Summer is here, and we have some wonderful highlights to enjoy, Wimbledon Tennis, festivals, walks in the park, lazing in your sun-soaked garden, and of course the weather!
But with the lovely warm weather, there also comes some unexpected visitors! Whilst it’s an undeniable pleasure to own a pet, it’s also a choice which comes with a great deal of responsibility. Unfortunately your cat or dog can sometimes bring other unwanted beasties into your home, which can cause discomfort for both you and your pet if not dealt with promptly and effectively.
If your pet seems to spend an increasing amount of time itching and scratching, it’s very possible that they have caught fleas. Check if you can see any tiny brown or black critters in their fur, keeping an eye out for dark-coloured specks at the same time, as these could be flea droppings. Another tell-tale sign of a flea problem is if you notice any red and itchy insect bites on your own skin that you can’t account for, especially around your legs, ankles and feet.
- Fleas are not just a source of serious irritation for your furry friend, but they also pose some serious health risks if not treated properly. Adult fleas are bloodsuckers, biting into the skin to get to their next meal. If your pet is hypersensitive to flea saliva, they could have a severe allergic reaction to the bites. Fleas are also notorious for carrying diseases which can all too easily transfer to your pet. It’s not just cats and dogs that are at risk either; myxomatosis is regularly carried by fleas, and can have very serious implications for your pet rabbit
- Worms are another common risk to your pet. The difficulty in determining whether your companion has contracted worms is that there can often be no outward signs of the infection. Nonetheless, symptoms to look out for include weight loss, increase in appetite, weakness, diarrhoea, and fur that is dry or coarse. Extreme cases in kittens and puppies can also result in a swollen abdomen like a “pot belly”. You should also look out for worms in your pet’s faeces or vomit, or around their bottom.
- Worms cause suffering and illness for your pet and in the most extreme cases, can result in death. Some types of worms can also be transferred from your pet to you and other people, which in turn can result in some nasty diseases. As flea larvae can become infected with tapeworm eggs, flea and worm problems for your pet can often go hand in hand. Prevention of both is therefore a top priority for any pet owner. You should disinfect water and food bowls regularly, as well as cleaning bedding (washing at 60°C ensures any fleas, larvae and eggs are killed) and vacuuming areas where your pet spends most of their time.
- Unfortunately, any time your pet is outside they run the risk of picking up a third unwanted guest: a tick. Ticks are oval-shaped parasitic creepy-crawlies that usually affect dogs, but can also cause problems for other animals and people too. Varying from around the size of a pin-head up to a fingernail, ticks latch onto your furry friend’s skin and feed off their blood.
- The temptation when you first encounter a tick attached to your beloved companion is to remove it as quickly as possible there and then. However, this can cause further complications if part of the tick is left behind embedded in your pet’s skin, which often leads to infection. A tick must not simply be left alone however, and there are a variety of safe methods for removal. Most important is to ensure the whole tick is removed and that your own skin is protected throughout the removal process.
- If you don’t feel confident removing a tick yourself, make an appointment with one of our surgeries and one of our team will be happy to help your furry friend become tick-free once more! The best way to avoid all the nasty creatures mentioned here is through regular preventative methods. Flea and worm protection can be administered by either you or your vet, ensuring your pet is as safe as possible from these problematic pests. Many flea remedies also offer a guard against ticks.
For more information, or to book an appointment for flea, worm and tick treatments, speak to one of our team who will be more than happy to help:
Streatham Hill Veterinary Surgery on 0208 674 3525
Blackheath Veterinary Surgery on 0208 858 5151
Wimbledon Veterinary Surgery on 0208 540 7275
Mayow Veterinary Surgery on 0208 659 4496
The Animal Clinic on 0208 319 3033
The Corner Vet on 0208 641 6126