Preventing fleas, worms and other nasties

Parasites can cause serious illness in our pets and can also pose a health risk to humans. There are a number of treatments on sale for pets and we only recommend and stock the products that have been proven to work and are safest for your pet. This ensures you wont waste money on ineffective treatments or compromise your pets health. At South Cranbourne Veterinary Surgery our team of veterinarians and nurses will be able to help you make the right choice to stop these pests affecting your pets health.

Fleas

Fleas are extremely common. Their bite can cause you and your pet a lot of discomfort, as they can move from dog/cat to human. After fleas feed on your pet they lay eggs, which fall off into the carpet, garden and bedding where they may live for years. These eggs develop into larvae and then pupae before hatching into adult fleas, which then use your pet as their host. Most of the flea population is not actually on dogs and cats, but in the environment they live in.

Flea control should be started early in life, as fleas can cause weakness, anaemia and even death of young puppies and kittens due to blood loss. However, care must be taken as some flea treatments are not suitable for use on puppies and kittens.

There are a number of different flea treatments on the market. The most reliable flea control products are “Frontline”, “Advantage”, ”Revolution” and “Advocate” which are placed on the skin on the back of the neck once a month. Many of these products kill both the adult fleas which come into contact with your dog and also prevent flea eggs and larvae from developing into adult fleas. Using products such as flea shampoos and flea rinses will only treat the adult fleas which are currently on the pet. They will not prevent eggs and larvae from maturing and jumping onto your pet the next day.

Warning: NEVER use a ‘pyrethrin’ based product on a cat or dogs in a house-hold that houses cats, even if it says it is safe to do so. Pyrethrin in cats is FATAL. If unsure please check with the clinic before using any such products.

Intestinal Worms

There are 4 main types of intestinal worms. These are roundworm, hookworm, whipworm and tapeworm. Each worm can cause illness in animals and some pose a risk of infecting humans.

Puppies and kittens can be infected with worms before birth or through their mother’s milk. Intestinal worms can kill young animals due to blood and protein loss. Modern worming preparations are safe and effective and we recommend their use from two weeks of age. Intestinal all-wormers should be given at 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 weeks of age, then at 4, 5 and 6 months.

Roundworms and tapeworms pose a small but definite risk to children; therefore it is good practice to regularly administer worming preparations to your dog throughout its life. We recommend that all dogs from 6 months of age are wormed every 3 months. Combined preparations, treating intestinal worms, heartworm and fleas, are given each month and provide excellent parasite protection. Check with the clinic to find out which combined products would be best for your pet.

Heartworm prevention

Heartworm is a potentially fatal parasite found over many parts of Australia. An infected dog may die from heart disease and organ failure. Heartworm is carried by mosquitoes, so all dogs are potentially at risk. While dogs suffering from heartworm infection are very difficult to cure, it is very easy to prevent heartworm disease with regular use of an appropriate product. There are tasty meaty chews, flavoured tablets, and liquid spot-on products which are placed on the skin on the back of the neck and used monthly. Some of these products also protect against fleas and intestinal worms. The most convenient heartworm protection available is the heartworm injection that is given once a year. This injection can be given from 12 weeks of age, with a booster injection at 6 months, then a single treatment once a year.

It is very important that heartworm prevention is given regularly. If a dose is missed your dog will need a small blood test to ensure that your dog has not contracted heartworm in this period.

Ticks

The paralysis tick is not found in Cranbourne and surroundings areas. However, if you and your pet are travelling in East Gippsland or up the east coast of Australia your pet will require preventative treatment. The paralysis tick embeds it’s mouth parts into the skin of your pet and sucks blood whilst injecting a toxin which causes paralysis. Paralysis ticks can be fatal. 

A combination of preventative treatment and close monitoring of your pet will ensure your pets safety in tick-infested areas. Please contact the clinic for details on the best preventative treatment to use for your pet.

If travelling in paralysis tick-infested areas, you should inspect your pet daily for ticks, especially if they have been outside in areas where there is bush or tall grass. A thorough combing within 4 to 6 hours of exposure to such environments can help prevent ticks from attaching themselves to feast on your pet. Should you find a tick, it should be removed immediately, and your pet taken to a veterinarian for treatment.