GDV Bloat in Dogs

Gastropexy – Avoiding Dangerous Bloat in Dogs

Would You Consider Your Dog having an Elective Procedure if you knew it could prevent Dangerous Bloat?

Bloat – most people know about it but not everyone knows how dangerous it can actually be. In veterinary speak we call it GDV (Gastric Dilatation Volvulus) – also known as twisted stomach or gastric torsion.

How does Bloat Happen?

It happens when stomach fills with gas during the digestive process and something prevents the food flowing into the small intestine as it should – giving the gas no way to escape!

When the stomach begins to bloat it stretches and become enlarged – eventually becoming so big it rotates on itself (twists) shutting of critical blood flow to organs & causing tissues to die off which can’t be reversed.

Meanwhile your dog starts to show signs of laboured breathing and pain as a result of the stomach stretching and taking up more and more room in the abdominal cavity and putting pressure on the chest cavity.

This condition is extremely painful and won’t go away without Urgent Veterinary Intervention. It is a true Emergency and you must get to your vet quickly. Any delay can cause irreversible damage and a potential excruciatingly painful death!

How Common is Bloat in Dogs?

It seems this condition is more common in deep chested and large breed dogs such as Great Danes, German Shepherds, St Bernards, Standard Poodles, Dobermans however any other medium – large breed of dog can also be at risk.GDV Bloat in Dogs

Other Causes

There are many factors that can cause bloat aside from natural breed and build of your dog. These include:

  • Genetic pre-disposition – chest dimensions
  • Age – Older dogs are more likely to develop bloat
  • Gender – Male dogs seem to more pre-disposed to bloat
  • Eating habits – Dogs fed once a day are more at risk than those been fed several smaller meals throughout the day
  • Temperament – Nervous, fearful or anxious dogs appear to be at higher risk of developing this condition
  • Exercise on a full stomach after eating

Warning signs of Bloat

  • Swollen belly – loss of the tucked in area behind the last rib and hip
  • Non – productive vomiting – trying to vomit but nothing comes up – retching
  • Restlessness – hunched appearance
  • Rapid shallow breathing
  • Salivation (drooling)

If your dog’s condition continues to deteriorate, especially if volvulus (twisting) has occurred, your dog may go into shock and become pale, have a weak pulse, a rapid heart rate, and eventually collapse. A dog with gastric dilatation without volvulus can show all of these signs. The more severe signs are likely to occur in dogs with both dilatation and volvulus.

Be Prepared

Know the location of your nearest 24 hour Emergency Centre or vet with 24 Hour service before this happens. If it does – you can’t afford to waste time hunting!

An Elective Surgical Procedure that can help prevent Bloat

This is called Preventative Gastropexy – a procedure that is often performed early in a dog’s life that greatly reduces the risk of a future emergency.

Most commonly this is done at the time of desexing when your dog is already under Anaesthesia.

During this procedure, part of your dog’s stomach is attached to the body wall preventing it from being able to rotate.

Other options include:

  • Performing a Gastropexy at an early age 6 – 9 months of age. We don’t recommend desexing at this age for large breed dogs so this would be a standalone procedure
  • Perform a Gastropexy at the same time as desexing when full maturity is reached at around 18 months of age for large breed dogs. This can be done with a routine desexing (Traditional spey and castration) or via a laparascopic (keyhole) spey with a laparascopic assisted gastropexy.

If you suspect Bloat – Don’t Delay

If your dog is showing signs of bloat – head to your nearest Emergency Centre immediately or if you are local – call us and come straight down. We operate a 24 hour facility with vets available to perform this life threatening surgery day and night!

Even if it turns out be be a false alarm – you’ve done the right thing. In this case it’s definitely best to be safe than sorry.

roundworm infection

How to avoid this senseless Death in Puppies

If it’s one thing that always deeply gets to us it’s the suffering or death of any animal that could have been so easily avoided.

This story reflects just one of these situations that we see – more often that we should. Hopefully, by publishing this story we can help avoid further unnecessary suffering and death in other puppies and kittens out there.

