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Dandenong Ranges Veterinary Centre

Parasite Prevention

Parasite Prevention

There are a number of internal and external parasites which can affect pets, but fortunately at DRVC we have a range of very effective parasite prevention options to keep your pet happy and healthy.

Fleas, Ticks and Mites

Fleas are very common parasites which can affect dogs and cats. They can cause severe skin irritations and can carry other parasites including tapeworms. Fleas can lay thousands of eggs in the environment and once present in your house or garden, it can take several months to resolve a flea infestation. For this reason, regular flea prevention is important year-round.

Ticks are also common, with several different species of ticks found in this area year-round, though they are most active in the warmer months of the year (spring and summer). Though the paralysis tick (Ixodes holocyclus) has not yet been found in the Dandenong Ranges, it is now present in other parts of Victoria (including Gippsland and some areas of Melbourne), and there are several related species of tick in this area which do have the potential to cause paralysis in dogs and cats. Other wildlife-borne ticks and brown dog ticks are very common in this area, and immature (larval) ticks can cause severe skin irritation, particularly on the legs and feet.

Several types of mites can infect dogs. Sarcoptes scabiei is sometimes called the “scabies” mite. It can cause very severe itching and a red rash in dogs and humans. It is highly contagious and may be carried by foxes. Wombats can also carry this mite, and they often suffer from very severe skin problems which can be fatal if not treated. Demodex mites can cause a condition called demodectic mange. Demodex mites can live in small numbers in the hair follicles of healthy animals, however in some dogs (particularly puppies, or dogs with other skin or immune system problems) these mites can overpopulate the skin, resulting in hair loss and sometimes secondary infections which can be severe. Demodex is not a contagious disease but can be debilitating in affected animals.

There are several options for flea, tick and mite prevention now available, including spot-on treatments and tablets which last from 1-3 months. Some products will only protect against fleas, while others may include tick and/or mite prevention as well.

DRVC recommends: Bravecto, a chewable tablet which provides 3 months prevention against fleas and 4 months against ticks. Bravecto also provides protection against sarcoptic and demodectic mange mites.

Intestinal Worms

Several intestinal worms may infect dogs, including hookworm, roundworm, whipworm and several tapeworms. These worms may cause vomiting and diarrhoea, weight loss, anaemia and poor growth. Some of these worms may also infect people, particularly children. There are several options for intestinal wormers, including tablets and spot-on treatments. It is important to check that whichever treatment you use covers against all intestinal worms, as some treatments (particularly spot-on treatments) may not cover tapeworms.

Worming schedule for dogs and cats:
  • Puppies and kittens should be given an intestinal wormer every 2 weeks until 12 weeks, then monthly until 6 months then at least every 3 months thereafter.
  • Adult dogs and cats should be given an intestinal wormer every 3 months.

If your dog is in a high risk area for the Hydatid tapeworm, or is eating a raw meat diet, more frequent intestinal worming may be required.

DRVC recommends: Milbemax all-wormer tablets or Profender spot-on treatment (for cats).


Heartworm is spread by mosquitos, which carry the immature worms (microfilaria) and inject them into the bloodstream when they bite a dog or cat. These microfilariae then develop into adult worms in the blood vessels of the heart and lungs. This can cause symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, collapse, heart failure and even sudden death. Cats are not the preferred host for heartworm, and so the worms cannot reproduce in cats (only dogs). This means that cats are generally less severely and less frequently affected than dogs with heartworm disease, though sometimes a single worm can still cause some symptoms of coughing or wheezing. Although more common in tropical areas, heartworm is present throughout Australia and every year there are a number of cases of heartworm infection in dogs in Melbourne and surrounding areas. Treatment of heartworm is not simple and can have some serious complications. Because of the seriousness of heartworm disease, we recommend heartworm prevention for all dogs, which may be either:

  • A monthly tablet (Milbemax, Interceptor, Sentinel, Heartgard, Panoramis, Nexgard Spectra)
  • A monthly spot-on treatment on the back of the neck (Advocate, Revolution)
  • A yearly injection (Proheart SR12) which may be given from 6-9 months of age (once the dog is close to its adult weight)

DRVC recommends: for dogs a monthly treatment until 6-9 months of age and then a Proheart SR12 injection annually.

For cats, there are several spot-on preventatives which provide heartworm protection when given monthly e.g. Advocate, Revolution, etc. Ask us for more information about the best option for your cat.

Platinum Paws Club members can receive parasite prevention products delivered directly to your door in the mail every 3 months!
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