With the past winter having been mild, throughout the spring, we have seen higher than expected cases of fleas. Fleas love warm conditions and the recent surge in temperatures has brought out a mass emergence of fleas from their dormant larvae stage in the environment and we have seen an endless procession of owners who are horrified when we demonstrate fleas on their itching animals. Many fleas are resistant to some of the older flea products and so it is essential to use something that will quickly and safely kill adult fleas on your pet and also the environmental stages in the house. Prevention is MUCH better than cure so treat regularly to avoid problems.
The warm weather has brought about a surge in the early season pollen levels and, consequently, we are seeing lots of animals with skin irritations due to allergic reactions. Unlike the sneezing and runny eyes often seen in humans with pollen allergies, in dogs and cats they typically cause skin irritations and inflammation. Although these problems often cannot be cured, there are several options to control the sensitivity. It is essential that the problem is controlled before secondary infections develop which can take weeks or even months to resolve.
Another condition that we seem more often when the weather is fine and pets spend more time outside is physical injuries. Everything from cut pads and bite wounds to bone fractures and ligament ruptures are more common when animals exercise more and we have dealt with several of each in the last week.
Most distressingly we have seen several cases of fly strike. This happens when flies lay eggs in soiled areas of an animal’s hair coat. Those eggs hatch into flesh-eating maggots which cause the most horrendous sores and often lead to the animal having to be euthanased. Extra vigilance is required as this can progress from a treatable into an untreatable condition within a matter of hours.
There is never a dull moment as a Vet but it is interesting to see how the seasons influence the work that we do. As the year progresses, we start with Christmas decoration swallowing, chocolate poisonings and salt irritation in icy conditions, through Spring lambing and tick parasite problems, to summer time fleas and skin allergies then finishing the year with stress from fireworks and the Autumn calving season. There is always plenty of variety to our work but rarely many quiet times!