How simple Deworming could have saved this Puppy’s life

Just a few days ago we saw a 5 week old puppy – severely lethargic, dehydrated and had not been eating for days!

The owners sought some over the phone advice from “somewhere” and were told as long as the puppy was willing to lick a little food from their finger – it should be O.K.


Well – Puppy was NOT O.K. In fact in addition to all the above symptoms this little girl showed stunted growth a high temperature and severe malnutrition – all clearly indicating she was one sick little puppy.

And what else did we find on examination?

Yep – Roundworms – lots of them. Alive, Nicely matured and clearly sucking all vital nutrients from her intestines. Explains her poor state of health, stunted growth and deterioration over time.

Roundworms are most threatening to Puppies. And if left untreated can cause death! Click To Tweet

The most common consequence of Roundworm infection is stunted growth!

At this stage – this little girl needed intensive treatment is she was to have any chance of survival. Her owners elected not to proceed and chose instead to euthanase.

How to Avoid Risk of Worming Infection in Your Puppy (or Kitten)

Worming is so darn easy using the available syrup formulas so there’s absolutely no excuse for these babies suffering or even dying from worm infestation.

All puppies and kittens should be wormed from 2 weeks of age with a quality de-worming product.

Continue to worm every 2 weeks until 12 weeks of age. Then monthly until 6 months of age.

Roundworm Facts

Roundworm are particularly dangerous for puppies and kittens because they are already likely present at birth. This is because the larvae present in the mother can pass through the placenta into the unborn puppies or kittens.

They can also be passed through the mother’s milk after birth.

Worm Prevention Starts with Mum!

If you are planning to breed from your Bitch or Queen – make sure you deworm both before and during pregnancy to minimise the risk of Roundworm larvae being transmitted to the newborns.

Quality worm products are extremely safe for both pregnant and nursing Mums. Stick with a quality product over a cheap generic to be absolutely sure of the best protection.

We personally recommend Drontal Puppy Suspension (An allwormer product that protects against all 4 intestinal worms, Hookworm, Whipworm, Tapeworm and Roundworm) or Troy Puppy and Kitten Worm syrup which protects against Roundworm only. Since the main threat to newborns in the early weeks is Roundworm a “Roundworm Only” product is adequate for the first 6-8 weeks of life.

There are of course course other similar quality products out there but these 2 are an easy option and available from most veterinarians and pet stores.

Pet Dentistry No Anaesthetic

Anaesthesia Free Dentistry vs Professional Veterinary Dental

Is Anaesthesia – Free Dentistry the Right choice for Your Pet?

Since being introduced in Australia – Anaesthesia Free Dentals are becoming a popular option for people who don’t want their pet going under Anaesthesia.

That being said – there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information out there comparing AFD’s with Professional Veterinary Dentistry performed under General Anaesthesia other than AFD’s sounding so much more appealing than their Veterinary equivalent.

Is there a difference?

Yes there is. These are two entirely different procedures approached in entirely different ways.

AFD’s are approached from the Cosmetic angle. Ugly brown tartar which leads to periodontal disease is scraped off pet’s teeth to clean and restore the “above the gum line” parts of the teeth surface to make them nice and white again.

  • During an Anaesthesia Free Dental procedure the surface of your pet’s teeth are scaled using a hand instrument that scrapes away the accumulated tartar. This leaves grooves on the tooth surface making it easy for more food and bacteria to stick to after the procedure.
  • Your pet is likely to feel uncomfortable during the procedure. Think of your pet as a young child having it’s mouth held open while a sharp instrument scrapes and pokes along the teeth. And then – what if your pet reacts to a painful sensation and moves its head? There is a risk of doing some serious damage to the mouth and gums with that sharp instrument.
  • It is impossible to clean beneath the gumline where periodontal disease starts. Gently probing below the gum line looking for pockets of disease and cleaning these areas is painful. No AWAKE human or pet will tolerate this. For this reason – Anaesthesia Free Dental procedures do NOT address issues that may be hidden under the gumline.
  • This means Anaesthesia Free Dentals’s are superficial only and create a false sense of security. Just because your pet’s teeth are nice and white again does not mean there’s no serious dental disease lurking below the surface.
  • It is impossible to do a complete oral exam which includes looking at all surfaces of your pet’s teeth inside and out – front and back – in an awake pet.
  • It is impossible to see what’s happening to the parts of teeth that sit below the gumline without Dental X-rays. For all you know – with AFD’s – damaged teeth that should be pulled are being cleaned instead.
  • You can’t extract damaged, misaligned teeth without General Anaesthesia!Pet Dentistry No Anaesthetic

Summing up AFD’s

Your pet’s teeth are nice and white and that doggy breath is gone – for now!

