Fleas , Mites and Worms FAQ
I can’t see any fleas on my dog or cat and have never had problem, why should I give him something for fleas?
In modern day living our pets live right inside the house with us, by the time you notice your pet has fleas, those fleas will have been laying 50 eggs per day per flea inside your house, every where your pet has been since the first flea landed on the coat.
Flea eggs remain indestructible, even today there is no product that will effectively destroy a flea egg. Getting rid of fleas from your pet involves a three month ordeal of repeated hoovering, hot washes and chemical sprays in your home.
Added to this fleas can cause serious discomfort and irritation to your pets skin, as well as transferring tapeworm to the gut when they lick at the irritated area of skin, thus ingesting the fleas who have tapeworm contained within their bodies. Disgusting little critters all round really.
Every year vets will have copious enquiries about how to get rid of fleas from homes, with home owners distraught as to the length of time it takes to rid the house and pets from fleas.
At Petcare Vets We would consider prevention to be the easiest option for peace of mind and comfortable cohabitation with your pet.
My dog/cat doesn’t have worms, I check his stools and I can’t see anything there why should I worm him?
There are several worms which may be present in your pets bowel, as long as they are allowed to live inside the gut unharmed, these adult worms will shed tiny eggs into the faeces that are not visible to the naked eye.
Many times a dog heavily infested with worms will appear normal but once the worming tablet is given, the adult worms dislodge from the gut wall and may then be visible in the faeces (they can sometimes still be moving).
To check your dogs faeces for worm eggs it must be sent to a laboratory and viewed under the microscope. This test is not 100% accurate as worms may shed eggs in the faeces intermittently(every now and then) and so may be missed on the day of sampling. All puppies and kittens are born with a moderate worm burden, as the larvae are passed through the placenta and through the milk to them from the mother.
This means that these pets must be wormed regularly (every 2 -4 weeks) from birth to prevent ill thrift and possible death occurring from heavy roundworm burden, as the worms will multiply if left unchecked. For adult dogs worming is recommended at least every three months.
What is lungworm and why the big fuss about it?
Lungworm is picked up from snails, slugs and snail and slug slime. If your dog ingests these materials he may become infected with lungworm.
It is a big deal as it is the only worm that is fatal to otherwise healthy adult dogs, and causes death in an unpleasant manner by uncontrolled bleeding. Lungworm is common in the fox population and has been detected with several sick dogs and some fatalities occurring .
The worst affected area in Ireland is South County Dublin and North Wicklow. It is important that your dogs worming regime includes regular treatment for lungworm, with high risk dogs being treated monthly. High risk dogs are dogs under five who spend time in the garden or are fed outside.
Are ticks dangerous to my pet and how can I get rid of them?
Ticks are unsightly, can cause discomfort to your pet and be difficult to get rid of. They live by latching on to your pets skin and sucking their blood.
Ticks need to be removed very delicately to avoid the tick egesting the blood back into your pets blood stream, as it will contain pathogens(disease causing organisms) that live in the ticks body, the best known of which is Lyme’s Disease.
If your pet is prone to ticks or you are constantly removing them, it is advisable to use a preventative product during tick season, spot on treatments, tablets and collars are available. Tick season runs from February to October. Pets in urban environments are less likely to be affected by ticks.
Could I or my children catch fleas worms or mites from my dog?
Some mites are contagious to people yes, the most notorious being the Sarcoptic Mange Mite. All other mites such as Otodectes and Demodex as well as Fleas do not readily cause disease in or infect humans.
Although fleas are able to bite human skin causing an itch, they cannot live on humans as they do on our pets as long as normal hygiene and clothes washing is observed.
Can I catch worms from my dog or cat?
Yes it is possible to catch some parasites from your pets faeces but it is highly unlikely and preventable with correct hand washing techniques after handling your pet and with good parasite control in place.
Roundworm in dogs can be spread to children by ingestion of dog faeces, this usually occurs from a young child ingesting contaminated soil or sand. Toxoplasma can be spread by handling of cat faeces which is why pregnant women should not handle dirty cat litter and be extra vigilant with hand hygiene if there is a cat in the home.
What are ear mites?
Ear mites are a very itchy type of mite common in cats and dogs ears. They can be spread by direct close contact between animals and are especially common in kittens and puppies where whole litters may be affected. They are easy to get rid of with treatment however they can reoccur if prevention is not put in place.