Preventative pet care

Preventative pet care

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Ticks, fleas and worms | Preventative Care

Parasites can be a persistent problem and make life uncomfortable for you and your pet. Luckily, the Ark has a comprehensive preventative care program.  There are many  things we can do both to prevent your pet from contracting ticks, fleas and worms, as well as treatments that can be performed if they do get affected. Here you can find all the information you need on the prevention and treatment of:

  • Ticks
  • Fleas
  • Intestinal worms
  • Heartworm

Preventative care at The Ark

The Ark strives to streamline and take the difficulty out of preventative care for your pet. With so many parasites and different treatments to worry about, it can be easy to forget when your pet is due a worming tablet, or when you need to change your pet’s flea collar.

That’s why the Ark has implemented an innovative reminder service, either by text or email based off your personal preferences. This way you are automatically reminded when your pet is due their next tablet, heartworm injection or any other form of parasite control.

You can then either administer the treatment at home, or book your pet in for a consult to get any vaccinations they need. We also know how fussy some pets can be when it comes to taking tablets. If you are uncomfortable giving your pet a tablet or are concerned that they have managed to spit it out, our nurses are happy to assist you in administering tablets so you can be certain your pet has the protection they need.

If you have any questions about fleas, ticks or worms do not hesitate to call us at:

02-9416-1300We look forward to see you and your pet.

flea, tick and worm preventative care

Preventative care: How to treat ticks

The paralysis tick poses a real threat to dogs and cats in Australia. Without treatment, tick paralysis can be life threatening. We strongly recommend that you use comprehensive tick prevention, which in the long run is not only safer but also much less expensive than having to treat your pet in the circumstance that they contract a tick.

ticks on dogs or cat | treatment and prevention

Tick prevention

It’s important to stay alert during tick season (spring and summer) and keep an eye on your pet for ticks, especially if they spend a lot of time outdoors or go for walks in the bush. We offer over-the-counter preventative care treatments which can help keep your pet free of ticks:

  • For your dog, we recommend that you combine over-the-counter treatment with a tick collar to provide the most comprehensive protection
  • Our tick treatment for dogs  provides protection against paralysis ticks for 4 months, and fleas for 3 months. It comes as a chewable tablet, so is easy to administer as dogs love the taste!
  • Frontline offers protection against ticks for cats in an easy-to-administer squeeze bottle which you apply to the back of your cat’s neck

Checking for Ticks:

There is no treatment which guarantees 100% protection against ticks. We still recommend that you check your pet’s coat yourself as an extra level of defense. During the tick season it’s important to  check your dog or cat daily for the presence of any ticks. Particularly if they have a long coat, as ticks are good at hiding and can be difficult to find. The earlier you find a tick, the less toxin they can give to your pet, and the better the treatment outcomes.

The best technique is the ‘finger crawl’ method. Move your fingers across the animal in a line, as it’s easier to locate the ticks by feel rather than with your eyes. It’s something that the whole family can get involved in! If you do happen to find a tick, it’s important that you keep searching. There’s a good possibility that they have picked up more than one. Some tricky places that ticks like to hide in include:

  • Around your pet’s head and neck
  • Under your pet’s tail around their bottom
  • In between your pet’s toes
  • Between cat’s shoulder blades, as this place is hard for them to reach during grooming
  • Around or under your pet’s lips
  • In the folds of your pet’s ears
checking for ticks

If you find a tick on your pet:

It is important to keep your pet cool (on a cold floor or in an air conditioned room) and calm, and do not give them anything to eat.

If the tick is small, remove it swiftly as possible. DO NOT SQUEEZE THE TICK’S BODY as this will cause it to inject more saliva. The best way to do this is to use a special tool called a tick twister, which removes it in a safe way, or use a pair of tweezers to grasp it as close to the skin as possible. Bring your pet into the ark along with the removed tick. This will help us in assessing how long it has been on your pet.

If the tick is large or you are unsure about how to remove it, mark the fur above where the tick is with highlighter so we can find it easily and bring your pet to the ark as soon as possible

Even if they aren’t exhibiting any symptoms of paralysis, its important that you bring them to the Ark straight away to be monitored. Ticks start injecting your pet with their saliva as soon as they attach, so sometimes it can take a while for symptoms to appear, even if the tick is removed.

tick poisoning

Symptoms of Tick Poisoning:

It is important to bring your pet to the Ark if you notice them experiencing any of these symptoms. The symptoms are listed from those seen earliest in paralysis to more advanced poisoning:

  • Any changes in your pet’s bark or meow (as muscles in the throat are affected)
  • Excessive salivation or vomiting
  • Changes in breathing patterns – particularly panting or laboured breathing
  •  A wobbliness or weakness starting in the back legs, progressing to total paralysis of the entire body. You may notice your dog struggling to hold itself up, or your cat unable to jump up to or down from high places without slipping

Preventative Care: Ticks treatment

If your pet is experiencing tick paralysis, they will require treatment with tick anti-serum. Tick paralysis is life-threatening in both dogs and cats, and can be fatal even if treatment is administered. The earlier we are able to give your pet tick antiserum, the better their prognosis and chance of a swift recovery.