As for any below the gumline tooth and jaw damage – that’s ignored and left until further symptoms develop and you’ll be referred back to your vet for the expensive treatment.

Veterinary Dentals

Are performed under full general Anaesthesia so we can properly examine ALL parts of your pet’s oral cavity including all parts of all teeth while your pet sleeps peacefully throughout.

Where we suspect any below the gumline issues – we take full dental X-Rays just like your Dentist would. Dental X-Rays give us valuable information about all the structures we can’t see. This allows us to identify bone loss – teeth that look normal on the surface but are damaged at the roots and need removing, impacted or resorbed teeth and any other bone pathology that might indicate developing disease.

Preventative Dentals (Scale & Polish)

Veterinary Dentals falls into two categories:

  1. Preventative Dentals – This is like visiting your Dentist on a regular basis to have your teeth professionally cleaned with modern Ultrasonic equipment. While your Dentist does this – he or she will be looking out for any developing problems and make recommendations based on what they see while examining and cleaning all your pearly whites. Regular dentals throughout your pet’s lifetime will slow down the progression of Dental Disease and keep them healthier for longer. In terms of costs – these are hardly more expensive than AFD’s.
  2. Treatment Dentals – where dental disease is already present. This is you visiting your dentist because you are experiencing Dental pain or discomfort. Usually this will mean a filling or some other form of dental treatment. Your Dentist will take X-rays to reveal the real cause of the problem so the right treatment can be prescribed.

Any treatment your Dentist does will likely involve some pain control. While humans don’t need a General Anaesthetic for most procedures – we do have the benefit of local anaesthesia for the uncomfortable or more painful procedures. Local anesthesia works just fine for us because as long as we don’t feel the pain – we’re happy to keep our mouth wide open and still to allow the dentist to do the work.

Animals aren’t so compliant which is why they need Full Anaesthesia.

Fear of Anaesthesia

There seems to be an unhealthy fear of Anaesthesia which is what makes AFD’s so appealing despite their clear limitations.

“But I don’t want my pet to have a General Anaesthetic” is a common reason for declining a Dental procedure.

In terms of risk – let’s put it this way. The risk of your Pet becoming very sick and being in a lot of pain due to Dental Disease is much much greater than the risk of Modern Day Anaesthesia.

This should never be the reason for withholding proper dental care from your pet.

In our Practice – we take a great deal of care to ensure ALL anaesthetics we deliver are done with your pet’s utmost safety in mind.Dog Anaesthesia Free Dentistry

This is why we do pre- anaesthetic screening blood tests as well as put your pet on fluids before or throughout the procedure as necessary.

Here’s a picture showing a patient sleeping peacefully through what would be considered a painful procedure.

Please note the Breathing tube inserted. This means we can administer Oxygen at any any time should there be complications.

It also prevents all that bacteria ridden tartar from being swallowed or worst still being inhaled into the lungs!

(Keep in mind – anaesthesia protocols vary between clinics. Here we’ve described what we do in our practice)

Home Visit Dental Check limitations

During a home visit (mobile vet services) we can perform basic dental checks however this cannot replace the full oral examination required for a professional diagnosis and treatment of Dental Disease. All pets that need dental treatment will be referred back to our Hospital.

Dental Disease is Serious Disease

Many people think that Dental Disease only ever affects the mouth so it’s O.K to ignore. Actually – it’s no less serious than any other medical condition you are prepared to visit your vet for. If left untreated – Dental Disease eventually affects other organs – mainly kidneys and heart as the infectious bacteria from the mouth circulate around the bloodstream.

