Flea and Worm control is not only important for your pet’s health but also for public health. We provide Prescription-Only Medicine, so if we have not recently examined your pet and prescribed a Prescription-Only parasiticide, you’ll need to book a formal consultation with your vet so that we can supply you with the product. We are always happy to provide advice on the best preventative care for your animal so please call in if you have any questions.
Flea and Worm Treatment for London Pets
Having a cat or a dog living with you means we need to consider what creepy crawlies they could be picking up and what this means for their health and your family’s health. Cats will hunt, play, groom, and then spend the rest of their day chilling on your bed. Dogs will explore, hang out with friends and eat and lick all sorts of horrible stuff while living their best lives. Parasites will jump on board for the ride and potentially lead to poor health in your pet or your family if we do not assess the risks and put in place preventative measures.
Your local Goddard Veterinary Practice will be able to recommend regular parasite prevention based on your pet’s lifestyle and the potential risks to your pet and to you and your family. By using treatments that are only available via prescription from a veterinary surgeon, we will be able to recommend the best products for keeping you and your pet safe.
What are fleas?
Fleas are tiny insects that can live on cats, dogs, rabbits, and a range of wild animals. The adults can survive for up to 2 years and can cause a range of problems for your pets, you, and your family. They are usually black or brown in colour and can be seen on areas of your pet’s skin. Fleas cannot fly and so must jump from animal to animal, or from the ground onto your pet. They then latch onto an animal and suck their blood by using the sharp spikes on their heads.
Fleas can cause intense itching, to the point where your pet can lose fur and develop a rash, also known as “Flea Allergic Dermatitis”. Fleas can also transmit infectious agents including tapeworm and the bacteria Rickettsia, which causes “cat scratch fever” in people, also known as “Typhus”.
When it comes to fleas, prevention is far better than cure
One of the problems with fleas is that 90% of the flea lifecycle – the eggs, the larvae, and the pupae, do not live on your pet. These flea life stages live in your carpets, the cracks in the floorboards, your pet’s bed, and with central heating, they can survive all year in your house. In the warmer months, usually April to October, your pet can pick up the adult fleas as the pupae emerge from hibernation, especially in grassy areas, around fox dens, or from other pets. Once an infestation has developed in your house, nothing will kill the pupal stages and it can take 2-3 months to break the flea lifecycle.
The most effective way to prevent a flea problem is to use a regular topical spot-on flea prevention or oral tablet recommended by a Veterinary Surgeon. Either method is a great way to effectively prevent your furry friend from contracting fleas from other animals or the environment, and from preventing the adult fleas from breeding in your house. A female flea can produce 40-50 eggs a day and the larvae that hatch from the eggs feeds on the dander from your pet. The use of a veterinary recommend flea treatment will also kill these larvae.
Most recommended flea treatments are used monthly – please check the label for the product recommended for your pet. They are often combined with other parasite treatments to keep your pet healthy and parasite free.
Treating a flea problem in your house
If you have a new pet, have missed regular preventative treatments, or have used an over-the-counter flea treatment, you may find that a flea infestation develops in your house. One of the signs of this may be bites around your ankles or the evidence of flea dirt (flea poo) on your pet’s skin that can be detected at a routine health check with a member of our veterinary team.
For treating the house, we recommend RIP Flea Extra Spray ®. Please read this useful guide for treating the house and remember to keep both yourselves and your pets away from a recently treated area for at least one hour.
What are worms?
Worms are the name of a group of different parasites that can be found in both dogs and cats. Certain types of worms can cause serious harm to your pet if they are not treated quickly. Dogs and cats can easily pick up worms by eating or licking soil, eating insects such as slugs, snails, and fleas, or ingesting rodents that are infected with worm eggs. Puppies can be born with a worm called roundworm and kittens can pick this up from their mum as soon as they are born.
Worms can cause a variety of health problems for animals. Such as diarrhoea, abdominal pains, growth deficiencies, weight loss, and dehydration. They can also cause pneumonia and heart problems in certain cases, and unfortunately, depending on the type of worm infection, they can be potentially fatal.
We can also pick up worms from our pets. Worms have complex lifecycles and we can be a host for some of these multiple life stages, leading to disease in our loved ones.
