Beat Fleas, Ticks, and Worms With the Help of a Mobile VetBy Sam Weeks | March 26, 2021
Parasites can be silent but deadly, burying themselves in your pet’s skin, fur, and digestive system and causing serious damage. It’s not always easy to spot fleas, ticks, and worms, but it’s very important that all pet owners are aware of the classic symptoms of parasite infection.
There are many ways to protect your pet against these dangerous pests. If you are a new pet owner or are encountering parasites for the very first time, consider contacting a mobile vet. A quick house call is all it takes to assess whether your pet needs treatment or preventative measures against future parasite infections.
Symptoms of parasitic infection
Adult fleas tend to be around 3mm in length. They are small but they are not invisible. Depending on the colour of your pet’s fur, you may be able to spot them hopping about. Alternatively, look for the black, flaky droppings they leave behind known as ‘flea dirt.’
Even if you can’t spot the fleas themselves, the symptoms should be fairly obvious. Your pet will scratch at themselves, particularly around the neck, shoulder blades, tail, and back of the legs. Their skin will look irritated and their gums can appear pale — a sign of anemia.
Worms reside in your dog’s intestines and are usually contracted via contact with other infected animals or organic matter. While there are many different types of worms, your dog is most likely to come into contact with roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and whipworms.
Many dogs won’t show any symptoms of worms. This is an issue as left untreated, worms can cause serious intestinal damage. Watch for lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody faeces, or worm segments found in faeces.
Ticks are small, bloodsucking insects that latch onto the skin of your cat or dog and have the potential to transmit serious disease.
Because of their small size, ticks are not always easy to spot. If your pet is experiencing a persistent cough, difficulty breathing, lack of appetite, and general disorientation, they may have been attacked by a tick. Look also for small bumps in their skin — a tick will bury themselves into an animal’s skin, leaving the back half of their body sticking out.
How to treat parasites
Most domestic cats and dogs in Australia will, at some point, come into contact with a parasite. Fleas are particularly common and so if you are thinking about getting a pet, or have a newborn puppy or kitten joining the family, it’s a good idea to have knowledge of the best methods for treating parasites.
There is a wide variety of options when it comes to parasite treatment, and it is recommended that you talk to your vet about what is right for your pet. Generally speaking, they may suggest internal antibiotics (either prescribed by the vet or available over the counter) or external sprays and creams.
However, the best approach for treating parasites is a proactive one. Preventative tablets, topical liquids, and sprays are available and can be administered on a routine basis, all year round to ward off opportunistic parasites.
Prevention tips and tricks
There are also behaviours that you (and your pet) can adopt to protect the entire family against parasites. These include:
- Disposing of your pet’s waste responsibly.
- Regularly washing linen, bedding, and rugs.
- Don’t let your pet drink from dirty water sources, such as puddles.
- Always wash your hands with hot, soapy water.
- Don’t let your pet eat waste matter.
- Regularly grooming your pet — this will enable you to watch for warning signs of parasite infection.
Above all, make sure that your pet is regularly seen by a vet. Parasite infections often don’t have any apparent symptoms but they can cause serious harm to your pet’s health and wellbeing.
Here at Vets on Call, we understand that it’s not always easy to find the time to book in regular appointments, which is why we developed our mobile vet service. Our vets can visit your house at a time that suits you, making preventative pet care easy. Download our app and book an appointment today to discuss how you can best protect your pet against parasite infections.