FLEA, TICK, AND WORM PREVENTION
Paralysis ticks can be life threatening and very expensive to treat. We see a large number of cases in hospital each year. Any animals spending time outdoors, even just their own backyards, are at risk, especially over spring and summer. Ticks were traditionally spread in the bush by bandicoots, but now we find that possums are also carrying and spreading ticks in urban areas.
Signs of tick paralysis include:
Wobbly back legs
Change in voice
Tick paralysis is an emergency – seek veterinary attention immediately.
Prevention products have developed over recent years and the new generation ones are well worth using. We currently recommend Nexgard products monthly or Bravecto products three to six monthly.
Heartworm is a parasite transmitted as larvae to dogs by mosquitos (who are themselves infected by heartworm positive dogs). The larvae move to the chambers of the dog’s heart, growing to adult worms and eventually causing death by heart failure. All dogs should start on heartworm prevention by 12 weeks of age.
We recommend PROHEART injection for the prevention of heartworm disease. This involves a course of injections starting at 12 weeks old, with a second at 6 months, and third at 15 months and then once a year thereafter to coincide with yearly vaccinations. Dogs that do not use the annual Proheart injection need to be on a monthly oral medication for life.
Cat Parasite Prevention
There are many different products available, that cover various parasites. More information about each of the parasites is below, but here is a summary of the simplest combination of products to cover intestinal worms, heartworm, fleas and ticks:
For kittens under 12 weeks, worm with an oral wormer such as Milpro, every fortnight from 2 to 12 weeks of age.
For adult, indoor cats that don’t need tick prevention: Revolution monthly + Popantel (tape wormer) every 3 months.
For adult, outdoor cats: Bravecto Plus every 2 months (covering ticks, fleas and heartworm), + Drontal or Milpro wormer for intestinal worms every 3 months. Hunting cats, including indoor cats that eat geckos, may need additional tapeworm cover for Spirometra every 3 months.
Intestinal worms can cause serious problems, and puppies are especially at risk. When worm burdens become high we can see problems such as diarrhoea, vomiting, pot-belly, weight loss, anaemia, scooting and even more serious intestinal complications.
An “all-wormer” should cover Roundworm, Hookworm, Tapeworm (including hydatids) and Whipworm. Please note that intestinal wormers do not cover heartworm (but see above for heartworm preventative care options).
These worms can spread to people, especially children, so it is very important to prevent infestation. Puppies need to be treated every fortnight from 2 to 12 weeks of age, then monthly up to 6 months of age, then every three months for life. Some products combine flea, heartworm and intestinal wormer and are given monthly for life.
Only 5% of fleas live on your pet, 95% live in the environment! Fleas can be spread to your house or yard by roaming cats or even possums. It is very important to keep up a continuous flea prevention regime, or you may find you have a flea infestation.
Note that ALL animals in the household must be treated for control to be effective. There are many flea control products available but some older products are not as effective, so please schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained vets to learn about the best options. The best products combine flea and tick control.