Parasites of dog and cat - worms, fleas and ticks

Tzt. Elisabeth Helm GPCert SAS/SAM
Parasites and itching in dogs and cats
Information about parasites in dogs and cats. Worms, ticks, fleas, giardia, etc. Regular deworming of your pet is also important for your health.


Parasites in dogs and cats

About worms, ticks, fleas and co.

Parasite prophylaxis for dogs and cats

4 x / year

With a tablet or spot-on for the neck

April - October

1 x / month one tablet or spot-on for the neck

What is the best way to protect my pet?

Whether summer or winter, dogs and cats (with outdoor access) should be dewormed 4 x / year. In winter, a worming tablet (or spot-on for the neck) is sufficient, from April to October a combination with a tick and flea protection is useful. 

The protection against ticks and fleas lasts about 4-6 weeks and should therefore be repeated monthly. Nevertheless, it is not that you will no longer find ticks on the animal. The tick bites and absorbs the active ingredient during the blood meal. It is killed within an hour, so the animal is protected from the diseases that ticks transmit. 

Annual pack of parasite medication for dogs and cats with 10 % discount

All-round protection for the whole year

In our practice, you will receive a complete annual package of parasite remedies for your pet adapted to the specific needs of your dog and cat. 

10% off the total price and free annual plan

We advise against the use of collars against ticks and fleas, as they can often cause injuries by getting stuck (especially in cats) or skin irritations and the active ingredient of the powder-coated collar can also be absorbed by the owner through the skin. Long-acting (several months effective) antiparasitics should also be used with caution. These are usually well tolerated and side effects rare, but if it comes to intolerance, this can persist for several months (depending on the duration of action of the drug). 


Fleas lay their eggs in the animal's fur after a blood meal, these then drop into the environment, shed their skin several times and become an adult flea, which again attaches itself to the host's skin and sucks blood - the cycle begins again.

For every flea you see on your pet, you can expect about 100 flea eggs. A flea treatment only works on the adult (bloodsucking) fleas, so repeated treatment is important to kill the later hatched fleas as well.

Flea infestation in dogs and cats

There are several reasons why you should treat fleas:

Ticks in dogs and cats

From spring to fall, you should treat your pet preventatively against ticks to avoid diseases such as Lyme disease, babesiosis and anaplasmosis.


Similar to the flea, the tick develops after several molts and always relies on bloodsucking for growth.

Ticks can not only cause skin inflammation and irritation, but also transmit pathogens such as Borrelia, Anaplasma, Babesia or Ehrlichia. These diseases lead to anemia, exhaustion and fever. 

If a tick has already attached itself to the skin, it should be removed immediately. You should make sure to remove the tick with head to avoid inflammation. There are special tick pliers for this purpose.


In dogs and cats, roundworms, tapeworms and whipworms in particular can live in the intestine. They cause diarrhea and weight loss and can be life-threatening in individual cases, especially in immunocompromised animals.

Most animals initially show no symptoms and the worm eggs are not visible to the naked eye in the feces. Only the adult worm may be visible, but then there is already longer a heavy infestation. The worm eggs can also be ingested by humans when petting and playing with the animal and lead to a worm infestation.

Worm infestation in dogs and cats

Worms are visible in the feces only with a heavy infestation and can also be transmitted to humans. Therefore, you should deworm your animal 4 x / year or have a fecal sample examined. 

Giardia in dogs and cats

A normal deworming is not sufficient for Giardia, special medication must be administered over several days.  


Giardia live in the intestines of our pets and often cause diarrhea, sometimes with blood and mucus, and destroy the intestinal wall. Affected patients should be treated in any case, because Giardia are highly infectious and also become transmissible to humans.
Other unicellular parasites are Coccidia and Cryptosporidia, which lead to similar clinical symptoms as Giardia.

Heart and lung worms

Besides the intestinal parasites, there are also lung and heartworms. Both cause symptoms such as exhaustion, coughing and emaciation and can be fatal.
The lungworm larva is usually eaten by the animal via an infested snail and migrates via the intestine, liver and heart into the lungs.
Heartworms are mainly found in southern areas (Southern and Eastern Europe) and are transmitted by mosquitoes.

Heartworm / dirofilariasis in dogs and cats

For vacation trips to high-risk areas, we recommend prophylactic treatment before traveling, as the treatment of heartworms is associated with many complications and risks. 

> Here more info about travel sickness.

We are happy to advise you on parasite prophylaxis for your pet.

Social media
About the author
Tzt. Elisabeth Helm GPCert SAS/SAM
Tzt. Elisabeth Helm GPCert SAS/SAM

Elisabeth Helm has over 10 years of professional experience as a veterinarian. She completed her studies at the LMU Munich and subsequently trained as a General Practitioner for small animal medicine and surgery at the International School of Veterinary Postgraduate Studies. In 2013 she founded the veterinary practice Uderns in the Zillertal.

Popular posts