Welcome to Darwin! There are a few things that are different here than in most other parts of Australia when it comes to caring for your dog, we will explain the main ones in this article.
There is a disease dogs can get in Darwin that isn’t vaccinated for in most other places in Australia: Leptospirosis australis. We also see a lot more cases of Parvovirus in Darwin than in many areas of Australia.
Is a potentially fatal disease in dogs that’s spread mainly by the urine of rats, mice and native wildlife contaminating water sources. Vomiting and diarrhoea are among the first symptoms, followed closely by liver failure and often death.
If your pet has not been vaccinated for this strain of leptospirosis before, 2 vaccinations (given 4 weeks apart) are required. After the initial vaccinations, a booster every 6 months is recommended.
Commonly called ‘parvo’, is a highly infectious virus that attacks a dog’s intestinal tract. It’s mainly transmitted through the faeces of infected dogs, and the virus can last in the environment for up to a year. We see a lot of puppies with this horrible disease, which can be fatal, so it’s important to vaccinate your dog and wait until they are fully vaccinated before going for walks (this is 2 weeks after their final (16 week) puppy vaccination).Parvovirus vaccination is included in the C3 and C5 vaccinations.We recommend all dogs be vaccinated with an annual C5 vaccination (after the initial puppy series has been completed). This covers for Parvovirus, Distemper, infectious hepatitis and 2 strains of canine cough.
If you are unsure about which vaccinations your dog needs, please bring in your vaccination records (or have your previous vet email your pet’s history to us) and we will let you know the best options your pet.
All our vaccinations include a health check.
Parasites, like worms, ticks and fleas, thrive in warm environments, which means they’re more prevalent here than in southern areas of Australia. The parasites we treat are:
Roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms are common in Darwin, and infected dogs can pass them on to people, especially children. We also have an extra species of tapeworm here, the Spirometra tapeworm. This is transmitted by lizards and frogs, as well as some water beetles. None of the normal worming treatments cover for this species of tapeworm (some will cover for the type of tapeworm that is spread by fleas).
Dogs need to be wormed more frequently in Darwin than in other areas of Australia: young puppies should be wormed fortnightly from 2 weeks of age, and puppies from 16 weeks of age, and adult dogs should be wormed monthly. For puppies we prescribe Drontal worming syrup, Cazitel tablets, or Milbemax tablets to treat intestinal worms. For adults we prescribe a monthly tablet to treat intestinal worms (either Cazitel, or a combined product that treats heartworm +/- fleas as well), and recommend an additional tapeworm tablet (for the spirometra tapeworm) every three months. Most supermarket products aren’t effective against our tropical-strength worms.
Heartworm can be fatal for dogs, and because it’s spread by mosquitoes and thrives in warm environments, it’s very important to protect our dogs in Darwin. We offer two heartworm treatment options: a monthly tablet that covers both heartworm and the intestinal worms (you can get one that covers fleas, too), or an annual heartworm injection (it doesn’t last quite as long for puppies).
Both options are very effective, provided they are consistently given on time. If you occasionally forget the monthly tablets, your dog could develop Heartworm infection. It is often easier to ensure complete protection with the heartworm injection, as it is only needed once a year.
We don’t see the dangerous paralysis tick in Darwin, but the common brown dog tick is rife. On top of irritating their hosts, ticks can also transmit diseases to dogs. We now have a tasty chew called Bravecto, which is very effective for control of ticks (and fleas) and is given every 2-3 months (sprays and spot-on treatments are also available, but may not be as effective). Injections can also be given for ticks, which are effective and work fast.
Fleas love hot, wet environments, and they can make life miserable for many Darwin pooches. Flea collars and powders alone are not effective treatments in Darwin, and even some of the better flea products that may work elsewhere often don’t work here.
We can offer a tablet form of flea control (Comfortis), which is given monthly and highly effective. We can also prescribe a monthly flea tablet that also treats heartworm and intestinal worms (Panoramis). We now have a new flea control option called Bravecto – a tasty chew given every 3 months, which also covers for ticks. It’s imperative to treat all dogs and cats in the household when addressing a flea problem.
You can also use our hydrobath to help with ticks and fleas. We use a top quality solution which is changed frequently, so it’s less likely to cause reactions. Though it’s not enough to treat ticks and fleas on its own, a hydrobath will kill all the ticks and fleas on the animal and provide some immediate relief.
While this is not specific to Darwin, it is worth a mention. With advances in veterinary medicine we now have many testing and treatment options available for pets allowing them to live longer, happier lives. This does mean though that providing the best care for your pet if they are injured or unwell can be costly. Making decisions based on costs can be difficult, having pet insurance can give you piece of mind that a large proportion of your veterinary fees will be reimbursed. There are many pet insurance providers in Australia, our website has a link to a comparison table. We are also able to sign you up for 4 weeks free insurance through a company called Petplan if your pet is under 12 months of age and healthy (you can choose whether to continue after this time).
No pet insurance companies will cover for any conditions that the pet has had prior to starting the insurance (the sooner you start it the better).
We also have a clinic based health care plan, where an annual fee can be paid, and significant discounts off certain services are then received.
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We hope you and your pets enjoy Darwin, please call us on 8948 0056 if you need any additional advice.