Intestinal worms

Quick facts

  • there are 4 types of intestinal worms

  • not all wormers treat all four 

  • they can cause Gi signs or anaemia

  • they can be fatal in young animals

  • some can infect people

  • speak to us about preventatives



Quick facts

  • ticks are worst when it's wet and warm weather, but they are around all year

  • not all ticks cause paralysis

  • no treatment is 100% effective

  • ticks can travel on you then get onto indoor pets, so they need to be treated too

  • speak to us about preventatives


Quick facts

  • heartworms are passed on by mosquitoes

  • they can cause heart failure & death

  • most normal wormers do not treat heartworm

  • there's an annual injection available for prevention of heartworm

  • speak to us about the best way to protect your pet


Quick facts

  • can be a year-round problem

  • can inject tapeworms

  • a lot of fleas are resistant to supermarket products

  • some products can be very harmful to cats: check with your vet first

  • speak to us about preventatives


Worming is one of the first health care issues pet owners need to address as pups and kittens are the most susceptible. Intestinal worms live inside your pet’s intestines and range in size from small to surprisingly large (up to 18cm in length). 

Common intestinal worms in Australian pets are:

  • Roundworm

  • Tapeworm

  • Whipworm

  • Hookworm

If your pet has a large number of worms, symtpoms you may see are

  • weight loss

  • vomiting

  • diarrhoea

  • anaemia (a low red blood cell level)

  • occasionally, heavy intestinal worm burdens can cause death

Tapeworms are passed on by fleas so flea prevention is an important method of controlling tapeworms.

Young animals are wormed every 2-4 weeks and adults usually every 1-3 months depending on their risk

Protect you, your family and your pets by regular worming: speak to your vet for more info

  • Heartworm, or Dirofilaria immitis, is a parasite that is spread by mosquitoes, so you pet does not even need to be in contact with other pets to become infected!

  • Heartworm has a complicated life cycle.  Infected dogs have microfilaria, an immature form of heartworm, circulating in their bloodstream.  Microfilariae are sucked up by mosquitoes when feeding on the blood of infected dogs. The immature parasite develops into a heartworm larva inside the mosquito, then a single bite from a carrier mosquito can infect your pet (dog or cat).

  • As the worms mature in the heart they can cause a physical blockage as well as thickening of the heart and associated blood vessels. 

  • In the earlystages of infection there may be no visible signs, however, infection may eventually lead to signs of heart failure (reluctance to exercise, lethargy, coughing) and even death.

  • Heartworm is present throughout most of Australia (except Tasmania and arid areas).

  • Thankfully, heartworm is very easy to prevent and should form part of your pet health care routine. We have very effective preventative treatment options available including tablets, chews, spot-on's or an annual injection for dogs administered by one of our vets. If your pet has not been on heartworm prevention they will need a heartworm blood test prior to starting a prevention program, followed by a repeat test 6 months after commencing.

  • Please call us to discuss the best heartworm prevention for your pet.

  • The main tick of concern is the Paralysis Tick as it can cause paralysis and death within 2-4 days of attachment. people in cars, rugs, towels or plants then attach to pets at home

  • If you notice a tick on a pet that is not displaying signs of tick paralysis, remove the tick straight away.To do this, grasp the tick firmly where it attaches to your pet’s skin and give a quick sideways pull. It is better not to try and kill the tick first as the dying tick may inject more of its potent toxin into your pet. If you are not confident removing the tick please call us immediately to make an appointment to have it removed. 

  • Once the tick is removed your pet should be kept cool and quiet whilst being closely monitored for 24 hours. If your pet starts to display any signs of tick paralysis, such as vomiting, weakness, staggering, breathing difficulty, or altered voice, seek immediate veterinary attention as this is a genuine veterinary emergency. If your pet is showing any of the above signs, do not offer food or water as these may be accidentally inhaled in tick-affected dogs.

  • Treatment of tick paralysis includes searching for and removing all ticks. This may include clipping the animal completely and/or the use of medication to kill remaining ticks. Tick antiserum is administered to counteract the toxin and supportive care is provided during recovery. This can be costly in comparison to what it would cost to use tick prevention initially and should always be used in combination with daily searches of your pet. 

  • Remember: no tick prevention is 100% effective, but we do have a lot of newer products that are much more effective than older ones


  • Fleas like warmth, so in this area we see fleas all year round.

  • Only a small part of the adult flea population actually lives on your pet. The fleas’ eggs and larvae live in the environment and can survive for up to a year, so it is important to not only treat your animal directly for fleas but also decontaminate the environment as well. 

  • Wash your pet’s bedding using the hottest cycle and regularly vacuum/clean carpets. We do not recommend flea collars or flea shampoos alone as they fail to address the environmental flea infestation.

  • Fleas will tend to jump onto your pet only to feed and then jump off again. Dogs and cats can have a reaction to flea saliva resulting in a skin condition called Flea Allergy Dermatitis or FAD. Treatment of FAD can be complicated and Veterinary intervention is required

Some signs that your pet may have fleas include:

  • Scratching, biting and hair loss, especially at the base of the tail and rump

  • You may see fleas (especially over the rump and in the groin region)

  • It can be difficult to find the fleas, but is relatively easy to check for flea dirt.  Simply moisten a cotton ball, part your pet’s fur and place the cotton ball on the skin over the rump. If the cotton ball takes on black specs surrounded by a reddish area, this may be flea dirt and can indicate that your pet has fleas.

Warning: Some brands of flea treatments for dogs are potentially lethal to cats. Always seek veterinary advice about the best flea treatments for your pet.