The weather is warming up and some days it feels like spring has well and truly sprung. Just as much as us humans love springtime, so do the parasites that live on and in our pets.

We tend to forget at times that parasites are a year-round issue. Yes, they love the warmer weather of spring and summer, however treating your pet year-round and on a regular basis is integral to good parasite control. It is one of the most important things you can do for their overall health and wellbeing. Below we outline how best to beat pesky parasites!

External parasites
Fleas are the most common external parasite of cats and dogs and a major cause of skin allergies in our pets.  For some pets, fleas are just a minor annoyance, but for others they can cause serious skin allergies. In fact, some pets are so sensitive to flea bites that it takes only one flea to cause a serious allergic reaction. Not seeing fleas on your pets doesn’t mean they aren’t a problem. Some cats with flea allergies may not itch and scratch like dogs, but will instead obsessively groom, and one of the main signs of a flea allergy in cats is thinning fur around their back end.

Ticks particularly like the warmer weather. They are picked up when our pets wander around the environment, especially where there is a lot of grass, latching onto a host. Ticks are not particular and can be found on both cats and dogs and other domestic animals as well. They are difficult to get rid of from the environment, so control is based around treating our pets.

Internal Parasites
Internal worms are a constant challenge. They can be found in all ages of pets where they affect their wellbeing.  In cats and dogs, vets start worming from kitten and puppy age and then all the way through adulthood. Many, including roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, lungworms and tapeworms, are treatable using good regular parasite control.  The frequency of worming can depend a lot on how many pets are in a household and the age of those pet.  Remember, many intestinal parasites are also zoonotic, or transmissible to people, so keeping our Pets healthy also benefit us as Pet owners.

Invisible parasites
Did you know, 95 % of the flea population exists in the home environment (carpets, furniture, bedding or outside in the garden or park), while just 5 % may be observed on our pets.  So, not seeing fleas on your pets doesn’t mean they aren’t a problem in your household. Regularly vacuuming and washing of pets bedding can help fight a flea problem, but often ‘flea bombs’ are needed to kill the fleas living in your carpet and floorboards.  It is also highly important to treat all your pets, not just those you think have fleas.

Top tips to prevent parasites
Choosing the right treatment for your pet can be confusing. There is a comprehensive range of treatment options available, both for your pet and for your home.  Treatment regimes have changed in recent years in terms of application and duration of protection. Your vet clinic staff will have excellent knowledge of the treatment options available and up to date training.

  • Treat with a reliable brand from your Vet Clinic.
  • The best way to prevent a flea infestation is to treat ALL your pets, all-year-round.
  • Use the recommended size range for each pet.
  • Vacuum carpets/floors and wash pets bedding on a regular basis.
  • Always apply or give the treatment correctly.
  • Re-treat according to manufactures instructions.

If you have any questions or need help with any parasite issues, come visit us and speak with one of our fully trained vet nurses or veterinarians at Tauranga, Te Puna, Katikati, Papamoa Village Vets.