Now that the weather is warming up, many common parasites such as fleas and worms become more active. Fortunately there are plenty of highly effective products available, in a range of different application methods, so you’re sure to find one that suits you, your pet and your purse.
If you see your pet scratching excessively, notice small scabs and spots on his / her skin, or find small brown specks of flea dirt in the fur (particularly round the bottom), then you may have a flea problem. Aside from causing irritation, if left untreated fleas can also cause a number of related health problems for your pet:
- Hair loss resulting from intense itching and scratching
- Flea Allergy Dermatitis – a very common and unpleasant skin condition caused by an allergic reaction to flea saliva
- Tapeworm infestation
- Anaemia in puppies and kittens
Fleas live and feed on pets – females lay their eggs on the host animal and multiply fast: each female flea can lay 50 eggs a day so in only three weeks one flea can become 1,000! However, killing the fleas and eggs on your pet is only half the problem, and no treatment can prevent a re-infestation. Some of the eggs and flea larvae will drop off into your pet’s bed or favourite resting spot and wait for a passing host. That’s why it’s important to treat your home with a thorough vacuuming, followed by the application of specially formulated flea spray, in addition to treating your pet.
And whilst fleas are certainly more active during the summer months, they are present all year round, so we recommend regular treatment of all pets living in the household, treated at the same time with a product of your choice: tablets, spot-ons and so on.
Rabbits and smaller pets 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, is required to transmit tapeworms; therefore it is advisable to treat your pet against both worms and fleas.
As with fleas, no worm control will prevent re-infestation as these 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 vet will be only too happy to recommend solutions that suit your pet’s lifestyle. We would recommend products from your veterinary practice as they are typically the safest, if sometimes more expensive, options.
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.