Fleas and Ticks

Cat FleaFleas and ticks are parasites that can be found on your pets. They can cause illness and discomfort so you need to be able to spot the signs and know how best to prevent them.


Fleas are very common and most cats will come into contact with them at some point. Most dogs will have a flea infestation once in their life, although strangely enough most fleas found on dogs are actually cat fleas. Cats from multipet households and cats that catch rabbits are at higher risk.

The most common flea is the cat flea.

The main signs are itching, scratching; fur loss; inflamed, reddened skin and telltale black flea dirt (this is difficult to spot on black fur).

Some animals will develop a hypersensitivity to flea saliva and this can lead to an itchy reaction. One or two fleas would be quite enough to cause a marked irritation. Most flea reactions in cats and dogs are seen on the lower back area, above the tail.

Fleas spend the majority of their life-cycle in the home environment. Only adult fleas are seen on the dog. The female flea lays eggs on the dog's coat, these fall off and can be found wherever your dog spends most of his time - in his bedding, in the carpet, on the sofa, or even on your bed! Adult fleas do not live for long on your dog and die after 7-14 days - only to be replaced by the ones developing in the environment. Fleas are also the intermediate host of the tapeworm. Therefore it is important to remember when treating your dog for fleas, to treat him for tapeworms too. It is also important to not only treat the pet but also the environment. Washing bedding in hot water and vacuuming well will help as well as the use of a chemical spray.

Flea treatments, available at our surgeries, treat various combinations of fleas, ticks, live, ear-mites, mange mites and worms. Several veterinary spot-on products also kill flea eggs and larvae so can help to prevent environmental contamination. Speak to a member of staff about the best product for your pet.

It used to be that fleas were most prevalent during the warmer months; however, with modern day central heating we now provide a lovely warm environment for fleas all year round. For this reason, treatment against fleas should be provided throughout the year.


Ticks often attach to a dog’s skin and look like warts. They grow in size as they feed on your dog’s blood, and although if left alone will eventually fall off when full prompt removal is necessary as they can pass on disease to your dog as they feed. Ticks are usually picked up by your dog in long grass or in woodland, especially where sheep or deer have been grazing.tickonskin

As mentioned previously, there are various spot-on treatments which both repel and kill ticks. Ticks already on the animal should be manually removed.

If you do not know how to remove ticks safely (just pulling may leave parts of the head behind and cause a nasty infection) then ask your vet to show you. If ticks aren’t removed properly it can cause a skin reaction or an abscess. Your vet or vet nurse might use a special device to remove the tick.tickremoval Alternatively, special tick tweezers are available to buy. These need to be used very carefully so speak to your vet/nurse for advice before attempting to remove ticks with tweezers.