Parasite Protection

At South Devon Veterinary Hospital our number one priority is looking after you and your pet. Here you can find all the information you need to help keep your pet safe and well!

No one likes the idea of their pet having fleas or worms. Unfortunately every pet can fall victim to parasites, even if they stay indoors! We advise all our clients keep up to date with flea, tick and worm treatments throughout the year. Vets and nurses are the experts on parasite prevention and can advise you on how best to protect your pet, based on their lifestyle and yours.

As the majority of products we sell are prescription only medicines, we need to have seen your pet in the last 12 months to legally dispense flea and worming treatment. If you have no other concerns with your pet you can come in for a FREE flea and worm check to allow the vet to give you a prescription product.

What’s the problem with ‘over the counter’ products?

There are a wide range of ‘over the counter’ products for fleas and worms that can be purchased in supermarkets, pet shops or online. The efficacy and safety of these products varies widely. In general non-prescription products aren’t as potent  as a prescription product and if applied incorrectly, can even be toxic. We frequently see  animals who have been treated with ‘over the counter’ who still have worms, ticks or fleas. Even clients who own pet shops choose to buy flea/tick and worming treatment from the vets. Veterinary staff are the experts, we can provide expert advice to help find the product that’s right for you and your pet.

Why is it so important that my pet is wormed regularly?

Worms pose a health risk to pets, owners and families. Dogs and cats can be affected by about 12 different species of worm in the UK, with the most common types being roundworms, tapeworms and hookworms. Your pet could pick these up if they eat worm eggs passed by other infected pets or eat an infected flea during grooming. Symptoms of a worm infestation are not always easy to spot but can cause serious damage if left untreated.

All dogs and cats require regular treatment to help keep them healthy, but some pets may require more frequent worming. Puppies and Kittens are at especially high risk – to help get them off to a great start, South Devon Veterinary Hospital provides free deworming for all puppies and kittens at time of first vaccination. Why not have a look at our puppy and kitten care articles for more information.  Keeping up to date with flea treatment is also vital as tapeworms can be spread by fleas.

Some types of worms can also be transmitted to people with potentially serious results. Infection occurs when worm eggs are accidentally eaten and young children are particularly at risk. If you have young children, it’s even more important to treat your pet regularly and make sure they wash their hands after playing with a pet.

How common are fleas?

Really common! Studies have shown that almost a quarter of visits to the vet are related to skin problems. The vast majority of these will relate to ticks and fleas.

Fleas are an inevitable part of life for most dogs. As well as being unpleasant, they can cause skin damage and spread diseases. What’s more, as female fleas can each lay up to 50 eggs per day! So it doesn’t take long for a few fleas to turn into a full blown infestation. Flea eggs, larvae and pupae are found in carpets, bedding and between floor boards. Flea bites may also cause intense itching and scratching which can result in hair loss and discomfort. Flea saliva can also cause a very unpleasant skin allergy in sensitive dogs and cats known as Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD).

Do I need to treat for fleas all year round?

Yes! It’s a myth that you don’t need to treat your pet for fleas in winter. Although fleas are less common outside in cooler months, central heating means that we see fleas all year round! Your pet can pick up fleas practically everywhere – from eggs, larvae and pupae in the environment or spread by wildlife such as rabbits. Flea eggs/ larvae can even be brought into the house on  footwear and clothing. And it only takes a few fleas to cause an outbreak.

Help!- How do I get on top of a flea outbreak?

Click here for our article on getting rid of fleas for good.

Do I need protection against ticks?

Yes- especially if your walk your dog in grass or woodlands. In one study almost one in every 4 dogs taken to the vet had one or more ticks, and some had as many as 82! Likewise, ticks aren’t just found in the countryside – wildlife, e.g. hedgehogs, can transport them much closer to home. Ticks hide themselves in long grass, parks and gardens, waiting to attach themselves to your pet. When they do, the ticks feed off your pet’s blood and can transfer serious diseases such as Lymes Disease. If you do find a tick on your pet, book a nurse clinic to ensure it is removed safely.

If you have any further questions feel free to make an appointment for a FREE flea, tick and worm consultation to discuss the best protection for your pet.