‘Why should I buy it from the vets when the supermarket is much cheaper?’
Only veterinary surgeons are allowed to dispense prescription only medicines. The flea and worm treatments sold by the surgery are prescription only products. This is much more than a simple legal classification. Treatments that are only available on prescription have to undergo rigorous testing for effectiveness and safety. It is illegal to directly advertise prescription only products to the general public. There are numerous excellent flea, tick and worm treatments available and we are more than happy to discuss these products with our clients and formulate a specific parasite control regime which suits the owner and the pet. To be able to dispense these products we must have seen the animal recently, even if it is a repeat prescription for a particular product that has been dispensed before. This is a legal requirement and we cannot make exceptions. Consultations for clients seeking a new or repeat prescription for flea and worm treatments are free of charge.
‘My dog is fat, he does not need worming!’
Thankfully it is not common in this area to see dogs suffering from the complications associated with severe intestinal parasitism, but regular worming is of vital importance. There are two broad groups of worms in dogs-round worms and tape worms.
Round worm infection in dogs has important consequences for human health. There is no way of telling visually if your dog is infected. One of these round worms, called Toxocara Canis can cause a condition in people known as visceral larval migrans. Young children and immunocompromised individuals are particularly at risk. In line with the current British Veterinary Association advice we advise that adult dogs are wormed every three months. In conjunction with regular worming, the importance of cleaning up after your dog in public spaces is obvious.
The most common tape worm in dogs is called Dipylidium Caninum. It is transmitted by infected fleas which are the intermediate host. This worm can also infect humans via the ingestion of an infected flea. Infection in children has been associated with diarrhoea and restlessness. There are several other types of tapeworm which infect dogs. Some of these can be transmitted to livestock. It is estimated that the UK sheep industry suffers annual losses in excess of 7 million pounds as a direct result of the dog tapeworm Taenia Ovis.
Lungworm infection in dogs has received a lot of attention in the media recently and drug manufacturers have been quick to highlight its potential dangers. Foxes are a natural reservoir for infection and slugs and snails are the intermediate host. It tends to be an issue in certain localities, probably as a result of the parasite becoming established in the local fox population. We do not currently see significant levels of infection in dogs in the locality but there is always the potential for this to change rapidly. If you are concerned about lungworm come and speak to us. We have quick in-house tests available with results in ten minutes and we can advise you on protecting your dog.