Do I need to protect my cat or dog against fleas in winter?

Do I need to protect my cat or dog against fleas in winter?

Did you know that winter is one of the worst times for fleas, mites and ticks in Australia?

Vet clinics are full of parasite cases because many pet-owners think these nasties simply “disappear” during winter and stop protecting their pets.

Sadly, these parasites don’t just disappear when it gets cold …or board a cruise ship to the Bahamas.

Instead, they find the next best thing – your pet’s fur and bed. It’s warm there, and like a cruise ship, includes an endless buffet of food. That food is your pet.

In winter, Fleas use your home to breed.

It’s lovely waking up to a warm heated home in winter, but consider the environment you’re creating.

It’s not just your dog or cat’s bed, like most parasites, fleas are attracted to the warmth and your home can quickly become the perfect place for breeding.

Your home can quickly become a breeding ground. 

A single Flea outbreak in winter can take months to stop.

That’s because around 95% of any flea infestation is made up of eggs and immature developing fleas, not the adults. These eggs usually live in carpets, furniture and other warm places like your mattress.

Fleas are also quite happy to live in temperatures over 8 degrees, so freezing them out is also impossible in Australia. An adult female flea can also lay up to 50 eggs per day. 

Once you get a flea outbreak, it can take up to 3-month to stop the cycle!

At this stage, you might want to consider that Bahamas cruise ship. Just be sure to burn all of your clothes and take a chemical bath before boarding the ship to not take the outbreak with you.

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How do you prevent Fleas in your home this winter?

Luckily for us, only ADULT fleas infest dogs and cats.

This means, that if you keep up your pet’s parasite-protection during winter (for fleas and other parasites like mites), you can avoid them breeding – and avoid an outbreak.

That’s why protecting your pet year-round is so important.

How common are Flea outbreaks in winter?

As a Vet I would estimate that around 30% of all untreated pets (and homes) are affected by Fleas in winter. They need to go somewhere after all. Other Australian clinics cite figures like 65% of untreated cats, and 47% of untreated dogs show signs of fleas during the winter month.

Yet, more than 20% of pet owners stop treating their pets in winter thinking they’re in the clear. It’s a terrible Australian misconception. Fleas and other parasites survive EU, UK and US winters. Our winters pale in comparison. Fleas aren’t going anywhere except into warm homes!

Ticks and mites share similar winter traits too, and that’s why a comprehensive plan matters. We’d recommend FleaMail as it’s super simple, affordable and delivered to your door each month when due.

But if you’d prefer to use another plan, please keep their protection up.

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How to look after your dog’s teeth, a Vet’s guide.

How to look after your dog’s teeth, a Vet’s guide.

Did you know that good dental health for your dog can mean an extra 4 years of life? Regularly checking and helping your pet keep their mouth healthy, is all part of good pet ownership.

Although more common in older dogs, dental decay problems can start as early as 2 years old, and is often diet related – checking the ingredients in your dog’s food is a great first step. Please contact us if you are unsure and our Vets will check your pet’s food: Contact our Vets here. 

Dental diseases can include:

– Consistently bad doggy breath
– Difficulty or change in eating speed
– Change or loss of appetite
– Visual tartar build up around teeth
– Bleeding and unusually red gums
– Pawing at the mouth
– Loose or loss of teeth

How does tooth decay happen? 

Just like in us humans, after a dog eats plaque builds up around teeth. If this plaque isn’t removed it turns into tartar, the hard browny-white substance you can sometimes see.

This tartar irritates the gum-line and causing gingivitis and bad breath. Left alone this can then exacerbate into gum ulceration, loose and then missing or broken teeth. Whenever you have ulceration or broken teeth you have an easy entry point for bacteria to infect the mouth and your pet’s blood which can be extremely painful and lead to death.

A lot of people also don’t know that bad teeth can also cause heart disease, a condition called endocarditis, which can be both debilitating and fatal.

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What can I do to keep my dog’s teeth clean?

First, giving a bone to a dog is NOT the same as brushing their teeth – more on bones in a future post!

