Do you need expert advice about your pet? Every week Kate Hornby (BSc BVMS MRCVS), a vet at Grove Veterinary Centre in Barrow-in-Furness , gives advice on looking after pets
Conditions may be avoided with some extra care
I hope I don’t jinx things by saying what beautiful weather we are having at the moment, and I hope it’s here to stay for the summer!
There are a few conditions that are seen more commonly at this time of year which can largely be avoided with a bit of extra care. The first is heat stroke.
This is most commonly seen in dogs that are over exercised in the hot weather.
It is seen most commonly in individuals which suffer from respiratory disease or the short nose breeds of dogs which are also prone to respiratory difficulty.
The signs of heat stroke range from severe panting and breathing difficulties to sudden collapse and death.
In hot weather stick to exercising animals in the cooler parts of the day like early morning and late evening.
On extremely hot days, exercise should be avoided altogether.
Any signs of breathing difficulties should be taken very seriously and veterinary attention should be sought immediately.
Another common problem at this time of year is fly strike or miasis which is a maggot infestation seen most commonly in sheep and rabbits.
Again it is a very serious condition which is largely preventable but often by the time the rabbit is brought to the vets, the condition is too far advanced and nothing can be done.
The condition occurs in warm weather when blue bottles lay their eggs in the skin, particularly around wounds or soiled areas. These eggs hatch into maggots which bury themselves in the skin, causing severe pain and extensive tissue damage.
To avoid this condition you should check the skin on rabbits twice daily, paying particular attention to the back end from April to October, but most importantly in hot weather.
If your rabbit is prone to loose droppings and soiling around the back end, it is worth speaking to your vet or nurse for some dietary advice.
It is also important to wash off any droppings that stick to the coat.
If you see any sign of broken skin or maggots contact your vet immediately and be prepared for the intensive treatment that will be required.
Sadly, a lot of rabbits with this condition have to be put to sleep, but if caught early enough it can be treatable.
Please don’t hesitate to contact your local vet if you would like any further advice.