...and raising new pets
Annual vaccinations protect against diseases which are often life threatening. Vaccinations have helped ensure that these diseases are less common than they used to be, but all are still present in Zimbabwe. The annual booster consultation includes a full health check to help avoid impending problems and to discuss any queries you may have.
Why should I vaccinate?If your dog or cat hasn’t been vaccinated in the last 15 months, its immunity to any or all of the diseases shown below is likely to have lapsed. These are dangerous and unpleasant diseases, as many owners will testify, and are preventable.
Diseases that affect Dogs:
Diseases that affect Cats:
- Cat Flu
- Feline Panleucopaenia
- Feline Leukaemia
These ever-present parasites frequently cause both pets and owners a lot of distress. Lapsing on your flea prevention, for instance, could result in your house becoming infested before you realise you have a problem. Many people buy products from pet shops or supermarkets, thinking that they are dealing with the problem, only to find out that their little visitors have other ideas! Many clients are surprised to see fleas on their pets, despite treating against them, and often presume the product they have been using is ineffective. This would not be the case with products that vets supply. There are no documented cases of flea resistance to modern insecticides. So what is the reason for this perceived inefficacy? We start first by looking at the flea lifecycle. Most infestations are not from direct contact with other animals, but from an infested environment. Young fleas hatch out of their pupae in the environment (carpets, couch, under chairs, bedding) in response to close proximity of a pet. Feeding starts within minutes and eggs start being shed within a day. The eggs are not sticky and wherever the pet goes it leaves a trail of eggs behind. These eggs hatch into larvae which dislike light and are very mobile, and so move under furniture, down to the bottom of carpets and into crevices and other hidey-holes in the home. The larvae then spin a sticky cocoon which means that more than 95% of these will remain after 10 seconds of vacuuming a 50cm square piece of carpet (not to mention the back of the couch or other areas that are never vacuumed!). New fleas in these cocoons are protected from insecticide treatments. We can deal with fleas on pets with effective spot-on products and we can kill larvae with specially -designed household sprays, but the new adult fleas in their cocoons in the environment are safe from all treatments. This means that there will be a period of time (the pupal window) after commencing treatment, during which fleas will still be seen on your pet. The length of this window will depend on the level of infestation in the home, how many pets are present and how long treatment, if any, has been with ineffective products. So how do we deal with the problem? Firstly, it is important that owners are aware of the flea problem: 50% of owners whose pets have fleas are unaware of this fact, and 40% are unaware of the implication of infestation of the home environment, as outlined above. Once there is a problem, it won’t go away overnight, but by following our advice and using effective products, you will get rid of them. The only way to get rid of the pupal stage is for them to hatch and attach to treated pets. Thus, seeing fleas on treated pets is normal in the early stages. Another common reason for seeing fleas on treated pets is poor compliance, whereby products are incorrectly used. Treatment intervals need to be strictly adhered to. Stretching intervals to get more ‘value’ from the product, or forgetting to do it, means you are potentially setting up another pupal window in your home. Also ensure that what you are using is correct for your pet’s weight, and make sure the application is on a dry pet. You should ensure that the application is not rubbed off on furniture or bedding soon after applying it, and that your pet stays dry for the recommended time period after applying the product.
Whilst most fleas are picked up by pets in their own environment, don’t forget those that are brought in by visitors (do you have a cat in your area that spends time on your property?) or by your own pets that have been visiting neighbours, friends or family. If your pets are receiving their correct prevention, these hitch-hikers will soon be dealt with! If not, they are a source of rapid re-infestation. Phone us for comprehensive advice, tailored to your particular situation.
DewormingAccording to the European Scientific Council for Companion Animal Parasites (ESCCAP), both cats and dogs should be de-wormed every 3 months. Not seeing evidence does not mean that your pet does not have worms, and eggs can live in the environment for a decade or more. It is especially important if you have children in the house - on average, 15 British children are blinded by migrating larvae every year. They are also part of the flea life cycle.
For more information, check under the ‘worming’ section in ‘dog’ or ‘cat’ information, or see www.wormpatrol.co.uk