VET’S DIARY: Parasites in pets are not for the squeamish

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I’m sure most of us wouldn’t dream of leaving the house in the morning or going to bed at night without brushing our teeth. However, can you say the same for your pet? writes Paul Freeman.

With up to 80 per cent of pets over the age of three suffering from some form of dental disease, it’s vital that we don’t forget the importance of their oral health.

As in humans, it’s not just teeth that can suffer if not cared for. Build-up of plaque and tartar can cause kidney and heart problems that are preventable with daily tooth brushing and the use of special chews.

Just as you might visit the dentist every six-12 months, it’s important to make sure that your pet has their teeth examined just as regularly.

For three months from December to February, we are offering a 10 per cent discount on all dental work carried out. In addition to regular brushing, it’s good practice to regularly check your pet’s teeth for signs that they may have a problem.

As vets, we know it’s not that easy to encourage your cat or dog to open up and show you their teeth but indicators that they may have a problem are bad breath; being reluctant to chew their food or reluctance to play with their chew toys; an increase in saliva production; red or swollen gums; missing or loose teeth or any other signs in the mouth that appear unusual to you.

The column this week is really not for the squeamish and apologies if you’re currently tucking into your cornflakes as we move swiftly on from bad breath in dogs to parasites!

Pets are prone to picking up a number of parasites, both internal and external. Some of these, such as roundworms and tapeworms, can be passed to humans, particularly children.

While the overall risk to humans is relatively low, if human infection does happen it can have serious consequences for children. They are especially vulnerable as apparently 80 per cent of children kiss their pet and 21 per cent of children let their pets lick their fingers after sharing food (according to

However, worms can be prevented by routine use tablets or spot-ons forinternal parasites such as roundworm, tapeworm and lungworm.

Even if your pet seems healthy, it’s still very important to keep up with their worming as outward appearances can be deceptive and hide internal parasites. A dog or cat with worms can appear healthy even though they may be concealing internal parasites. It is recommended that you worm an adult dog or cat every three months.

To make sure that the New Year is a happy one in your household, free of worms and other parasites, why not take advantage of our offer of 50 per cent off your usual worming dose when supplied with a booster vaccination?

For more information on both our current offers, please call your local surgery or visit our website