Intestinal Worms, 5 Myths You Need To Know.

Intestinal Worms, 5 Myths You Need To Know.

Intestinal Worms aren’t the most pleasant topic, but every pet owner should be aware of them – along with the other nasty worms Aussie dogs & cats get and the Myths around them.

So you can take the necessary steps to ensure your pet (and your hooman family) are protected from these slimy, wriggly parasites.

The good news, most worm infestations can be prevented and if infested, properly treated.

Additional to Intestinal Worms, it’s good know about the wide range of worms including “Roundworm, Tapeworms, Hookworms, Whipworms, Lung Worms”. Then there’s and the one you really want to avoid, “Heartworm.” You can read more about Heartworm here.

When it comes to Worms, here are the top 5 myths:

Myth 1: Indoors pets don’t get worms.

Pets can catch worms anywhere, from paddocks, parks to backyards and beaches.

Worms are carried by wildlife, insects and regularly turn up in undercooked or raw meat.

Cats and dogs however, most commonly get worms from contact with infected faeces (or where faeces was).

Pets can also pick up worms like Intestinal Worms by swallowing microscopic eggs, and some worms can even infect pets by directly penetrating their skin, or transferred in the bite of an insect like a mosquito.

Pets (especially cats) that hunt and eat animals including lizards, mice and birds or scavenge animal carcasses are at higher risk of many intestinal worms.

Myth 2: My pet doesn’t scratch their bum, so they don’t have worms.

There’s a commonly held belief that when a dog rubs its bottom along the ground (so-called sledging or scooting), the most likely cause is worms.

In fact, worms rarely cause this type of itchiness and there are dozens of other common causes of scooting. Some worms don’t even affect the digestive tract.

For example, a lungworm infection can be a serious health problem, especially for cats. They can become infected after eating snails, slugs, rodents, birds or small reptiles.

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Myth 3: I can’t catch Intestinal worms (or others) from my pet.

It would be nice if that were true, but sadly it’s not!

A “zoonosis” is a disease that can be transferred from animals to humans, and when it comes to worms, children are most at risk.

Children are often in closest contact with pets that can be contaminated with worms or worm eggs. If larvae end up in the brain or eye of a child, there can be very serious consequences.

Make sure everyone washes their hands after playing with a pet and before eating. Cover sandpits to prevent animals from using them as a toilet, and remove poo from the yard. Most importantly, treat all of your pets regularly with an intestinal wormer.

Myth 4: Puppys and kittens don’t get worms.

Most worms come from the environment, but puppies and kittens can get worms from their mom – even before birth or by feeding on mother’s milk.

Puppies and kittens also have a reduced immune system. Their bodies simply can’t fight off these worms like adult animals can. So ensuring they are wormed is essential.

Myth 5: My pet’s poo doesn’t have worms, so they’re fine.

Most pets with worms Intestinal Worms, will not poop out the adults, just the eggs or larval forms – which we often can’t even see.

We should note: Almost all dogs and cats will have some level of worms. A small number of worms in the gut of a healthy dog or cat can show no external symptoms. They may however still be pooping out eggs and infecting the surrounding environment.

If they are vomiting or having diarrhoea due to worms, that means that there is a very high amount of worms and therefore we are seeing symptoms in these particular patients.

What you can do to prevent Intestinal worms.

  • Clean kennels and your pet’s bedding regularly.
  • Control pests that harbour worms including snails, slugs, mice, rats and fleas.
  • Regularly remove poo from gardens and kitty litter trays.
  • Avoid feeding your pet raw meat or offal.
  • Always wash your hands thoroughly after playing with your pet and before eating.
  • Cover your sandpit if you have one.
  • Treat your pets regularly with a veterinary grade wormer.

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Fleas And Ticks, 5 Aussies Myths.

Fleas And Ticks, 5 Aussies Myths.

The pet world is full of furfies, and as a Vet, Dr Evan has had to treat hundreds of animals where the information found online has been incorrect.

So today we’re looking at some of the more “popular myths” regarding fleas, ticks and the treatments that are out there.

Fleas, a frustrating problem for pet owners.

Pesky fleas can make your pet itch all over, some so badly, that they’ll scratch and chew themselves until they bleed! Remarkably, Fleas can also carry other parasites, including tapeworm, so fleas can actually lead to more dangerous parasite-related diseases.

Then there are our killer Aussie ticks.

Ticks can be outright killers, especially the infamous paralysis tick. Like Fleas, Ticks can also carry other diseases that cause weakness, lethargy and joint pain in cats and dogs if not properly protected. (see our FleaMail parasite protection plans here).

Now to the myths:

Myth 1: There is a flea or tick “season”.

While there are times of the year where fleas and ticks are more active, there is no such thing as a “season for parasites”.

Many people think that fleas and ticks die off in winter, however having treated hundreds of dogs in our coldest months, fleas and ticks can (and do) survive the winter quite happily. Your dog’s coat is the perfect warm spot in colder temperatures.

Myth 2: A few fleas are okay for pets.

Dogs scratch, it’s normal.

No, it’s not.

Imagine having lice where you head feels itchy all day, and no matter how much you scratch, you’re still itchy. It’d drive you nuts right? Fleas can cause irritation and unhappiness for your pet, even in small numbers.

