Despite the recent down-pours, parasites love the warmer temperatures during the summer and autumn months. We always advise owners to keep a close eye on their pets all year for signs of flea, ticks and worms and to give treatment regularly to prevent these creatures becoming a nuisance.
There are many different species of flea including dog fleas, cat fleas, rabbit fleas and even human fleas! Many species can infest more than one host species.
Understanding the flea lifecycle can help us get rid of these pests effectively!
Life Cycle of the flea
Female fleas can produce up to 50 eggs in a day – that’s 1,500 in her lifetime!
Eggs are deposited on your pet’s coat and where your pet sleeps
This stage lasts for about 1-6 days
The flea then goes through a couple of moults and maturing stages
They do this in carpets and dark crevices and feed off animal matter and flea faeces
This takes 5-11 days
They then form a hardened shell or cocoon made from dust and dirt
They are IMMUNE from all flea treatments at this stage!
They can lay dormant in carpets for up to a year if undisturbed, but a warm and moist climate encourages them to hatch out as adult fleas (8-12 days).
Adults are 1.5-4mm in length and very good at jumping.
They feed by sucking blood from the host animal.
They use their saliva to stop the blood from clotting and pets can often experience an allergic reaction to this saliva.
Did you know… only about 5% of a flea infestation is adult fleas on your pet, whereas 95% is in your home as eggs, larvae and pupae?!
This means that in order to prevent and manage a flea infestation, both ‘on animal’ AND environmental protection MUST be used (Dechra 2017). Although flea products get to work quickly and kill off adult fleas within days, it can take several applications and months to get on top of a flea infestation. It is therefore recommended to treat for fleas each month and year round to stop them getting established.
Flea products bought at super markets and large pet stores are found not to be as effective as the prescription products you can purchase at the vets. The incorrect strength or type can have devastating effects for your pet. The vets will be able to offer the most suitable product for your pet and one that you are happy to administer (spot-on, tablet, collar). Always follow administration instructions carefully.
There are many different types of worms but here are the ones most commonly seen in pets:
- Most puppies are born with these are they are contracted from their mothers.
- Live in the small intestine.
- Spaghetti-like appearance
- Can be passed on from parents or pick them up out and about.
- Signs: In puppies and kittens, pot-belly, poor growth and occasional diarrhoea. In adult dogs and cats, poor coat condition, vomiting and diarrhoea.
- Sometimes, you might notice entire live worms in your pet’s sick or poo.
- Live in the small intestine.
- Signs: excessively licking their rear end, worm segments (look a bit like grains of rice) seen around the tail and bottom. Weight loss despite good appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea.
- Lives in the blood vessels
- Potentially fatal
- Dogs can become infected through eating slugs or snails, or by eating contaminated grass from snail trails, which can get on toys too.
- Lungworm can make dogs seriously unwell so it’s best to try and prevent them from getting infected.
- Cats can also get lungworm through ingesting infected birds, frogs, rodents or by drinking contaminated water.
If left untreated worms can cause serious health problems and they can also spread to humans especially young children.
Here at Emscote we always offer free parasite checks with a nurse so you can rest assured your pet has exceptional parasite protection on board.
Ticks are small creatures that live in grassy areas and forests. These little parasites require a host to feed off and will attach to any mammal that happens to walk by. Once attached to the host they take a blood meal.
Ticks are also good at spreading nasty infectious diseases such as Lyme disease. This affects nerve and muscle cells and can be fatal. Lyme disease is zoonotic meaning it can spread to humans.
Ticks are big enough to see on your pet and will feel like a small bump on your pet’s skin. Run your hands through your pet’s fur regularly especially after dog walks to check for any lumps or bumps. If you come across a tick or you are not sure, it’s best to have it checked out so it can be removed as soon as possible. Bring your pet down for a free nurse check to remove any found. Ticks need to be removed carefully as to not squash the body and leave the mouth parts in the skin, the best method is by twisting. A ‘Tick hook’ can be purchased from the vets so you are able to remove ticks safely at home or when you are out and about.
If you have any questions about parasites, the treatments we offer or to book in for a parasite check with a nurse please get in touch.
References/ Further Reading:
Dechra. 2017. The Life Cycle of the Flea. Available from: http://www.ripfleas.co.uk/flea-life-cycle/ [Accessed 14th August 2019].
Lyme Disease UK https://lymediseaseuk.com/2015/10/26/tick-removal/
PDSA, Lungworm: https://www.pdsa.org.uk/taking-care-of-your-pet/looking-after-your-pet/all-pets/preventing-worms?_$ja=tsid:|cid:1403862223|agid:58293350622|tid:dsa-19959388920|crid:305764053098|nw:g|rnd:15990894971177528305|dvc:c|adp:1t1|mt:b|loc:1007201&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIlqW-1v-x5AIVybTtCh0fnArgEAAYASAAEgKJRPD_BwE