Parasite prevention is an integral part of taking good care of your cat or dog. Parasites also pose a threat to human health, as some pet parasites cause zoonotic infections, which means they can be transferred from pets to people.
Where and when can my pet get infected by parasites?
Dogs and cats can get parasites in a variety of places — whether they go outside or not. Fleas and ticks can live outside year-round but are most abundant during spring and autumn. Other animals can bring parasites into your home, and once fleas get in the house, they can be a year-round problem.
How can I protect my pet from parasites?
Because parasites can be found all year long, it is important that your pet is always protected. We offer a series of popular prescription products that are easy to use and will help to protect your pet.
You can receive year-round parasite protection through our Pet Health Plan. The plan spreads your regular pet care costs with a fixed monthly fee which guarantees an annual saving on your preventative veterinary treatments.
Dangers of parasites
The harm from parasites to a pet’s health can range from minor irritation to severe conditions that can be fatal. Below are some common parasites found in the United Kingdom:
- Ticks – Tick bites can cause allergic reactions or infections at the site of the bite. They can transmit infectious diseases such as Lyme Disease, Babesia & Ehrlichiosis.
- Worms – There is a wide variety of worms, such as tapeworm, roundworm, heartworm, whipworm, and hookworm. These are common parasites in the UK and can affect your pet’s health. They also carry a human health risk, especially for children.
- Lungworms – Lungworms are potentially deadly parasites that are carried by foxes, slugs, and snails. It is the first fatal parasite to be endemic in the UK.
- Fleas – Fleas affect dogs and cats and can be seen all year round. They can also pass on tapeworms. Signs that your pet may be suffering from fleas include itching, scratching, and licking. You may also see ‘flea dirt’ – tiny dark specks that look a little like grains of soil and go red when wet. It is possible to see fleas with the naked eye!
With advances in veterinary medicine, most parasitic infections can be prevented with routine preventative care.
Alongside preventative treatments, it is also important to practice good personal hygiene, including washing hands after handling pets and before eating food. Grooming animals regularly helps to reduce the risk of coat contamination, and when going on walks, cleaning up pet faeces is vital as most intestinal worms are transmitted by worm eggs or larvae in faeces.
It is important to remember that parasite treatments are only to be given to the pet they have been prescribed for, as certain products can be fatal to other species. If you are unsure which parasite control products are the best for your pet, speak to one of our team members for advice.