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In addition to fleas and ticks, lice or ‘nits’ – as they are commonly referred to – are also a parasite that can infest cats and dogs living in the UK.

What are lice and how common are they?

Lice are tiny insects that feed on blood and they’re species specific. This means that the cat louse Felicola subrostratus will only live on cats, the dog louse Trichodectes canis will only live on dogs and the human lice (head lice) Pediculus humanus capitis can only survive on humans. Lice infestation is much less common than fleas or ticks in owned pets. They are more likely to be found on stray cats and dogs.
Together with fleas, lice can also carry tapeworm larvae, which, if accidentally ingested by you or your pet, can grow up to 70cm long in your intestine.

Symptoms of lice

Small numbers of lice may live undetected on your pet, but if these numbers grow, your pet may become itchy, scaly and experience hair loss. These symptoms of louse infestation are generally more common in old, debilitated or chronically ill animals.

How to treat lice

Lice infestations are easily eradicated with a single topical application of an effective anti-parasiticide. Advantage, containing the active ingredient Imidacloprid, will eradicate biting lice on dogs, but is not effective against cat lice. 

To make sure your cat is protected against lice as well, choose Frontline Plus or Fleascreen Combo, both containing the same combination of fipronil and s-methoprene, which will eradicate biting lice on both cats and dogs.

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