Pet parasite control

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Parasites are organisims (worms, ectoparasites and protozoa) that live on or in a host feeding off the host. Parasite control in our pets is an essential part of responsible pet care. There are lots of different products on the market and parasite control can be pretty confusing. When it comes to making sure your pet is safe and protected your veterinarian is the best person to ask.

Your veterinarian will be able to make the entire process easier for you and should also be able to provide you with appropriate reminders of when to give parasite prevention. It’s also important to remember that where you live will dictate the type of parasite control your pet needs, so speak to your local veterinarian if you need any clarification.

Here’s an overview of the major parasites you need to think about when it comes to the health and comfort of your pet.


Mosquitoes spread heartworm, and the disease can be fatal, so heartworm prevention is essential. Larvae circulate in the bloodstream and grow into worms in the big blood vessels of the heart. Treatment can be costly and is not always successful.  Heartworm prevention can be given monthly or via a yearly injection.  Many people incorrectly assume than an intestinal worming treatment will also protect against heartworm, but not all parasite prevention products contain heartworm prevention. Ask your veterinarian if your pet is protected against heartworm.

Intestinal worms

These worms live in the gastrointestinal tract of pets and can cause diarrhoea, weight loss and anaemia, particularly in young animals or those that are immunocompromised. They include roundworms, whipworms, hookworms, and tapeworms (one type of tapeworm is part of the flea life cycle).

Some gastrointestinal worms are a zoonotic risk to humans (meaning that disease can pass from animals to humans), and so treatment is crucial not only for the health of your pet but also for people caring for the pet. Intestinal worm treatment and control is usually given via an oral intestinal worming tablet or topical treatment.

Always wash your hands after playing with your pet and before eating.


These pesky little creatures love warm conditions and can cause your pet discomfort due to hypersensitivity to their bites. They can also bite humans! but they do not live on humans. There are cat fleas and dog fleas and dogs and cats share these.

Flea treatment is easy, and year-round prevention prevents seasonal outbreaks and reduces the likelihood of secondary skin infections. Flea treatment can be given as an oral medication or a topical treatment. Some flea preventative control measures neccessitate cleaning the environment. Ask your veterinarian for the best products for your pet.


The paralysis tick is the most concerning tick for our pets. Once they attach, they gorge themselves with blood and inject a toxin that can cause rapid paralysis and even death. Paralysis ticks are common along the east coast of Australia, and they love bushy, coastal areas, however, they can also be found elsewhere as they can hitch a ride. Ask your local veterinarian for the most appropriate tick prevention in your area, and if you are travelling to a tick prone area with your pet, you need to make sure they are also protected. 


It is not common but possible to see lice and their eggs (nits) on pets that are species specific. Louse treatment is topical.


There are different mites that cause the skin condition known as mange in dogs and cats. Your veterinarian is the best person to diagnose and treat for mites and mange in your pet. Mite treatment is topical.

One mite, sarcoptes, has zoonotic potential.

Your local veterinarian is always the best person to ask about the most appropriate parasite prevention for your pet.