For now, brushing your dog’s teeth with a toothbrush is something that you (and they) need to learn. The earlier you start the better to get into the right habit, but it’s easy to teach an old dog new tricks too.

Here’s the steps to make it easy and comfortable:

STEP 1 – PREPARE: It’s important to never restrain your dog while brushing their teeth. Sit with them on the floor and gradually work up. Also NEVER use human toothpaste on a pet as it can cause stomach upsets. Your local vet or pet store will stock doggy toothpaste that won’t make them sick. 

STEP 2 – BUILDING TRUST: Start by simply putting a bit of wet food on your finger and get your dog lick it off. As they do this try to rub your finger over as many of their teeth as possible – starting with the front ones. Do this for a couple of days gradually trying to touch or rub more teeth further back each day. Make these sessions short to begin with, then try to lengthen them a little each day.

STEP 3 – REMOVE THE FOOD: Gradually, introduce gauze over the finger and gently scrub the teeth in a circular motion. Ask your Vet about this gauze, or try using some super soft cotton cloth.

STEP 4 – INTRODUCE THE TOOTHBRUSH: It needs to be a soft toothbrush. You can use a pet-specific one or an “ultra-soft toothbrush” designed for people. Special pet toothbrushes and toothpaste are available from your veterinarian or speciality pet stores. Remember: don’t use toothpaste designed for people because it could upset your dog’s stomach.

And be sure to book in regular Vet appointments. Like us, all pets should have a regular dental check-up to examine their teeth and if necessary, a professional clean.

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Why does my dog or cat eat grass?

Why does my dog or cat eat grass?

As a Vet, I get asked regularly by worried pet owners about their dog, or cat eating grass – especially if they are eating grass and then vomiting. It’s been a long-held belief that pets (especially cats) eat grass to “tickle their throat to be sick.”

But far more often, chances are your cat or dog is “just having a chew”. Wild dogs and cats did it, and eating grass is most often a perfectly normal behaviour, especially for puppies and younger dogs.

Some researchers even suggest that dog’s and cat’s don’t have a high enough IQ to “decide” to treat an upset stomach with grass – but like all research, there’s always more that needs to be done.

Pica, a medical term you might hear.

Pica is the medical term we use to describe pets eating things that aren’t considered “food.” Pica can indicate that your pet could be malnourished, but with the quality of pet foods in Australia, it is VERY rare to see a malnourished family dog or cat.

Over-feeding on the other hand is super common. Pica involving grass is very common and Vets consider it completely normal.

Some grass-eating statistics.

Some dogs and cats actually love grass as the roots/stems can be very sweet, or it just feels good to chew on. But let’s summarise some stats from a few studies we looked at in Vet school – there’s quite a few online reports if you wanted to delve a bit deeper. Fewer than 20% of cats and dogs are actually sick after eating grass, and of those, very few are doing it for medical reasons.

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Even so, take precautions with your garden.

Please be extremely careful when using pesticides, fertilisers and herbicides on or near plant material which is accessible to your pets.

These can make your pets quite sick if enough of it is eaten or licked off the plant. Also if you are planting new plants in your garden please check carefully that they are non-toxic to pets.

Purple and red plans are big warning signs, so please double check before revamping your garden or indoor plants!

So what do you need to remember?

1. Dogs and cats eating grass are completely normal.
2. If your pet vomits after eating grass, keep an eye on it but don’t panic.
3. If vomiting is regular, getting a Vet check is recommended.
4. Some garden products or plants need to be avoided.
5. Remember to protect your pets against parasites.

 If you find your pet is eating grass but is okay, then don’t panic. But if they are unwell, please speak with your local vet to diagnose the underlying problem.

 … But remember that while eating grass is normal, be sure to see your local Vets if your cat or dog is regularly eating grass and sick, so they can diagnose the underlining problem.

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Travelling With Your Cat or Dog in Australia, a Vets Guide.

Travelling With Your Cat or Dog in Australia, a Vets Guide.

Us Aussie pet owners are passionate folk, in fact 98% of us consider our pets as “part of the family” – so it’s no wonder we take them on holidays with us.

