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Fleas & Ticks
The flea is the most common cause of skin irritation in dogs and cats and often adds to the discomfort of pets with other itchy skin problems. They also are an intermediate host for some kinds of tapeworm.
Fleas are not just a summertime problem. They can live perfectly well in your warm home all year round, even if it’s frosty outside.
The immature life stages can remain dormant for a year or more, hatching when conditions are right to feed on your pet’s blood (and perhaps your blood too!). Almost all pets will come across the odd flea doing day to day things such as walks, being in the garden, or anywhere where there are other animals, including wildlife. This is an uncomfortable fact of life, and is normal. If fleas come into your house on your pet, they can breed very rapidly, with each female laying hundreds of eggs. Very quickly, a small number becomes a large infestation. Prevention is better than cure, so don’t wait for it to become a problem.
Ticks and mites are common parasites of dogs and cats and may spread other diseases to your pet. They are particularly prevalent in woods and moorland. Different types of tick have evolved to feed from different animals, for example sheep, other livestock and wild animals such as deer and hedgehogs. The likelihood of your pet being exposed to ticks will depend on the type of environment it visits and also the other animals that live there. Ticks feed by latching onto the animal, piercing the skin and sucking blood. Ticks can live and feed from several different animals in their lifetime, so can sometimes spread diseases from one animal to another.
Prevention and Control
The best plan for control depends upon the lifestyle of your pet. Contact us to discuss your individual circumstances. Animals with particular skin problems may benefit from using more than one type of product, to reduce flea exposure as much as possible. Flea prevention products can be administered in several different ways. It can be a ‘spot-on’ or spray directly applied to your pets skin, given by mouth (dogs & cats) or injection (cats). Whatever product is used, it is very important to use it frequently and as directed on the package. If the product says monthly, use it monthly, or it won’t work effectively.
One of the most important parts of flea control is to treat the house and car – anywhere where your pet goes could harbour the eggs and larvae, and missing this step out leads to re-infestation and the mistaken belief that your product is not working. It is very unusual for a prescription flea preparation not to work if used as instructed. Please talk to us if you have used a product and it does not seem to be solving your problem.
Tick control should be considered for all pets, but especially those travelling abroad or visiting high risk areas of the UK (such as woods and moorland). Some spot-on solutions and collars that are used for each control will also kill and repel ticks. Please discuss with your vet which product would be most suitable for your pet’s lifestyle.
Get in touch if you’d like any more information.