Parasites are a fairly common problem encountered by vets and owners, but why is it  so important to treat them?

Firstly there is the issue of zoonosis or transfer of infection to humans.  Toxocara (roundworm) infection, although uncommonly found in humans has the potential to cause blindness in children through larval migration. It is important therefore to worm all animals, not just those in contact with children because infections can be picked up by children playing in parks where dogs defaecate.

Then there is the harm they can cause to our pets, take for example lungworm, known to have killed a number of pets.  More commonly however the simple flea can cause irritation and severe skin allergies which can be extremely irritating and debilitating for the pet.

Parasite prevention is also very important when taking pets abroad because there are many life threatening infections that can be contracted through contact with parasites and biting flies on the continent that currently we do not have here, take for example leishmaniasis which is contracted from sandflies and potentially transmissible to humans.  There is also a risk that parasites harbouring these diseases may be brought back to the UK and thus potentially become endemic here, for example babesia (which causes life threatening anaemia) contracted from ticks.

That’s why it is so important that you keep parasite prevention up to date and speak to your vet regularly to make sure you have got everything covered. Different pets have different needs depending on age, lifestyle and travel, for this reason your vet will be the best person to taylor a plan that best meets your pets needs.

To find out what sort of cover your pet might need then click here.

For a comprehensive list of UK pet parasites click here.

For travelling pets click here to find out about parasites abroad click here.

For a comprehensive list of treatments for UK parasites click here.

For a comprehensive list of treatments for pets travelling abroad click here.