Fleas are most often seen during the warmer months, but since we keep our homes nice and warm throughout winter, we see fleas all year round.
Only a small part of the adult flea population actually lives on your pet. Fleas tend to jump onto your pet only to feed and then jump off again.
Flea eggs and larvae live in the environment and can survive for up to a year, so it’s important to not only treat your pet directly for fleas but also to decontaminate the environment and treat any other pets in contact.
How can I tell if my pet has fleas?
Scratching, biting and hair loss, especially at the base of the tail and rump.
You may see fleas – especially over the rump and in the groin region.
Flea dirt: it can be difficult to find fleas but relatively easy to check for flea dirt. Simply moisten a cotton ball, part your pet’s fur and place the cotton ball on the skin over the rump. If the cotton ball takes on black specs surrounded by a reddish area, this may be flea dirt and can indicate that your pet has fleas.
What should I do if my pet has fleas?
Wash your pet’s bedding on your washing machine’s hottest cycle
Regularly vacuum and clean carpets.
How can I treat my pet’s fleas?
Always seek veterinary advice about the best flea treatments for your pet.
We do not recommend flea collars or flea shampoos alone because they fail to address the environmental flea infestation.
Dogs and cats can have a reaction to flea saliva, which results in a skin condition called Flea Allergy Dermatitis (or FAD).
Treatment of FAD can be complicated and veterinary consultation is recommended.
Warning: Some non-veterinary brands of flea treatments for dogs are potentially lethal when applied to cats.
Worming is among the first healthcare issues pet owners need to address.
There are two broad categories of worms that may affect your pet dogs and cats: heartworm and intestinal worms.
Puppies and kittens are the most susceptible to worms.
Heartworm (or Dirofilaria immitis) is a parasite spread by mosquitoes – not from dog to dog. So your pet doesn’t need to be in contact with other pets to become infected.
Heartworm is present throughout most of Australia. Thankfully, it is very easy to prevent and should form part of your pet’s healthcare routine.
We have very effective preventative treatment options available including:
annual injection for dogs (administered by our vets).
If your pet has not been on heartworm prevention we strongly recommend a heartworm test prior to starting a prevention program. The test takes only minutes and can ensure your pet is free of this nasty parasite.
How could my pet develop heartworm?
Heartworm has a complicated lifecycle.
Infected dogs have immature forms of heartworm circulating in their bloodstream. These are called microfilariae and are sucked up by mosquitoes when feeding on the blood of infected dogs.
The immature parasite develops into a heartworm larva inside the mosquito, and then a single bite from a carrier mosquito can infect your pet.
As the worms grow and mature in the heart they can cause a physical blockage and thickening of the heart and associated blood vessels.
In the early stages of infection there may be no visible signs; however, infection may eventually lead to signs of heart failure and even death.
Cats aren’t natural hosts for heartworm; however, some cats can be affected. Unfortunately there is no diagnosis or treatment available for heartworm in living cats. Preventative products are available however you should only use products that are specifically prepared for cats.
Please call us to discuss the best heartworm prevention for your pet.
As the name suggests, intestinal worms are parasites that live inside your pet’s intestines.
These worms range in size from small to surprisingly large (up to 18cm in length). Regardless of their size they all have negative and potentially deadly effects.
How do I know if my pet has intestinal worms? It’s often impossible to know if your pet has worms because they’re not visible in their stools.
Like humans, most animal species can be infected with intestinal worms: dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, fish, birds and reptiles.
If your pet has a large number of worms it may find it difficult to maintain body condition and it can lose weight.
In some cases intestinal worms can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and even anaemia (a low red blood cell level). Occasionally, heavy intestinal worm burdens can cause death.
Common intestinal worms in Australian pets are:
How worms work inside your pet
Worms sometimes have complex lifecycles which involve a period of existence and development outside your pet.
Understanding the lifecycle of a specific worm is important so that strategies for treatment and prevention can be designed and implemented.
For instance, some tapeworms need to pass through fleas to complete their lifecycle, so flea prevention is an important method of controlling tapeworms.
How can I help to prevent and treat worms in my pet?
It’s vital to maintain a routine worming treatment for your pet to reduce the incidence of infection and to reduce environmental contamination.
Another important reason to regularly worm your pet is to protect your family. In some instances people can become infected with worms carried by dogs and cats.
There are many worming treatments available for the various worm infections that occur in our pets.
Worming treatments available include:
Always seek veterinary advice about the best tick treatments for your pet.
The main tick of concern for Australian pet owners is the Paralysis Tick (Ixodes holocyclus).
As the name implies the Paralysis Tick can cause paralysis and death within 2 to 4 days of attachment.
While Paralysis Ticks occur naturally in certain geographic areas (mainly along the coastal eastern seaboard of Australia) they can attach to pets who visit these areas during the warmer months, particularly if your pet is allowed to run through scrub.
Ticks can also hitch a ride back with you or a neighbour in cars, rugs, towels or plants. Presently the paralysis tick is not seen in the Perth area.
What should I do if I see a tick on my pet? If your pet isn’t displaying signs of tick paralysis, then remove the tick straight away as follows:
avoid trying to kill the tick first, as the dying tick may inject more of its potent toxin into your pet
grasp the tick firmly where it attaches to your pet’s skin
give a quick sideways pull to release the tick from your pet.
If you’re not confident removing the tick don’t despair. Please call us immediately to make an appointment to have it removed.
Warning: Some non-veterinary brands of tick treatments for dogs are potentially lethal when applied to cats.
If you’re one of our many satisfied clients, please consider referring us.
Just ask your friend to mention your pet’s name when they book. As our client, you’ll receive a $25 voucher from us, to come off your pet’s next consultation or spend on products available in our reception – and so will your friend!