With the explosion of Australian dog-friendly accommodation, off-leash parks and beaches, day trips are becoming common outings. And as travelling with pets becomes more common, we’re also travelling further with them.

For a first time holidayer (or even a seasoned tripper) there are a few things you should do to prepare your fur-buddy for a trip.

Is it your first time?

There are very few pets out there who just get in the car for the first time and not throw up, pee or poo – or in some cases, attempt a jump out the window.

Like people, it’s not just being a “new experience”, pets can have anxiety issues or just straight up car-sickness too.

So if it’s your first time, be sure to start with a super short ride to the local park, then build up to a day trip before doing any real serious travel.

The key is consistency, the less “new” things that happen, the less stressed they’ll get – which leads to the next point.

Restraining your pet in Australia.

By law in Australia, you MUST have your pet restrained in a moving vehicle. Whether it be a crate, a harness or properly restrained in the back of a ute for example. Gone are the days of your dog jumping in the passenger seat.

While there is no law in regards to seat belts specifically, as a Vet, I’ve seen what happens when an un-belted pet is in an accident. Around 5000 dogs a year in Australia are injured or killed from falling from a moving vehicle, according to RSPCA stats.

The RSPCA can also issue fines under “The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act”. If an unrestrained animal is injured, you could face up to 6 months jail and $5,500 in fines.

So “click-clack, front and back” (including the crate if you’re using one). Most pet stores sell harnesses that you simply slide a belt through and fasten as normal.

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What to take on holidays for your pet?


1. Your “pet travel bag”. 

Like kids, the more familiar a pet is with their environment, the less stress. A pet travel bag makes life easy – but be sure to pack their everyday stuff that they know.

Leashes, toys, bowls, jackets, kitty litter, food and medications all in one place means less time looking for things – you can check at a glance.

Most importantly, being plenty of food and water for the whole stay. Getting to a new destination and finding out they don’t have your pet’s regular food can be a problem. 

2. Medications and parasite-preventatives.

Your holiday destination may have different nasties to home, and your current protection regime may not cover everything you need. A good example is people travelling to coastal towns and not having paralysis tick prevention, simply because you live inland or a non-paralysis tick area.

Across is a map of where Paralysis ticks are in Australia (covered by all canine FleaMail plans), but call your Vet quickly as there may be other parasites to consider for your particular pet.

3. Plan your travel route around pee stops.

Knowing your route matters, like where dog parks and rest stops are along the way. Your pup needs a break about once an hour to stretch, have a drink and relax a little – even for 5 minutes. So knowing where there are a few stops along the way makes life a lot easier.

Pets also have much smaller bladders than people, and many have faster metabolisms. While a person can “hold it” while travelling for long distances, cats and dogs often cannot. Remember to stop!

And NEVER leave them alone at a campsite or in the car, even for 5 minutes. Dogs and cats can overheat (or worse) in no time, and get nervous in a new environment without you around.

Your Aussie Pet Travel Checklist:

After you feel your pet is comfortable on short trips, and you’re ready to venture a bit further (with your pet travel bag). Simply follow this pet checklist – and be sure to stop every hour or so for them while driving so they can answer nature’s call!

  • Food, enough for the whole stay
  • Water and familiar bowls
  • Familiar blankets
  • Familiar toys
  • Medications and Preventatives
  • Litter box, litter or poop bags
  • Brushes and grooming supplies
  • Car harnesses and tracking / council tags
  • Spare leads and collars if you have them

 … Happy adventures!! 

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What ingredients can you use to cook dog food? Here’s a Vet’s guide!

What ingredients can you use to cook dog food? Here’s a Vet’s guide!

Imagine having to eat the same thing, day in and day out – it’d get pretty boring right?

Or eating food that could be doing you damage, because dog food from a supermarket (Coles, Woolies, Aldi) is basically McDonald’s, plain and simple. It’s full of salt, poor quality meat, high in fat, high sugar, vast amounts of preservatives and additives – as well as the dry food containing up to 20% ash. Yes, you read that right, ASH. 