Pets can even allergic to them, where a single bite can cause a condition called Flea Allergy Dermatitis, a very expensive condition to treat.

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Myth 3: Supermarket treatments are the same as the veterinary grade ones.

If you’ve bought flea, tick and worming treatments from a supermarket, you may have wondered why they are cheaper than from a vet clinic. Perhaps it’s the bulk buying power of supermarkets?

Actually, that’s not the case.

The answer is – not all flea and tick products are created equal. Store brands often contain cheaper, inferior ingredients or lower dosages to reduce costs. Many popular supermarket brands actually take three months to work! 

Meaning, saving a few pennies on flea and tick protection now, can cost you much more later.

Myth 4: Natural parasite preventatives work.

As a Vet and pet owner, I wish this was true. But garlic and rosemary extract (for example) should not be seen as a parasite preventive.

If these natural alternatives worked, pharmaceutical companies would package them up and save billions in medical research every year.

The scary part, extracts come in various strengths, and some can be dangerous to your pet. If you are giving your pet alternatives, please ask your vet first.

Myth 5: Indoor pets don’t need protection.

While there is no doubt that outdoor pets face much greater exposure, it is important to recognise that fleas and ticks can (and do) infest indoor-only animals.

Where do these parasites come from then?

Most often they hitch their way into homes on people’s clothes, other pets and unwanted pests like mice, rats and possums that can live around your home. You can also carry them in after being outside or other people’s houses where pets have been. If you have an indoor pet, protection is hands-down better than cure.

What you can do to prevent fleas and ticks.

  • Groom your pet regularly and keep an eye out for any ticks and flea dirt or poo.
  • Clean your pet’s bed and anywhere they lay regularly.
  • Remove any unwanted scrub from your property and keep your lawn mown.
  • Vacuum regularly, especially under furniture.
  • Treat your pets regularly with a veterinary-grade flea and tick preventative.

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Heartworm, What Every Aussie Pet Owner Should Know.

Heartworm, What Every Aussie Pet Owner Should Know.

When it comes to Aussie dogs and cats, heartworm is a parasite you need to know about. Unlike other worms, heartworms are deadly as they travel in the bloodstream, and can end up living in and around the heart.

Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes, so indoor and outdoor pets are at risk.

Because of this, heartworming is a stand alone medication given at a different interval to a standard “allwormer”. And while dogs and cats can both be infected, it’s dogs that are more severely affected.

And with heartworm, the first sign of an infection can actually be the last, and sadly cause a painful death.

Keeping your pet protected is essential, here’s what you need to know:

1. An “allwormer” does not cover heartworm.

Unfortunately the name “allwormers” is very deceiving. Most allwormers only treat intestinal, lung, liver and tapeworms.

The medication for heartworm is also administered in two different ways:

1. A monthly tablet/chew or a yearly, or

2. An injection called and SR12 (not to be confused with your pet’s vaccinations).

2. Heartworm is not only a wet-weather disease.

We all know mosquitoes thrive in tropical weather like North Queensland, but “mosquito season” can fluctuate from one region to another. For example, if you live in Victoria, it’s impossible to predict when the last mosquito will appear.

Mosquitoes are highly adaptable and will find places to breed, even during a drought.

While some mosquitoes breed and hatch during rainfall, others prefer tires, birdbaths, or tin cans to reproduce. For these reasons, vets recommend year-round parasite prevention for all pets.

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3. Indoor pets need heartworm prevention too.

To a mosquito, your pet is like a Sizzler buffet. So even if you have just a few mosquitos in your home each year, your pet is susceptible to heartworm.

Skipping heartworm treatments because you live in a dry climate is indeed false security.

Even the lower likelihood dry and cool regions of Australia are still highly susceptible to heartworm, and you only need to look at the heartworm fatalities of local foxes or feral cats to see how serious of a concern heartworm is, all over Australia.

4. Cats are also at risk of heartworm.

While dogs have the highest rate of heartworm fatalities, cats and other pets like ferrets are vulnerable too.

Cats are slightly more resistant than dogs as a heartworm host, but there are still thousands of cases each year in Australia.

What most people don’t know, however, is that cats act as a reservoir for heartworm transmission to other pets (like dogs) that are more at risk.

5. Heartworm treatments need to be on time!

One of the most common mistakes that many pet owners in Australia make, is forgetting to administer their pet’s treatments. Monthly heartworm prevention is the easiest way to keep your pet’s immunity at its peak.

Late doses, missing doses or not knowing that a dose needs to be given every month can leave pets at risk for contracting heartworms. If forgetting is a problem, your pet can go on a yearly injectable (SR12) or go on a home-delivered monthly heartworm treatment plan like FleaMail.

What you can do to prevent heartworm.

  • Remove standing water from your home like any buckets, tyres and pot plants that hold water.
  • Make sure your screens and doors are well maintained and shut at all times.
  • Ensure roofing drains and gutters are always cleaned.
  • Make sure any water feature has moving water, or you’ve fish in the water to eat the mosquito larvae.
  • Treat all pets monthly for heartworm with a veterinary grade heartwormer.

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