But my Dog / Cat is still eating. It Can’t be that bad

Animal have strong survival instincts. They will continue to eat despite pain in preference to starvation. Once an animal has stopped eating – it’s a sign that death by starvation is now preferable to dealing with the pain associated with eating.

Breed Awareness

Some breeds of cats and dogs are more prone to developing dental disease. e.g Dogs with short faces like French Bulldogs, Shih-tzus, Pugs and their mixes often have overcrowded teeth making it more difficult to keep teeth and gums clean – even with preventative care.

These breeds of animals will need regular professional dentals on top of daily home dental care.


Hendra Vaccination for Horses

Hendra Virus – Why Vaccinate Your Horse

What all Horse Owners ought to Know about Hendra Virus and Vaccination

What is Hendra?

Hendra Virus is a zoonotic disease which means it can be transmitted from horses to humans during close contact with an infected horse.

Although it is a rare disease, the death rate related to infection is very high – about 50% in humans and more than 70% in horses.

The natural host for the Hendra Virus is the flying fox (Fruit Bat) and bats carrying Hendra Virus have been identified in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, Northern Territory and most recently – South Australia.

Hendra virus is transmitted from bats to horses and there is also a risk of horse to horse transmission and of course from horse to human.

As vets this gives cause for concern here in Victoria because we know that many horses travel extensively to compete in interstate events, thereby potentially increasing the risk of contracting the disease. Horses are also bought and sold across borders so we’re not as protected from the disease as we’d like to think.

Until recently, no vaccine against Hendra was available so we were all left with no options to safeguard ourselves and our horses against this deadly disease.Hendra Vaccination for Horses

Thankfully however, a vaccine for the Hendra Virus was released in November 2012.

This has come as a great relief to all us veterinarians who are regularly called out to treat sick horses with symptoms not unlike what you’d expect from a Hendra infection.

As such, we’d prefer the peace of mind and we’re sure you would also, that we are able to treat your horse without concern about the risk to our own health or yours.Hendra

Vaccine For Horses

We do not want to be in a position where we would refuse a visit to your sick horse that is showing Hendra like symptoms so please take up this opportunity to vaccinate your horse now. In addition the advice from the Australian Veterinary Association lawyers is that because a vaccine is now available, if a person catches Hendra from your horse, insurance policies will not protect you from a lawsuit.

Apart from treating sick animals, our responsibility as veterinarians is to keep you informed about diseases and help prevent against them wherever and however possible. We are particularly responsible for informing you of diseases that can risk human life so please take this issue seriously.

With this in mind, advising all our equine clients about the availability of the Hendra Vaccine will become a standard part of every equine consultation.

Naturally not all horses will be at equal risk and we are particularly concentrating on competition horses and others which have travel or will be traveling interstate on an occasional or regular basis.

Vaccination Protocol Summary

Unlike other equine vaccinations the Hendra Vaccine is available only via special permit to vets who have undergone the necessary accreditation.

This means:

  • You cannot buy the vaccine and vaccinate your horse yourself.
  • To receive the vaccine, your horse must also be Microchipped so proof of vaccination can be entered into a central database

Vaccination Schedule

Initial vaccination plus a booster vaccination in exactly 3 weeks time
Vaccination at 6 monthly intervals according to current research data. In the future this may become 12 months.

For the latest updates on Horse Health issues including Hendra visit Health for Horses


Heading North for the Holidays? Don’t Forget the Tick Protection

How to Protect Your dog from Paralysis Ticks

Down here in Victoria we’re probably not too concerned about ticks because most of our State is relatively tick free. But head North or to the Eastern coastal areas and the picture changes dramatically.

From what we’re reading, the tick season has well and truly started with an unusually high number of dogs being rushed to clinics for lifesaving tick paralysis treatment.

Why worry?

Paralysis ticks are dangerous. When a female paralysis tick attaches to your dog it begins to feed by burrowing its mouthparts into the dog’s skin and feeding on its blood. During this process it starts to produce a potent toxin that affects the dog’s central nervous system causing progressive papalysis and possible death.

