Dog Parasites - Ticks, Lungworm, Toxocara, Fleas and Tapeworm

Presenting It's a Jungle Out There! - a new set of online videos featuring Professor David Bellamy, Vet Steve Leonard and an array of parasite experts. It really is a jungle out there, and by that they mean your homes, gardens and parks, which all pose threats to your pets, your family and you.

It's a Jungle Out There

Experts are warning pet owners to become far more diligent when it comes to treating their pets for parasites. A hidden jungle of critters on your doorstep could pose serious health risks to pets and owners alike because of a void in knowledge and awareness.

Of particular concern is the relatively unknown and largely misunderstood toxocara parasite which can, in rare cases, cause blindness in humans. The parasite's eggs are shed in animals' faeces and although many dog owners think that by scooping their dog's poop they are eliminating the risk, in fact, unless they are worming their dogs monthly (or as per the worming product guidelines) the eggs can still remain in the soil or grass where the pet made its mess - even if all visible traces have been removed. This means families playing in parks where a pooch's poop has been scooped, could still be at risk of picking up toxocariasis.

The toxocara parasite survives well beyond the owner cleaning up their dog's faeces - it can stick to your pet's fur and can then be easily transferred to your bed, sofa and floors - exposing you to the serious implications it carries.

Even ticks, fleas and mites, of which most pet owners are aware need to be taken more seriously. Lots of people may consider ticks to be similar to fleas but in actual fact fleas are insects and ticks are arachnids because they have 8 legs in their adult life stage.

Fleas are the most common parasite affecting pets worldwide. They prefer warm, humid conditions and are often attracted to dogs and cats by their body heat. Once on a pet, they can spread anywhere that the pet goes, including the pet owner's home. And, as if fleas alone aren't bad enough, they may carry tapeworm larvae. If these infected fleas are then swallowed by the pet whilst grooming for example, they can develop tapeworm.

For more information about fleas, visit Dog Fleas - Preventing, Spotting and Treating

Following a recent spate of warm and wet weather, gardeners are reporting a large increase in the numbers of slugs and snails in the garden. Many dog owners don't realise the threat posed by these slimy critters, which harbour lungworm, a parasite with potentially fatal consequences for dogs.

For more information about lungworm, visit Be Lungworm Aware

This jungle journey goes in search of the parasites that make your pets their home, which in turn means that they're squatting at your house too. It's important as pet owners to understand the dangers and know how best to tackle them. Watch this set of online videos to discover the threats that lurk in your surroundings.

Watch the videos below and for more information visit the It's a Jungle Out There website.

Episode 1: Focus on Toxocara Roundworm

Episode 2: Focus on Fleas and Tapeworm

Episode 3: Focus on Ticks

Episode 4: Focus on Lungworm

By Jenny Prevel

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