Cooking your dog’s meals can do wonders for their health, so let’s head to the kitchen with a Vet’s guidance!

The two BIG rules!

 Above all else, there’s 2 dog food rules:

Rule A: DOGS ARE NOT LITTLE PEOPLE. Dogs have very different physiology compared to humans and therefore need a specific diet.

Rule B: DOG FOOD NEEDS TO BE BALANCED. Each meal should include all of their nutritional needs, which we’ll jump into next!

What nutrients do you need?

For the right balance of macronutrients, your dog’s meal should follow the below guide:

1) 50% vegetables for carbohydrates and fibre.
2) 40% lean meat and offal for protein.
3) 10% fats and oils.

Personally, I try to avoid grains as they’re usually high in calories – and grains are by far the most common source of allergies in pets – but adding some whole grains or seeds can be beneficial if you use just a single unprocessed grain like brown rice, whole corn or flax seeds.

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Okay, now your dog food shopping list!


1. Vegetables (50% of ingredients) 

Vegetables are the key to mixing up your dog’s flavours and food, by using different vegetables you can be assured that your pet is going to be getting a whole range of amino acids, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fibre.

Using as many colours as possible is a good rule of thumb for a good vegetable dietary profile. A bag of mixed frozen vegetables is super cheap now-days and can be given to your dog “raw” as well.

But remember, GARLIC, ONIONS and GRAPES are toxic to dogs – so never use them in their food.

2. Meat and offal (40% of ingredients) 

Lean meats and Offal are the building block of life, so for a growing pup or a high energy dog – a good source of high-quality protein is important. Using lean cuts of meat or mince (like chicken or turkey) is best. If you want to spoil your pooch with some steak, go for it, just be sure to trim the fat!

Dogs need 10 essential amino acids that primarily come from meats and protein rich legumes. By using offal, especially liver, heart and kidneys you can get more of these as well as extra nutrients like iron, B vitamins and zinc.

Just make sure the meat is ALWAYS cooked (we’ll cover this later – but raw can be quite dangerous).

3. Fats (10% of ingredients)

Fats help every cell in a dog’s body – and healthy cell membranes are the foundation of good health. Dietary fats are also required for the absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K which are all essential for good health and immunity. Dogs also cannot make poly unsaturated fats so these must be added to your dog’s food as well.

Some of the best fat profiles are a mix of two different types. 2/3 animal fat (chicken or pork is best) 1/3 seed oil (safflower oil or any oil high in polyunsaturated fats). Another great tip is to add ¼ of a tin of sardines in oil to your dog’s diet each night as well.

Having all the right fats will also help your dog’s coat, and skin stays shiny and super healthy.

The power of fresh water!

Additional to cooking your pet’s food, never underestimate the power of clean water – and water during meal time is essential to get the stomach and intestines running optimally and help maintain digestion.

Clean water, daily, in multiple bowls around the house/property will help your dog get all the fluids they need.

The raw diet ….problem.

We have one rule at our clinic, “no raw food, ever”. By raw food, we are referring to raw meat and eggs, not raw vegetables, grains or fruit. Although there seems to be a big online push for “raw” diets, it’s essential you know the risks.

Because it’s not actually the digestion of raw food, but the campylobacter and salmonella that run RIFE through raw meats and eggs when not cooked or stored in the right way. Raw food kills hundreds of pets each year all around Australia.

Just because a dog used to eat raw food in the “wild” doesn’t mean that it’s better for them – in fact, wild dogs live to only 5-7 years of age on average – something to consider if you currently feed your dog raw.

Raw food is too risky, and so are bones. But we’ll address this in another Blog article so you can make informed decisions.

 …. So for now, happy cooking – and enjoy the licks after your pup has devoured one of your delicious home cooked meals!!

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The Best Flea Treatments For Aussie Dogs – Our Vets Discuss.

The Best Flea Treatments For Aussie Dogs – Our Vets Discuss.

Did you know an adult female Flea can lay up to 50 eggs per day?

