Parasite Prevention – Spring Update

Spring is here meaning longer and warm days across the UK, but especially here in Cornwall. As the flowers and wildlife are starting to emerge from their winter hiding places, unfortunately so are the parasites. In the UK, pets are particularly at risk from flea infestation and tick bites as we head into spring. The side effects from these parasites can be unpleasant for both you and your pets, so the best solution is prevention and we are going to help you learn how in this article.

Fleas are small red/brown wingless insects that feed off warm-blooded animals. The most common type of flea in the UK is the cat flea, however, despite the name these fleas can also live on dogs, rabbits, wildlife and even humans. A single flea can live up to 2 years with females laying up to 1000 eggs in their lifetime. The eggs drop onto the floor and develop into larvae after 2 to 12 days, depending on the climate – it’s faster in the summer OR in centrally heated homes! Flea larvae are small white grubs with no legs, but strong mouths, living in the environment – in the carpets, the soft furnishings, or the dust between the floorboards. They feed off of adult flea debris before entering the pupal stage. This larval stage can take up to 200 days, however, in the summer it is considerably shorter ranging from 2 to 24 days. The adult flea usually emerges from the pupa after 5 to 14 days but this can be delayed for many months in poor conditions.

Adult fleas can be found in carpets, bedding, and soft furnishing and on pets. They rely on blood meals from animals in order to keep producing eggs. There are a few signs you can look out for that may indicate you have fleas in your home:

  • Pets itching and scratching often
  • Bald or red patches on your pet’s skin
  • Small red bites on pets or yourself (often on the lower legs and ankles)
  • Thickened skin particularly on ears
  • Visible flea droppings
  • Visible fleas jumping on pets or from carpets

Flea droppings can be seen by doing a quick and simple test. Using a flea or nit comb, part and squash your pet’s coat thoroughly making sure to get close to the skin without damaging it. Wipe the fur and any dirt onto a damp piece of cotton wool or tissue. Flea dirt will appear as reddish-brown smears on the tissue.

Itching and scratching isn’t the only consequence of a flea infestation. Some pets may be hypersensitive to the flea saliva, meaning that flea bites could lead to a more serious allergic reaction. Also, fleas have been found to carry and spread the Myxoma virus, the infectious agent behind the highly contagious and fatal rabbit disease, Myxomatosis. The most common canine tapeworm can also be transmitted to cats and dogs by swallowing infected fleas. For this reason, it is recommended that you make sure you are up to date with your pets’ wormers if you suspect they may have fleas. In very severe infections, especially in puppies, kittens or small mammals, the regular feeding behaviour of the fleas may cause anaemia as they consume blood faster than new red blood cells can be produced.

Fleas can easily be picked up from the local environment or wildlife when out on walks, or even by socialising with other cats and dogs. However, some simple steps towards prevention can greatly reduce the risk to your pets and yourself. The first step is to start a regular flea treatment, which could be a spot-on solution, collar, tablets or injections. There are benefits and risks to all these methods, so it is best to consult one of our vets to find the best method for your own needs. Additionally, not all methods and brands are suitable for all species, so if you are wanting to treat multiple different pets you may need a few different products – just remember, some products are toxic to some species!

Secondly, regular vacuuming and washing pet bedding can prevent infection. These simple actions will remove any unhatched eggs and immature larvae from your home environment, preventing them from becoming mature adults.  If you suspect you may already have fleas in your home environment then an insecticide spray or powder is recommended. Again it is best to talk to us about suitable insecticides for your home as some may be harmful to pets and many are toxic to fish. If the problem persists, despite regular cleaning and insecticide application, then it may be time to call in a professional pest control service as a last resort.

Some methods of flea control and prevention are not as effective as the ones mentioned above. These include flea combs, flea shampoo and herbal methods. Flea combs are a good way of identifying the presence of fleas and regular grooming may help you spot the problem sooner. However, they will not help remove or kill the fleas. Flea shampoo is also a poor treatment option as it only provides short term relief, by killing the fleas present on your pet at that moment in time, but will not address the problem of fleas still living in your home environment. Although an attractive option, the majority of herbal methods are unproven and some may be harmful to pets, so are best avoided.

