Summer advice for owners of cats, dogs, rabbits
|Cat fleas||Fly strike on rabbit||Encephalitozoon cuniculi spores|
Fly strike is a particularly unpleasant problem that generally occurs in spring and summer, although with our changing climate; cases were being reported in February. This is typically a problem that occurs in rabbits, but can occur in any species. The problem arises when flies, typically blowflies, lay their eggs on damaged or wet skin, when the eggs hatch then the maggots produced will rapidly chew their way though the exposed flesh. The primary site for this is around the tail base in rabbits, rabbits need to be checked regularly for fly strike, and if your rabbit has diarrhoea then they must be checked on a daily basis. If you have to wash your rabbit for any reason then please dry them thoroughly afterwards. If maggots are found then veterinary treatment needs to be sought rapidly, as rapid maggot removal, wound cleaning, correction of fluid loss and antibiotic treatments are required. There is a product that can be used to prevent flies laying their eggs on the rabbit and can be useful in animals particularly at risk.
Encephalitozoon cuniculi is a parasite of rabbits that can cause a variety of symptoms including head tilt, hind limb weakness, kidney disease, blindness, seizures and death. Domestic rabbits can be infected from being in contact with wild rabbits either directly or via forage contaminated with urine. It is now possible to routinely treat rabbits with Panacur rabbit; this is a pleasant tasting paste that is given up to 4 times a year. As well as preventing E.cuniculi, Panacur rabbit will also control roundworms. In addition to regularly using Panacur Rabbit we advise the following; avoid collecting fresh vegetation from areas where wild rabbits or rodents are present, place hutches to give minimum exposure to wild rabbits and rodents. Regularly wash out and disinfect water and food bowls, if you have a number of rack hutches as this can lead to urine contamination of those below
Heat stroke still occurs all too frequently, prevention is simple enough, and even on cloudy summer day's temperatures within vehicles can all too quickly rise and cause serious effects to animals inside. Treatment is aimed at bringing the animal's temperature back down to normal by use of wet towels or cold-water baths. Although often more invasive treatment is required to correct the dehydration that has also been caused.
Fleas are an-all year problem, although we do see more of them in the summer months. There are a number of quality spot-on products available from the practice for flea control. If an animal were infested with fleas then we would need to combine the animal treatment with an environmental treatment that kills the flea larvae present in the house. These products have the added benefit of reducing house-dust mite numbers. Certain dog flea products contain the drug permethrin, typically these are some of the products sold in supermarkets and pet shops, this is very safe to use in dogs, however is highly toxic in cats and cases of poisoning in cats have occurred following incorrect use of these products.
Ticks, we are again seeing a lot of dogs with large numbers of ticks present on them, this occurs primarily following walking on Dartmoor. The increase in numbers is due to changes in stocking policy on the moor and changes in weather patterns. Generally in dogs, ticks cause a localised irritation; they can be safely removed by use of a tick hook, with this device the tick is removed without squeezing its contents into the dog. Some of the flea control products also protect against ticks, although generally for a shorter period of time. Ticks can cause 2 illnesses in dogs Lyme's disease and Louping ill; fortunately neither is very common at present.
Worm Control, we recommend treatment every three months to control roundworms and tapeworms in dogs and cats. We have just a reminder scheme to help cat and dog owners purchasing wormers from us.