The most common problem of the season is skin problems; infections , allergies or parasites either separately or even all together. Fleas cause a fair proportion of problems at this time of the year . Any outdoor cat ,dog or rabbit will get fleas in abundance from spring till June. There are many products available for use to prevent or kill off a problem . All of the veterinary products available are safe and effective. Cheap flea shampoos have zero residual effect and really only make fleas a bit sick. The cheap spot on (ex supermarket) doesn’t work that well or long and is toxic to the recipient and has caused deaths in small cats and dogs; so don’t use it . All available vet products spread over the skin surface and are all effective so I generally recommend rotating the brands maybe using 1 for a couple of years then swapping over to another brand to keep effectiveness high. Some are more waterproof than others. With Flea allergy dermatitis I usually advise decreasing the recommended interval between applications, so a high level of product kills the fleas quickly.
Spring to autum, the warmer time of the year, those dogs and cats that venture out to farms, especially deer or cattle farms north or east of Auckland , or up the city volcanic hills where cattle graze, will come across cattle ticks that range in size of small red spider like first stage larvae to the forth stage which is a small purple pea when engorged (with blood). Practic is a topical treatment for dogs and treats both fleas and ticks for one month. There is also a new flea and tick treatment for dogs called Bravecto which comes as a palatable pork flavoured tablet. One Bravecto tablet lasts for 12 weeks! And the new topical treatment works for 6 months in dogs, 3 months for cats.
If travelling to infected areas treat at least 1 day before arrival. DON’T pull the large ticks off without killing them first so if pre treated with Practic or Bravecto wait and they will die, or you can drop some meths on them or use a good fly spray to kill and relax their mouth parts so as not to leave anything behind to cause an infection/irritation . Then you can gently pluck them off. Think of an extra ripe grape when plucking off.
Allergies especially grass and weed allergies are very common. Kikuyu , paspalum, wandering dew are all culprits causing this usually severe irritation that quickly reddens and then through self trauma can cause severe infection. The first aid should always be a soapy (dog or cat brand) shampoo then when dry use of anti-inflammatories. Avoidance of the grassed areas from Dec/Jan to June /July is usually indicated especially after mowing. Control of weeds through physical removal, avoidance (fencing) or herbicides are ways of combating the problem.
If the skin gets very moist, red smelly and infected antibiotics will be needed .
Some animals have severe allergies that occur all year . A fresh look at these can find medications and changes that will help improve the situation.