It's Time to Watch out for the Ticks!
Whilst a year-round problem, ticks, fleas, and worms become more prevalent in the warmer months. The best thing you can do to protect your pet is to use prescription-preventative treatment to avoid infestation in the first place but here's some info to be aware of:
Ticks are mostly found in woodland and long grasses (often where deer or livestock graze). They will latch on to your pet by inserting their mouth into the skin to suck blood which can be uncomfortable as well as potentially passing on some very nasty diseases (including Lyme Disease, which can have long lasting effects). Initially ticks look like a small skin wart but when fully latched on and feeding, they can swell to the size of a coffee bean and will appear black. Removal needs to handled carefully so that all parts of the tick are removed - watch a demonstration of how to do this safely on our Facebook page here or if concerned, please book an appointment.
Worms are parasites found within the stomach and there are a number of different types prevalent in the UK. Infection can result in vomiting and diarrhoea, loss of blood and weight loss and sometimes lead to much nastier issues. Worms travel through organs and this can cause a range of conditions such as pneumonia as they weaken your pets immune system. Some pets show no signs of having worms so preventative treatment is crucial.
Roundworms: look like pieces of string and are a higher risk to younger dogs (who can be born infected) – they can be passed to humans.
Tapeworms: long and flat with segments, which look like grains of rice. Scavengers are more exposed to tapeworms. Children are at risk of contracting tapeworms from infected animal faeces.
Hookworm: like tapeworms, these are common intestinal worms that can cause health complications. Hookworms can penetrate human skin which tends to be seen in people who have been running barefoot in infected moist, sandy areas or with wet grass.
Lungworm: these are picked up from the slime of infected slugs and snails and there is therefore an increased risk if toys and bowls are left out overnight. Infection can often be fatal.
Heartworm: not commonly seen in the UK but dogs travelling abroad can be at risk.
Worms can be seen in faeces or on the hair around the bottom of your pet if they are heavily infected. Worm eggs can remain in the environment for years so reinfection is a common problem.
Never share parasitic treatments between animal species as some contain ingredients harmful to other mammals.
You can read some further information about the differences between over the counter treatments available from pet shops and supermarkets and veterinary prescription medication here.
Please speak to your vet about the best option for your pet and our Lifetime Care Club membership, which (for a small monthly direct debit) includes preventative parasitic treatments as well as annual vaccinations and other discounts. Find out more here.