Preparing the Royal Kennel for a New Arrival
Expert explains parasite prevention for the world’s most famous dog, in preparation for the Royal baby
The UK is in the grip of baby-mania and preparations for the arrival of a new Royal into the world are well underway. But aside from the national planning and celebrations, the centre of preparation is undoubtedly within the Royal household and not least, the Royal kennel.
With the news that British homes are becoming a haven for micro-beast parasite invaders, even the couple’s beloved dog, Lupo, will need preparing for the new arrival.
Expert parasitologist and member of the European Scientific Counsel Companion Animal Parasites (ESCCAP), Ian Wright, explains some of the main issues the Duke and Duchess will need to consider before welcoming a new baby into the home.
New research that has shown 30 per cent of pet-owning households have had to recently treat their home for fleas.
Ian explains: “Although fleas cannot live on human beings, they could be laying in wait in carpets and soft furnishings ready to cause an irritating and sore bite. As children are more commonly on floors and carpets, with a low centre of gravity, this makes them a close target for fleas, which can jump up to two-hundred times their own body height.”
Not only are fleas a real pain to get rid of, without proper treatment they can come back again and again. Flea bites can be particularly unpleasant if the host has an allergic reaction.
Roundworm / Toxocara
Roundworm eggs passed through the faeces of an infected dog can contaminate surrounding soil for several months. If ingested, these eggs can lead to Toxocariasis in humans, which in rare cases can lead to permanent vision loss.
“Children will often like to explore their environment through touch and taste, increasing the risk of them ingesting a roundworm egg. Just one pile of dog poo can contain up to 1 million roundworm eggs. Ensuring that your dog or cat is regularly wormed will ensure they are worm-free, but it’s always best to make sure a child’s hands are cleaned regularly, as you never know what other animal’s mess has worked it’s way into your garden or onto your shoes.”
Campylobacter are a group of bacteria that are a common cause of food poisoning, which can lead to diarrhoea, and often vomiting. Pets and other animals infected with campylobacter can also pass on the bacteria to humans, but the bacteria will rarely cause any symptoms for the animals themselves.
Good hygiene in the home will help keep these bacteria at bay, as well as a number of other bacteria that could pose a risk to young children.
As well as irritation, blood sucking ticks can transmit nasty diseases to pets and humans such as Lyme disease when they feed. Lyme disease can result in flu-like symptoms and lameness, and in people if left untreated can lead to neurological symptoms such as temporary paralysis of facial muscles. There is also evidence[i] to suggest that tick-borne diseases usually found in Southern Europe and North Africa such as ehrlichiosis and babesiosis, which can cause sickness and fever, have even been reported in certain areas in the South of Britain and Wales. It is estimated that around 15 per cent of domestic dogs are infested with ticks at any one time[ii].
The good news is that the majority of these parasites are completely preventable. However, the It’s a Jungle Out There report revealed that 65 per cent of owners do not regularly use parasite treatment products and are not certain that their pet is completely protected against fleas, ticks, lice, mites and intestinal worms.
Only a third (33 per cent) of owners consider parasites a serious risk to their pet’s health and 59 per cent do not know that worms, fleas and ticks can transmit diseases that are potentially fatal to their pet.
To help pet owners navigate the complex jungle of parasites and help them in complying with the recommended parasite control advice, Bayer Animal Health has launched the ‘It’s a Jungle Out There’ initiative. The campaign is encouraging owners to A.C.T against the jungle of parasites threatening their pets:
-Ask your Vet for advice
-Create a parasite protection plan
-Treat and repeat to prevent infestation
Owners can find information about the most common parasites in the UK at www.itsajungle.co.uk, where they can complete an online risk assessment to discover their own personal parasite protection plan.
Keep up-to-date with the latest parasite information and advice by following ‘It’s a Jungle Out There’ on Facebook
[i] Holm L. P., Kerr, M. G., Trees, A.J., McGarry, J. W., Munro, E. R. & Shaw, S. E. (2006) Fatal babesiosis in an untravelled British dog. Veterinary Record 159, 179-180
[ii] Journal Medical and Veterinary Entomology