There are several different types of worms that can affect your pets and they can cause a variety of issues.
Lungworm in dogs – a serious problem in London
Lungworm can be fatal in dogs and over 1700 cases have been reported within a 50-mile radius of London . Your dog picks up lungworm by ingesting slugs and snails or consuming “slug slime” in water bowls or on grass. In a study by the Royal Veterinary College, 74.4% of foxes in Greater London are now infected with lungworm and provide a reservoir for the parasite.
Lungworm leads to a wide range of serious health conditions in dogs –including pneumonia, clotting problems, and heart disease. Despite the serious risk, only 33% of dog owners use a preventative treatment and many are not aware that only prescription parasite control, provided by a veterinary surgeon, is able to prevent lungworm infections.
We recommend using a monthly lungworm preventative treatment that will also treat a range of worms and fleas. We need to see your dog every 12 months to be able to continue to prescribe lungworm prevention and we may recommend a blood test prior to your dog having surgery if your pet has not been on regular prevention, to avoid the risk of blood clotting problems.
A common type of intestinal worm that is often passed onto puppies from their mother and can cause severe illness in young puppies and kittens. It’s important to treat new puppies and kittens regularly for roundworm and you may see evidence of this worm in your pet’s faeces.
This type of parasite can also be picked up by humans and although rare, can lead to conditions such as blindness in children. It is one of the reasons it is so important to pick up your dog’s faeces in parks and dispose of in a bin.
There are a number of types of tapeworm that your cats and dogs can pick up. A common one in cats is called Dipylidium Caninum. This type of worm is often caught by an animal ingesting an infected flea. The egg inside the flea then develops into a tape-shaped worm that attaches to the animal’s intestinal lining. You may see tapeworm segments around your cat’s bottom. Tapeworm can be treated either with a tablet or a topical spot-on wormer.
A particularly worrying type of tapeworm is the Echinoccus Genus. One type is found in the UK, mainly in Scotland and Wales, although there are increasing reports of it spreading to other areas of the UK, and another species is endemic in parts of Europe. They cause little harm to your dog but can cause significant harm to people, as we are the intermediate host and the tapeworm can develop as cysts in areas like our liver or lungs. Dogs can pick up the tapeworm by eating rodents or offal. It is very important if you are travelling with your dog to mainland Europe to treat your dog every 4 weeks, and you will need to have a tapeworm treatment certified by a Vet before you return to the UK.
This worm can cause serious anaemia in grown dogs and cats and can be fatal in puppies or kittens. Hookworms get their name by literally hooking themselves onto the intestinal lining of the animal and ingest large amounts of blood. It is not commonly diagnosed in the UK.
These specific parasites make their home in your pet’s colon or the beginning of the large intestine. This means that when your pet “does their business” they also pass the worm’s eggs too, contributing to the spread of the parasite even more.
As mentioned above, prevention is always better than cure – especially when it comes to animals. Preventing worms is straightforward and easy to maintain. Just like with flea treatments, you can use a topical spot-on treatment or an oral tablet. The frequency of treatments will depend on your pet’s lifestyle and our veterinary team can assess the risk for your pet and recommend the appropriate treatment.
Other preventative measures to protect you, your family, and your community from worms
- Bag and bin dog faeces
- Refresh water bowls regularly and wash dog toys that have been in the garden
- Wear gloves when cleaning the cat litter tray and clean it regularly
- Wash your hands after playing with your pet and before eating or preparing food
- Don’t let your dog lick your children’s face
- Wash pet bedding regularly
- Don’t feed raw food to your pets
- Try to avoid your dog scavenging
- If travelling with your pet, either in the UK or to Europe, check with your Vet about possible risks for the area you are travelling to and preventative measures you can take before and during your trip.
Having a pet in London often means that your dog or cat is out and about every day, exploring new parks, gardens, or areas near your home. Preventing parasites like fleas and worms is easily achievable and causes little to no stress for your animal. Regular treatments are available from your Goddard Vet, who will be happy to provide you with the right advice and treatment options for your pet.
Join our ProActive Pet plan and receive 12 months of flea and worm treatment plus many other benefits. Find out more below.