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Parasite Control – Managing Fleas and Ticks

Fleas and ticks are external parasites which can cause disease and affect your pet’s quality of life.

Fleas can cause itchy bites, on pets and owners.  Some pets may develop flea allergies.  A flea comb can be used to look for adult fleas or the brown – black flea dirt in your pet’s coat: this is actually blood so unlike general dirt it will turn red if you damp it on a piece of tissue.

Unfortunately, fleas can enter our homes and multiply quickly. A single adult flea can lay 2000 eggs, which can reside in carpets and soft furnishings as they mature through their early life-stages.  As a result, many pet owners find eliminating fleas a long and frustrating ordeal.

It is vital to choose effective products, apply them correctly and observe the correct dosing intervals.  Regular vacuuming and washing bedding at high temperatures can help eliminate immature life stages in the environment, alongside appropriate environmental products.

Ticks attach to the skin and feed on the blood of their ‘host’ such as a wild mammals, birds, livestock, cats, dogs or humans.  They are typically found in grassland, shrubs and low branches of trees and waiting for their host to brush against them.  The most common ticks in the UK are the sheep tick (Ixodes ricinus) and the hedgehog tick (Ixodes hexagonus).  Whilst they are found year round their numbers tend to increase between March and November. 

Experts agree that ticks are on the rise in UK, as are tick-borne diseases such as Lyme Disease (see blog on website) and Babesiosis.  Owners travelling abroad with their pets should ensure good tick control due to more tick species and the increased risk of diseases transmitting in warmer climates.

If you suspect your pet has a tick do not attempt to burn, cut, or directly pull the tick off – this risk leaving the mouthparts of the tick will be left behind.  Ticks are best removed by twisting anticlockwise with a special tool – please ask at reception who will be able to advise. They may also suffocate and drop off if covered in washing up liquid or alcohol.

Fleas and ticks can be prevented by a variety of treatments including sprays, collars, tablets, spot-on treatments.  There are many products available, please ask at reception.  An effective preventative approach will protect you and your pets from these unpleasant parasites and associated diseases.

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Fenton Vets

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