You read that right – 50 eggs a day!

And from egg to adult, Fleas can mature in a matter of weeks in the right conditions. So if your dog or cat is itchy, read on!

This article could prevent your home from turning into a flea circus. Full disclaimer: Our Vets run www.fleamail.com.au, Flea, Tick & Worming made easy for Aussies. However, we’re not backed by any pharma companies. We simply use the best.

What are Fleas anyway?

Fleas are small, wingless parasites that survive by feeding on the blood of cats, dogs, and humans. Because they feed on warm-blooded animals, Fleas are extremely good at surviving all year-round, from our harshest Aussie summers to our coldest winters.

A Flea’s entire body is made to eat, with a head that’s encompassed by sharp spikes, and with a mouth that’s designed to pierce through a host’s skin and feed on their blood.

What are the early signs of Fleas?

Given the size of Fleas, you likely won’t see them until your dog is “scratching an itch”. To check your dog for fleas, use a fine-toothed comb and brush while looking for small brown dots moving about. Extensive flea bites can also lead to anaemia and hair loss, so it’s important to get hem early.

Fleas can also gravitate to a dog’s ears and tail, so be sure to check there too.

Keep an eye out for “Flea dirt”, the poo fleas leave on your pet’s fur. If you moisten Flea dirt on a tissue it will turn red, since it is mainly ingested blood.

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How do dogs and cats get Fleas?

As the “circus” name eludes to, Fleas are capable of jumping nearly a foot in the air vertically!

This makes it easy for fleas to get onto a dog, cats or humans. Fleas love warm temperatures too, so in summer they’re everywhere, in winter they’re searching for your pet’s warm fur!

After a single feeding, Fleas can survive for months without a meal, yikes.

Let’s get to it, preventing Fleas!

Like EVERYTHING, prevention is better than cure when it comes to Fleas, and we recommend total parasite protection (like FleaMail) because Fleas can carry other diseases. FleaMail uses oral protection, but there are other methods available.

Here are your options:

1. Oral Flea treatments for dogs.

Many Vets (including our FleaMail Vets) prefer oral treatments as, depending on the product, also protects against more parasites than Fleas like ticks, heartworm, roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms.

It should be noted, no single oral flea treatment for dogs can protect against all parasites. At FleaMail we use a combination of leading Australian parasite prevention products for comprehensive protection.

2. Topical Flea treatments for dogs.

Applied directly to your pet’s skin, normally between at the base of the neck or shoulder blades, topical flea and tick treatments are often referred to as “spot-ons”, a parasite prevention liquid that’s spread over your pet’s entire body and sweat glands.

Due to the chemicals used, the unknown protection and the possibility of children coming into contact with your pets, we do not recommend spot-ons at FleaMail.

3. Flea Collars for dogs.

Flea collars are exactly what they sound like, a collar with a concentrated chemical to repel and kill fleas, and some ticks.

A flea collars intends to disperse the active ingredients over the animal’s entire body, but as you can imagine, there can be a large concentration of chemicals on your pet’s neck, and the rest of their body exposed. For these reasons, the FleaMail Vets tend to avoid Flea and Tick collars.

4. Powders, Sprays and Shampoos.

Another approach for controlling Fleas are sprays, powders and shampoos. These were more popular 15-20 years ago before oral treatments caught up. Flea powders and sprays need to cover your pet’s entire body, even between their toes, but always avoid their eyes and mouth (very tricky as all pets lick).

We avoid Flea shampoos and powders, they’re just inconvenient and can be very toxic.

Looking for the right Flea treatment products?

We’ve prepared a list below, so you can do your research. If you’ve any questions, please just get in touch with the FleaMail team on our contact us page – and our Vets will get back to you!

1. FleaMail: www.fleamail.com.au
Comprehensive Flea, Tick & Worming by Aussie Vets.
The FleaMail protection plan includes:

– Monthly Simparica liver chew for fleas, ticks and mites.
– Monthly ValuHeart heartworming prevention.
– Every 3 months Cazitel liver tablet for intestinal, tape, lungworms and giardia.

