7. Parasite Prevention
The parasites we are concerned about are fleas, ticks, skin & ear mites, roundworms hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms.
They are horrible but easily preventable. It’s much better and easier to prevent your pet getting parasites rather than wait for your pet to get them and get sick.
A heavy worm infestation can cause your pet to be thin and unwell. Some worms can rarely be fatal to your pet and some worms can affect humans, particularly children.
Ticks can spread Lyme Disease, both to dog and to humans. This can be fatal.
Fleas can spread tapeworms and also a potentially fatal disease called Feline Infectious Anaemia in cats.
In Continental Europe there are potentially fatal worms and diseases spread by ticks and mosquitos that we don't have in Ireland so you need to take specific precautions if you travel abroad with your pets.
If your pet gets fleas you may have to treat the house as well to kill all the eggs and larvae - for 1 flea seen on your pet they may be 100 eggs and larvae in your house!
Puppies and kittens have to be wormed very regularly from an early age. We will get this going for you from as soon as you take them in to us.
For adult dogs our general recommendation is Milbemax (worm tablet) and Bravecto (flea and tick tablet) given together every 3 months.
For cats our general recommendation is Broadline spot-on (effective against fleas, ticks and worms) every month.
Occasionally we may give different advice depending on your individual pet's needs.
These and other really effective medications for parasite control are only available from your pets' vet or from pharmacies with a veterinary prescription.
Generally the non-prescription parasite treatments that are available in pet shops and supermarkets are not very effective. In fact vets do not sell these as they are not happy to stand over them. Don't waste your money on these.
As the treatments vets use are 'Prescription Only Medications' (same classification as antibiotics) it is not legal for us to dispense these medications to animals we have never seen. If you live in the Greystones or close by please call for advice and we can arrange a free visit to see and weigh your pet and advise on the correct treatments.
We will design a personalised parasite prevention schedule for your pet - at your first puppy/kitten visit, at your adult pet's annual vaccination visit or at any visit at all.
As young pets get older and bigger the dosages will change, so we will weigh them for you monthly for free until fully grown and dispense the correct amount.
Have a look at the videos on this page (on the side in desktop version, at top in mobile site) for more interesting information. Yuk!
Internal Parasites - roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms
Nearly all puppies and kittens will have roundworms – they get them from their mother and/or when very young. Left untreated these will make your baby pet unwell, result in poor weight gain and at worst can cause death from balls of worms blocking the intestine. Therefore our advice is that puppies and kittens should be wormed every 2 weeks until 12 weeks of age, then every month until 6 months of age. After this age we advise to worm your pet at least every 3 months.
There are many types of worms which can affect your adult pet. Some can be fatal, and some can affect humans, particularly children – although it is very rare, children’s eyesight can be affected. Worms can be picked up from other infected dogs & cats, from fleas, from eating raw meat or from hunting. A risk like this is just not worth taking, and regular worming with an effective product recommended by your vet is the best way to minimise any risks.
When you are in with your pet we will give you the best advice on which products to use and how often depending on you and your pet’s individual circumstances. If travelling abroad be sure to tell us before you go as there is in particular one worm - heart-worms - which are very serious and require a different preventative protocol than we need do in Ireland (as we do not have this worm here).
Many of the most effective worm treatments are only available from your pet’s vet, or from a pharmacy with a veterinary prescription. Worm treatments available from supermarkets or pet stores may not be particularly effective, so before deciding to buy any of these treatments please ask us here in Blacklion for advice on which works the best and also remember that the dosage required depends on your pet's exact weight. Only a qualified vet or veterinary nurse is able to give you the correct advice on what to give you pet for worms.
External Parasites - Fleas, Ticks and Mites.
Fleas are not nice and it’s best to prevent your pet getting them rather than wait for an infestation before treatment. Indeed, if your pet gets fleas so does your house – for every one live flea you see on your pet there could be 100 eggs and larvae around the house, waiting to hatch! So as well as treating your pet you’ll also need to treat your house.
Fleas bite your pet, sucking their blood for food. These flea bites will cause your pet to itch a lot and can also jump onto you and cause itching and skin irritation. Also fleas can cause a condition called Flea Allergic Dermatitis in pets. This is where your pet develops an allergic reaction to the flea saliva (the flea injects a little saliva into your pet's skin when it takes a feed) and can result in a really severe red-raw, oozing and pussy skin infection that needs immediate veterinary treatment. Usually we have to clip a large area of hair and use anti-inflammatory steroids, antibiotics and creams. It can take a long time to fully clear and can be very painful.
