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Parasites

Information about fleas, ticks, lice, mites and other parasites

Key Facts

Each female flea can lay as many as 200 eggs, which immediately fall off the animal, all around your home.

Flea eggs hatch into worm-like larvae which move away from light and downwards. This means that they are usually found deep in the carpet pile. They tend to accumulate in areas where the pet rests, but have been observed to crawl as far as 20 feet while in this stage of the life cycle.

After 7 - 18 days, flea larvae pupate. Not the latest dance fad, but the process by which they spin a protective cocoon around themselves and develop into adults.

Inside the cocoon, fleas are almost impervious to insecticides. In fact, about the only thing that will get them during this stage of their life cycle is a blowtorch (which is perhaps a bit extreme for most people!).

It takes between 5 - 14 days for fleas to develop inside the cocoon, after which they are triggered to hatch in response to vibration (being stepped on), or the carbon dioxide exhaled by a passing host. But in the absence of a trigger, they can survive inside the cocoon for up to nine months.

A flea can hatch from its cocoon, jump on a passing pet, and begin feeding in as little as 7 seconds.

Adult fleas are permanent ectoparasites. In other words, once they have landed on a pet, they'll stay there until they're removed by grooming or die. That's logical. After all, if you're already sitting in the best restaurant in town, why move?

Adult fleas usually live for a matter of days on a cat or dog, unless swallowed by the pet, or killed by an insecticide. They account for only 5% of a typical flea infestation at any one time (the rest existing in the egg, larval and pupal life stages).

Unfortunately, scientists believe there is no such thing as an effective flea repellent. It seems that fleas are not repelled by garlic, citronella or brewers yeast. This is why many of the cheaper products which are readily available in pet shops and supermarkets, including flea collars, dont work.

Combined worm and flea tablets for dogs

The tablet is given monthly and is an effective alternative to spot-on treatments and means that one product can cover routine parasite control. Effective against fleas, heartworms and roundworms.

Spot on treatment for complete parasite control in cats

This unique spot on means that cats need not be given tablets for worming as both roundworm and tapeworms are controlled as well as fleas, ticks and mites.

Ring our branches for advice and prices. You need to be a registered client to buy this Prescription Only Medicine.

Ticks

Ticks are common parasites affecting dogs and cats in many areas of the world. They require blood to complete their development, and acquire this through biting their preferred animal host.

Ticks are more likely to be active in spring and autumn but may be found through summer in humid areas. Tick control should be continuous through this period and treatments applied according to the manufacturers directions.

Ticks may cause several problems when they bite:

  • They can transmit a number of serious potentially fatal diseases especially in dogs. These include babesiosis (piroplasmosis), ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, borreliosis, rickettsial infections, and several viral diseases. It depends on where dogs/cats are in the world as to the importance of each disease.
  • Severe skin reactions may occur around the site of a tick bite in sensitive animals.
  • In certain areas of the world (e.g. Australia), some of the ticks produce a toxin which causes paralysis which may be fatal.
  • Very occasionally where there are a large numbers of ticks attached to a small dog or cat, blood loss may be severe enough to cause anaemia.

There are several, safe and effective acaricides that kill ticks attached to dogs within 24 - 48 hours. These include sprays, collars or spot-on products containing imidocloprid/flumethrin, fipronil, pyriprole and amitraz.

We have several products to treat and prevent tick infestation. Contact our staff at either surgery to see which product is best for your pet.

Have you tried off the shelf flea products and are still having problems with those pesky parasites?

Still seeing fleas?

Practice information

Town and Country Vets - Blackburn

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40 King Street Blackburn Lancashire BB2 2DH
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Town and Country Vets - Clayton-le-Moors

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69 Whalley Road Clayton-le-Moors Accrington Lancashire BB5 5ED
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Town and Country Vets - Whalley

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Bowland House The Sidings, Station Road Whalley BB7 9SE
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