Keeping your Pet Safe in the Summer
Don’t get the summertime blues. Although it doesn’t feel like summer, hopefully good weather is just around the corner. Most of us, and our pets, love the warmer weather but it brings with it its own set of challenges and potential problems. Here are a few tips to keep your pet fit and well this time of year.
When the weather warms up, the bugs come out in force. The ticks particularly love Leitrim. They are most often found attached to the head and neck of pets and look like small, grey warts or peas. Ticks annoy your pet, but also can carry diseases like Lyme Disease that causes pain in joints and muscles and can lead to kidney and heart problems as well.
Another pesky character is the flea. Pets who hunt are particularly at risk because the fleas will be alive and will be in large numbers on their prey. Fleas also carry worms, so try to deworm your pet at the same time you de-flea/tick your pets. There are a number of great products available that last up to 3 months so ask any of the staff about the products available to keep your pet parasite free.
Slugs and snails love warmer wet weather and can cause trouble to dogs that enjoy playing with these creatures. Slugs and snails can carry the larvae of the life threatening lungworm parasite Angiostrongylus vasorum. Dogs can be infected by swallowing infected slugs and snails or their slime trail. Once swallowed, the larvae migrate to the heart where they develop into adult worms. The adult lungworms live in the heart and the blood vessels supplying the lungs.
Heat Stroke and Car Safety
It will soon be holiday season!!! The kids are out of school and many of you will be heading off on holidays. Those of you who take your dogs on trips in the car, be aware that your car can be a very dangerous place for your pet. Never leave your dog in the car on his own, even with the windows down. The temperature in a car can quickly rise to a life-threatening level in just 10 minutes. Heat exhaustion happens quickly and can lead to multi-organ failure. To prevent problems, avoid exercising your pets in the midday heat and make sure they don’t over-exert themselves. So keep your pets safe this summer and enjoy the good weather. Remember to pack a bowl and water too!
Cats and Skin Cancer
Most cats are real sun worshippers, which doesn’t tend to be a problem unless they have white ears or noses. These areas are vulnerable to sun burn because the hair is so thin and they can be prone to skin cancers ( see photo). To protect your pet, apply high factor waterproof sun lotion to their ears and noses.
Grass Seeds are another summer problem. The grass awns of the meadow grasses are easily trapped in the coats of pets, especially in dog’s ears and between their toes. It is always a good idea to groom you pets regularly and especially after walks, to keep an eye out for grass seeds and ticks.
BBQ’s and upset tummies
Lovely weather and longer evenings mean lots of people break out the BBQ. Dogs have a great time hovering over we humans hoping for a bit of leftovers. This can cause tummy upsets, but more seriously, if anything like bones, kebab sticks and sweetcorn cobs are snaffled, they can lead to serious blockages requiring life-saving surgery to remove. So keep you pets away fro the BBQ!
Kennel Cough Vaccines
Is your dog protected against kennel cough. It has been renamed recently to Canine Cough because it isn’t just caught in kennels. On the contrary, your pet is more likely to encounter the disease wherever dogs meet, such as the park, in the street, at dog shows and in training classes.
Kennel Cough is a highly infectious cough that affects dogs, causing symptoms of severe whooping-like coughing and breathlessness as well as high temperatures, sore throats and loss of appetite. Even in mild cases it is important to isolate your dog to prevent infecting others.
The condition is caused by a mixture of viruses and bacteria, luckily a vaccine is available. KC vaccine is given by intra-nasal drops. We recommend that dogs are vaccinated against KC before going into kennels, groomers, dog shows, dog training classes or parks.
Arthritis is a common problem in pets and may initially go unnoticed as it is often gradual in onset. It is usually worse in the colder months, causing a variety of symptoms including pain, stiffness – particularly after rest, and reluctance to play. A healthy joint has a smooth layer of articular cartilage covering the ends of the bones and is lubricated by synovial fluid, allowing friction free movement.
