Parasites and Preventative HealthcareJune 23, 2021
All dogs and cats require routine preventative healthcare throughout their lives to protect them against serious disease and to help keep them healthy. This includes a combination of yearly vaccinations and regular parasitic treatments.
Why is preventative healthcare important?
When you keep your pet up to date with their preventative healthcare you are protecting them against several life-threatening illnesses, as well as protecting yourself and your family from certain zoonotic diseases – these are diseases that can pass from your pet to you.
As well as causing disease, parasite infections can also be intensely irritating for your pet and may cause clinical signs that require veterinary treatment. You can help prevent your pet from being affected by parasites, by regularly applying appropriate preventative treatments.
What vaccinations does my pet need?
Dogs and cats require a booster vaccine to be given every 12 months after their initial puppy or kitten vaccine course has been completed. These vaccinations help protect against several serious diseases.
Vaccinations for your dog include:
- Canine Infectious Hepatitis
- Kennel Cough
Vaccinations for your cat include:
- “Cat flu” – Feline Calicivirus and Herpesvirus
- Enteritis (“Panleukopenia”)
- Feline Leukaemia
Some of these vaccines will need to be given yearly, while others will be given every 3 years. For more information speak to our veterinary team who will be able to provide you with a specific vaccine plan for your pet.
Which parasites can infect my pet?
There are many different types of parasite that can infect your pet, from parasites that affect their skin to those that are ingested and live inside your pet’s digestive system. The parasites discussed below can all be prevented by using the parasite treatments included in our Healthy Pet Club plan.
Fleas are a common year-round parasite that can infect our dogs and cats. Unlike most other parasites, fleas don’t live out their whole life on our pets. Instead, they live in the environment and are only found on our pets when they feed. Fleas can survive in your house for a long time, which can make treating an infection hard, as often your house will need to be treated, along with all of your pets, to stop re-infection.
All animals will find fleas itchy and uncomfortable, though some individuals can develop a severe skin irritation, which often requires veterinary treatment. Some fleas carry Bartonella, the bacteria responsible for causing Cat Scratch Disease, and they can pass this bacteria on to the cats they feed from. Infected cats can potentially infect people with Bartonella through a scratch or a bite.
There are many different treatment options available to prevent fleas, but it is important that you use one that is safe for your pet, as some dog products are toxic to cats. Speak to our veterinary team for help finding a suitable product for your pet.
Ticks are becoming an increasing problem for our pets, especially during the warmer months of spring through to autumn. While dogs are usually most commonly affected, all pets and even people can be bitten by a tick.
Ticks can carry a number of diseases, which they can transmit when they feed from an animal. These diseases can result in serious illness. In the UK, Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease diagnosed but other diseases, including Babesiosis and Ehrlichiosis, are also seen occasionally. If a person is bitten by an infected tick then they can also be affected by these diseases.
While adult ticks can be relatively easy to detect due to their size, younger ticks, called larvae or nymphs, are very small and difficult to see. So, it is sensible to keep your pet protected against ticks to help prevent tick bites and to reduce the risk of potential illness.
There are a number of intestinal worms that can affect your dog or cat, including roundworm and tapeworm. Intestinal worms are common and often the only sign of infection occurs when they pass a worm or worm segment in their faeces. However, infection can be unpleasant and irritating for your pet so is best prevented.
Both roundworm and tapeworm have the potential to cause zoonotic disease in people. These infections are rare but occur most frequently in children. Often disease only causes mild signs of illness, but roundworm infection (Toxocariasis) does have the potential to cause blindness or damage to the brain or internal organs.
To ensure your pet is free from intestinal worms they will require a worming treatment usually given every 3 months. Cats who hunt can become infected with tapeworm from their prey, so it is important that they are provided with regular worming treatments to keep them protected.
This parasite infects dogs when they ingest lungworm larvae carried by infected slugs and snails. It can be a difficult disease to detect, as often no specific signs of illness are seen, but in severe cases, it can cause respiratory problems, bleeding, clotting problems, and can be fatal. You can keep your dog protected against lungworm by treating them every month with an appropriate veterinary worming product.
Several types of mite can infect dogs and cats, resulting in skin disease and ear problems. Mites cannot be seen by the naked eye so it is important that you get any skin problems checked by one of our vets, as certain mites can be difficult to treat.
Sarcoptes and Demodex mites can cause severe skin problems in dogs. Sarcoptes mites can also potentially infect people, particularly anyone who is immunocompromised, but you can easily keep your pet protected against mites as part of your routine parasitic treatment plan.
Preventative parasitic treatment
Fortunately, it is easy to protect your pet against parasites by keeping up to date with your pet’s preventative parasitic treatments. To be effective, you will need to apply or administer these treatments at the recommended intervals and use an appropriate combination of products to ensure you protect against all common types of parasite.
Types of preventative parasitic treatments available
Preventative parasitic treatments come in a variety of forms, so if your pet is difficult to give a certain type of treatment to, then there are other alternatives.
There are several formulations available for parasitic treatments including;
To ensure your pet is fully protected, speak to our veterinary team for advice on an appropriate parasitic treatment plan for your pet.
Our Healthy Pet Club
Preventative healthcare is important for your dog and cat to help keep them healthy and protected against life-threatening illnesses. With various vaccinations and parasitic products required each year, it can be difficult to keep your pet up to date. However, preventative healthcare can be simple when you sign up for our Healthy Pet Club, as all vaccines and parasite treatments are included. We will also send you reminders to ensure that your pet never misses another treatment.
If you are concerned that your pet is not up to date with their preventative healthcare then speak to one of our veterinary team for advice. We can provide you with an individual treatment plan for your pet to ensure they stay protected all year round.