External Parasites


Although dogs and cats carry fleas they are all in fact cat fleas, the true dog flea is rare in Britain. Rabbit and hedgehog fleas will live on any pet. fleaFleas live for about 3 weeks and must feed every 20 minutes which can cause dogs and cats to itch and scratch. Heavy infestations on puppies and kittens can cause anaemia and occasionally death.

An adult flea can lay up to 40 eggs a day and are distributed all around the house. The eggs change to larvae which feed in the carpet or bedding and then change to pupae which can lay dormant for up to 2 years before they hatch into adult fleas.

The adult flea represents only 5% of the life cycle so simply just treating the pet will not solve the problem.


  • Prescription ‘Spot-ons’ e.g. Advocate, Advantix, Frontline Combo. These treat your pet. Some spot-ons can be bought in pet shops but these are generally older products and may not be as effective.
  • Household Sprays e.g. RIP Fleas. These treat the environment. Remember as 95% of the flea population are in the environment it is very important to use a spray in addition to a ‘spot-on’, in an infestation.
  • Collars e.g. Soresto.

All these products are safe and effective but each has different advantages so ask your vet or nurse during a free nurse clinic or phone us for advice.

Please note that although any of our team can advise you and dispense these products, they are prescription medicines and it is necessary for a vet to see your animal at least once a year in order for us to dispense them.


These small brown to grey parasites are commonly found on dogs and cats, especially around head and neck and under the legs. They drop off from the grass when out for a walk. Ticks cement their mouth parts into the skin and so cannot be pulled out with causing a sometimes nasty skin reaction.

In Britain, ticks can carry an infective parasite which causes Lyme’s Disease in dogs and people and abroad they can carry a serious disease called Babesiosis.


  • ‘Spot-ons’ e.g. Advantix (dogs only), Frontline Combo
  • Frontline Spray
  • Collars e.g. Soresto
  • Tick removers – this is the safest way to remove a tick from your pet ensuring the mouthparts are removed.
  • Avoiding walks in rural areas and long grass may help but ticks can be found in ordinary gardens.

Ear Mites

scratching catTiny white mites that live in the ear canal of cats and dogs and cause intense irritation, head shaking and copious wax to be produced.

They will move from pet to pet either via bedding or direct head to contact between pets.

Topical parasiticidal ear drops
Advocate or Stronghold spot-on

Cheyletiella Skin Mites

Nicknamed “walking dandruff” it causes intense irritation along the backline and large flakes or dander. Most common in puppies and breeding bitches


  • Frontline spray

Fox Mange or Sarcoptic Mange

These mites live just under the skin surface especially on the edge of the ear, the elbows and hocks of dogs. It is not clear how they are transferred from fox to dog as there is rarely direct contact so this must also occur indirectly via fence posts, trees or digging. The mite can be transferred to humans usually causing intense itching on skin around the wrists, waist and neck as these are the areas not covered by clothing when you cuddle or pet.


  • Advocate or Stronghold spot-on

Biting Lice

Biting lice are blood sucking insects that can be seen with the naked eye. They have no wings and appear flat. They live only on that host and do not infect humans. They spend their entire life cycle on the host and do live in the environment. In large numbers they cause itching and anaemia.


  • Frontline or Advocate spot-on


Demodex mites are generally a disease of young animals or older dogs suffering from a depressed immune system. The mites are found on virtually all adult dogs and most humans without causing any problems. They live in the hair follicle and spend their entire life on the dog. The mites are transferred directly from mother to puppies within the first few weeks of life. Most puppies are immune to the mite’s effects and show no clinical signs but a few are not and lesions develop. There is hair loss around the eyes and head with crusting and malodorous skin. If this is not treated the dog can become very ill.


Often very difficult as this involves using antibiotics to reduce secondary infection in the skin and very powerful insecticidal washes which can be difficult to apply around the eyes and face.

For further advice on any of the above parasites and treatments either talk to your vet, book an appointment for a FREE nurse clinic or phone for advice on 01722 412211