Arthritic joints typically show a progressive breakdown and thinning of the articular cartilage. As the cartilage wears pets suffer from pain and inflammation of the joint. On x-ray, new bone can often be seen around the affected joint.
There are several possible causes of arthritis: The commonest is a lifetime of activity, simply resulting in wear and tear on the joints. Arthritis may also occur following joint trauma or as a consequence of joint malformation (e.g. hip dysplasia), resulting in an unstable joint and increased wear and tear on the cartilage. Although arthritis cannot be cured, the good news is that we now have a great range of treatments to help your pet. For many pets that are carrying a few extra pounds, losing weight can make a huge difference. In addition to weight loss, many pets benefit from anti-inflammatory pain relief medication and food supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate. If you are worried that your pet may have arthritis, please come and see us for a consultation.
Osteoarthritis is a progressive condition but there are many things we can do to help control and slow its progress. Contact us for advice on appropriate medications such as anti-inflammatories and chondroprotive agents. These can be administered as pills, liquids or as injection.
Never administer human anti-inflammatories to animals as some of them have serious side effects, including death!
Most Dogs love chocolate, but as well as being very fattening, it also contains a naturally occurring substance called theobromine which is poisonous to dogs. The theobromine
content, and hence the toxicity of the chocolate, varies according to the type of chocolate with plain chocolate the most dangerous. So if you “must” feed your dog chocolate, specially formulated pet chocolate is the safe option!
What’s Bugging you?
With the warm weather just a distant memory, it can be tempting to take a pause in the battle to keep your pets and home flea free! Adult female fleas can lay in excess of 50 eggs per day, therefore even a brief infestation can result in literally thousands of eggs being produced. These fall off your pet and are deposited around your home in carpets and bedding where they can lie dormant for up to a year or more before developing into adult fleas.
Dogs and cats with dust mite and mould allergies tend to get worse during Winter, due to more time spent indoors. To avoid heat loss in the home, doors and windows are generally kept shut. This can lead to increases in dust and mold accumulation within dwellings and therefore lead to worsening of itching and scratching in pets with dust mite allergies
AS A DOG OWNER THERE ARE 3 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE NEW LEGISLATION
1. Your dog MUST be microchipped and registered on a government approved database such as Fido by 31st March 2016
2. You must have a certificate from a government approved database such as Fido to prove that your dog is microchiped and registered on the database.
3. You must keep your contact details up to date. Any changes of ownership or of contact details such as changes in address or phone number must be notified to the database.
IF YOU ARE BUYING,SELLING OR TRANSFERRING OWNERSHIP THERE ARE 3 MORE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE NE LEGISLATION
1. From 1st September 2015 all pups must be microchipped and registered with a government approved database such as fido by the time they reach 12 weeks of age or before they are moved from their birth home.
2. It is illegal buy or ownership of a pup that is not microchipped and registered on a government approved database such as Fido and that does not have a certificate from the database to prove this.
3. You must inform a government approved database when you buy, sell, take ownership or transfer ownership of a dog.
Summer Garden Watch
It is time to get out and about and enjoy the Summer sunshine, but watch out for some dangers lurking about. Out in the garden be aware that slug pellets, bone meal and weedkillers are common sources of poisoning in dogs and cats. Also try to ensure that pets don’t dig up spring bulbs and eat them since many are poisonous. If you have cats, be aware that nearly all types of lilies are highly toxic to cats. Even a small bit of pollen can cause sudden onset kidney failure in cats. Seek immediate veterinary advise if any case of poisoning is suspected. For a comprehensive list of common poisons check out http://www.dogstrust.ie/az/factsheetsanddownloads/poisonousplants11.pdf It is quite frightening how many common items around the house are poisonous to our pets. Slugs and snails love warmer wet weather and can cause trouble to dogs that enjoy playing with these creatures. Slugs and snails can carry the larvae of the life threatening lungworm parasite Angiostrongylus vasorum. Dogs can be infected by swallowing infected slugs and snails or their slime trail. Once swallowed, the larvae migrate to the heart where they develop into adult worms. The adult lungworms live in the heart and the blood vessels supplying the lungs. Check out our Spring newsletter for more details.
