As the weather warms up, we start to see more parasite problems for all sorts of pets.
Here are some of the more common parasites we come across, as well as some information on the problems they cause and how to get rid of them.  Fleas and ticks are of particular concern for Sydney dogs

Fleas

Fleas can be difficult to spot and not all pets carrying fleas will be itchy! Look out for these clues:

  • Your pet might constantly be scratching or chewing and become quite irritable.
  • You might notice red, sore-looking bumps or blisters on your pet’s skin.
  • If you look close enough, you might see ‘flea dirt’ – this is a flea waste product that looks like tiny little flecks of pepper.
  • Sometimes, you can even see the fleas moving around themselves – tiny little brown or black wingless insects, with an incredible jump!

Flea bites are not only uncomfortable and frustrating for your pets, but they can also lead to serious wound infections, anaemia, tapeworms, and dermatitis.
Moving swiftly is the key to flea treatment! You will need to treat:

  • Every pet in your household
  • Pet bedding
  • Carpet
  • Furniture
  • Any other soft furnishings a flea or its eggs might be hiding

In clinic, we offer a wide range of products and tools to treat your pet for fleas, and we can offer some very helpful tips for dealing with an outbreak. Give us a call if you have any questions, or book online to organise an appointment.

Ticks

Ticks can be found in every state of Australia. There are many different species of ticks, and some pose a significant threat to the wellbeing of our pets. The most common species that affect our pets are the paralysis tick and the brown dog tick.

  • Paralysis ticks are particularly dangerous, as they deliver a neurotoxin into our pet’s bloodstream as they feed, leading to severe paralysis of the muscles – including the heart, proving fatal. They are particularly common on the eastern sea board, including Sydney, up to 20 km inland from the coast
  • Brown dog ticks are not deadly themselves but can cause dermatitis and anaemia, as well as carry some nasty diseases, including Ehrlichiosis, which has only recently been discovered in more northern parts of Australia, and is spreading to some southern parts.

The best practice is to regularly check your dog for ticks after being outside – run your fingers through their coats to feel for any unusual lumps on their skin. Be sure to check over your pets’ entire body, especially:

  • Around their head and ears
  • Inside their ears
  • In their mouths
  • Under their tail
  • Between their toes
  • Underneath their collar

Ticks are sneaky and can easily latch onto many different areas on your pet.

If you come across a tick, be sure to give us a call to organise its removal as soon as possible – it is vital to act quickly and we will ensure to remove all of the tick – even a small part leftover can continue to cause problems for your furry friend.

Keeping your dog protected year-round from ticks is key – we recommend tick prevention treatments like chewable tablets, spot-on drops or tick collars. Speak to us today for our recommendation and prevent your pet from any unnecessary discomfort and illness.

Mosquitoes

Dogs, cats, rodents. and birds make for easy targets and tasty snacks for mosquitoes. While the mosquito bite itself is more annoying than threatening, mosquitoes can spread heartworm and other potentially fatal parasites to your pets.  Cats can develop mosquito bite related skin allergies.

We recommend making sure there is no stagnant or still water around the backyard – this is where mosquito larvae grow. Cats with mosquito bite allergies should be brought indoors between dusk and dawn, or make sure they have a safe, meshed area to sleep in. Pet safe mosquito and insect repellents are available that may be used. Speak to us if you have any concerns about mosquitos in your area.

Heartworm and Intestinal worms

The prevalence of heartworm disease is thankfully now very low in the Sydney area.  However we do occasionally diagnose a positive case in dogs who have not travelled to a tropical area.  It is transmitted via mosquito bites.  We currently recommend ongoing heartworm protection in Sydney dogs to avoid an increase in prevalence of this nasty parasite.  It can cause severe lung and pulmonary artery disease

Many different intestinal  worms can affect our pets and importantly can also cause disease in humans!. Some more common worms we see are:

  • Roundworm
  • Hookworm
  • Tapeworm
  • Whipworm

Intestinal worms are more pathogenic in younger animals so it is extremely important to maintain vigilience with treatment in puppies and kittens.  However as humans can be affected by dog and cat intestinal parasites, lifelong treatment is recommended.

Prevention is the best cure – by administering regular preventatives which are available in various forms and combinations with other parasite control products. Ask our team for advice on the best preventative for your pet. If your pet is unwell, please book a consultation.

If you have any concerns about parasites and your pet, give us a call on (02) 9351 3437 to organise a consultation or book online to discuss these with your vet.