Welcome to Spring, officially! Hope this blog post finds you all hale and hearty ☺
It isn’t just people that feel more alive as the dark days of Winter are left behind and Spring trumpets its arrival with hedgerows all bursting into life; all manner of creatures begin to stir.
Ticks may only be small, spider-like wee beasties but they can carry all manner of diseases, including Lyme disease which is a problem for dogs and humans alike. They like a variety of hosts, including Deer and Sheep but the ones our Canine friends are most likely to encounter as they snuffle around in woodland, grassland or heaths are those hitching a ride on small mammals such as hedgehogs. However, Ticks can also lie in wait on blades of grass just hoping to grab onto a passing paw or furry coat.
In the majority of cases the Tick doesn’t cause any serious problems if your pet does pick one up unwittingly. A lot of the time it is the incorrect removal of them that is the root of an infection; do not cover them with Vaseline/Lard/ Butter, and certainly do not burn them off with a cigarette or lighter as you may well harm your pet. Tempting though it may be to try and squeeze them off with your fingers you can cause infection as blood is regurgitated back into your pets tissues, so please do not do this either. Tick removal tools are available fairly cheaply and get rid of this pesky parasite with minimal fuss or trauma to your dog.
I always say that prevention is better than cure so I would recommend the use of “Simparica” for your pet. This monthly tablet treatment is effective against all 4 types of Tick in the UK, as well as being a Flea treatment too. Simparica works out at £8-£11, depending on the size of your dog, and is included in the Saint Leonard Gold Plan programme.
If your dog becomes lethargic, lame, gets a temperature, goes off their food or just “isn’t right” after walking in an environment Ticks like, just get in touch; we are always available to advise, reassure, and treat if necessary.
Ticks aren’t the only animal more active at this time of year; our only native venomous snake, the Adder, is starting to come out of hibernation thanks to the more clement temperatures. If your dog has been bitten by this snake they will have a rapid, painful swelling at the puncture site and may also have pale gums, salivate a lot, become lethargic, or develop vomiting and diarrhoea.
Treatment normally consists of close monitoring for 12-24 hours, intravenous fluids and anti-venom if required. If you think your dog has been bitten bring them in as soon as possible; the earlier we treat them the quicker the recovery is.
Other springtime hazards for our pets include the iconic symbol of the season; the Daffodil. Whilst they do undoubtedly look lovely they contain two toxic components, Alkaloids and Glycosides, which are in all parts of the plant but most concentrated in the bulb. Severe poisoning is thankfully rare but vomiting, diarrhoea, hyper (increased) salivation, abdominal pain, lethargy, and a high temperature are common symptoms. For smaller dog breeds and cats there can be a risk of choking on the bulbs, so if you have a “digger” be sure to keep a close eye on them!
Luckily the majority of cases only have symptoms for 24 hours and can be managed at home once we have assessed them and prescribed appropriate treatments.
Until the next blog, stay safe, be happy and enjoy the lighter nights ☺