PARASITE CONTROL FOR DOGS
To protect your dog from parasites, we can provide effective canine parasite control measures at Casey and Cranbourne Veterinary Hospital. The three main types of parasites that endanger dogs include intestinal worms, heartworm and fleas, and we can help to safeguard your pet from these.
To treat intestinal worms, we recommend Drontal chews or Cazitel tablets, which will be administered according to your pet’s weight. Alternatively, you can use a combination product to treat multiple parasites (see below).
Intestinal worms include roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and whipworms, and it’s not uncommon for puppies to be born with roundworms. Puppies can acquire hookworms from their mother’s milk, so it’s important to treat them early on. Intestinal wormers should be given to puppies every two weeks until 12 weeks of age, then monthly until six months of age, and every three months after that throughout your dog’s life.
If your dog has worms, then the following symptoms can result:
- Anaemia (loss of red blood cells)
- Weight loss
- Poor general condition, with a dull coat
- Intestinal obstruction (severe cases)
Your dog can get the common tapeworm from fleas, and it will often cause them to ‘scoot’. Some worms can spread to people, particularly children, and may cause blindness or large cysts in the organs.
Dogs can contract heartworm from mosquitoes, so this type of worm is more prevalent in the northern states, although it’s also becoming more common in Melbourne. Heartworm, as the name suggests, lives in the heart and also in the blood vessels of the lungs, so it’s a dangerous parasite that can result in death.
The adult worms that develop can cause blood clots around the heart, putting extra strain on it and eventually causing heart failure.
At Casey and Cranbourne Veterinary Hospital, we recommend a yearly heartworm injection. Puppies, however, require more frequent injections in their first year. We recommend giving puppies an injection at 3 months of age as this will protect them back to birth (known as back kill), then again at six months, with a booster injection nine months later when they get their annual vaccinations.
Heartgard chewable tablets can also be given to dogs every month while combination treatments (monthly spot on such as Revolution or Advocate or Sentinel tablets) are another option for heartworm prevention.
NB These treatments are preventative only and will not treat dogs already infected with heartworm. Infected dogs may also react badly to such treatments, so it’s best to get your pet checked by a vet if it’s older and hasn’t previously been protected from this worm.
Dogs can pick up fleas through contact with an infested area, and can cause extreme skin irritation. If your dog is excessively scratching and biting at the skin, it could be fleas. Preventative measures should always be taken, and if your dog gets fleas, then it’s important to deal with them immediately, as they can spread rapidly, embedding themselves in carpets and soft furnishings.
Some dogs may also be allergic to fleas, and general scratching can result in severe damage to their skin. While flea collars, powders and shampoos are readily available, they will NOT be effective in controlling a flea problem in the long-term. We recommend either a monthly chewable flea tablet, Simparica or a three monthly chewable flea tablet called Bravecto. Both are given orally and so can’t be washed off like spot-on treatments. Both Simparica and Bravecto also protect against mange mites and ticks, including the deadly paralysis tick which is known to be in coastal East Gippsland as far south as Bairnsdale.
Other flea treatments include the spot-on treatments Advantage and Frontline, which involve applying drops to the back of the dog’s neck every month.
A flea bomb may further be used to eradicate fleas already in the house, and it’s important to remember that all your animals and their bedding should be treated.
If you prefer to use a combination treatment to tackle parasites, then these are also available, and we usually recommend Revolution, Advocate and Sentinel.
Revolution and Advocate are spot-on treatments that are applied to the back of the neck every month and protects against all major parasites, internal and external (including fleas), except tapeworm.
Sentinel is a chewable treat administered to your dog on a monthly basis and prevents heartworm and all of the intestinal worms, as well as fleas.
NB Sentinel can cause a shock reaction in dogs that have heartworm infection, so it’s best to get your pet checked by a vet if its older and hasn’t previously been protected from heartworm.