Frequently Asked Questions
What is zoonosis?
This is an infection of animals that can be transmitted to humans.
What is a host?
A host is an animal that can act as a habitat for a parasite which may live either on the outside of the host or within the host, depending on the parasite.
What is the pre-patent period?
This is the interval between when a parasite infection occurs and when the products of reproduction or multiplication of the parasite become apparent.
Why am I recommended to discuss treatment with my vet?
Because there is no single solution that will work for all dogs or all cats. The most suitable solution for your pet depends on a number of factors including you and your family, and your pet’s age, health and lifestyle.
At what age is my pet at risk?
Your pet is at risk of infection whatever its age. Many puppies and kittens in the UK acquire roundworms from their mother. It’s really important to protect your puppy or kitten from an early age and continue considering, managing and treating parasites throughout its lifetime.
My cat hunts all the time, what are the risks?
Outdoor cats are more prone to parasitic infection than those kept indoors. Therefore, it is very important to protect them against the parasites and ensure their worming and flea treatments are kept up-to-date. Fleas and other parasites can be picked up from prey and the environment.
I am travelling abroad with my pet, what should I do to protect it?
As well as following the general advice on keeping your pet and family safe at home, you need to take extra precautions to protect your pet and family when you travel. It is important that you consult your vet and prepare your pet's treatment and prevention plan well in advance of travel.
For more information on protecting your pet while abroad please visit our travelling pets section.
I’m putting my dog/cat into a kennel/cattery? How should I protect it?
When you put your dog/cat into kennels/cattery while you go away you will expose them to a number of other animals and an environment to which they are unaccustomed. Consult with your veterinary practitioner to ensure all vaccinations, worming and flea treatments are up-to-date.
I have a dog and a cat, are there risks of them living together?
There are no risks of a cat and dog living in harmony together provided you discuss both of your pets’ lifestyles with your vet and ensure they are both adequately protected against infectious and parasitic diseases.
How often should I treat my pet to prevent parasites?
Protection against parasites is dependent on a number of things that include your pet’s lifestyle, whether you take your pet abroad, whether it lives with other animals and the environment or area in which it lives. Therefore, each pet’s treatment plan will differ and you should discuss individual treatment plans and products with your vet.
What can I do to reduce the risk of infection for my family?
Reducing the risk of infection for your family is simple if you adopt these rules:
- Always wash your hands after stroking your pet
- Wash your hands after exposure to soil, sandpits, raw meat or litter trays
- Clean litter trays daily, and get someone else to do this if you are pregnant
- Supervise infants on the floor – don’t allow them to eat dirt or food that has fallen to the floor
- Dispose of animal faeces safely so they are not contaminating the environment
- Cover sandpits and play areas to prevent wildlife and strays from contaminating these areas
- Take your pet to the vet and discuss its lifestyle to ensure you have adequate protection all year round
I’m pregnant, is my health at risk from my pets?
If you are pregnant and own an animal, it is important to be vigilant about the healthcare of your pet and yourself and adopt all the practices mentioned in question 11. For cat owners, toxoplasmosis is a disease which could affect pregnant women, babies and young children. However, research indicates that direct contact with cats does not increase the risk of infection in people.
My dog has the tendency to try and eat faeces when out on walks. Does this mean an increased risk? If so, what can I do about it?
Yes your pet may be at increased risk if it eats another animal’s faeces. Unfortunately, not everyone is a responsible owner and cleans up after their pet. This poses an additional health risk and the animal may be more prone to picking up parasitic and infectious diseases as a result. Always pick up your pet’s faeces and dispose of it responsibly.
What is the risk of parasites spreading from one species to another?
There are some species of parasite that affect both cats and dogs, for example roundworm, tapeworm, hookworm and fleas. Some of these are zoonotic, which means they can transmit to humans as well. As long as your pets are fully protected against parasites, the risk of inter-species transmission is very low.
Can anyone other than vets prescribe and advise for my pet?
Yes, there are other professionally qualified people that can supply products and advise on your pet’s healthcare needs. However, for some treatments you may need to get a prescription from your veterinary practice in order to get the product elsewhere, depending on the classification of the treatment (whether prescribed by your veterinary surgeon or purchased in a store). It is also important to ensure that you get a suitable management and treatment regimen for your pet.
My dog comes hunting with me and is frequently in contact with dead animals and carcases. What should I do to ensure he has the best protection from parasites?
Dogs that hunt may be more prone to infection. Therefore, it is very important to protect them against infectious diseases and ensure their worming and flea treatments are kept up-to-date. Fleas and other parasites can be picked up from the environment, dead animals and carcasses.