IT’S SPRING!!! The weather’s warming up, the flowers are blooming, it’s a wonderful day for running around the park…and Chu’s scratching.
1) Fleas and ticks are evil
I love the warm weather! And so do fleas and ticks. You may think they’re innocuous but…trust me, you do not want an infestation of either parasite.
Fleas cause more than scratching; they carry blood-borne diseases that affect YOU. The pathogen that causes “cat scratch fever” is passed from cat to cat by fleas. The pathogen is then passed from cats to humans, causing strange flu-like symptoms and, in the worst cases, cause inflammation in the brain. Fleas are also a common source of tapeworm which can affect humans.
Also, did you know that the Black Plague was passed from rats to humans by fleas? That’s right, fleas suck.
Then, there are ticks. There are different species of tick in Australia, but the most notorious is the paralysis tick. As its name suggests, its venom causes paralysis. There is no cure for this, only management. And, in cats, the anti-tick serum can cause allergic reactions. The paralysis is often very severe, resulting in difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing and being completely unable to move.
Prevention has made HUGE strides in the past decade. In years past, we were reliant on spot-ons. These spot-ons were often toxic to cats, making it difficult for households with both a dog and a cat. Oral preventatives, such as Nexgard Spectra, have made a huge difference! The number of tick paralysis cases vets are seeing has sharply declined!
Prevention is so effective that we advocate year-round flea and tick prevention. (We also advise that cats stay INDOORS.)
2) Handling Hayfever
As we move into spring, we see many more pets come in with itching, sneezing, and watery eyes. We tend to see these cases crop up at the tail end of winter and throughout spring.
For most cases, a course of antihistamines is all your pet needs. The tricky thing is figuring out which antihistamines work. It can also be helpful to learn how to keep your pet’s eyes clean and lubricated. These are all things that your veterinarian can help you with. These strategies will help your pet feel infinitely more comfortable!
3) Stop Skin Infections!
The various airborne allergens start to wreak havoc on our pets’ skin, especially those with atopy (it’s like doggy eczema). Some pets are so, so allergic that they scratch the whole day, disrupting their skin further. Given the increase in humidity, they also become a lot more prone to skin infections.
That could mean a combination of anti-itch medication (which Chu is on!), special shampoos, and the use of skin supplements to strengthen the skin barrier. It isn’t just about throwing random things at your pet and hoping something sticks, it’s about working through different strategies so that we know which one works best for your pet.
That’s why it’s important to have an action plan in place with your veterinarian. Preventing skin infections is much easier than treating them, not to mention more comfortable for your pet.