Parasites and Worms


Pesty Critters, Those Parasites!

By Bayer Animal Health


Life cycle of the hookworm in a dog and cat – adult cat/dog sheds worm eggs in the faeces into the environment. The eggs hatch and develop into larvae. The larvae re-infects the host via the skin or the mouth and infect the young whilst suckling.

Don’t Give Fleas A Biting Chance

Fleas are not just a nuisance – they can cause serious medical problems in pets..  The flea is  also the intermediate host for the flea tapeworm, which could infect your pet.

What is FAD?

The feeding activity and saliva of fleas on pets causes a hypersensitivity skin disorder known as flea allergy dermatitis (FAD). It is one of the most common allergic skin disorders in cats and dogs. This allergic reaction causes redness and itching which in turn causes the pet to scratch and bite, resulting in raw broken skin which is susceptible to secondary bacterial infections. Fleas are also the intermediate host for the flea tapeworm which can infect both your pet and family! For every flea on you pet, there are more than 100 of its family members (eggs, larvae and pupae) in the environment.  Every female flea lays up to 2 000 eggs in its lifespan on the pet. These eggs drop off the pet and infest the environment e.g. carpets, bedding and upholstery. Larvae hatch from the eggs, feed on debris in the environment and then pupate, from which the new adult flea emerges.

Adult fleas jump onto the pet, feed on its blood, and so the life cycle is repeated. The flea life cycle can be as short as 17 days or as long as 2 years depending on environmental factors. All pets need to be on a good flea control programme to keep them and the environment flea free.  There are various products available at your veterinarian to treat your pet against fleas. These products come in various formulations varying from topical applications, sprays, injections, collars, tablets, powders and even dips. In the case of a severe flea infestation, the animal’s environment should also be treated with an environmental product, thereby will reducing the flea burden significantly.  These products can be used to control both adult and larval fleas indoors and outdoors.

Ticks Can Kill!

Ticks are voracious blood suckers and can cause anaemia in their hosts. They are also responsible for transmitting tick-borne diseases such as biliary and feline infectious anaemia (Haemobartonella) in cats. Both diseases, could have serious health implications such as vomiting, anorexia, weight loss, anaemia and if not treated quickly could be fatal. Adult female ticks feed on the host and drop to the ground to lay their eggs. Each female is capable of laying a few thousand eggs which hatch under favourable conditions. The larvae which emerge from the eggs develop into nymphs which then moult and develop into an adult tick. To help prevent your cat from picking up ticks, treat it with a product registered for cats. These products are available from your veterinarian or retail store as collars, topical formulations, powders and sprays. Not all flea control products are suited for use on cats.  Ensure that the product you’re using is safe for use on your cat.


Even the best cared-for and loved cats, can be targeted by ticks, fleas and worms. Just by simply being a cat, going for a walk, hunting or coming into contact with other animals, they can become infected with these parasites.

Do Worms Make You Squirm? Imagine What Your Cat Feels Like!

Worms are not only a health risk to cats but many can also be transmitted via pets to humans. It is therefore essential to implement an effective and regular worm control programme. Worms are not always as obvious as ticks and fleas, but they can be very dangerous.

How Are Cats Infected?

–    By eating worm eggs and larvae that are shed in the faeces into the environment by infected animals
–    By accidentally eating fleas while grooming. Fleas form part of the life cycle of the flea tapeworm
–    When hookworm larvae penetrate the skin of cats and develop into adult worms
–    When kittens suckle milk from a worm-infected queen


What’s The Damage?

Worms can cause untold damage to cats ranging from anaemia, inflammation, weakness, diarrhoea, weight loss, vomiting, loss of condition, impaired fertility and even death if not treated.

How Can Worm Infestation Be Prevented?

–    Deworm your cat every 3-4 months with a broad-spectrum, effective worm remedy
–    Kittens should be dewormed from 2 weeks of age
–    Keep your cats and their bedding free from adult and immature fleas – fleas transmit the flea tapeworms
–    Do not feed raw fish or meat to cats – many tapeworm species are transmitted via infected meat and complete their life cycle in the cat or dog.
–    Clean out litter trays daily
©Pet’s Health

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