While an anti-serum is available, it is expensive and very dependent on the early identification os symptoms.

Signs of tick paralysis

Signs your dog may have tick paralysis include:Paralysis Tick

  • Weakness or paralysis in the back legs progressing to the front legs
  • Wobbling and lack of co-ordination
  • Coughing or gagging
  • Change in bark tone
  • Grunting when breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Regurgitating or vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Inability to stand
  • Facial paralysis

Prevention is easy – and cheaper than cure

Thankfully it’s easy to protect your dog from the danger of Tick Paralysis. You can choose between spotton products like Advantix (DOGS ONLY) and Frontline (Frontline for Cats and Frontline for Dogs) and the long lasting Preventic Tick Collar for dogs.

Both Frontline and Advantix need to be applied every fortnight for continued protection but if you want a longer lasting tick paralysis preventative – we suggest Bravecto. (Product Update 2015) It lasts up to 3 months if all instructions are carefully followed.

However – even when using tick prevention we always recommend checking your dog daily for ticks.

Tick FAQ’s

When is the Tick Season?

In the Northern areas tick season is all year round. In the Southern areas tick season lasts from Spring through to Autumn.

How do I look for Ticks on my dog?

It’s best to use your hands and ‘feel’ your dog’s body all over paying particular attention to the head, neck, chest and front leg areas.

Which parts of the Southern States are high risk tick areas?

Check out the map indicated by the link below.

More information on Paralysis Ticks, Location Hot spots and Prevention.

Are all ticks dangerous?

No. There are several species of ticks and not all are equally dangerous. The paralysis tick however poses the greatest risk to your dog or cat.

Can cats get ticks too?

Yes. Cats can be affected by ticks including the paralysis ticks.

If I find a tick on my pet, should I remove it?

It’s always best to remove the tick as quickly as possible. You can do this yourself by using a device called a Tick Twister which is specifically designed for this purpose.

If this is not possible or you’re unsure as to what type of tick your pet is carrying, please see your vet as quickly as possible.

Beware the Hitchiker

It’s tempting to let tick prevention run out as soon as you reach home. We however recommend you continue with prevention for a few weeks after arriving back home to a non tick area. This is just in case any of these nasty parasites have managed to climb aboard your luggage for the trip home.

We have seen this happen just recently so please be vigilant for a little while longer.

More information on Paralysis Ticks, Location Hot spots and Prevention.

Information contained in the blog courtesy of Virbac Animal Health

What Everybody Ought to Know about Heartworm Medications

Could Your Dog Have Heartworm Infection and You Don’t Know it?

Good question.

Heartworm disease is not a disease that develops overnight. In actual fact it takes years from infection to when symptoms become evident. The culprit in causing and spreading heartworm disease is the Mosquito – not dog to dog contact as many people still believe.

And it isn’t covered through regular intestinal worming with an Allwormer either – which many people also still believe. Heartowrm is NOT an intestinal worm. It has a life of it’s own.

In fact there is a lot of confusion surrounding Heartworm disease from how a dog becomes infected in the first place to how to prevent infection.

Heartworm Basics

So what is a Heartworm exactly? Heartworm is a parasitic roundworm (Dirofilaria immitus) that is spread from host to host through the bites of infected mosquitoes. To keep it simple we’ll limit the host to the dog which is the most definitive although it can infect cats and other species too.

Adult Heartworms can grow to the size of between 23 – 30 cm depending on whether they are male or female. To create a simple picture imagine a piece of cooked spaghetti that length and you’ll have an idea of size.

How do they end up inside the dog? The heartworm actually goes through quite a few lifestages before it becomes an adult worm. Some of the intial larval developments actually occur within the mosquito itself. If an infected mosquito bites your dog, it then deposits the infective larvae (L3) in under your dog’s skin. The larvae then develop under the skin to the next laval stage (L4). The larvae then undergo further developments in your dog and migrate progessively from muscle tissue to your dog’s bloodstream where they then circulate around the body – growing as they go and finally lodging in the pulmonary arteries leading to the heart.

