Parasites love the summer too!
Everyone loves the summer (although it is getting to us rather late this year!!) – us and our pets, but also, unfortunately, those pesky parasites that live on our pets.
Fleas: The warmer weather allows fleas to breed both inside and outside our homes. Pets who hunt are at particular risk, because the fleas will be alive and well in large numbers on their pray. Fleas also carry worms, so always ensure you de-worm and de-flea your pets at the same time.
Ticks are particularly abundant on heathland which we have a lot of in this area. They are most often found attached to the head and neck of pets and look like small, grey warts or peas. If you find a tick, don’t try to pick it off. It is best removed with a specially designed tick remover, using a twisting action to ensure all body parts are removed. Most vets and pet stores will sell these and be happy to show you how to use them correctly. Spot-ons, collars and tablets are available to kill, and in some cases, repel ticks. Speak to your vet specifically about this.
Harvest Mites are a late-summer and autumn problem. The mites tend to attach themselves to our pets’ paws and ear flaps and can make them very itchy and uncomfortable. They are visible to the naked eye as tiny orange specks on the skin, but can be difficult to spot in the first place. Treatment is with a flea spray, rather than a spot-on medication.
Scabies is a relatively common problem in dogs, particularly if they enjoy exploring fox holes. The mite will burrow into the skin and cause an extremely itchy rash. Again, it can be treated and prevented using veterinary recommended medications.
Prevention is better than cure. Preventative treatments can be used for all of the above nasty parasites and it’s important that these should be administered all year round and not just during the summer months.
If you have concerns or would like further advice on any of the above, ask for an appointment with your vet.
But in the meantime, enjoy the lovely weather we are now having.
Chris Devlin BVSc MRCVS is a Vet and Partner at Hillside Veterinary Centre in Corfe Mullen.