Stories from the surgery: why warm weather can mean fleas, ticks, lice and mites for your pet
Each month Petplan vet Brian Faulkner reveals some of the strange, funny and sometimes difficult things he encounters in his surgery.
This month he reveals how the month of May sees a change in the illnesses and ailments he treats at his surgery…
As the weather gets warmer there are a whole host of problems that pet owners need to be aware of to ensure their dog, cat or rabbit stays safe and healthy throughout the summer.
Things like grass and pollen allergies can be extremely irritating and, in some cases, dangerous.
However, as the temperature increases, pet owners need to be aware of another big issue – parasites.
Fleas, ticks, mites and lice can make pets extremely uncomfortable and, if not treated, can sometimes lead to bigger health problems.
The problems associated with fleas are well-known – they bite into the skin of your pet and inject their saliva. It leaves a red mark and can be incredibly itchy.
However, ticks are also something that pet owners should keep an eye out for.
The symptoms are very similar but, because of the nature of the parasite, the problems are very different.
Ticks bite an animal and latch onto their skin for one to two days. Whilst this is a cause of discomfort for any pet, it can also lead to bigger problems – such as Lyme disease.
This is a bacterial infection passed on by the ticks and can make dogs, cats and rabbits lethargic and give them a stiffness in their joints. While it can lead to more serious problems (such as kidney problems) it is generally successfully treated with a course of antibiotics.
Mites produce similar symptoms in dogs, cats and rabbits but the way the parasite attaches itself to the host is very different.
Mites bury into the skin and cause intense itchiness. Sarcoptes Scabiei – the mite that causes fox mange – is particularly unpleasant because of its spikey body.
Finally, while they aren’t as prevalent as other parasites, there are also a lot more lice around in the warmer months and can affect puppies or sick and debilitated animals.
When it comes to treatment prevention is better than cure.
Ensure your pet is treated with veterinary recommended parasite control products and, if you’ve been using the same one for a number of years, it may be worth changing so as to stop the parasites adapting to a particular brand.
Ensure you keep a close eye for any changes in behaviour (such as intense scratching) and, as always, if you suspect your pet may be suffering from any ailment, the go straight to your vet and seek immediate professional advice.
Do you have any experience with these problems? Do you have any top tips? Let us know your story below...