Here they grow to maturity (full size) and start to mate producing more larve for the next mosquito to suck up from the blood and reinfect another dog. So, depending on how many larvae actually reach maturity will determine how many mature heartworms your dog will have lodged in vessels surrounding the heart. So potentially anything from a single large worm – a whole bunch of them stuck in your dog’s blood vessels.

Heartworm disease can kill

The presence of a significant adult heartworms will cause irreversible damage to the Heart and surrounding blood vessels. Fist signs of this disease only develop once it’s far too late to reverse the damage. Symptoms include coughing, reduced exercise tolerance and in the case of a large burden – collapse or death.

The aim of heartworm prevention.

You can’t avoid your dog being bitten by mosquitoes but whether the mosquitoes are actually infected with heartworm will depend very much on climate. Not all mosquitoes carry the infective larvae. The warmer, tropical climate is the most suited to infective larvae production. So – if you live in our Northern States – Heartworm prevention is a must.

Down in the lower, colder areas like Victoria, it’s less likely the larvae can undergo their critical developmental stages in the mosquito to harm your dog when it bites. But there’s always a risk – especially during the warmer months and when it’s been wetter than usual creating lots of stagnant pools where mosquitoes breed. Simply put – more mozzies = more risk.

How do Heartworm Medications work?

Heartworm medications work by killing heartworm larve before they turn into adult worms. They don’t kill adult worms!

That’s why to keep your dog protected from heartworm infection, the medication needs to be given all year round to keep working on any active larval infections to prevent them from turning into adults. If medications are given on an ad hoc basis – you risk some of these larva maturing to a stage that’s no longer affected by the medication. So they keep growing while you continue to medicate. You just don’t know it’s happening.

Your dog won’t show any symptoms. It’s only years later when you have a number of adult worms lodged in the vessels that your dog will show evidence of Heartworm disease. By then much of the damge to the heart and surrounding vessels has already happened and it’s not reversible.

The Key to Preventing Heartworm Disease

Start Heartworm prevention before your dog is 6 months old. This means there hasn’t been an opportunity for potential larve to have reached a stage where the medication won’t kill them.

Continue giving topical or oral heartworm medications on time every month for continued protection. (Most Heartworm medications are given monthly)

If you miss a month or two – have your dog Heartworm tested a few months down the track to make sure no larva have escaped the meds during that time.

Better still – use the Yearly heartworm injection (proheart) from your vet. It saves the hassle of remembering to be on time each month.

Whys are Heartworm meds still a Prescription Only product in other parts of the world?

3 reasons:

  1. If you give heartworm medication to a dog heavily infected with microfilaria (immature heartworm) – the sudden death of these all at once can cause your dog to go into shock and collapse.
  2. You have no proof that adult worms are not present to cause damage while you are only targeting the immature lavae with your medication. The real danger is overlooked while you think your dog is protected!
  3. By needing a prescription every time you buy heartworm medications accurate records about your dog’s heartworm status are maintained and mandatory testing is performed as necessary – both eliminating risk of intermittent infection.

That’s why your dog should be tested Heartworm free before starting medications after 6 months of age and tested on a regular basis if you’ve missed a dose on time here and there.

Most dog owners buy Heartworm products without fully understanding their function, limitations and risk in giving to an infected dog. And sadly – not all advice given by hungry retailers keen to make a sale is correct, often omitting the important advice that needs to be given when dispensing these medications.

Prior to becoming an open seller, your vet would ensure you were giving the medications to a Heartworm Free Dog. Now we know nothing. Until it’s too late..

Nowdays with these products freely available without the need for testing we shudder to think how many heartworm infected dogs are out there that you or we don’t know about.

We certainly perform far less tests that we did years ago. And when we did – it was suprising how many dogs from our local area tested positive for Heartworm infection. Nowdays – they simply go undetected and we continue to sell you these medications despite a potential risk. Why? Because we can’t refuse to.

Is this a good thing?

You be the judge.

Stay safe – Have your dog Heartworm tested from time to time if you’re not giving regular heartworm medications or opt for yearly Heartworm injections to avoid missing a dose to reduce the risk of contracting this deadly insidious diease.

