West Gippsland Vet Care
185 Princes Way
Drouin, VIC, 3821
Phone: 03-5625-1707

West Gippsland Vet Care
1 Bona Vista Road
Warragul, VIC, 3820
Phone: 03-5623-4822


Treating Parasites in Cats and Dogs

18 VET

  • Intestinal Worms
  • Heartworm
  • Fleas
  • Ticks

Intestinal Worms

Dogs and cats need to be treated regularly for roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms. Eggs from these worms are passed in the faeces of infected animals and are found widely in the environment. There are many products available for treatment of these worms. It is important to use a reputable brand and to make sure that the product used treats all of the above worms, be aware that some products will not treat tapeworms.

Dogs - Puppies should be wormed every 2 weeks between the ages of 2 and 12 weeks then monthly from 12 weeks to 6 months of age. After 6 months of age all dogs should be wormed once every 3 months for life.

Cats – Kittens should be wormed every 2 weeks between the ages of 2 and 12 weeks then once every 3 months for life.

Heartworm in Dogs

Heartworm disease is caused by a parasite called Dirofilaria Immitis. Worm larvae are transmitted from infected dogs to uninfected dogs via mosquito bites. After circulating in the blood stream, adult worms live in the great vessels and right side of the heart. It is a potentially fatal disease that can be difficult and dangerous to treat effectively. There have been no reported cases of heartworm so far in the West Gippsland area, however it is reported in Melbourne and further north in Australia it becomes more and more prevalent. If there is no chance that your dog will leave the West Gippsland area then heartworm prevention is optional, however we advise that to be safe all dogs should receive prevention. If you are planning to travel with your dog then it is strongly advisable that your dog be placed on heartworm prevention. There are a number of products available to prevent heartworm ranging from monthly chewables or spot-ons to yearly injections. Please contact the clinic if you would like further information on heartworm or products used for prevention.


Fleas are a very common parasite in dogs and cats. Traditionally they have been more of a problem in warmer months as flea larvae do not develop in cooler temperatures. However, as many houses now have effective heating and dogs and cats are spending more time inside, fleas have also become a problem during the winter months as larvae develop in carpets and on furniture or bedding.

Adult fleas live on dogs and cats. There are two main species of fleas, both of which can live on either dogs or cats. Adult females lay large numbers of eggs that fall off the animal into the environment where they develop through several larval stages into adults. This development can take up to 6 months depending on the temperature of the environment. The adult fleas then hop on to the first passing animal that comes their way. These fleas may also jump onto humans and while they cannot live out their life on humans, they will leave bites that can be quite itchy.

Fleas can be brought into your home or yard by passing dogs, cats or foxes or can be picked up in the park or other public places where an infected animal may have been.

Effective treatment of fleas involves treatment of all animals in the household as well as treatment of the environment. The most effective treatments are reputable spot-on preparations. Most of these products provide protection for 4 weeks if used properly. Be sure to follow instructions for application closely. Shampoos and powders may kill fleas but only have residual activity for a couple days, after which time any new fleas from the environment will not be killed. Flea collars will only kill fleas that actually come into contact with the collar so there is a large area of the animal’s body that is not treated. In heavy burdens treatment of the home environment is also important. “Flea Bombs” can be used however they are not particularly user-friendly. Spot treatment with a spray-on product around base of all furniture after thorough vacuuming and in favourite sleeping spots can be useful.


Brown Dog Ticks are found in bush areas in the West Gippsland region. These ticks may cause local inflammation at the site of attachment but no other signs in dogs.

The paralysis tick is found in Victoria anywhere east of Bairnsdale and all the way up the east coast in New South Wales and Queensland. It can attach to either dogs or cats. The toxin released from the paralysis tick causes a potentially fatal paralysis of muscles, beginning with the hind legs and eventually ascending to affect the respiratory muscles and sometimes the heart. Any dog traveling to an affected area should be on tick prevention and be checked conscientiously once daily for any attached ticks. Be aware that ticks can be transported from this area to home on camping equipment or clothing so we certainly see cases of tick paralysis in dogs that have never left West Gippsland.

If you are planning a trip anywhere on the east coast please ask one of our staff about tick prevention. The earliest signs seen in cases of tick paralysis include a weakness in the hind legs leading to a slight change in the way the dog or cat walks. In dogs a change in the character of the bark may also be seen before other signs. If your dog or cat shows these signs, please let as know immediately.

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