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Protecting your pets against fleas and worms

A question I often get asked by family and friends is what worming, flea and heartworm products are the best for their pet? Choosing which products to protect your pet with can be a difficult task when there are so many on the market to choose from and it can be very hard to keep track of what they protect against. Therefore, I thought I would simplify it.

Firstly it is recommended to protect against all 3 of these categories of parasites. Fleas are nasty critters that bite both your pet and you. They are also very good at hiding so even if you cannot or have never seen fleas on your pet it does not mean that there are not fleas around. There are 4 life cycle stages of fleas, of which, the adult fleas that you see on your pet only form 5%. Also some animals are hypersensitive to fleas and even one flea can cause significant irritation.

Intestinal worms come in 4 varieties in pets; tapeworms, whipworms, roundworms and hookworms. These worms can make both pets and humans unwell. In pets they can cause weight loss, vomiting, diarrhoea and blood loss. As these signs can also be caused by numerous other diseases it can take some time to determine worms as the cause. Intestinal worms can also affect people, particularly children. They can burrow under the skin causing dermatitis, invade the eyes causing inflammation and blindness and invade the liver causing fever and inflammation. It is also important to note that worming your pet is the only way to stop people becoming infected with these worms. Human worming products do not treat these worms.

Finally, there is heartworm. Heartworm is carried by mosquitos from animal to animal and results in worms invading the blood vessels and heart. Heartworm is not usually detected as a problem in an animal until it is causing severe life-threatening illness.

So how to I protect my pet from all of this without missing anything important? A few examples of treatment options that cover fleas, intestinal worms and heart worm are given below. Please not that this list is by no means  exhaustive as new products are introduced all the time. Please contact your veterinarian to h help determine the best combination for your pet.

For dogs

  • Advocate (monthly spot-on liquid) + Virbac tapeworming (6 monthly tablet)
  • Sentinel Spectrum (monthly chew)
  • Panoramis (monthly chew) + Virbac tapeworming (6 monthly tablet)
  • Revolution (monthly spot-on liquid) + Canex /Drontal/Endoguard (3 monthly worming tablets)
  • Proheart (yearly heartworm injection) + Bravecto (3 monthly flea chew) + Canex /Drontal/Endoguard (3 monthly worming tablets)
  • Bravecto ( 3 monthly oral flea treatment ) + 3 Monthly intestinal worming tablet ( e.g. endoguard, canex, drontal) + Proheart ( annual heart worm injection)/ Heartguard ( monthly heart worm treatment tablet).

For cats

  • Advocate (monthly spot-on liquid) + Virbac tapeworming (6 monthly tablet)
  • Revolution (monthly spot-on liquid) + Virbac tapeworming (6 monthly tablet)

Additionally in individual cases such as dogs and cats with severe or chronic flea problems or heavy worm burdens, other medications may be recommended additionally and your vet can assist you with this.

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