Whilst parasites can be a problem all year round, once the weather starts to warm up those of us with pets in our lives know that it’s time to think about getting our pets’ flea and worm protection up to date again. Whilst nobody likes to think of parasites living in and on their beloved pets, sadly it is an inevitable reality for any animal exposed to the great outdoors (and in no way reflects on the cleanliness of your pet or your home). Even indoor pets can come into contact with fleas and worms if they mix with other pets that do go outside, and it’s even possible for parasites to be brought into the home on our shoes.
We think it’s always better to be safe than sorry, so we’ve put together a reminder about some of the most common types of parasitic pests, along with some suggestions of products to help you tackle them.
If you see your pet scratching excessively, notice small scabs and spots on their skin, or find small brown specks of flea dirt in their fur (particularly round their bottoms), then you may have a flea problem. Fleas live and feed on pets – females lay eggs on the host animal, which then drop off into your pet’s bed or favourite resting spot. Therefore it’s important to treat your home too, with a thorough vacuuming followed by the application of specially formulated flea spray, in addition to treating your pet. In this way you can break the life cycle of the flea and protect your cat, dog or rabbit from an immediate re-infestation.
Fortunately, there are a number of highly effective flea treatments available, so you’re sure to find one that works for you and your pet.
Rabbits do not tend to suffer with worms, whilst the most common in cats and dogs are:
Looking like strings of spaghetti or elastic bands, they are picked up from the environment, as well as being passed from animal to animal, and possibly on to the two-legged members of the household! Roundworm eggs are almost invisible to the human eye, so can be difficult to spot.
You may find segments of these worms excreted in your pet’s faeces (they look like flattened grains of rice). An intermediate host, such as a passing flea, transmits tapeworms and therefore it is advisable to treat your pet against both worms and fleas.
However, no worm control will prevent re-infestation; the products only kill worms already present rather than providing protection against future problems. Therefore it is recommended that you treat your pet regularly, especially if he or she hunts or scavenges.
And don’t forget, if you need further advice on any aspect of parasite control, your veterinary practice will be only too happy to recommend solutions that suit your pet’s lifestyle and provide the safest and most effective control.
Until next time, best wishes from Shailen and The Ralph Site team
The Ralph Site, non-profit pet loss support
Please note: The Ralph Site is not affiliated with the third-party organisations in any of the links shared here, and the views, ideas and suggestions expressed in this and other blogs are simply shared with the intention of helping you, our friends, take care of the special animals in your lives.