Fleas, Ticks and Worms in Dogs
Fleas can be spread easily and your dog can pick them up through contact with other animals which have fleas, even when your dog is out for a walk. The best way to prevent your dog picking up fleas is to treat them regularly using a flea treatment recommended by your Best Friends vet. Using a good flea treatment will prevent them getting fleas in the first place and also get rid of any in the early stages before they become an infestation.
Fleas bites are very uncomfortable and can cause your dog irritation. Fleas also carry disease and can infect your dog when they are bitten. If ingested when your dog grooms, they can carry worm larvae, which will breed in your dog’s stomach. If untreated having fleas can lead to anaemia.
Hedgehogs are a common carrier of fleas. If they come into your garden it means your dog is at a high risk from becoming infested. Keeping them up to date with the correct flea treatment means they will be protected.
If you notice that your dog is scratching more than usual, then it is a good idea to check its fur for flea dirt. These are tiny black dots that you will see in your dog’s fur.
Warmth speeds up the life cycle of fleas, so they can be more of a problem in the summer. However, as most homes now have central heating, this can happen at any time of year in the right conditions, so regular flea treatment is essential for all animals living in your house. It may also be necessary to treat your home environment.
Speak to your Best Friends Vet to find out what the best treatment is for your dog and how often you should use it. Puppies will need flea treatment from an early age but might need a different product or dose to begin with, so it always best to consult with your Best Friends veterinary surgeon to ensure you follow the correct advice for your dog or puppy.
Ticks are often found in grassy areas, such a fields and meadows, so they are picked up by dogs when they are out on their walks. They can also be found in gardens. You should also remember that wet and warm weather increases tick breeding rates.
Ticks can be carriers of some serious diseases, including Lyme disease, so it is important that you check your dog for ticks after a walk and remove any that you find. Ticks are small and round, adult ticks look like a small spider and they will burrow into your dog’s skin.
Ticks are most likely to be found in Spring and Autumn, but can be present throughout the year, so it is best to check for them regularly.
The best way to remove ticks is to twist them off, being careful not to leave the head still in the dog’s skin. You can also buy tick removers from a pet store, or ask your Best Friends Vet for advice. If you don’t feel confident in removing a tick yourself, then speak to your Best Friends vet as they can advise you on technique and demonstrate how to remove a tick properly from your dog. It is crucial that ticks are removed completely, as if the head is still left in your dog’s skin, this can cause infection and further complications.
There are four types of worms that can affect your dog – roundworm, hookworms, whipworm, and tapeworms. Worms can be spread in contaminated soil where your dog might dig; your dog could ingest fleas that have worm larvae on their skin, or they might get worms from another dog.
Worms are spread in dog faeces, so this is another reason that it is so important to clean up after your dog when out on walks.
If worms are not treated, then they can lead to serious health issues for your dog and some types of worms can be spread to humans. If you think you dog has worms, then make sure you take them to your Best Friends Vet for treatment.
Symptoms of worms can include vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration, lethargy and a swollen abdomen. For some types of worms there are no symptoms that show themselves, so regular treatment to prevent worms is the best way to ensure your dog isn’t affected.
The best way to treat worms is by regular deworming treatment, especially for puppies. Many of these can be given monthly, and your Best Friends Vet can advise which is the best to use for your dog, based on their age, weight and any other health issues they might have. There is also a specific worming treatment for dogs who are having a litter as worms can often be spread from mothers to their puppies. Your Best Friend Vet can advise on a regular worming treatment plan for your dog to prevent them getting worms.
Lungworm has been common in the South of England and Wales for some time. It is now spreading all over the UK, and is something that all dog owners should be aware of. Regular treatment for lungworm is important for your dog.
Dogs can get lungworm from eating infected snails, slugs and frogs that are carrying infected larvae. Once they have ingested the larvae, they grow inside your dog, and adult lungworms will travel around their body, which can lead to heart and breathing problems. The lungworms will also be able to reproduce in your dog’s body, which can become very serious.
Symptoms of lungworm to look out for in your dog include coughing, breathing problems, reluctance to exercise and abnormal blood clotting. If your dog has any of these symptoms then it is best to take them to be checked by your local Best Friends Vet.
If you are worried about your dog, or require parasite control treatments, then call to make an appointment with your nearest Best Friend Vet Branch. We can advise on the right treatments so always consult with your vet.
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