Parasite prevention is an integral part of taking good care of your cat or dog. Parasites also pose a threat to human health. Some pet parasites cause zoonotic infections, which means they can be transferred from pets to people.
Where and when can my pet get infected by parasites?
Dogs and cats can get parasites in a variety of places — whether they go outside or not. Other animals can bring parasites into your home. And anytime your pet is out, they are at risk. Fleas and ticks can live outside year-round, but the worst months are spring and autumn. Once fleas get in the house, they are a year-round problem.
How can I protect my pet from parasites?
Because parasites can be found all year long, your pet must always be protected. We offer a series of popular prescription products that are easy to use and will help to protect your pet.
You can receive year-round parasite protection through our Pet Healtcare Plan. Our Pet Healthcare Plan spreads your regular pet care costs with a fixed monthly fee which guarantees an annual saving on your preventative veterinary treatments.
Dangers of parasites
The harm from parasites to a pet's health can range from minor irritation to severe conditions that can be fatal. Here are some common parasites in the United Kingdom:
- Ticks - Tick bites can cause allergic reactions or infections at the site of the bite. The major risk is that they can transmit infectious diseases such as Lyme Disease, Babesia & Ehrlichiosis.
- Worms – Worms come in a wide variety such as tapeworm, roundworm, heartworm, whipworm and hookworm. These are common parasites in the UK and can affect our pet’s health and carry a human health risk, especially for children.
- Lungworms – Lungworms are potentially deadly parasites that foxes, slugs and snails carry. It is the first fatal parasite to be endemic in the UK.
- Fleas – Fleas affect dogs and cats and can be seen all year round. Signs that your pet may be suffering from fleas include itching, scratching, and licking. You may also see 'flea dirt' – tiny dark specks that look a little like grains of soil and go red when wet. Fleas can be seen by the naked eye! Fleas can also pass on tapeworms.
With advances in veterinary medicine, most parasitic infections can be prevented with routine preventative care.
Alongside preventative treatments, it is also important to practice good personal hygiene, including washing hands after handling pets and before eating food. Grooming animals regularly helps to reduce the risk of coat contamination. When going on walks, cleaning up pet faeces is vital because most intestinal worms are transmitted by worm eggs or larvae in faeces.
It is also crucial that parasite treatments are only given to the pet they have been prescribed for, as certain products can be fatal to other species. If you are unsure which parasite control products are the best for your pet, speak to one of our team members for advice.