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Identify External Dog Parasites

Dogs can play host to two sorts of unwelcome parasites: external and internal ones. By worming your dog regularly and treating him with flea treatments, especially in the spring and summer, you can prevent infestations occurring and keep them healthy.

External Parasites

These parasites live on the surface of the dog’s body and include lice, ticks, mites and ringworms. Keep a look out for them and treat an infected dog as quickly as possible.

FLEAS

Dogs are usually infested by their own and cats species of flea but sometimes they can carry rabbit, human or hedgehog fleas. The infestations are more likely to be worse in the summer but fleas thrive all the year round, particularly if your home has central heating. Sometimes it is extremely difficult to find fleas in a dog but just a single flea can cause an allergic reaction when piercing a dogs skin and injecting its saliva. Such a reaction can result in widespread irritation, skin sores and rashes. Flea eggs do not stick to the dog’s hair like those of lice but being dry, they drop off onto the carpet and furniture.

Common Symptoms

– An affected dog will keep scratching
– Tiny reddish scabs or papules appear on the skin, particularly on the dog’s back
– Flea droppings look like coal dust on the coat

What you can do

Use insecticidal sprays, tick and flea spot on shampoo or powders which are obtainable from the vet or pet shop, at regular intervals throughout the summer. Treat the floor, furniture and your pet’s favourite sleeping places, basket and bedding with a specially formulated aerosol product every seven months. This procedure effectively stops re-infestation of dogs by larvae emerging from eggs in the environment.

LICE

There are two kinds: biting lice which feed on skin scales and sucking lice which draw tissue fluids from the skin. The latter causes more irritation to the dog than the former. Lice are grayish-white and about 2mm in length. Their eggs are white and cemented to the dog’s hairs.

Common symptoms

– The dog will scratch himself
– Lice and nits will be visible to the naked eye when the dog’s coat is carefully searched

What you can do

Flea drops, sprays, powders or baths are available from the vet. Apply on at least three occasions at intervals of five to seven days to kill adults and the larvae that hatch from the nits.

TICKS

More often seen on dogs specially in summer, ticks suck the blood, their abdomen swelling up as they do so. The commonest tick in dogs is the sheep tick. It clings to the dog’s hair generally on the legs, head or under-belly, and pierces the skin with its mouth parts. In doing so it can transmit an organism called Borrelia, a cause of Ehrlichiosis, Babesiosis, Anaplamosis, Lyme diseases. It requires veterinary diagnosis by means of blood tests, and then treatment using specific antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs.

What you can do

Several medicines like tick spot on solution, tick flea spray, insecticidal collar are available with your vet. Use these solutions in the summer months especially in order to control tick infestation.


Dr Sharad Singh Yadav is the Chairman of Advanced Pet Hospital & Research Centre which is open 24 hours throughout the year and located in Bishal Nagar, Kathmandu. He may be contacted on tel: 4422855 or email: aphktm@gmail.com