Pesky parasites pose a threat to our pets, our kids and even ourselves. While most are tiny and often out of sight, these nasty critters can wreak havoc on your pet’s health and, if left untreated, can cause life-threatening illnesses. Learn the signs to watch out for and how to protect your cat or dog from these critters.


If your pet is scratching, it may have fleas! Fleas are tiny insects that cause itching, skin irritation and allergic reactions. Flea treatments should be given every month of the year to prevent and control flea infestations effectively. Ask your vet for the best advice on flea prevention for your pet.

Intestinal worms

Another parasite you need to protect your pet from is intestinal worms. Intestinal worms live in the intestines and feed on the nutrients that your pet consumes. The most common intestinal worms in Australia are roundworm, tapeworm, and hookworm. Left untreated, they can cause weight loss, vomiting, diarrhoea, anaemia, and even death. Pets usually become infected with intestinal worms by ingesting the eggs of the parasites, which can be found in contaminated soil, faeces, and other sources.

Regular deworming treatments will protect your pet from intestinal worms.

You should deworm your pet regularly:

  • every 2 weeks until 12 weeks of age
  • then once a month until 6 months of age,
  • And depending on the product, every 3−6 months for the rest of their life.

Vet tip: Intestinal worms can be transmitted from pets to humans, so it’s important to wash your hands after touching your pet and picking up their poo.

Signs and symptoms of a parasite infection

Here are some of the key signs your pet might have a parasite infection:

  • Intense scratching, biting, and licking their skin.
  • Patchy hair loss or irritated skin.
  • Visible parasites on their skin, bedding on in their faeces.
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea.
  • Bloating, particularly puppies and kittens.
  • Weight loss.
  • Anal scooting.
  • Sudden paralysis or difficulty breathing. Pets who show these signs need emergency veterinary treatment straight away.

If you notice any of these signs or suspect your pet may have a parasite infection, visit your vet. With regular check-ups, preventive measures, and good hygiene, you can protect your pet from these pesky parasites.