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Flea and worm treatments for pets

Saarrah Mussa
Written by  Saarrah Mussa
5 min read
Updated: 18 Apr 2024

Fleas and worms are unfortunately quite common amongst cats and dogs, find out what to do when you have an infestation and how to prevent them.

What are fleas and worms? 

Fleas and worms are both parasites that can infest pets.  

Fleas are very small wingless insects that feed on the blood of animals. Fleas can be quite problematic for pets as they can transmit tapeworms to pets, they also can cause a number of problems for your pet including, itching, scratching, and hair loss in some cases.  

Worms are different from fleas, and they are internal parasites that live in the intestines of animals. There are a number of different types of worms including tapeworms and hookworms. Worms can cause a variety of problems for your pet including, vomiting, diarrhoea, anaemia, and weight loss.  

Both fleas and worms can be treated with medication.  

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How do pets catch fleas and worms?  

Unfortunately, it's really easy and common for your pet to pick up fleas, whether it's in your garden or while you’re out for a walk, or when they come into contact with another pet that has fleas. With worms, pets can pick them up in a variety of ways including from other infected animals, ingesting worm eggs or larvae, eating infected prey or raw meat, from their mother before birth, or from fleas.  

What are the symptoms of flea and worm infestations in pets?  

Flea and worms are quite different and you can recognise which one your pet has from the following:  

Symptoms of fleas:  

  • Excessive scratching, chewing and biting  

  • Dark brown or black specks / droppings on the fur  

  • Hair loss, sored or scabs  

  • Red or irritated skin  

  • Flea bites on you or other members in the house  

  • Noticeable difference in your pet’s mood  

Symptoms of worms:  

  • Worms, eggs or blood in their faeces  

  • Diarrhoea  

  • Worms in their fur, specially around their ear  

  • Worms in their vomit  

  • Scooting their rear ends on the ground  

  • Dull coat  

  • Weight loss  

How often should you treat your pet for fleas and worms? 

This will depend on the products you are using, how often you should use the treatments is on the instructions on the packaging but usually, you will need to treat for fleas around once a month. Worming, on the other hand, is recommended to be treated around once every three months.  

The time scale in which you chose to use these treatments will depend on where you live, the breed of your pet and their particular lifestyle.  

Can flea and worm infestations be prevented? 

While fleas and worms are very common in pets, there are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of your pet getting an infestation, including:  

  • Regular preventative medication  

  • Ensure their pet bowls are regularly washed thoroughly with pet-safe disinfectant  

  • Ensure you dispose of their faeces right away  

  • Limit contact with other pets  

  • Regularly groom your pet to check for eggs or dropping in their fur  

  • Wash your hands if you suspect any type of infestation (especially before eating), worms are easily transmitted to humans, especially to children  

Does insurance cover flea and worm treatments? 

Pet insurance does not usually cover preventative or routine treatment including treatment for flea and worms.  

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