil.  In humans, the worms migrate through the body to organs such as the heart, nervous system or eyes, causing blindness.  Hence, a responsibility lies with any pet owner to ensure their pet is regularly wormed.

Tapeworms

Tapeworms live in your pets intestine and although rarely cause disease they take valuable nutrients away from your pet.  The most common symptom is seeing a tapeworm segment in your pets’ faeces, or around their backend.  Your pet may also show signs of irritation or perform a scooting motion.  One common tapeworm is spread by fleas.  Other tapeworms are spread in uncooked food or when pets hunt and eat mice/rabbits.  Sine species of tapeworm can be spread to humans so regular worming and good hygiene practices are important.

Lungworm

South Wales is considered a hot spot for lungworm in dogs.  The worm is spread via slugs and snails.  So dogs that tend to scavenge will be more exposed to these.  Infection causes breathing and bleeding problems which can be severe.

Routine worming products and regimes do not necessarily protect against lungworm.

Please contact the surgery for more information.

External Parasites – Fleas, Ticks and Mites

Fleas

Fleas are a very common external parasite affecting cats, dogs, ferrets or small furries.

Fleas are a nuisance.  They irritate your pet and cause them to scratch or nibble themselves.  They might also bite you aswell – but thats not all.  Their saliva is very irritable and when some animals receive a flea bite they can develop a nasty allergic skin condition called Flea Allergic Dermatitis (FAD).  In addition to causing skin problems, fleas also suck blood.  Heavy infestations in young or small animals can lead to serious and potentially life threatening anaemias.  Fleas are also involved in transmitting a common dog tapeworm, and in rabbits can be a vector for the serious disease Myxomatosis.

Flea prevention has now become a year round consideration due to the luxury of central heating.  It is important to treat your pet and your home as the flea lifecycle is such that only 5% of the problem is actually on your pet.

Ticks

Not only do ticks look horrible and feed on your pets blood, more importantly they can transmit potentially fatal diseases to your pet.   Ticks are common in wooded areas or areas with high grasses, particularly where livestock have been grazing.  However they can be found in your garden.

Lyme disease is an infectious disease which is spread from infected ticks to dogs.  Lyme disease does not affect cats.  Lyme disease is present in tick in Pembrokeshire.  It is important to protect your pet against ticks, remove any ticks immediately and a vaccine is now available against Lyme disease.

Tick removal

If you find a tick on your pet it needs to be removed immediately.  This needs to be done carefully as forcefully pulling a tick will often leave behind the head and this can cause a local irritation in your pets’ skin.

We can provide you specially designed tick instruments to use at home.  If you are not confident please book an appointment with one of our nurses who will happily remove it for you.

Ear Mites

Common in young puppies and kittens.  They cause ear irritation and produce a dark waxy discharge in the ear canal.  Secondary ear infection can occur. Please make an appointment with the vet if you are concerned your pet may have ear mites or an infection.