P.S. If you lived in the U.S and called into your vet clinic to buy some Heartworm medications. The conversation would probably go something like this …..

The Vampires are Coming – So let’s Talk Flea Products

Nothing sends people off to the Vet – or Pet store faster than finding one of these blood sucking, jumping parasites on their pet.

But to get rid of these nasty invaders – you’ll need a product – and a plan that works.

The Aim of the Game – Attack young and old.

With Spring finally here – there’s a very real possibility your home and yard will soon be invaded by these unwanted pesky parasites. And if you haven’t already started a flea crackdown program, chances are you soon will. That’s because the millions of flea eggs lying around your yard and yes – probably in your home will soon hatch, grow up and start biting.

So what product is best?

The answer to that is – it depends.

  • Whether you’re already using a monthly combination product that contains a Flea control ingredient – one that kills the adult fleas as well as attacks the emerging babes
  • Your pets’ environment and lifestyle – indoors / outdoors or both
  • The quality of the product

Good News

If you’re already applying any of these products to your pet’s skin on a monthly basis, then your pet is protected from Fleas for a full month after application.

Product Adult Fleas Flea Larvae Ticks Heartworm Intestinal Worms Notes
Advantage Yes Yes No No No Available in 4 and 6 Month packs. Dog and Cat Formulas..
Frontline Yes Yes Yes* No No For Paralysis Ticks Needs fortnightly application. 3 Month pack. Dog and Cat Formulas
Advocate Yes Yes No Yes Partly (All except for Tapeworm) Available in 3 and 6 Month Packs. Dog only
Revolution Yes Yes No Yes Dogs – No  Cats Yes Available in 3 and 6 Month Packs. Dog and Cat Formulas.
Advantix Yes Yes Yes No No Warning: Dogs only.Never use on Cats. For Paralysis Ticks apply Fortnightly

These products also work on the flea larvae (the little wrigglers that turn into adult fleas). They die after feeding off your pet’s skin cells which are continually shedded around the home and yard. This is what’s often referred to as “breaking the flea life cycle” – prevent the juveniles from turning into adults.

Tablets and Chews

Some people have an aversion to spotton products because they’re still mystified as to how they actually work. Truth is though – spotton products work extremely well. The solution is absorbed into, then distributed throughout the outer layers of skin all over the body within 24 hours. Bingo! A protective coat of armour against invaders that also kills on contact.

For those non believers in spotton products – there’s the edible variety. However not all popular chews and tablets will kill Adult Fleas. Here’s a list of some popular antiparasitics and what they do.

Product Adult Fleas Notes Pack Size
Interceptor Spectrum No Given Monthly. No Flea control component.Dog only. Heartworm Yes. Intestinal worms. Yes 3 and 6 Month Packs
Sentinel Spectrum No* Given Monthly. *Prevents Flea eggs from hatching once adult flea has jumped on your pet. Heartworm. Yes. Intestinal worms. Yes. Suggest using Capstar, Advantage or Frontline in combination with this product to get rid of Adult Fleas. 3 and 6 Month Packs
Capstar Yes Given as needed when adult fleas are evident on your pet. Fleas only. 6 Tablet Pack
Comfortis Yes Given Monthly. Fleas only. 6 Month Pack

All of these products have been through rigorous testing and are proven to be safe and effective.

What about Flea Shampoos?

Flea shampoos will kill fleas on your pet but have very little residual value. Once the smell of Eucalyptus or the like has faded they’ll soon be back and biting.

There are of course many other Flea products on the market and we certainly can’t list let alone recommend them all. As with anything – some will work better than others. Our recommendation is read the pack carefully and preferably seek professional advice. It’s important that the product you choose is safe, tailored to your pets’ lifestyle and environment and effective against these Flea lifestages. (Eggs, Larvae and Adults)

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do – Carefully read the instructions and use only on the species and ages as recommended.
  • Don’t – Split tablets or share pipettes amongst more than one animal. Each tablet or vial is carefully calculated for a specific weight. Splitting the tablet or vial won’t guarantee equal distribution of the active ingredients so they may not work at all.
  • Do – Buy the right pack size for your pet.

Want something Natural? Chemical Free?

