It has been a cool Spring but winter was relatively mild which means that once again slugs and snails have survived in larger number so the risk of dogs especially puppies eating them or their slime trails on grass and contracting lungworm is very high. Lungworm is difficult to treat and potentially fatal so prevention is essential. Fortunately effective products are available from us, and some routine flea and worm products prevent lungworm but not all so please ask for advice on what it most suitable for your dog.
On hot days take dogs out for walks in the evening and early morning and don’t let them over-exercise. Particular care may need to be taken with some breeds with compromised breathing like Pugs and Bulldogs and breeds with very thick coats like Huskies. Always provide access to cool fresh water and, take some in a flask with a collapsible bowl on walks. A paddling pool at home is a good way to allow dogs to cool down. If you suspect your pet has overheated, wet its coat and play a fan over it to try and reduce the temperature more rapidly. If symptoms persist it is best to seek the advice of your vet. And of course – DON’T leave dogs in cars in the sun.
Dogs are often tempted to jump into water to play and cool-off but blue green algae can form on standing water during periods of warm dry weather and swallowing the algae can be fatal. Also water getting into ears can be a common cause of ear infection, an ear cleaner from the vet can displace this if put in the ears after playing in water.
Like us, animals, dogs especially, can suffer from hay fever. This doesn’t make them sneeze and snuffle but causes sore itchy skin (atopic dermatitis). You can reduce the problem by avoiding long uncut grass and by bathing your dog’s body and feet when you return home from walks. Some dogs will require treatment and once they have developed allergies they may need treatment for life.
Cats and some dogs like to sun-bathe and those with white ears and noses can suffer from sun burn which can lead to skin cancer so it is advisable to keep them indoors or put sun-block on their ears and noses. But don’t use human sun-block (zinc in these can be toxic if licked off), products safe for animals are available from us.
Grass awns in summer and autumn are a nuisance and can cause painful problems especially in the ears and feet in dogs with long coats. Check your dog’s coat after every walk and again, avoid long grass. These can also occasionally get into cat’s eyes and cause painful corneal ulcers.
Flies pose a particular problem to rabbits in the summer. Fly eggs laid on rabbits’ soiled bottoms hatch into maggots which literally eat the rabbit alive. Make sure you clean your rabbit’s hutch and check their bottoms at least once a day cleaning and drying them thoroughly if they are dirty. Keep your rabbit indoors if it is prone to this problem we sell special products that deter the flies.
Bee and wasp stings are another seasonal problem. Stings can cause a painful, swollen paw or urticaria (an itchy raised rash on the skin) but while these may be dramatic they are rarely serious. In rare cases, especially if the sting is in the mouth, it can cause difficulty breathing and in this case you should seek immediate veterinary care.
It may be tempting to let pets join in the barbeque but meat and fatty scraps can cause upset tummies or pancreatitis which can in extreme cases be fatal. Also be aware of corn cobs that can get stuck in the intestines and cause a potentially fatal blockage.
All of this doesn't mean your pets can't enjoy the summer weather with you but it is wise to be aware and take sensible precautions.
St Martins Veterinary Clinic
126 Station Road
Tel.: 01895 444400
Fax: 01895 431520
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