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.
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.