As temperatures drop and the nights draw in it’s still great to be active with your pets – it’s such a lovely time of year – but as with each season there comes certain hazards for your pets. Here’s some top tips:
Harvest mites are a problem in late-summer and autumn time. These seasonal parasites are picked up in woodland and long grasses and swarm onto passing pets where they tend to congregate on the ears, eyelids, feet and underside of the abdomen. They are identified as tiny bright orange dots adhering tightly to the skin and are usually a cause of great irritation with itchy, crusting lesions developing.
Ticks are particularly active in the autumn months living in long grass and woodland areas. They clamber onto passing pets, firmly attaching themselves and feeding on their blood. Worse still they can also spread a range of infectious diseases such as Lyme disease and Babesiosis.
Fleas are more of a year-round problem and unlike the parasites mentioned above, love central heating and will make themselves comfortable in your home and on your pet!
You should regularly check your pet’s coat for any signs of parasites and your vet will advise you on the best treatments. We do not recommend buying treatments from pet shops.
Hazards around the home to look out for include antifreeze (ethylene glycol) which can easily be spilt when topping up radiators and your car. This has a sweet taste to pets but is extremely toxic and can cause kidney failure and often death.
In the garden try to ensure pets don’t eat fermenting apples and conkers that might have fallen – both of these can lead to digestive upsets and an unpleasant visit to the vet!
With rabbits, if you haven’t had your rabbit vaccinated against Myxomatosis and VHD yet, you should act now! These usually fatal illnesses can easily strike in the autumn.
As always, we always recommend a visit to your vet if you are at all concerned about your pet. They will always be able to give you the best advice on all of the above and any other matters you might have concerns about.
Chris Devlin BVSc MRCVS is a Vet and Partner at Hillside Veterinary Centre in Corfe Mullen.