Dogs are at risk of contracting parasites as they are ever-present in our environment, but you can keep your pet safe by regularly providing them with tick, flea and worm treatment from ourselves at St Clair Vets.
All year-round flea, tick and worming treatment is just one of the many benefits of joining our Pet Health for Life Plan.
Ticks in Dogs
Ticks are related to spiders and have eight legs. There are several different tick species found in the Kirkcaldy district, and they vary in size from about 1mm to 1cm long. As they feed on your dog’s blood, they swell and become more obvious to see. They are common in grasslands and woodlands but can also be found in domestic gardens. They are in all areas of the United Kingdom.
You are most likely to come across ticks during the spring and autumn seasons, but they are active throughout the year. Unlike many other parasites, ticks do not fly or jump but climb or drop onto your dog's coat when they enter their habitat, especially in the long grass. Once on your dog, they screw themselves into the skin and feed on blood.
Ticks can irritate your dog and spread microbes that cause diseases such as Lyme disease and the potential for other diseases more prevalant in Europe As a dog owner, it is good to use a tick treatment to either repel ticks or neutralise them. Tablets, spot-on treatments and collars are available to help fight ticks, and it is best to consult your vet about which is most suitable for your pet.
Fleas in Dogs
Fleas are small, dark brown insects that are prevalent across the United Kingdom, therefore they are found right across Kirkcaldy. Fleas on dogs are more than just a summer problem as they can survive and bother your pet all year-round.
Dogs typically get infested with fleas through contact with other animals or fleas in their environment. This insect's robust back legs enable it to jump from a host or the surrounding environment onto your dog.
Fleas will make your pet uncomfortable and itchy; they can also pose a profoundly serious health risk. Severe flea infestations can cause anaemia due to blood loss caused by the parasites, and it can be fatal to puppies or immunocompromised dogs. Don't forget fleas feed on people too, and a flea infestation can easily get into your home.
There are numerous flea treatments on the market which provide year-round prevention. It is best to consult your vet at St Clair Vets to find the safest, most effective and most sustainable product for your dog. Spot on treatments and medication in tablets and injections are the preferred long-term flea control methods. Some products attack adult fleas, while others work by interrupting flea development – and some newer products on the market do both!
Worms in Dogs: Lungworm, Roundworm & Tapeworm
The thought of worms in our canine friends can be very unpleasant and some of them can also be a risk to children and adults. However, understanding prevention options for worms in dogs is an integral part of responsible dog ownership.
Every dog is at risk for worms, no matter where they live or how much time they spend outside. There are three types of worms we worry about – roundworms, tapeworms and lungworms. Worms are usually transmitted through the faecal-oral method. That means that your pet may have come across microscopic parasitic eggs that are present in faecal material. Some worms, such as tapeworms, are transmitted via fleas. The parasite lives inside the flea, so when a dog accidentally eats fleas, they become infected. Some tapeworms can be transmitted when a dog eats raw meat.
For most dogs, it is recommended to take some type of worm prevention year-round. Your vet at St Clair Vets will let you know what the best product is, based on the worms found in your part of the United Kingdom, and your dog's lifestyle.
Lungworm Advice for Dog Owners
Lungworm is a potentially serious and sometimes fatal condition that affects dogs. At St Clair Vets, we urge dog owners to be aware of the signs of lungworm and to take steps to prevent this infection.
Lungworm is caused by a parasitic worm that resides in the heart and lungs of dogs. The infection can be caught after the ingestion of slugs, snails, or frogs carrying the larvae of the lungworm, and is more common in dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors.
The early signs of lungworm in dogs can be subtle and may be overlooked or mistaken for other conditions. These signs can include coughing, breathing difficulties, reduced appetite, weight loss and lethargy. If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog or suspect a lungworm infection, seek veterinary advice immediately.
Treatment of lungworm usually involves medications that are designed to kill the worms and reduce the inflammation and damage in the lungs. In some cases, dogs may need to be hospitalized for supportive care.
To help prevent lungworm infection, we recommend the following tips:
- Minimise your dog's exposure to snails, slugs and frogs.
