An Overview of Parasites


With the warmer weather upon us, it is a good time to remember parasite control for our pets – what do we need to protect them against and why.

Parasites can live internally and externally and are an all year round threat to our pets’ health.

Let’s meet the common culprits!



The most common external parasite on dogs and cats the flea spends a lot of it’s life cycle in the environment. Approximately only 5% of the flea population lives on your pet, the remaining are found as eggs, larvae and pupae in the environment including the outdoor vegetation and in our houses.

A single adult female flea can lay up to 40 eggs per day with a 3-4 week development stage.This means that within one month of a flea entering your home there could be an infestation of 2400 fleas!

Fleas cause intense itching and scratching and can make our pets’ lives a misery especially on those who are also allergic to the flea saliva – known as flea bite hypersensitivity.

Fleas also carry tapeworm and therefore can transmit this to your dog or cat.


The second most common external parasite is the tick. Numbers increase between Spring and Autumn as the weather warms and they are now prevalent in both urban and rural areas.

Ticks cling to our pets as they brush against grass and attachment is immediately followed by feeding from the animal’s blood. This causes irritation and can sometimes lead to painful abscesses. An adult tick can attach and feed for up to 10 days.

Due to increased movement through Europe via the pet passport travel scheme we are now finding different types of ticks and associated diseases which we had previously never had in the UK. This poses a threat to our animals and also in some cases, to us due to zoonotic disease.


These unpleasant worms are internal parasites and remain unseen. Up to 30% of dogs and 70% of puppies are infected with Toxocara Canis, the roundworm. 1 in 4 cats carry Toxocara Cati and shed eggs contaminating the environment.

Round worm
Most roundworms live in our pets intestines and feed on blood or food our pets have eaten.

Roundworms pose a significant public health threat particularly in the young and immune compromised adult causing ill health and potentially blindness.


Cats are at high risk of becoming infected with tapeworm by eating rodents and other carriers as well as being transmitted by fleas as previously mentioned.

Tapeworms live in the small intestine and can cause reduced appetite, weight loss and sometimes vomiting. Tapeworms can sometimes be seen in the vomit or as segments that have broken off at the cat’s bottom.

Dog Tick

parasites dog 2

There are various treatments to prevent and treat these horrid parasites. Please contact the surgery to find out which product best suits your pet’s needs.

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