Lungworms are the deadliest parasites for dogs in the UK. They are carried by slugs and snails and any animal that eats them is at risk of contracting lungworm which causes internal bleeding, heart and lung problems. Dogs need a monthly treatment of a specific lungworm spot on or tablet that covers lungworm to prevent it. Normal over the counter flea, tick and worming products will not treat or prevent lungworm.
Fleas are a very common pest which can be difficult to tackle once a population is established in your home. Therefore, it is important to prevent them through a regular regime of treatment.
These treatments will stop fleas biting your pet in the first place – vital for their welfare as a fleabite can cause your animal an uncomfortable allergic reaction.
Ticks can carry Lyme disease which can affect you dog’s joints. It is more commonly seen in mainland and Northern Europe but there have been cases in the UK as well.
Worms also cause misery for your dog or cat with heavy infestations often resulting in digestive problems for the animal.
It is also worth remembering that roundworms pose a risk to health of humans, especially children. It is therefore necessary that dogs and cats are wormed every three months. Our message is to nip the problem in the bud with preventative treatment.
To keep your pet on top form and to avoid the discomfort and possible health problems associated with parasites, come to the surgery and we will give you the best advice on which product to use on your cat or dog.
We will also advise on appropriate treatments for other small animals including rabbits.
Travel diseases in pets
When travelling abroad with your pet, there may be parasites and diseases they will come into contact with which are not present in the UK. Therefore it is important to be aware of them and know how to reduce the risks.
To find out which diseases are present in the area you are visiting, you may want to visit the following website.
The following information is about several of the more common types of diseases present in Europe, but is not an exhaustive list.
Ticks are small insects which bite the skin of your pet, and feed off its blood. They can transmit diseases such as Babesia and Ehrlichia via their mouthparts.
Babesia is a disease which causes potentially life threatening anaemia by destroying red blood cells.
Ehrlichia can cause a range of problems such as anaemia, bleeding episodes, lameness, eye problems (including hemorrhage into the eyes or blindness), neurological problems, and swollen limbs.
Reduce the risks of ticks by using preventative treatment, such as an appropriate spot on product or collar, avoiding woodland, and always checking your pet for ticks after being outside
Sandflies are small flying insects which will bite your pet and can transmit diseases such as Leishmania.
Leishmania is a disease similar to malaria. In most cases it causes lifelong infection, causing flare ups of illness and requiring long term medication.
Reduce the risks by using an appropriate anti-sandfly collar, using mesh on open windows and keeping your pet indoors between 7pm and 7am when the sandflies are most active
A preventative vaccine for leishmania is available in the UK, for use in dogs over 6 months. The primary course is 3 injections given over 6 weeks, being effective 4 weeks from the end of the course. Therefore to be effective your pet needs to start this course at least 10weeks prior to travel.
Mosquitoes are medium sized flying insects which bite your pet and feed off their blood. In animals they can transmit Heartworm,
Heartworm, as the name suggests, are a worm that develop and live in the chambers of the heart. It can cause life threatening illness from their physical presence, or by anaphylactic shock.
Reduce the risks by using an appropriate anti- mosquito collar. You should also start appropriate anti-Heartworm treatment at least a month before travel, and for a month after your return.
Echinicoccus is a type of tapeworm which can cause cysts in the body in areas such as the liver and the brain. It is also transmittable to humans.
Reduce the risks
Currently tapeworm treatment is part of the requirements for re-entry to the UK, but it is also recommended to treat again a month after you return. If you are abroad for an extended period, you should also treat your pet once a month whilst away.
For more information on the products to use which are best suited to your pet, please speak to a Vet at the practice.
Please also remember that your pet will need other vaccinations such as rabies, and documentation such as a pet passport or export certificate, to be able to travel outside the UK.