Parasite Control

Controlling parasites that live on or in your pet is extremely important – not only for your pet’s health, but also for that of your family.  Some parasites are zoonotic, which means that they can also affect humans.  Ticks are an example of an external parasite that can attach themselves to humans, and roundworms are an example of an internal parasite that can reside in the human body.  The simplest way to protect yourself and your pet is to administer preventative anti-parasite products. 

GASTROINTESTINAL WORMING

There are a lot of worming products on the market, but not all of them cover all the worm species.  You need to ensure that your pet is protected against Roundworm, Hookworm, Whipworm and Tapeworm. 

Worming Schedule:

2-12 weeks of age: Worm every 2 weeks

3 – 6 months of age: Worm monthly.

Older than 6 months: Worm 3 monthly.

Roundworm Photograph © Elanco Animal Health

Spirometra tapeworm:

As well as the normal “flea” tapeworm, there is also a second type of tapeworm known as Spirometra tapeworm.  This can be contracted by dogs and cats that eat geckos, lizards or frogs.  These animals will need a higher dose of tapeworm tablet than what is in the regular products.  We stock a product called Popantel which is used exclusively to kill tapeworm.  Our staff can calculate the correct dose that you need for the size of your pet.

HEARTWORM

Heartworm is contracted by your pet by being bitten by an infected mosquito.  Your pet may not show signs of heartworm infection for several years - until the worms are blocking the heart and causing the animal to cough.  Treating heartworm is very dangerous and expensive, as you are trying to kill worms that live in the heart which inevitably comes with risks.  Heartworm preventatives should be initiated in your pet no later than 12 weeks of age.  There are three main options – monthly tablets, monthly spot-ons or the Proheart SR12 injection. 

Proheart SR12 injection

The heartworm injection lasts for 12 months in an adult animal, but in a growing puppy it must be given more frequently.  At St Vincents Vets we recommend that dogs have the Proheart injection at 3, 6 and 15 months of age, as this synchronises the heartworm injection with the dog’s annual Vaccination.  This regime is shown in the following injection schedule:

Age of animal when visiting the vet for treatments

12 weeks: 12 wk C5 vaccination

6 months: Desexing

15 months: Annual C5 vaccination

Annually: Synchronise with C5 Vaccination

FLEAS AND TICKS

Flea and tick burdens can cause severe health issues for your pet.  A flea infestation can cause flea allergy dermatitis for your pet, and can result in your pet continuously itching, chewing and rubbing at their skin until abrasions or infection can occur.  Paralysis ticks are a life threatening parasite as they cause an ascending paralysis for your pet which starts in the hind limbs and progresses to affect the entire body.  

There are some excellent products available at St Vincents Vets to kill Fleas and Ticks.  You can choose from chews, tablets, collars or spot-on products.  Our staff can discuss the different advantages to each product and help you choose a product that suits your pet’s needs.

EAR MITES

Ear mites can be one of the reasons that your pet is scratching at their ears constantly.  The only way to determine if this is the cause of your dog’s discomfort is to have a Veterinarian examine your dog’s ears, then take an ear smear and examine it under the microscope.  In this way the Vet can determine whether your dog has something down its ear (e.g. grass seed), has an infection (bacteria or yeast) or has ear mites.  Ear mites can be treated and prevented using the appropriate anti-parasitic product.