The micro-beast invaders that are putting millions of pets and families at risk
The It’s a Jungle Out There report discovered that 65% 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, all of which can put owners and their families in danger of infestation and disease.
Only a third (33%) of owners consider parasites a serious risk to their pet’s health and 59% do not know that worms, fleas and ticks can transmit diseases that are potentially fatal to their pet. For example, a worrying 70% of dog owners do not know that the potentially fatal lungworm, Angiostrongylus vasorum, transmitted through eating infected common garden slugs and snails, could infect their dog.
A further 32% of owners admit to waiting until their pet displays visible signs of a parasite infestation before taking action to treat. However, parasites are highly evolved to remain undetected on the host and a pet may have been infested for several months before signs, if any, start to show.
One in three (30%) UK pet owners have had to treat their house for fleas, with cat owners twice as likely to suffer from an infestation as dog owners. Almost half of all owners (44%) have also discovered a tick on themselves or a family member.
What’s more, several types of intestinal worm, such as roundworm, hookworm and tapeworm, can cause potentially dangerous diseases in humans and are transmitted after exposure to the faeces of an infected pet.
Less than half (44%) of owners say they regularly pick up their pet’s faeces on a walk and a startling 59% of owners leave their pet’s faeces in the garden, potentially exposing their family to worm infestation. For example, roundworm eggs passed through the faeces of an infected cat or dog and will contaminate the surrounding soil for several months – these can become attached to pets’ fur and then, if accidentally ingested by owners, can lead to the condition Toxocariasis, which can result in sickness and even permanent vision loss in humans.
Parasite expert and Vet Maggie Fisher from ESCCAP, the independent parasite control resource, said: “Understanding the risks parasites present is an important part of being a responsible pet owner, as is clearing up after your dog or cat and properly treating against parasites. For example, an adult T canis female worm can excrete as many as 85,000 eggs per day, which remain in the ground for months or even years, and can be spread around the environment ending up on shoes, bike wheels and pushchairs, for example.”
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 online risk assessment to discover their own personal jungle.