Protecting your pet from fleas and parasites during lockdown

Vet charity, PDSA offer pet owners some top tips to help keep pets happy and healthy during the Coronavirus lockdown.

During the lockdown, when vets across the country are running emergency services only, you may be wondering how you can keep on top of your pet’s flea and worming treatment.

With Spring here, our pets are likely to be spending much more time outside in the garden, bringing a greater risk of picking up fleas and other nasty parasites.

Vet charity PDSA is offering tips on what to do to make sure your four-legged friends are protected during this challenging time.

PDSA Vet Nurse Joanne Wright said: “Despite temporary changes to the way vet practices are running, there are still many ways to keep your pet healthy and free from parasites. Fleas, ticks and worms can become more problematic as the weather warms up, and while flea and worming treatments might be less available from your vets, you can still purchase treatments from trusted sites, such as PDSA’s online pet store.

“For most healthy adult pets, missing a flea treatment during the pandemic shouldn’t cause too much of a problem over a short period of time, especially if they don’t come into contact with many other animals, which is recommended during the lockdown period.

“However, it’s important to keep on top of flea and worming treatment in very young pets because a lot of flea on a small or young animal can cause severe, sometimes life-threatening, blood loss (anaemia).

“In some pets, fleas can trigger an allergic skin reaction called ‘flea allergic dermatitis (FAD), a reaction to flea saliva which can drive our four-legged friends mad through severe itching and sore skin. It is extremely important to keep up with regular flea treatments if your pet suffers from this condition.

“If you have a young, or otherwise vulnerable pet that requires flea treatment, we recommend contacting your vets for a prescription treatment, as some vet practices are offering online or telephone consultations and will then be able to send them directly to your home. You may be able to do this online, by email or, as a last resort, you can call your vets directly but please be patient as they may be very busy helping poorly pet in emergency situation.”

Remember that flea treatments meant for dogs should never be used on cats because they may contact ‘permethrin’, and ingredient that can be fatal to felines.

Joanne added: “You can also keep fleas at bay in the home by vacuuming regularly and using household flea sprays which are very effective in treating infestations.

“With worming treatments, most adult pets won’t have a problem if they miss a routine treatment for round or tapeworms during the pandemic but it’s important to keep your pet up to date with worming treatments if they are young or if they like to scavenge or hunt wildlife.”

If your pet has a problem with, or could be at risk from, any other parasites it’s important that you get advice from your pet. Different, prescription treatments may be needed depending on the parasite involved.

For more information visit www.pdsa.org.uk.