What are the risks?
Did you know your pet could be at risk from picking up a parasite every day, in everyday life? Whether you and your pet live near a park, in the countryside or in an urban setting, there are parasites lurking everywhere… it really is a jungle out there!
Dogs love to have a sniff of each other in the park, but did you know that dog-to-dog contact can transmit roundworm (through eggs found in their coats), fleas and subsequently tapeworm!
The fox population could be putting more dogs at risk of contracting and lungworm. Lungworm can be fatal, so if you see foxes out and about, make sure you add these parasites to your list of potential risks!
Fleas are exceptionally clever, they can lay 30+ eggs per day which drop to the ground and flea larvae can hatch in your carpets. However, they will only hatch when it’s warm enough (watch out for that central heating!) and when they know there is a suitable meal passing by. That meal could be your cat or dog… or even you! They can also cause some nasty reactions, so keep up the treatment all year round.
Mice and small rodents act as an “intermediate” host for the ‘mouse’ tapeworm. Sounds a bit scientific, but in a nutshell, if your cat regularly brings you a ‘present’ – you need regular tapeworm control!
Does your cat sit and salivate as the blue tits merrily play in your garden? Cats love to hunt birds, but did you know that cats can pick up roundworm by eating birds that have swallowed parasites’ eggs?
Your garden can be a haven for Angiostrongylus vasorum carriers, slugs and snails, plus if there’s poo on the ground, this could be harbouring roundworm eggs! Remember, even if you scoop the poop, the eggs can remain in the soil and be washed all over the place by rain (and we have plenty of that!). In extreme cases, this parasite can cause blindness in humans and children are most at risk. Monthly worming is routinely recommended to keep Toxocara at bay ensuring these parasite’s eggs do not end up on your shoes, and in your house!
Just one pile of dog poo can contain a million roundworm eggs! We know that you are a responsible pet owner as you are reading this, but did you know that even if you scoop the poop, eggs can still remain in the left overs and could even go on to affect humans, yuk! Only by worming monthly, can you break this life cycle.
Ticks cling to the tips of long grass waiting for a passing meal ticket. If an unsuspecting cat or dog wanders by, the tick jumps on board and uses its specially designed mouthparts to bite into the skin. Ticks aren’t just uncomfortable for dogs and cats – they can also transmit nasty diseases, and will happily attach to you too!
Slugs and snails
Slugs seem to be everywhere at the moment – from the tiny weenie ones to the mutant monster ones! Dogs can intentionally as well as accidentally eat these slimy molluscs, when eating grass, playing with a toy outdoors, drinking from an outdoor water bowl or rummaging in the undergrowth. If you see slugs or snails in your garden or on your walking routes, there is a risk of your dog becoming infected with lungworm, which can be fatal. The good news is that this parasite can be prevented, but there is only one licensed product for this. Lungworm is not prevented by standard wormers, so make sure you speak to your vet for the best advice.
What about us
Parasites are unpleasant and can, in some cases, transmit fatal diseases to dogs and cats. However, one of the most worrying human risks comes from the roundworm ‘Toxocara’ . In rare cases, if ingested by a human this parasite can move to the back of the eye and cause blindness! Do not be alarmed, as this is rare. To help reduce the risk ensure you keep up your pet’s monthly worming. Check out our management section to understand exactly how this parasite operates and how to ensure you and your family are protected!