Your pet’s stay in hospital will depend on the severity of the paralysis. While in hospital, they will receive intravenous fluids to keep them hydrated as well as tick antiserum. Our nurses and veterinarians on duty will closely monitor your pet. We will not discharge them until we are sure that the paralysis in both their legs and throat muscles has subsided, so it is safe for them to eat and drink again.

flea and tick treatment

Preventative Care: Fleas on dogs and cats

Fleas can affect both cats and dogs – while not life threatening like the paralysis tick, they make life uncomfortable for your pet by causing excessive itchiness, and can lead to health conditions such as flea allergy dermatitis and anaemia, which will require further treatment. In addition, fleas can be passed onto their pet’s owners, making life very itchy for you too!

Signs of flea infestation:

Fleas can affect both cats and dogs – while not life threatening like the paralysis tick, they make life uncomfortable for your pet by causing excessive itchiness, and can lead to health conditions such as flea allergy dermatitis and anaemia, which will require further treatment. In addition, fleas can be passed onto their pet’s owners, making life very itchy for you too!

Flea Prevention and Treatment Products:

At the Ark we recommend a treatment approach called ‘integrated flea control.’ This involves using two types of drug: an adulticide (to kill adult ticks) and an insect growth regulator (which kills flea eggs and nymphs). It is highly unlikely that your pet will develop resistance against both drugs. The combination treatment targets all stages of the flea life cycle so most often results in effective tick control. Even if you don’t see them scratching, it’s important to treat all pets in your household for fleas, as they can easily transmit the infestation to one another.

Adulticides: We stock a range of products for both dogs and cats that kill any adult fleas on their coat. We recommend the some products as they are effective as well as convenient and easy for you to administer at home. If you want to know more about these products call us at: 02-94161300

Insect Growth Regulators: For cats we recommend that you use Program which can kill flea eggs before they hatch. It is an injection that provides protection for up to 6 months. Program only targets flea eggs, and not the adult fleas, so it takes a few weeks for you to see a drop in the flea population if you are using Program alone. That’s why we recommend the program injection in conjunction with an adulticide listed above.

Pet Merchandise | Ark Veterinary Hospital

Removing Fleas from your House:

Most recurring flea infestations occur when flea eggs get trapped in the carpet or furniture, where they can remain dormant, and then months later hatch and latch onto your pet. Here are some tips to eliminate as many flea eggs from your house as possible:

  • Vacuum all carpets and upholstery, including under furniture – it’s important not to empty the vacuum cleaner into the garden or compost bin as this may bring the eggs into contact with your pet again
  • Use a flea bomb such as Fido’s flea bomb fogger or spray. When you use a flea bomb, it’s a good idea to move your furniture so the product is able to reach the floor and carpet underneath, which is a prime place for fleas to lay dormant. These products are both available at the Ark
  • Spray furniture with an anti-flea spray such as Indorex – this is great to reach areas that flea eggs like to hide in that are difficult to clean. Repeated every 2-3 weeks, the spray is able to target both adult fleas as well as immature fleas. Dark, moist areas, as well as your pet’s bedding are particularly important to stay, as they provide a good environment for fleas.
  • Wash your pet’s bedding at least once a week with hot water, as this will kill any adult fleas
  • Open the curtains! Fleas prefer dark conditions, and so are less likely to persist in well-lit rooms

Preventative care: Intestinal worms

Luckily due to good quarantine practice, Australia is not home to as many parasites as other countries. The most common intestinal worms that affect dogs and cats in Australia are tapeworm, roundworm, hookworm and whipworm. Regular administration of a de-worming tablet such as milbemax can easily control these parasites. Kittens and puppies should be wormed every 2 weeks until they are 12 weeks old, monthly until they are six months old, and then every three months throughout their adult life.

How does my pet get worms?

  • Depending on your pet’s lifestyle, they may have an increased risk of contracting worms. The most common routes of infection include:
  • Contact with other infected animals
  • Drinking infected water
  • Contact with infected animal faeces
  • Accidentally eating a flea infected with tapeworm
  • Eating meat that is infected – if your dog or cat is prone to hunting rats, mice or possums, it is important that you really stay on top of their worming regime as they are at much higher risk of infection

Preventative care: Heartworm

Heartworm is an internal parasite that affects both cats and dogs and can be life-threatening and even fatal. The worm lives in the heart and lungs and feeds on an animal’s blood. Luckily, we can perform a simple blood test which can detect heartworm in cats and dogs, allowing us to both treat current infections and prevent infection from occuring.

How is heartworm spread?

Heartworm is spread via mosquitoes, similar to malaria. If a mosquito feeds on an infected animal, they can pick up the parasite and transmit it to the next animals they feed upon. Since it is mosquito-borne, heartworm can even be transmitted to pets that do not venture outside.

Heartworm prevention:

For dogs, we can administer an injection which provides yearly protection from the parasite. It is often given at the same time as your dog’s yearly vaccinations. For cats, or if you would rather non-injectable treatment for your dog. We also supply other preventatives in tablet form, or as chews or topical treatments for the back of the neck. If you need any advice or have any questions about heartworm prevention, our nurses are happy to assist you in finding the right product for your pet.