Blog

Parasites and Your Pet
Written by Janine Marketing, October 30th, 2015

Whilst Paralysis ticks may not be present in urban Melbourne, Their penetration is getting closer as we become more humid. Currently it is advised to treat anywhere north of Ballarat, Bendigo, Shepparton and east of Sale, Talk to us if you are travelling past any of these areas for a suitable treatment.

Dog Looking at Parasites
It is time to be vigilant and be aware of whether you are in a tick affected area, protecting your pet from mosquitoes and warding of fleas and worms. We have broken down the common parasites that affect our pets for you to better understand them.

HEARTWORMS

Heartworm is a parasitic worm that is transmitted by mosquitos and infects both dogs and cats. An infected mosquito bites the pet and injects a larval stage of the worm under the skin. This larval stage matures in the pet’s organs for 5 to 6 months before becoming an adult

worm

and migrating through the organs to the heart and blood vessels of the lungs. These adult worms then breed to produce microfilaria (baby heart worm) in the bloodstream which are then drawn up by a mosquito when it feeds on an infected pet.

And so the cycle begins again. This disease is potentially fatal yet completely preventable. Pets living outdoors are at higher risk of developing heartworm disease however, mosquitoes can find their way into most houses, fly screens or not, this means that even completely indoor pets are at risk of infection from heartworm.

SYMPTOMS OF HEARTWORM

Dogs rarely show immediate signs of heartworm infection as the adult worms take 6 to 7 months to develop from larvae transmitted by a mosquito bite.

Some commons symptoms:
•Coughing
•Lack of energy
•Reluctance to exercise
•Weight loss

PREVENTING HEARTWORM

Start heartworm prevention for your dog from 6 weeks of age. It should stay on preventative treatment for life to avoid canine heartworm disease. Your vet can test for the presence of heartworm infection before starting ANY heartworm prevention for the first time, or if heartworm prevention has been missed.

There are 3 methods of prevention to choose from:
•Monthly topical application:
•Monthly tablets or chewables
•Annual Injection (for dogs only)

FLEAS

Humidity and warmer temperatures create the perfect setting for fleas to finish their breeding cycle – and trigger an outbreak in your home.

The adult fleas you can see on your pet represent only 5% of the total flea population. The other 95% lurk in the pet’s home environment as eggs, larvae and pupae, waiting for the right conditions before they hatch and wreak havoc.

Although they may not be visible, fleas can lay up to 50 eggs a day. These eggs are shed from your pet into the home environment. Eggs hatch into larvae which could be hiding in your carpets, rugs or cracks in the floorboards. Larvae develop into pupae which may be lingering in your couch until the summer weather prompts them to emerge as adult fleas.

Without prevention your home may be at risk of a flea infestation, and it may be from causes beyond your control.

Fleas thrive in damp, shady areas found in your garden and especially under your house. Their eggs can be shed from neighbourhood pets, rodents or native animals that have access to your garden or home.

To prevent your home becoming a summer breeding ground for fleas, it’s crucial to treat your pets regularly during the summer season – and every season. Missing just one monthly treatment can quickly lead to a re-infestation. For complete protection against infestation, you need a treatment that combats every stage of the flea life cycle.

TICKS

Deadly paralysis ticks are active in spring and summer and present a risk to your pet.

Veterinarians across Australia are urging pet owners to be on high alert. Fortunately, there are some simple steps every pet owner can take to prevent the fatal consequences of paralysis ticks.

Paralysis ticks are among the most dangerous parasites that can affect your pet. They can be found on the eastern seaboard, from North Queensland to Eastern Victoria. The trouble starts when a paralysis tick transfers on to your pet in bush land, scrubland, thick grass or vegetation. Once it has latched on to your dog or cat, it sucks blood and secretes a venomous toxin. If left undetected or untreated, the toxins from the tick’s saliva can cause paralysis and even death.

Many of these signs and symptoms can be confused with other pet ailments and cause pet owners to delay visits to their veterinarian. Searching your pet’s skin and coat is the most important preventative measure you can take to protect your pet against deadly paralysis ticks. Remove your pet’s collar and run your hands against the coat. Search your pets every day for ticks and always remove ticks immediately when detected.

Fortunately there are some simple steps you can take to prevent potentially fatal tick toxicity:
•Avoid tick habitats
•Search pets everyday
•Remove any ticks immediately and contact your vet
•Apply tick preventative to your pets

Watch & Learn how to check your pet for ticks HERE

TICK FACTS
•Tick are arachnids, meaning they are more closely related to spiders and scorpions than insects
•Ticks do not fly, jump or fall from trees. They generally crawl up their hosts from the tips of grasses and shrubs
•In many hard ticks, the saliva also acts like cement, helping to anchor the tick in place and making it harder to remove
•There are more than 850 species of ticks on the planet

Australian Ticks
Speak to us about which preventative is best suited to your climate and pet.