Ticks are small blood sucking parasites that bury their head into your pets skin and live off their blood, growing bigger as they suck more and more blood. They are horrible little things really and can spread Lyme Disease - both to your pet and also to humans. Read more here on Lyme Disease in Ireland.
In Continental Europe ticks also spread some other really nasty and fatal diseases that luckily we don't have here (too cold!), although we have seen dogs come here from abroad with these diseases and indeed die from them. If your pet is going to Europe on holidays it is extremely important you ensure they are protected against ticks at all times. Talk to us before going.
Finally if you find a tick on your pet do not try to remove it - come in to us and we will do it for you with a special tool we have that will ensure the head is not left buried in your pet's skin. If you are from Greystones or close by and it is a simple extraction needing no further treatment we generally do this for no charge - but we will advise you purchase and administer a tick treatment to your pet.
Dogs and cats can get ear mites - small white little creepy-crawlies that live in your pet's ears causing itching and infection. The technical name for them is
Otodectes cynotis. These ear mites are very infectious - if you
have several pets and one pet is diagnosed with ear mites then
all pets will have to be treated, otherwise it will just keep going
around in circles from pet to pet.
It is not unusual at all to see puppies and kittens coming in
with ear mites. A good breeder will have treated the mother
initially so the pups or kittens don't get infected from her, but unfortunately not all breeders do what we would hope they should. Sad to say it but it is a sign of neglect on the breeder's part if your new pet was given to you with ear mites.
Thankfully it is quite easy to treat ear mites - but only medications that are available from the vets will work. Don't waste your time getting anything in the supermarket or even a pet store, you're wasting your money to be honest and your pet will not get better and in any event you cannot know if it's ear mites or a bacerial or yeast infection until the inside of the ears are examined by a vet.
Have a look at the video on this page for more information, and to see them moving around like they do in dog's and cat's ears.
Finally sometimes pets can get mange mites in their skin called Sarcoptes ('Scabies') and more rarely Demodex. While quite rare they can cause very serious skin conditions, even life threatening if left untreated. These are diagnosed by taking skin scrapings or biopsies from your pet and they require very specific medical treatment. Demodex can be very, very difficult to cure.
Worm, Flea and Tick prevention is very simple.
For cats you can apply a ‘spot-on’ treatment which will act against fleas and ticks for 1-3 months depending on the brand. There are also spray products available which are very effective, but many owners and pets prefer the ‘spot-on’ treatments because they are quick and easy to use.
For worms there are tablets, liquids, powders or spot-on treatments that will kill the worms your pet may have,
Very usefully for cats we have one spot-on treatment that is effective against fleas, ticks and all the worms - a brilliant all in one!
For dogs we also have available a huge variety of really effective treatments for fleas, ticks, mites and worms. For example just like for cats we have a spot-ons that prevent fleas and ticks and another one for fleas, mites and roundworms - these are effective against external parasites for a month after application. We also have a tablet that is effective for 3 months against fleas and ticks and is also extremely effective against mites.
For worms we have available several really good tablets, liquids and powders effective against roundworms and tapeworms.
Whilst puppies and kittens need very regular worming treatments and recognising that we may give a different advice for your individual pet depending on their particular circumstance the general advice we give in Blacklion Pet Hospital for adult pets is:
Cats - Broadline spot-on every month (covers fleas, ticks, all worms)
Dogs - Bravecto tablet (fleas, ticks, mites) and Milbemax tablet (all worms) given together every 3 months.
As said previously with parasite treatments it is usually the ‘prescription only’ medications available from from your pet’s vet, or pharmacies with a veterinary prescription, that are most effective. You can find parasite treatments in many guises in pet shops or supermarkets, but they generally are not as good as the medications vets have access to. Indeed whilst we could sell all of these we chose only to supply what we feel will be the most effective - you'll not asee a vet selling a flea collar! Also unlike the advice you will get from your vet or veterinary nurse, the checkout person cannot give you advice on what will work, what is effective agasint what and what dosage to use (this differs depending on the size of your pet).
If in doubt about which is best to use for your individual circumstances your vet or the veterinary nurses will be more than happy to advise you.