It’s not nice to think about, but yes parasites are a part of your dogs life and they are a common problem. Prevention rather than cure is the key to not only keeping your pet safe and healthy but in some cases us too.
Many parasites are distressing and uncomfortable for our dog but they can also cause disease which can affect her long term health. More distressing is that some of those diseases can cause death. Other parasites are themselves zoonotic, so they can infect people which often results in illness.
So What Parasites Should We Protect Our Dogs From?
Fleas are a common and irritating parasite affecting both dog and human once they are in your environment. They can be picked up by your dog just walking past an infected area and once they are in your home, they can be a nightmare, in most cases taking 3-6 months get rid of.
Ticks can be a big problem to both dog and human. They live in grassed areas and woodlands. They attach to your dog and feed until they eventually drop off after around 12 days. They are often difficult to see if your dog has a thick coat but even in finer coats are still difficult to spot as they are less than 1cm until they begin to feed and become more visible. The biggest risk for your dog being bitten by a tick is that if they are infected, severe disease can be past to her and in some cases, us. Lyme disease is the most common which is a zoonosis and can therefore be past onto us. There is a particular type of tick which transmits Babesia. This is a disease which causes anaemia and jaundice and if not caught early enough sadly results in death.
There are lots of different types of worms which can infect of dogs. Most will not cause severe disease in healthy dogs but can cause vomiting or diarrhoea and weight loss. Some however are also zoonitic and can cause severe disease in humans. But perhaps the most dangerous and unfortunately one of the most common is Lungworm. This worm only causes very mild or no symptoms until serious disease has developed by which time infection may prove fatal. Many dogs die from lungworm disease every year.
There are many options to keep your pet safe from the nasties of parasites. They range from a tablet which is given once every month to a spot on applied to the back of the neck every three. It is always worth purchasing from your vet whom can advise the product best suited to your dog. They also only sell prescription strength products so you have the peace of mind that your dog is completely protected.