2. Sentinel Spectrum: www.sentinelpet.com
NOTE: Does NOT cover Ticks and Mites.

3. Nexgard: www.nexgard.com.au
NOTE: Does NOT cover Mites and Tapeworms.

4. Bravecto: www.bravecto.com.au
NOTE: Does NOT cover Mites, Intestinal and Tapeworms.

5. Comfortis Plus: www.comfortis.com
NOTE: Does NOT cover Ticks, Mites and Tapeworms.

6. Advantix: www.advantagepetcare.com.au
NOTE: Does NOT cover Paralysis Ticks, Mites, Intestinal, Tape and Heartworms.

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Ticks, 7 Signs Your Dog Or Cat Has One.

Ticks, 7 Signs Your Dog Or Cat Has One.

Ticks are everywhere in Australia, and if you live anywhere near the coast, you’ll know all about our dreaded paralysis ticks too.

And while your dog or cat can get a tick at any time of year (they don’t die off or hibernate, see here), September starts official paralysis tick season in many areas of Australia. Come September, your pet should be fully protected against these nasties.

But what are ticks?

Ticks are oddly not related to fleas, but actually related to spiders (arachnids). Unlike spideres however, ticks require a “blood meal” from a host, most often an animal to grow and reproduce. Australian ticks have 4 stages in their life: Egg, larva, nymph and adult. At all stages except the egg stage, a tick must take a blood meal.

What makes paralysis ticks so dangerous?

When a paralysis tick bites or feeds, it injects a neurotoxin into the bloodstream of the animal. A paralysis tick’s toxin then causes paralysis of the animal’s muscles.

Because of this, paralysis ticks are the most deadly tick species in Australia, one bite can kill a large dog. There are two paralysis tick species in Australia, the Australian and the Tasmanian paralysis tick.

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How to spot a tick on your cat or dog.

1. Finding a tick in, or around your home.

If you find a tick on your carpets, curtains or anywhere else, your dog is likely the carrier and probably bought it in the house. Check your dog or cat straight away, using the next point.

2. Give you dog or cat a full rub down.

What you are looking for is a small bump, that could vary from the size of piece of sand to a small pebble. If you feel any abnormality, grab the torch and get as good of a look as you can. You can’t miss a tick when you find one.

3. Your dog acts strange.

After a tick bite, especially a paralysis tick, your dog may show symptoms of a fever, weakness or not wanting to play like normal, no appetite, different shivering (for small dogs who can do it for other reasons) and any unusual panting. If you notice any of these sign, please see a vet!

4. Excessively nipping or licking.

While ticks are often in places where dogs can’t reach easily, your dog may excessively nip or lick if it knows it has a tick. Pay close to attention if your dog keeps nipping one, or a few spots, and investigate with a flashlight immediately. Common areas are your dog’s ears, groin or under their front legs.

5. Unusual scabs or skin irretations.

A tick may have had it’s fill and left your dog already, however the signs are often still there. Many dogs excessively nip or lick at the bite site. If you notice this behaviour or find scabs on your dog’s body, make sure to conduct a closer examination.

6. Unusual head shaking.

Ticks can often crawl into a dog’s ear canal, as they like to hide in warm, damp places. If you notice your dog shaking their head more than normal, get out a flashlight and look very carefully for a tick. Note, the tick may be tiny at this stage as your dog will feel them in their ears more than other places.

7. Keep the tick for identification.

Once you’ve removed the tick (see video link below), keep the tick in a jar or zip lock bag so you can get it identified by your vet if need be. If you notice any signs in your pet, or are the least bit concerned, please contact your local vet straight away.

How to remove a tick.

Bush tick, paralysis tick or other species, here’s what you need to do if you find a tick on your pet. Firstly, try not to panic! When you panic your pet will too, and you may try to remove the tick the wrong way (if you’re in a rush), which can cause even more pain and complications.

Across is a video Dr Evan, FleaMail’s Vet recommends for remove a tick. AND REMEMBER, prevention like FleaMail is always better than the cure.

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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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