What about Shoo Tag. Safe, Chemical Free Flea and Tick Preventative,

Flea products can kill more than Fleas if you’re not careful

Nothing sends you running to your local petstore or supermarket faster than the discovery of these pesky parasites on your pet’s coat.

But before you grab the first, best priced (and the one with the most attractive packaging) – FLEA KILLER please check out what chemicals it contains.

Flea products come in all different formats: from shampoos, sprays to spottons, even oral tablets -and they all contain some type of Active Ingredient to kill these unwelcome creatures quickly.

However, some of these Active Ingedients, while safe to use on or near dogs, can be exteremely dangerous for Cats.

Products containing Pyrethrums / Permethrins are for DOGS ONLY. Do not use these on Cats or allow cats to come into contact with them.

Same goes with products containing the Active ingredient Amitraz.

Application of a permethrin or pyrethrin based insecticide to a cat will usually result in toxic symptoms within a few hours.

These include:

  • Salivating (drooling)
  • Seizures or muscle tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy

This mistake is often made in multi pet households where it’s tempting to buy a pack of something and share it around all the pets. With so many of these products available on the market, and most being sold without advice, (online stores and supermarkets) it’s easy to overlook the fine print.

How to choose the right Flea Product

First of all – most Flea preventatives are formulated for a specific species. There’s products that are safe for use on Cats and ones that are for Dogs only. Most products will clearly indicate the species thy’re intended for but still check the fine print. Sometimes pictures can be misleading.

Then of course there’s the age, weight and health restrictions. All products should caution you against using the product on or around specific types of animals such as young puppies and kittens or animals which are sick or underweight.

Sometimes names of products can be confusing too. Advantix for example (A flea and tick preventative spotton for dogs) can be confused with Advantage – another product which kills fleas only.

Both Advantix and Advantage contain the Active Ingredient Imidacloprid which is safe for both dogs and cats however Advantix also contains Permethrin (to kill ticks) and is toxic to cats.

So never – ever use Advantix on Cats. In fact, if you apply this product to your dog keep your cat well away from him for the first few days after application. So sleeping together is a big No – No!

Our advice is – get advice whenever you buy antiparasitic products and stick with well respected brands that use safe active ingredients – and ones which are guaranteed effective against the feisty invaders.

Some cheaper generics may contain ingredients which no longer work as well because the parasites have developed a resistance to them.

Also – be aware that some flea products don’t actually kill adult fleas. They act as a Flea contraceptive which simply prevent fleas from breeding. These products won’t help you if you need to get rid of fleas quickly. Their role is to reduce the flea population over time. Sentinel Spectrum is an example of this type of product.

Choosing antiparasitics can be confusing and it’s easy to make a mistake. So – always read the fine print and preferably – ask for advice. After all – peace of mind is important too!

When is a Heartworm Test necessary?

Heartworm disease can be fatal if left untreated. What makes it particularly dangerous is the fact that symptoms won’t be obvious until quite a bit of damage has occured and your dog is already quite sick.

It can easily be prevented through giving regular monthly medications (orally or topically) depending on the product OR as a yearly injection.


The medications are only effective for the specific period they are given.

So monthly medications only last one month and yearly injections last only One Year!

If you are like some people and forget a monthly dose or two – your dog can be at risk.

It’s one medication you really can’t stop and start again without the risk of a potential infection in the interim.

If you have stopped giving the medications as directed by the product – you should see your vet about whether a test is necessary. This will depend on how long it’s been between stopping and starting medications and the specific product you’re using.

Each product will have a “safe period” or reachback period so advice should be sought before restarting the medication again.

Forget monthly medication easily? – We recommend the Yearly injection.

Heartworm prevention can and should start from 3 months of age. No test is necessary if starting at this age.

For more specific information about Heartworm Disease and Prevention – Please ask your Vet.

Vaccines supporting worthy cause

It’s always a good feeling when something we do at one end of the world makes a small difference to people and animal’s lives at another.

By choosing our range of Dog Vaccines you’re helping save the lives of companion dogs and children in the Serengeti region of Africa.

For more information on how this happens click here.