Fleas and Ticks

 

Fleas

Fleas are tiny parasites that love to feed on your pet’s blood. The bites cause irritation and this can affect you and your family as well. Fleas are notoriously difficult to get rid of; once you have them. They can easily be picked up by dogs and cats all year round, so it is important to make sure that your best friend is protected. Not only do they cause your dog or cat to itch and scratch but they can also carry nasty diseases and infest your home!

Fleas can cause severe irritation leading to infection of the skin (flea allergy dermatitis). They may also carry Bartonella - this is a bacteria that causes the disease Bartonellosis, also known as Cat Scratch Disease. Cat Scratch Disease can cause swollen lymph nodes and fever in people and can be particularly dangerous for people with lowered immune systems.

As well as diseases, fleas can carry the flea tapeworm which can cause harm to our pets, and has been known to infect humans too.

The best way to keep fleas at bay is to treat your dog or cat regularly with a good quality flea treatment. There are many options available to help you prevent fleas and ticks on your pets, including pills, spot-on and collars.  Weaker preparations and drugs are available in pet shops, but the most effective prescription flea protection can only be sourced via a vet.   We will be able to advise you on the different options available and recommend the best one for your pet based on their specific lifestyle.

Ticks

Ticks are parasites with large jaws that attach to pets, and humans, and feed on their blood. Ticks live on grass and other plants and leap onto a host as they pass by. When they attach they are generally very small, but they grow rapidly when they latch on and start feeding. They may also change colour when feeding too, often going from brown to a pearly grey.

 

The most common tick in the UK is the sheep tick, or castor bean tick, and it does look like a bean when fed. Initially ticks are small, but they can become over a centimetre long if they take a full meal! Although tick bites can be uncomfortable, especially if ticks are not removed properly and infections develop, it is the diseases carried and transmitted by ticks that pose the largest threat to our pets – which can be life threatening in some cases.

As usual prevention is better than cure and we can help you plan the best tick protection – this might be in the form of a collar, spot-on or tablets. Depending on where you live and your pets lifestyle, tick protection might be recommended to be seasonal (tick season runs from spring to autumn) or all year round.