Here are some of the common bugs and other irritants that affect our pets.
Humans and pets both have naturally occurring parasites called Demodex mites that live on the skin. In very young or immune-compromised animals, these little mites can overgrow, causing hair loss over the body, especially around the eyes and face. Pets, particularly dogs, need weekly treatments over many months to resolve the infection.
While not as common as Demodex mites, scabies mites can also affect humans, so it’s important to start treatment as soon as possible. These cause a lot of itching, which leads to hair loss and, in some cases, infection.
Cats can also have mites. It’s common for our feline friends to suffer from ear mites, which overgrow in the ear canal and cause irritation, inflammation and discomfort. Treatment for this is fairly straightforward if it’s caught early.
Now is the perfect time of year to ensure your pets and your home are flea-proof to avoid infestation. During the hot season, fleas lay hundreds and hundreds of eggs, which can lay dormant in different life stages for many months. If you fail to act when you find fleas, and don’t regularly wash and vacuum your pet’s environment, you may get a nasty surprise later in the year. These unsavoury parasites can also pass on tapeworm to your pet (and you), and even cause anaemia if you end up with a bad infestation.
Some pets suffer from ‘flea allergy dermatitis’, which is caused by a reaction to the flea’s saliva when it bites. This results in itchy, inflamed bumps, which can become infected after scratching.
If your pet has bites and is suffering, it’s wise to have them seen by your local vet as soon as you can, to avoid the need for further or stronger medication.
The summer months often see our pets pestered by flies, which can result in irritating bites around the nose and particularly the ears. These can easily become infected and sore, so prevention People commonly assume ringworm is a worm, but it’s actually a fungus. Although it’s not a creepy-crawly, ringworm can spread very easily to humans and other pets, so early intervention is crucial. It appears as a round or scaly circular lesion on the skin, and owners often find multiple lesions on the body.
Your vet may prescribe anti-fungal tablets and topical creams or ointments to treat ringworm, and you should meticulously clean your house to remove any spores and infected hairs from the environment.