SUMMER SKIN ISSUES
Remember to keep flea and tick control up to date as parasite numbers are building up now. As well as being unsightly, these little creatures carry a number of diseases. Fleas carry tapeworm, as well as causing irritation to your pet’s skin and causing him to scratch. Ticks can carry infectious diseases which can be transmitted to pets and humans. The most common one is Lyme disease, which can cause a number of problems, including joints and bone pain, and later heart and kidney disease. Please let us advise you on the best tick control treatments for your pets. There are a lot of products available, but they are not all the same. Also pollens and plants that can cause allergic skin diseases and irritation are increasing too. Many pets get seasonal skin diseases that flare up with the increase in allergens, so be vigilant and visit us as soon as you see your pet itching or getting irritated skin. Many of these dogs and cats need long courses of Antibiotics, so the quicker it is treated, the shorter the course of treatment, therefore saving you money in the long haul.
Keep Your Pet’s Safe in Cars
It will soon be holiday season!!! The kids are out of school and many of you will be heading off on holidays. Those of you who are take your dogs on trips in the car, be aware that your car can be a very dangerous place for your pet. Never leave your dog in the car on his own, even with the windows down. The temperature in a car can quickly rise to a life-threatening level in just 10 minutes. Heat exhaustion happens quickly and can lead to multi-organ failure. So keep your pets safe this summer and enjoy the good weather. Remember to pack a bowl and water too!
Is your dog protected against kennel cough? It has been renames recently to Canine Cough because it isn’t just caught in kennels. On the contrary, your pet is more likely to encounter the disease wherever dogs meet, such as the park, in the street, at dog shows and in training classes. Kennel Cough is a highly contagious cough that affects dogs, causing symptoms of severe whooping-like coughing and breathlessness as well as high temperatures, sore throats and loss of appetite. Even in mild cases it is important to isolate your dog to prevent infecting others. The condition is caused by a mixture of viruses and a bacteria Bordetella Bronchiseptica. Luckily a vaccine is available, thought unlike your dog’s normal routine vaccines, KC vaccine is given by intra-nasal drops. We recommend that dogs are vaccinated against KC before going into kennels, dog shows, dog training classes or parks.
Choosing a Pet: What kind of pet best suits our lifestyle?
Many behaviour and health problems in pets can be prevented by seeking guidance before obtaining a new pet. Not only will such advise help you to select the best pet for your household, but it will also provide information on how to prepare in advance for the new arrival. The species, breed, age, and sex of the pet all need to be carefully considered and it is important to make an informed decision about where to obtain the pet. Issues to consider when preparing the home will include housing, bedding, feeding, training, exercise and health care requirements for your new pet.
What breed is best for my home and family?
The first decision is whether to obtain a pure-breed or a mixed breed. Mixed breeds are often less prone to genetic problems that can arise in some purebreds. Also the cost of getting a purebred will be considerably higher than perhaps rescuing an animal from a shelter. If a pure-bred is chosen, it should be a breed whose physical and behavioural characteristics best suit the family. Some breeds are far more appropriate for children. Traits to consider are things like size, exercise requirements, and life expectancy. Small dogs generally have a much longer life expectancy than giant breeds. Another important thing to consider is coat type. Remember you will need time and money to keep some breeds coats looking well. Many need grooming daily and some will need professional grooming as well. Lastly, make sure you consider any reported behavioural or medical conditions prevalent in certain breeds. Some breeds are far more likely to require regular veterinary visits.
Once you have narrowed down your selection, we can provide advise on the behavioural and physical problems that you need to be aware of for each breed to help you make your final decision.
At what age should I get my new pet?
