With Spring finally here, we thought we’d talk about Spring Cleaning… not of your house, but for your pet! And of course, there are a couple of key points to pick up on…
Warmer weather brings out the best in all of us, but it also bring out plenty of pesky parasites as well! So keep on top of the bloodsuckers with regular parasite treatments. Make sure that whatever you’re using, it covers…
Fleas - although in centrally heated houses they can reproduce through the winter, right now they’re likely to be thriving on wildlife too. If your cat is a hunter or your dog enjoys chasing rabbits, they’re sure to come into contact with these biters! Don’t forget that fleas are champion jumpers, so will have no problems getting onto your pet, even without direct contact…
Scabies, also known as fox mange, starts to be seen in the springtime. The scabies mite is a crawler, so can’t travel easily, but if your dog enjoys rolling in fox poo or investigating holes, they can often be infected. These mites cause a very itchy rash and can easily spread between animals, and even to humans!
Ticks thrive in warm but moist conditions, typically seen in the spring or autumn. They love it down in the grassy undergrowth that our dogs like to explore, and where our cats often hunt. Ticks lie in wait for passing pets and will quickly latch on and feed on your pet’s blood. They can carry a range of nasty diseases, including…
- Lyme Disease (also known as Borreliosis); affected pets can develop swollen joints, stiffness, a rash, fever, loss of appetite and lethargy. Oh, and it can also affect humans if you’re bitten by a tick.
- Babesiosis is a new or emerging tick-borne disease in the UK, caused by Babesia canis. The parasites destroy red blood cells, causing acute signs of anaemia in affected dogs.
- Erlichiosis also attacks red blood cells, and can also be fatal. Like Babesia, it is more common in continental Europe, but can occur here.
The only good news is that the current evidence suggests that ticks usually take many hours after attachment before transmitting tick-borne infections. Using a product that rapidly kills or repels ticks will help to reduce the risk. Be careful not to use dog products on cats though - some contain permethrin which, while safe to dogs, is potentially fatal to cats.
Infectious diseases often spread during the spring and summer, as dogs and cats get out and about more, and “meet the neighbours”. To keep your pets protected, we strongly recommend making sure your pets’ vaccinations are up to date.
To provide maximum protection, puppies, kittens and rabbits will require a course of vaccines as young pets, followed by regular booster vaccinations throughout their lives.
Cats: We recommend vaccinating cats against Cat flu, Feline Leukaemia and Feline Enteritis.
- Cat Flu (Feline Herpes and Feline Calicivirus) is spread by airborne virus droplets, so even house cats are at risk. Signs include runny noses, sneezing and sore eyes.
- Feline Leukaemia (FeLV) is transmitted through cat fights and direct cat to cat contact. FeLV is usually fatal, typically within a couple of years of contracting the virus.
- Feline Enteritis (or Panleukopenia) is thankfully rare, mainly due to vaccination.
Dogs should be vaccinated against a range of their infectious diseases too:
- Parvovirus can cause a fatal diarrhoea, especially in young animals.
- Distemper has a mortality rate of up to 50% and is very rare now - due to vaccination. Related to measles, there are occasionally flare ups.
- Hepatitis causes liver and kidney disease, as can Leptospirosis.
We can also protect dogs against Kennel Cough, which although less serious, is highly infectious.
Rabbits: should be vaccinated against Myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (which exists in two strains RVHD1 and RVHD2). All three of these viruses are frequently deadly, and often occur with very little warning.
So as you can see, vaccines are really vital! The vaccine visit is also a great opportunity for us to give your pet a nose to tail check and also for you to ask us about any pet related health issues.
The modern vaccines aren’t always as simple as “every year” as immunity to some diseases lasts longer than others - so what we vaccinate against will change annually. So, give us a ring to check when your pets are due for what!