Welcome to Petplan’s blog, a space where you can read up on the latest pet-news, find out interesting facts and tips about keeping your pets happy and healthy, and share your views on hot topics.
Q: My rabbit has fleas. Could she have caught them from our cat, and can the same treatments be used for different species? I usually use Frontline for my cat.
A: Rabbits can catch fleas from both cats and dogs, resulting in the same itchiness and inflamed skin problems they get. However, some flea treatments for cats and dogs can cause adverse reactions in – or even kill – bunnies. For safe, effective removal of fleas, you should speak to your vet about flea treatments specifically designed for rabbits.
Q: My Labrador bitch is pregnant. Is it OK to treat her for fleas now, or should I wait until after she’s had her puppies? What about when she is nursing them?
A: Most flea treatments are a little vague about treating a pregnant mother, though I’d suggest you hold off on treatment until the puppies are born. It’s worthwhile checking with your vet if the specific flea treatment can be used on a lactating mother. Most products suggest not treating puppies until they reach eight weeks old or are more than 2kg.
Q: Our dog Maisie is scratching a lot and now has a bald patch on her back. She’s never had fleas and I can’t see any on her black fur. Also, will treatment sting her skin?
A: It sounds like Maisie is suffering from Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD), a condition that leads to the itchy, angry skin patches you mention. FAD can be caused by the smallest number of flea bites if your dog is allergic to the proteins in flea saliva.
The first reaction is severe itching (known as pruritis) and a once healthy-looking coat can soon become a patchy, scabby mess. Your vet can treat FAD with antibiotics and anti-inflammatories but prevention is always better than cure.
Checking for fleas is easy: use a fine-tooth comb to search for flea dirt, tap it onto white tissue paper and then wet it. Flea dirt is basically broken-down blood and has a reddish hue.
Treatment is usually applied between the shoulder blades, so it shouldn’t affect the patch on Maisie’s back, and is effective for one to two months. Buy it from your vet to ensure its effectiveness and safety.
Q: We have had our cat Bigsy for eight years, but recently took in a stray kitten that spits at Bigsy all the time. What can I do about it?
A: Unless open hostilities begin, I would advise allowing the two cats to work it out on their own, whilst trying to encourage unity by feeding them together. Groom them with the same brush to expose them to each other’s scent, and consider getting a pheromone diffuser from your vet to calm your kitten.
Give each cat plenty of attention and accept that they may learn to tolerate each other’s company rather than enjoy it. Finally, get your kitten neutered as soon as possible, as her hormones may not be helping matters.
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