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Flea and Worm Prevention: Advice from a Vet clinic in River Valley

Doctors at a vet clinic in River Valley as well as anywhere in Singapore and beyond may have recommended flea and worm prevention for your pets. You may wonder if fleas and worms are serious enough to require protection.

In this article, we’ll discuss the health consequences of fleas and worms, how Singa-paw-reans can guard their pets against these consequences, and whether preventive measures vary according to pets’ lifestyles.

Worm Prevention in Pets: What Would an Ideal Veterinary Clinic in River Valley Recommend?

At our vet clinic in River Valley, we often see pets with heartworm and common intestinal worms, making it important for us to realise the relevance of these health issues to pets raised in Singapore.

Heartworm: Signs, Treatment, and Prevention

Understanding the signs, treatment, and prevention of heartworm can make all the difference in keeping your furry friends healthy and happy.
vet treating parasite in dog

Why Prevent Heartworm?

Heartworm disease affects cats and dogs (dogs are more commonly affected). It is a serious, potentially fatal condition that is caused by heartworm parasites. Mosquitoes spread heartworm. As you know, mosquitoes are extremely common in Singapore – especially during the dengue season. Mosquitoes inject “young heartworm” (heartworm larvae) into the pet’s bloodstream. These larvae travel to the heart and take ~6 months to mature into adults. Adult heartworms can grow up to 30cm long – imagine them in your pet’s heart! Adult heartworms induce inflammation in the heart and associated blood vessels. This causes issues like blood clots and multiple organ failure (e.g. heart failure, lung failure).

Signs of Heartworm

Earlier diagnosis and treatment increases the chances of recovery and reduces the risk of complications. Dogs with early-stage heartworm may appear healthy until the disease progresses. Clinical signs in cats and dogs include persistent coughing, gagging, weakness, weight loss and reduced appetite. Severely affected pets may experience bloated abdomens, breathing difficulties or collapse. Sudden death from heartworm is rare but possible.

Can Heartworm Be Treated?

Approved treatments are available for dogs. However, long-term organ damage (e.g. lung/heart damage) can persist even after treating and clearing the heartworms. As for cats, there is currently no approved treatment and it’s risky to use treatments meant for dogs. Vets often place affected cats on long-term supportive therapy, in hopes that these cats will “outlive” their heartworms. While things sound grim, there’s good news. Heartworm disease is preventable.

Is Heartworm Prevention Always Necessary?

We recommend that all dogs in Singapore – regardless of lifestyle – start heartworm prevention. You may ask if entirely indoor dogs are exceptions, as they have less contact with mosquitoes than dogs that go outdoors. However, mosquitoes can fly up to 21 storeys high! That’s why even indoor animals are vulnerable. It’s dangerous for heartworm-positive dogs to start heartworm prevention, as a fatal heart blockage can occur if all the adult heartworms die at once. Therefore, you should obtain heartworm preventives from a licensed vet clinic in River Valley (instead of purchasing them from dubious online sources). In Singapore, heartworm prevention for dogs is available as monthly topicals, monthly tablets or yearly injections. Vets for Life offers a rapid blood test to check your dog’s heartworm status before dispensing genuine heartworm preventives. Although cats are less commonly affected, we recommend regular heartworm prevention as there isn’t any approved heartworm treatment for cats. Monthly topicals are available for cats in Singapore. Note that pets need to continue heartworm prevention for life.

Intestinal Worms: Recommendations from a Vet Clinic in River Valley

With the right knowledge and care, intestinal worms can be effectively managed. Read our tips for identifying, treating, and preventing intestinal worms in your pets.

Why Prevent Intestinal Worms?

Intestinal worms (i.e. hookworm, roundworm, tapeworm, whipworm) affect cats and dogs in Singapore. These worms also spread to humans and cause health issues. Read on to learn more… Cats and dogs contract worms through their mothers’ milk, by eating soil with infected faeces or by eating infected rodents/uncooked meat. They also contract hookworm by walking/lying on infected soil, and contract tapeworm by eating tapeworm-containing fleas. Humans contract worms by accidentally swallowing infected pet faeces, or walking on soil with infected pet faeces. Intestinal worms suck blood and nutrients from affected pets’ guts. Consequently, puppies and kittens have stunted development. Affected animals also lose weight and develop anaemia (low red blood cell count), weakness, low appetite etc. Severe anaemia reduces oxygen supply to organs, causing organ failure and death. Sometimes, worms migrate to other organs and cause damage (e.g. liver failure, brain/ eye damage). Humans can be similarly affected. Children are at greater risk as they often put dirty things into their mouths and tend not to wash their hands. Severely affected humans may have long-term health and developmental issues.

Preventing Intestinal Worms

Spot-on and tablet dewormers can be bought from pet stores or a vet clinic in River Valley. Kittens and puppies should be dewormed more frequently than adults, as they are usually born with high worm burdens. Once your pet reaches adulthood, your vet will consider your pet’s lifestyle (e.g. indoor vs outdoor) and recommend a deworming frequency. Good hygiene also reduces worm transmission. Wash your hands after handling pets, and remind children to do so. Pregnant women and people with weak immunity should avoid pet faeces, and others should wear gloves when doing so. Flea Prevention in Pets: Tips from Doctors at a Vet Clinic in River Valley (H2) Flea is another problem a pet owner in Singapore should be aware of. Keep reading to know more about flea bites, treatment, and prevention.

Why Prevent Fleas?

Flea bites can cause intense itching and skin redness in pets. Fleas can also cause more serious conditions. Since fleas suck blood, severe infestations can cause anaemia in pets, leading to organ failure and death. Furthermore, fleas infect other pets and humans easily. Therefore, if one pet has fleas, your other pets are probably infected. Additionally, fleas live in the environment for months. This means that fleas can re-infect you and your pets until your pets’ environment is decontaminated.

How to Prevent Fleas?

Spot-on and oral flea preventives are available at most vet clinics in River Valley. You can also purchase them from pet stores. Some are for short-term use and others are for life-long use. Your vet will assess your pet’s lifestyle and determine if flea prevention is necessary. Risk factors include going outdoors, a multi-pet household, and previous infestation episodes. Also, environmental management is crucial. Vacuum your house (and discard the bag afterward). Wash all bedding with soap and hot water. You may engage a pest controller to decontaminate your house.

Final Thoughts

Any reputable vet clinic in River Valley like Vets for Life offers preventives that prevent multiple parasites simultaneously. It’s easier and more cost-effective to prevent fleas and worms than to treat them. Consult our vets for personalised advice on preventives for your pet.