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Wauchope Veterinary Clinic
59 High St
Wauchope, NSW, 2446
Phone: 02 6585 1626
Spring and how it affects your pets

Spring is generally considered to be the time of year for rebirth and renewal.

The weather warms up, many animals emerge from dormancy and plants begin to shed pollen.

Unfortunately this often results in our domestic pets developing itchy skin from emerging parasites and allergens.

Fortunately there are now several new safe and highly effective drugs to deal with the itchy skin that Spring brings.

If you require any further information, please contact us on (02) 6585 1626.

Itchy skin and how Spring affects your Pet

Itchy skin can cause absolute chaos and really affect your dog's quality of life. One of the most common and frustrating 'itchy skin' conditions we see in dogs is atopic dermatitis. This inflammatory condition is caused by a reaction to allergens in the environment (a bit like the common triggers of asthma and hay fever in humans). It is particularly troublesome in spring and summer, but can occur all year round. 

Allergens that might cause a problem include: grass, trees, plant pollen, dust mites, insects and moulds.

The signs associated with atopic dermatitis generally consist of itching, scratching, rubbing, biting, and licking. They usually appear when your dog is between 1 and 6 years of age.

Common sites your dog may be itchy:

- Ears (recurrent ear infections are common)
- The feet and in between the toes
- The armpits
- The groin and anal glands
- Around the eyes

The itching quickly leads to self-trauma of the skin, which causes secondary infections that require medication.

Diagnosis and management of atopic dermatitis relies on a good history of your dog's symptoms and a thorough physical examination. It is essential that all potential parasitic causes and food allergies are ruled out. Your dog may also undergo further allergy testing and these results can be used to formulate a unique de-sensitising allergy vaccine.

The good news is that there are some exciting new immunotherapy drugs available that have minimal side effects and can greatly improve your dog's comfort and quality of life. 

If you would like more information about skin diseases, please contact us on (02) 6585 1626 and we would be pleased to assist you with your query.

Our top skin care tips for your pet

When it comes to managing the itchy pet, there is no magic pill. It's all about prevention of parasites and taking action before things get out of control. Here are our top tips for healthy skin:

1. Be vigilant with flea treatment all year round for all pets in your family. Fleas are THE major cause of an itchy pet and regular use of a flea treatment is recommended. Ask us for the best flea treatment available for your pet, including those that provide protection for a few months at a time.

2. A premium balanced diet is essential to keep your pet's skin and coat in top shape. This will provide a good barrier against potential allergens - ask us for a recommendation.

3. Always wash your dog with a pet-approved shampoo and conditioner. A product containing ceramides can help rebuild the epidermal barrier and reduce allergen exposure - ask us for more information.

4. Medication to help reduce the immune system's response to the allergen can greatly reduce an itch and these can be used during flare-ups and for ongoing management - we can provide you with more information, so chat with us about what's suitable for your pet.

5. And finally, if you notice your pet is itching, licking, biting, or rubbing, you should arrange a check up with us as soon as possible. The sooner we settle the itch, the less likely your pet is to cause self trauma that can lead to secondary skin infections.

If you have an itchy pet at your house, it is best arrange an appointment with us. We will help keep your pet happy, healthy and comfortable.  Please contact us on (02) 6585 1626.

Rocky's secret

Last month we introduced you to Rocky the cat, and this month we'd like to let you in on Rocky's little secret ... he's allergic to fleas!

Fleas are a number one cause of skin problems in pets. When a flea bites your pet, their saliva leads to an intense reaction. Some pets are more sensitive to flea saliva than others and poor Rocky is one of those pets! It only takes one or two bites for him to become itchy.

Yep, these little critters cause absolute havoc for Rocky, and we think you should know what to watch out for, as you don't need to see fleas on your pet for there to be a problem. 

Rocky's symptoms:

- After a flea bites Rocky he becomes intensely itchy and starts over-grooming, via licking. His coat starts to thin out and he gets lots of little scabs along his back; a tell tale sign of flea allergy dermatitis.

- Rocky is an indoor cat, but it is likely that a pesky visiting canine is the source of the fleas. 

- His constant licking causes trauma to the skin, which leads to a secondary bacterial infection, so treatment includes antibiotics and some medication to help break the itch cycle.

Rocky is now on regular flea treatment and will be year-round (for when his canine friend visits regularly). His bedding is also washed and a good vacuum of his living quarters (the couch!) is performed to pick up any residual eggs.

If your pet isn't protected against fleas, now is the time! Ask us for the best flea treatment for your pet by contacting us on (02) 6585 1626.

Anal glands issues

Have you ever seen your dog dragging his or her bottom along the ground? This peculiar act is known as 'scooting' and can indicate your dog has irritated anal glands.

The infamous anal glands are located on either side of your dog's anus. Each gland holds a small amount of a smelly brown liquid that is released as your pet does a poo. This custom scent is left on the poo and is used as a doggie calling card.

If the glands are not sufficiently expressed, they can become impacted and uncomfortable. Dogs that suffer from allergies and itchy skin are also very susceptible to irritated anal glands.

Watch out for:

- Rubbing bottom on the ground, especially after defecating
- A foul odour (some describe it as a 'fishy' smell)
- Licking or chewing the bottom
- Turning around suddenly
- Soft stools or diarrhoea - the glands can become impacted following a bout of diarrhoea

If you notice any of these signs, the glands need to be manually examined and expressed, so please call us for an appointment on (02) 6585 1626.

Keep your pet safe this spring

Spring is here and we want to keep your pet happy and healthy. Here are some spring hazards you should be aware of:

Bee and wasp stings can lead to pain and swelling at the site of the sting. Some pets can have an anaphylactic reaction to a sting and this can be life threatening. If you notice severe facial and/or neck swelling, difficulty breathing, excessive salivation, or collapse, you should seek veterinary advice immediately.

Snail and slug bait is very attractive to pets. Ingestion of small quantities can be rapidly fatal. Products that claim they are 'safe for pets' generally aren't - they have a bitter taste and this only acts as a deterrent. Some pets will still eat these highly toxic baits, so consider whether they are absolutely necessary in your garden. 

Fertiliser: Pets love the smell and taste of some fertilisers, and if eaten, they can prove rapidly toxic or even fatal. You should seek veterinary advice if ingested.

Poisonous plants: Lilies (such as the tiger, asiatic and easter variety) can cause kidney failure in cats, if ingested. The leaves, stems, stamen and even the water the lilies are stored in can all be poisonous. Rhododendrons and azaleas, daffodil bulbs and daphne can also all cause a problem if they are eaten. 

Hot cars: It doesn't have to be that hot outside for a car to dramatically heat up inside. Keep this in mind as the days are getting warmer, and remember that it only takes a few minutes for a pet to begin to suffer from heatstroke. Parking in the shade or leaving the windows down doesn't help either, so don't risk it.

Parasites: With the warmer weather comes fleas, ticks and mosquitoes, so it's essential your pet is up to date with their parasite prevention. You should ask us for the best prevention for your pet.

If you have any questions about your pet's health, you should always ask us for advice, we're here to help.  Please contact us on (02) 6585 1626.