1 Dec Littlehampton Vet News

We at the Littlehampton Vet Clinic know that summer is the season that can cause our pets the most grief: skin allergies, parasitic infections, insect bites, heat stroke and snake bites.

I have already discussed the last issue in depth. So lets look at other summer issues.

* Skin allergies can be caused by many things. Grass, pollen and fleas are usually the most common issues. If your starts to scratch excessively, this will lead to a breakdown of the skin and allow normal bacterial flora like Staphylococcus to invade. The affected area may become red and moist looking a lot like a burn.

If this condition is not immediately treated it can become a life threatening emergency.

* Flea allergy in canines occurs in a small population of our pets, they are actually allergic to flea saliva and one bite can cause intense itchiness and lead to the problems mentioned above.

I find that my clients are often overwhelmed by the huge number of flea control products on the market. Most don’t actually work. Products to avoid include flea shampoos, powder and collars. These products simply don’t work because they just kill a small percentage of adult fleas and have no affect at all on eggs and larvae. Another problem is that fleas have developed resistance to products that used to work well: Frontline, Revolution and Advocate, for example. Our clinic now recommends Activyl, a new product that kills all stages of the flea life cycle without resistance problems.

* Heat stroke is a potentially fatal condition that occurs even on the mildest warm day, depending on the breed of your dog. Flat faced dogs like Pugs, Australian and British Bulldogs are technically known a brachycephalic. These breeds and crosses related to them often snore because their windpipe is actually obstructed by their soft palate, a bit of tissue that lies deep in the back of their throat. When breathing hard this soft palate actually blocks off their ability to breathe.

Dogs can’t sweat their only of getting rid of heat is to pant. Brachycephalic dogs can’t pant. On a 25 Celsius day, they can die from heat stroke. The bottom line is that these dogs need to be kept inside and cool.

* Insect bites can cause serious distress for your pet dog, If your dog has been stung by a bee or ant, first remove the stinger. Then go to your nearest vet for treatment. I recommend that my clients keep 6 mg tablets of Polaramine, an anti-histamine in their wallets in case of
emergency. One tablet for a big dog, or a quarter of a tablet for small dogs.

Have a healthy summer!