All dogs and cats are born with roundworms, no matter how thorough the breeder has been. Rabbits do not suffer to the same degree.
The most troublesome external parasite is the cat flea. This one because uniquely it can feed on dogs, rabbits and people, which other species-specific fleas cannot.
People who do not react to flea-bite themselves find it difficult to accept that their pet has even one flea. They react to the suggestion as if we were accusing them of a failure of personal hygiene. Fleas are survivors extraordinaire and ubiquitous, and they will be with us as long as we have blood in our veins.
Most cats and dogs will require thorough and regular de-worming at the beginning, and regularly throughout life. Most will also require flea control permanently.
Lungworm is a concern, as are ticks. Many of the products we use for flea control also control lungworm and /or ticks. In keeping with our policy of treating each animal as an individual, we tailor a programme to suit the challenge and the need.
Most of the tapeworms we see in cats are transmitted by fleas. No fleas, no tapeworm. (There are specific concerns about some mainland Continental tapeworms hence the Pet Travel restriction.)
Much of the work we do in any year is related to fleas in one way or another. Every skin condition investigation begins with ruling out (if you can ever really exclude) fleas. We cannot eradicate fleas. We can go a long way to controlling them, but it is an ongoing battle.
People sometimes spot a flea moving slowly on the shoulder of a patient going home after an operation. Their immediate assumption is that their cat ‘picked up a flea while in the surgery’. We explain that this flea was anaesthetised along with its host, and is now too, waking up. Wide eyed disbelief follows.
There are many, many other internal and external parasites, but they are rare.
For more on this topic, see our Podcast, or ask any of our clinical staff.