- Clean your dog's water bowl regularly and avoid letting them drink from puddles or other outdoor water sources.
- Consider using a monthly preventative treatment that protects against lungworm.
- Regularly deworm your dog according to your vet's advice.
By following these tips and seeking prompt veterinary care if you suspect your dog has lungworm, you can help keep your furry friend healthy and happy.
Spread the Cost of Parasite Prevention With Pet Health for Life
At St Clair Vets our Pet Health for Life Plan is a great way to spread the cost and save on your pet’s routine healthcare. You will receive all the essential treatments to keep your dog free from ticks, fleas and worms alongside routine checks which keeps your dog in the best possible health and helps them lead happier lives.
What happens to my pet if they don't have flea and worm treatment?
When it comes to worm treatment, there may be severe consequences if ignored. Depending on the type of worm your pet can experience irritation such as intestinal blockages, obstruction of blood flow in the heart, artery inflammation, anaemia, and even death if left untreated.
Can you get combined flea and worm treatment for pets?
There are combined flea and worm treatments you can get for your pets, also known as an all-in-one flea and wormer. However, it's always best to consult your veterinary practice as these treatments don't cover some types of worms. Your pet may also have complications that combined treatments don't cover.
How often does my pet need flea and worm treatment?
Once every month, you should treat your pet for fleas, and every two to three months, or even more frequently, for worms. Depending on your pet's lifestyle, talk to your vet about the best course of action.
How long should I wait between worming and flea treatments?
Many people wonder if they can treat their cats for fleas and worms at the same time or how long they should leave between treatments. Depending on the two treatments being administered you may need to wait either 48 hours or two weeks between treatments. Please ask your vet when picking up your flea and worm treatment how to apply the two treatments most effectively and safely.
Do indoor cats need flea and worm treatment?
Every cat, even indoor cats, need regular flea and worm preventative treatments. It is a common misconception that an exclusively indoor cat does not need these treatments – this is not true at all. Fleas commonly travel on clothes and bags and so may be brought into the house at any time. A cat could even pick up fleas during a trip to a vet, especially where other pets may not have been treated.
Does my rabbit need flea and worm treatment?
You must consistently employ effective, preventative medicines against the most prevalent parasites throughout the lifespan of your rabbit to ensure their wellbeing and long-term health, as well as that of your family and Rabbits. Keep in mind that prevention is much simpler and less expensive than treatment. Rabbits also suffer from several other parasites and conditions, such as Mites, Flystrike, and E. cuniculi.
What do vets use to deworm dogs?
There are many ranges of worming treatments that we can prescribe, including tablets, liquids, granules and spot-ons. The products can vary with the latest recommendations, we would advise contacting us to discuss our various products so we can give you the most appropriate recommendation. Flea treatment and worming regimes are not a one size fits all, so it's best to speak to us.
What is the best worming treatment for dogs?
There are many products available as well as new products emerging each year. We are here to help with selecting the best-suited protection for you and your dog. We have the most up to date advice and treatments available. We dispense prescription-only parasite treatments which are more effective than over the counter treatments and are often combined to tackle other parasites in one medication.
Under UK law, only veterinary surgeons can prescribe prescription medications as they are required to health assess a dog before prescribing them. For flea and worm treatments, vets usually require a health check every 12 months, which can fall under your pet's annual booster health check. Please note other classes of medications vary with the frequency of health checks required.
What do dogs do when they have worms?
Worms (excluding tapeworm) are rarely seen, so it is difficult to know if your dog does have worms. Therefore, prevention is much safer for your dog. Tapeworms can appear as rice-like grains around the anus or in faeces. It is essential that you give regular treatments, especially if you have children. Puppies are also at a higher risk of worms. Worms are zoonotic meaning they can pass from animals to people.
Symptoms usually occur in high levels of infestation – these symptoms include:
- swollen abdomen
- nutritional deficiencies
- cough (in roundworm and hookworm infections)
- pneumonia (in serious cases of roundworm)
If you would like to discuss a worming treatment plan with our vet, you can contact us, and we can provide the most up to date and evidence-based recommendations.
*Source: My Pet and I, March 2023