Dogs and parasites

Dogs and parasitesThere’s nothing worse than knowing your best friend is suffering and we’ve put together a pretty thorough First section to help you look after them. This time we’re going to look at a pretty common problem. Parasites come in many shapes and we’d say sizes, but the truth is they all tend to be quite small. They can be annoying and they can be deadly so we’re going to look at ways to ensure you find can identify them and deal with them.

Fleas – Fleas are the most common of all parasites you’re likely to find on your pet.

Signs – The first sign of fleas is likely to be scratching. If you see your dog scratching more than usual and often in the same place.

How to check – Checking your dog for fleas can be tricky as Fleas are tiny. The simplest way is to sit your dog down on a piece of blank paper and come his fur over the paper. If you discover little flecks of dirt hold the paper up to the light. If the flecks are brown or red in colour there’s a high chance your dog has fleas.

What to do – Firstly to eradicate Fleas altogether you have to stop them multiplying. Wash and clean any dog bedding or favourite blankie thoroughly and then speak to your Vet about specific treatment.

Ticks – ticks are another External parasite which is common in dogs. Ticks themselves although irritating are usually harmless however in some causes they can pass on serious diseases like Lyme Disease.

Signs – Areas affected by Ticks will be red and inflamed and ticks themselves are fairly  easy to detect if you suspect they are present. Ticks attach themselves to a dogs body by biting and holding on.

How to Check – if you suspect your dog has ticks, search manually under their fur. Ticks look like little spiders and if they have been feeding they can seem quite plump.

What to Do – Your Vet is the best  person to get advice from regarding ticks, but there are other methods which are sometimes disputed. A colleague of mine swears blind a long bath can help by drowning ticks, but as I said there are mixed opinions.

Scabies/mange – Scabies and Mange are caused by parasitic mites which bury themselves under the skin and can cause horrible rashes and discomfort.

Signs – Rashes and hair loss are likely to be the first sign of Scabies or Mange in your dog.

How to Check – It’s very hard to accurately diagnose either condition so  a trip to your vet is a must.

What to Do – There really is only one answer here get your dog to the Vet as soon as possible. It is worth mentioning that the conditions are highly contagious so do look out for dogs who have recently been diagnosed and keep a wide berth until they have been treated.

Lung Worm – Lung Worm is still relatively rare in the UK although it’s definitely more common in the South. The parasite spends its adolescence in slugs and snails and it is suspected that by they are passed to dogs by the ingestion of the snails.

Signs – Lung Worms live in and near the heart and can cause cardiac and respiratory problems and often weight loss and occasionally coughing.

How To Check – Lung Worm is hard to detect but it can sometimes be seen in your dogs stool.

What to Do  – Lung Worn is a serious condition and you should seek advice from  a vet as soon as possible.