Protect your pet from harmful parasites

Has your pet recently been protected against worms, ticks and fleas?

Parasites such as roundworm, lungworm, hookworm, tapeworm and whipworm can make a home inside your pet and rob your animal of vital nutrients, leading to poor appetite, loss of energy, serious anaemia, and even death.

Puppies and kittens are especially susceptible, but this type of parasite infestation can be controlled and prevented.

In our area, the biggest parasite threats to your dog are roundworm, lungworm, fleas and ticks.

Roundworm (Toxocara) can cause blindness in children when one of the larval stages migrates through the eye – we are therefore obliged, in the interests of public safety, to treat our dogs against roundworms.

Lungworm can be transmitted via slugs and snails, so any dog who goes outside may be at risk.  It can cause coagulation (clotting) problems with the blood and manifests itself in many different ways in individual patients.  It can be fatal, and we have had some deaths from lungworm in the Twickenham area, so it is something that we do need to protect our dogs against.  For more information on lungworm visit http://www.lungworm.co.uk.

Fleas are a nuisance, but at their worst, they can cause anaemia or severe allergic skin disease.  Once fleas get into your house, they can lay hundreds of eggs on your pet’s bed and in your home: these can persist for a long time before hatching and so fleas can become a household problem, not only for your pet, but also for the humans in the house.  It can be very difficult to rid your house of the infestation, so prevention is always better than cure!

Ticks are a health hazard as they can carry tick-borne diseases: once the tick has attached and fed on its host, it will reach a point of being full, and it is at this point that the tick-borne diseases can transfer from tick to host.  For a long time the only tick-borne disease we used to see in the UK was Lymes Disease (borreliosis), but there have been several reported cases of babesiosis in Essex in 2016 in dogs who have not traveled abroad.  Unfortunately, with the change in the Pet Passport Scheme rules in 2012, it is no longer a requirement for dogs and cats re-entering the UK to have the tick treatment done – this has left us wide open to foreign ticks coming in, and as a consequence, we are likely to see a significant rise in tick-borne diseases over the coming years.  As we have a natural reservoir of ticks in this area because of the deer in Richmond Park and Bushy Park, and with many urban foxes acting as intermediate hosts, we encourage our clients to be vigilant and to check their dogs (and themselves!) for ticks after walks.

The biggest parasite threats to cats are fleas and roundworms.  Fleas are a nuisance, and often there is no outward sign of mild infestations, so by the time you notice them, the problem is often severe.  They can cause mild irritation, but can also cause severe allergic skin disease in cats.  Prevention is always the best option; we recommend using regular effective household and pet treatments.  In addition, if you vacuum the house first you will pick up many flea larvae and eggs which live in soft furnishings and in the carpets, and the vibrations from the vacuum cleaner help to stimulate the eggs to hatch into larvae, which are easier to kill.  Always remember to throw away your vacuum cleaner bag and replace it.  Roundworms are a public health threat because they can cause blindness in children, and as most of us don’t know where our cats defaecate, or who then comes into contact with their faeces, we need to treat our cats preventatively against roundworm.
We advise that your dog or cat is treated every month to prevent infestation with these common parasites.  Treatments are available in both tablet and spot-on form but not all treatments are suitable for each individual.  We will help to tailor-make a suitable parasite prevention protocol for your pet.  It is also a good idea to treat your household regularly (once or twice a year) – please come and ask us for advice before you embark on this.  Household treatments must NEVER be used on the animals directly and usually come in a spray form. Don’t forget, it is also possible to spray the vacuum cleaner brushes and inside the canister or bag to kill any fleas there.

Please ask any member of our staff for advice on worming and flea prevention. Not all treatments are suitable for each individual. We can tailor-make a program which suits both you and your pet.

We recommend that your pet should be treated before you go abroad and before you enter the UK again. To speak to a member of our team about controlling parasites and fleas, or to book an appointment simply phone 020 8898 0528.