What are fleas?

Fleas are common external parasites that affect pets. They rely on a host for survival and will continue to reproduce and live on your pet until they are removed.

How do flea bites affect animals?

Dogs and cats can be sensitive to the protein found in fleas' saliva, so when they bite, it could cause an allergic reaction. This can cause your pet to scratch excessively and become agitated.

Flea bites could even cause red bumps to form on their skin, cause hair loss or even dry skin due to excessive scratching. In addition, untreated flea bites could lead to more severe issues such as lesions or an infection.

How do I check for fleas on my pet?

Groom your pet regularly, looking out for fleas when you brush them.

Fleas are usually found in these common areas:

  • Around the tail
  • Near the neck and around the collar
  • Back of the rear legs
  • Around the groin and belly

Have your pet stand on a white towel or sheet to spot any fleas falling onto the fabric when you brush them.

Adult fleas are small, brown, and visible to the naked eye. However, keep an eye out for specks of dirt that look similar to black pepper or tiny grains of sand - this could indicate that your pet has fleas.

How do I get rid of fleas?

There are many different treatment options to prevent or get rid of fleas, such as powders, sprays, shampoos and topical liquids. Please speak to our vets at Hillside Vet to determine which one would work best for your pet.

In severe cases, your vet can also prescribe creams or antibiotics.

To reduce the chances of your pet getting fleas, you should:

  • Avoid having them explore places with overly long grass and sand
  • Bath and groom your pet regularly
  • Wash and change their bedding often

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Ticks are similar to fleas because they are parasitic organisms that live on the outside of an animal. However, depending on the type of tick, they could cause more harm to your pet.

Ticks insert their mouthparts into your pet's skin and produce a sticky substance that helps them stay attached to their host. They will then feed on the host's blood, causing the surrounding area to become red and irritated.

Ticks are capable of causing many diseases, such as Lyme disease, and in more severe cases, they could cause your pet to develop anaemia or even become paralysed. In addition, some female ticks release a toxin that can cause rare paralysis.

How to prevent your pet from getting ticks

While it is more common for animals to get exposed to ticks during outdoor activities, it is not uncommon for indoor animals to get them too.

The best prevention methods are similar to that of fleas. Please speak to our vets to learn more about our best tick control products.

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Five common parasites typically affect domestic pets include:

  • Roundworms
  • Tapeworms
  • Hookworms
  • Whipworms
  • Heartworms

While each parasite affects animals differently, some general symptoms may indicate an intestinal worm, such as:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Blood in the stool (bright red or dark purple)
  • Poor coat appearance

For heartworms, your pet may display other symptoms such as:

  • Coughing
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Weak pulse
  • Weight loss
  • Laboured breathing
  • Pale gums

If your pet is showing any of these signs, please urgently contact us to schedule an appointment.

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