Throughout spring and summer ticks, fleas and parasites are in full bloom and are looking for a place to thrive. While year-round prevention is important, during the warmer months we need to be particularly vigilant with our pets’ preventative care. Parasites spend their time living on or inside our pets resulting in damage to our pet’s well-being and general health. Ticks, fleas, heartworm and intestinal worms are the most crucial parasites to protect your pet against.
FLEA PREVENTION PRODUCTS
If your pet does become infected, the parasite will start to feed off your pet, which then results in illness. For this reason, it’s important to regularly treat your pets for parasites:
- NexGard Spectra is an all in one product for dogs that needs to be given each month and covers all 3 major groups of parasites.
If you are part of a busy households where monthly medications could be forgotten, we recommend a different protocol for your dog to decrease the frequency of treatments:
- An annual heartworm injection,
- Milpro a chewable tablet given every 3 months for intestinal worms and finally
- Bravecto for ticks and fleas which can be given as a 3-monthly chewable or a 6-monthly spot-on.
Finding the correct preventative for ticks, fleas and intestinal worms can sometimes be confusing, as products can vary and some are extremely toxic for cats. For indoor cats without any risk of coming into contact with paralysis ticks, we recommend using:
- Advocate a monthly spot-on which covers fleas, intestinal worms and heartworm.
For outdoor cats we recommend:
- Bravecto Plus a spot-on every 2months which covers fleas, ticks, intestinal worms and heartworm.
To avoid any confusion, we recommend chatting with one of our team about which products would be most suitable for your pet.
Fleas are tiny brown parasites that jump onto the skin of our pets and then cause skin irritations and flea infestations. If left untreated the fleas will infest our homes and our pet’s environment, which is usually a huge concern for our clients. This is why we recommend flea prevention all year round.
- Fleas can jump almost 200 times their own length.
- Fleas live for only 2 to 3 months.
- Fleas lay eggs 36-48 hours after a blood meal.
- A female flea can multiply by 200,000 in just 1 month.
- The female flea will lay 2,000 eggs in her lifetime.
- Female fleas feed on blood up to 10 times their body weight daily.
When you spot a flea it’s very likely there’s hundreds of fleas jumping about.
FLEA INFESTATIONS IN YOUR HOME
The eggs and larvae like to hide in humid places, like cracks between floorboards, carpet and in bedding. The fleas that you observe on your pet are only a small percentage of the total flea population in your home – it is estimated that 90% of the flea population in a household is living in the environment rather than on pets. There are many products available for treating your home for fleas, including flea bombs, powders and sprays. Unfortunately, not many are effective as flea eggs and larvae can be very resilient. Treating your pets with long-lasting flea preventatives such as NexGard and Bravecto is the best strategy to gradually eliminate the flea population in your home. In this way, your pet will act as your own living flea bomb, luring eggs and larvae out of hiding and killing them before they have a chance to breed.
Fleas can also cause skin allergies that may cause symptoms such as excessive scratching/chewing/licking, hair loss and skin rashes Flea Allergy Dermatitis is one of the most common type of allergies see in dogs and cats. Just one flea bite can result in an entire body skin irritation. It’s important to seek veterinary care for any skin problems your pet may develop.
FLEAS AND TAPEWORM
If that wasn’t enough, fleas also host an intestinal worm known as Tapeworm. If your pet ingests a flea they can become infected with this worm. Sometimes, tapeworm can be transmitted to humans. We recommend regular worming all year round to prevent this.
Our pets love summer just as much as we do! It’s a wonderful time of year to play outside in the sunshine but it’s crucial that you recognise the dangers of the Paralysis Tick to our pets during the warmer months.
WHAT ARE PARALYSIS TICKS & HOW DO THEY SPREAD?
Paralysis ticks are rampant up and down the East coast of Australia. They thrive in warm and humid conditions, feeding off the warm blooded whilst injecting a nasty paralysing toxin. This tick is extremely toxic and life threatening to pets. The paralysis tick loves to inhabit areas of native scrub and bushland, as well as areas with long grass cover. These are areas where wildlife that play natural host to tick can be found.
Avoiding these areas doesn’t prevent a paralysis tick from attaching itself to your pet. In Queensland, the risk of a pet acquiring a tick seems to exist regardless. Ticks can be found at any time of year, however the risk increases from early spring and well into summer.
WHAT DOES THE PARALYSIS TICK DO TO MY PET?
Once a paralysis tick attaches itself to a pet it will feed upon the host’s blood, injecting small amounts of saliva into the dog or cat in the process. The saliva contains a dangerous nerve toxin that causes the connection between nerves and muscles in the body to malfunction. This causes weakness, which will present itself in several ways including:
- Wobbly hind legs & difficulty walking
- Difficulty breathing
- Complete paralysis.
The effects of paralysis may become so severe that your pet will be unable to walk or lift its head, and without treatment, the majority of affected pets will ultimately pass away. If your pet shows any of these symptoms mentioned you MUST seek veterinary attention immediately! Even if you remove a tick, your pet is still not out of the woods. The toxin has already started to spread through your pet’s body, and without treatment the development of paralysis is still possible.
HOW DO I PROTECT MY PET AGAINST PARALYSIS TICKS?
We highly recommend using a tick preventative treatment all year round. This is the best way to protect your pet against ticks. There are options like Bravecto & Nexgard that come in the form of a chewable tablet, making them easy to administer.
PERFORM A TICK SEARCH
Along with using a regular preventative, it’s extremely important to thoroughly perform a daily tick search on your pet by working your fingers through your pet’s entire coat, paying particular attention to their eyes, lips and mouth.
Caring for your dog just got a whole lot easier! NexGard Spectra is monthly flavoured chew that conveniently provides protection against the major parasites in dogs NexGard Spectra offers complete protection for dogs against fleas, ticks, heartworm, intestinal worms and flea tapeworm. If your dog is already on adequate worming prevention, you can use NexGard instead of NexGard Spectra. NexGard provides 1 month protection against fleas and ticks without the added worming prevention.
BRAVECTO & BRAVECTO PLUS FOR CATS
Bravecto makes it easy to protect your dog and cat against the risk of fleas and paralysis ticks. It works fast and provides your pet with long-lasting protection. For cats it is available as a topical spot-on which can be used every 2 or 3 months (depending on whether you are using Bravecto or Bravecto Plus which includes worming). For dogs Bravecto is available as both oral flavoured chews (that last 3 months) or a topical spot-on (which lasts 6 months). (JACK PLEASE LINK TO THE PAGE OF BRAVECTO PRODUCTS ONLINE SHOP)
Milpro is an efficacious, broad spectrum all-wormer tablet made from proven and trusted active ingredients. It is highly palatable, has a liver-flavoured film-coating and is small. The tablets are scored to ensure accurate dosing. Milpro treats and controls all major intestinal worms found in cats and dogs, including roundworm, hookworm, whipworm and tapeworm. When used monthly, Milpro also prevents heartworm.
ADVOCATE FOR CATS
An easy-to-use water resistant spot-on, Advocate is applied monthly. The ingredients in Advocate provide fast relief from fleas, prevent deadly heartworm and protect your cat from most gastrointestinal worms. Advocate stops fleas feeding within 3 to 5 minutes, killing adult fleas and their larvae within 20 minutes helping to break the flea lifecycle. With monthly use it also protects your cat from the danger of heartworm infections, aids in the prevention and control of lungworm and kills mites too.
If you believe you have found a tick on your pet but are uncertain, please give us a call on 1300 838 868. Our Veterinarians and Veterinary Nurses can assist you. Please note that many of the dog tick preventatives are HIGHLY TOXIC to cats.