Spring is a wonderful time of year for you and your pets but can also be a time when parasites such as fleas start to thrive in the milder conditions. Although treatment is possible for most of these pests, prevention is often a much better option. Hopefully you will now feel a bit more informed and, with our help, you can help keep your pet happy and healthy year round.

Alabama Rot – a real risk?

The term Alabama rot has appeared a lot in the news and on social media in recent years. Given the deadly nature of the disease it has understandably scared a lot of dog owners, especially as initially UK vets had no idea what it was. Over the last few years research has provided us with more information to understand the disease, allowing us to recognise the signs earlier and hopefully help us be more successful in treating it.

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Dog survives freak accident with emergency care from Monument Vets

Our vets have seen most types of injury in their time, but Sandi’s was a first even for them.

Sandi is one of our patients, she’s a 5-year-old border collie and has been part of the Monument family since she was a nine week old pup.

What happened?

Sandi is a tennis ball mad collie, who loves playing with her ball, “She is very intelligent dog but this was not one of her better moments!” said Mrs Fee

Mrs Fee had been doing some knitting before going outside “Sandi must have gone indoors, and I heard some whimpering, so went inside. She seemed to be a bit distressed, so I started to stroke her, when I felt something in her fur between her two back legs. I couldn’t comprehend what it was for a moment, but then realised she had one of my knitting needles stuck in her. She must have jumped up and landed on it. I just went cold.”

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 Why weight management can make our pet live longer

Happy New Year! Are you a resolution person? New year new you? Or do you just keep living life despite the change of date? For most of us, losing the Christmas weight is often nearing the top of our priority list. Resolution maker or not, you should give serious thought to getting those extra pounds off your furry friends this new year. 

So, the real question is, does it matter if my pet is overweight? The short answer is yes. Studies have shown that dogs of a healthy weight (not overweight) live longer on average. But it isn’t just length of life that is important, it is also quality. Animals of a healthy weight have more energy and can be much more active.  Read more

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Why is our Pet Health Club so good?

Why is our Pet Health Club so good?

We are a nation of animal lovers and as pet owners we want to keep our pets healthy and happy for as long as we can. Because there is no NHS for pets, bills can soon add up, which is why we think our Pet Health Club is a brilliant choice. In this blog we will take a look at the benefits, and why we truly believe you can give your pet the very best in preventative healthcare, without breaking the bank. Read more

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Christmas is an exciting time of year but can be quite stressful for our pets. Here are some top tips to keep your pets stress free this festive period! Read more

Pet Travel – Important!

At present owners of dogs, cats and ferrets can travel with their animals to and from EU countries provided they hold a valid EU passport.

If the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 with no deal it would become a third country for the purposes of the EU Pet Travel Scheme and this would alter how pets can travel between countries. Pets would continue to be able to travel from the UK to the EU, but the requirement s for documents and health checks would differ depending on what category of third country the UK becomes on the day we leave the EU. Read more

Should My Dog’s Nose Be Wet?

Anyone with a dog has no doubt received a ‘doggy kiss’ at least once from their loving pooch. Ignoring the smell, you may have noticed your dog has a wet nose. In fact, you may have noticed many dogs with wet noses. This is normal, surely? A dog with a wet nose is healthy, and a dog with a dry nose is sick? Read more

cardew photo

The Monument-al Move!

Well, we’re almost ready! We’re now in that phase where we’re trying to get everything packed up ready to move to our new premises at Cardrew in Redruth… The great event will be happening at the end of this month, so we wanted to let you know what’s going to be happening! Read more

Why vet nurses are good for your pet’s teeth

The health of your pet’s mouth, teeth and gums is something to be taken seriously, no different to our own. It is no secret why dentists encourage us to visit them at least once a year and sometimes more often. It enables them to spot any issues that might be brewing early and take preventative action and give advice. The statistics relating to dental disease in cats and dogs are quite shocking – one study concluded that, of cats and dogs over the age of three years, 85% are suffering with some form of periodontal disease. Read more