It is important for puppies and kittens to spend at least the first 6 -8 weeks with their mother and siblings. In order to be a successful and acceptable member of society, puppies and kittens need to develop healthy social relationships to learn to successfully communicate with other members of their species. So it is ideal to get a puppy or kitten around 7 – 8 weeks of age. It is beneficial if they have had at least one vaccine before.The first few weeks in the new home are critical in the development and socialization of your new pet. This is time to set down your rules and teach good routine.
On the other hand, getting an adult dog or cat can avoid some of the problems of bringing a new puppy or kitten into the house. This is especially true for dogs where the time and commitment required to train a puppy are considerable.
Should I consider a male or female pet?
In many respects the choice of sex is down to personal preference, but there are some factors you may wish to consider. In dogs, males tend to be slightly larger than females of the same breed and somewhat more assertive within the social group. There are certain undesirable behaviours which are known to be more commonly displayed in male dogs such as mounting, roaming, urine marking, and aggression towards other male dogs. Castration is known to reduce these behaviours. Similarly castration in cats will reduce behaviours which are more highly represented in the male of the species such as roaming, fighting, and urine marking.
Where should I obtain my pet?
Ideally, you want to observe the environment in which the pet is accustomed to. If you want to get a purebred, choose a breeder who is willing to allow you to meet the parents of the puppy or kitten. You can observe the size, the health, and the behaviour of the parents as well as getting an idea of the conditions the pup grew up in. Breeders who are willing to answer questions and allow you to see the kennel area or home are far more reliable. Avoid breeders who agree to meet you at the side of the road for a “hand over.” They are far less likely to be reputable breeders.
Rescue centres are of course another great place to obtain pets. By choosing one of these animals you are giving an unwanted pet a new loving home and the cost of purchase is often much lower. However, it is unlikely that the parents can be observed and a lack of information about the genetic input limits the opportunity to predict future behaviour. Most good rescue centres will have done basic assessments as to the pets level of socialization and needs. They will often be able to give you advise on whether certain animals mix well with other pets, children etc.
With the onset of cooler Autumn weather, you may be tempted to start dropping your guard against ticks, but late summer and early autumn is the peak time for pesky parasites such as ticks! Ticks are generally found in areas of woodland and long grass just waiting for an animal or human to brush past them so that they can jump on and feed. They attach using their mouth parts and will feed on blood from their host for several days before finally dropping off. Unfortunately, ticks can cause problems in two ways: firstly, they can sometimes cause a local reaction in the tissue where they attach. Secondly, ticks can carry infectious diseases which can be transmitted to pets and humans.
The most common one is Lyme Disease, though pets traveling abroad may also come into contact with ticks carrying other diseases such as Ehrlichiosis and Babesiosis, both very serious infectious diseases. In order to minimise the risk of tick borne diseases, monthly applications of spot-on-treatments will both kill ticks as well as repel them. Additionally, it is a good idea to routinely check your pet’s coat for ticks. They are most commonly found around the head and neck area. If you find a tick, removal is best
achieved with a specialized tick remover. It is important to twist them off to ensure you get all the mouth parts out to avoid local infections. Please ask any of our staff for the best tick control treatments for your pets!
Autumn Alert- Keeping your pet healthy!
AS WELL as ticks, there are a range of other parasites and issues for our pets to contend with at this time of year. Fleas are present in huge numbers in early Autumn, so remember to keep treating your pets! Fleas can carry tapeworm, so regular worming is still important. Harvest mites are also active in long grass in the late Summer and Autumn and will swarm onto passing pets where they tend to congregate on the ears, eyelids, feet and underside of the abdomen. They are easily identifies as bright orange dots adhering tightly to the skin and are usually a cause of great irritation. Like fleas, harvest mites can also bit humans!
Autumn aches: With the cold dark nights coming, it is important to ensure you make time for walking your dog or his mobility may suffer. Affected pets may show signs of joint stiffness, particularly after resting. They may be slow to get up from a lying position, or have difficulty going up and down stairs. It is also important to keep a close eye on your pet’s weight. It is easy for pets to gain a few extra pounds in the Autumn and Winter months. If you are at all concerned, please book your pet in for a check-up.