South Waikato veterinary Services

Fleas, Mites and Worms


Why do I need to worm my dog or cat?
All puppies and kittens are born with worms which are passed to them from their mother in the uterus and through the milk during feeding. Intestinal worms can effect your puppies’ growth, cause diarrhoea, a dull coat, and a ‘pot-bellied’ appearance. Round worms can be passed onto humans which can cause problems as the larvae migrate throughout the body prior to dying.

Puppies and kittens need to be wormed:

• Every 2 weeks until they are 12 weeks old
• Then every month until they are six months old
• Then every three months for the rest of their life.

If your cat is difficult to tablet there are spot on worming products (some also treat fleas as well). These products are often very good at treating a wide range of worms however it is important to check what species they treat as not all will protect your pet against tapeworm.

If your cat is an avid hunter it is often important to ensure they are treated for lung worm as this can create a nasty cough.

Is flea treating my pet important?
Flea’s are more prevalent in warm weather however they can affect cats and dogs of all ages any time of the year. Despite public belief, fleas don’t actually like biting people and much prefer biting your pet, therefore if you think you are getting bitten then you probably have a big problem! You may not even be able to see any fleas on your pet (due to their hair coat) so the vet will often do a special test to look for flea dirt in your pets coat. Remember that over 80% of fleas live in the environment (such as your pets bedding) so make sure you wash his blankets. Heavy infestations that may not be able to be controlled by treating only your pets and will require you to flea bomb your home.

Some pets are highly allergic to flea saliva and even getting one bite from a flea will send them into an itching frenzy. These animals will often have hairloss and patches of raw skin (like the dog in the picture on the left). If you think your animal is suffering from flea allergy dermatitis then it is important that it sees a vet. These animals often require medication as well as an intensive flea eradication programme.

There are lots of different options to treat fleas however we recommend using ‘spot on’ type treatments such as Frontline, Revolution and Advocate. These products have very safe ingredients in them and work to break the cycle by killing the adult fleas as well as stopping the immature fleas developing. Supermarkets now sell their own brands of spot on treatments, but we often see clients with pets still harbouring fleas even after being treated with these products. These, along with flea collars, washes and powders often only work for a very short period (or not at all!) and are not very safe for your pets.

Flea’s are an important part of the tapeworms life cycle thus it is important to remember that by controlling fleas on your pet you will also help to prevent them getting tapeworms.

What are skin mites and ear mites?
There are 3 types of mites that can effect your pet. Demodex mites cause hairloss often around the face, chin, elbows and paws. Demodex are a long mite that burrow into the shallow layers of the skin. All animals have some demodex living on their skin however in animals that develop demodectic mange their immune system is compromised so they get a huge overgrowth of mites.

Demodex are not contagious to people and usually your dog will not be itchy (sometimes they are itchy if they get areas of bacterial infection as well).

Sarcoptic manage usually presents as an very itchy animal with areas of red raw skin and hair loss, particularly around elbows and ears. These mites burrow deep into the animals skin and can be passed to humans and other animals. To diagnose both these types of mites your veterinarian will perform a skin scrape and check it under the microscope in the clinic.

Ear mites live in your cat or dogs ear canals and make them very itchy and cause a brown crusty discharge. Some spot on flea products can treat your pet for ear mites so ask one of our friendly vets or nurses for advice. To diagnose ear mites the veterinarian will need to look down your pets ears with a special tool called an otoscope.

For more information on parasites please call or drop into the clinic to have a chat with one of our friendly staff members.


The South Waikato Veterinary Services team is committed to providing top quality and extensive professional services to the Tokoroa, Putaruru, Whakamaru, Mangakino, Tirohanga and Atiamuri areas.

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Contact us at one of our 3 locations

2 Satco Drive, Tokoroa

75 Tirau St, Putaruru

108 State Highway 30, Whakamaru

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