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The spring ‘to do’ list for your pets

Nurturing

SPRING ROLL Dogs love nothing more than walks and a good roll in the grass, so it’s important they’ve been treated for ticks and other parasites. 

The vet's view
Conal Finnerty

As we march ever onwards through spring 2020, and what an eventful spring it’s been, household chores are ever present, especially now that lots of us are spending a bit more time around the house. This can be a good time to catch up on some spring cleaning where our pets are concerned also.
Regular cleaning of pets bedding and living quarters is vital to prevent skin infections and support general health, as bedding can be a great breeding ground for parasites, such as mange, fleas and ticks. Disinfection with a good quality product is advisable as this can dramatically reduce bacterial and viral load in the pet’s environment.
The recent warm weather and grass growth has seen a large surge in presentations to our clinics of pets with lots of ticks. Of themselves, ticks are not necessarily a serious problem, but they can carry other more serious parasitic/protozoal infections, most notably Lyme disease, which can have long-term serious implications for our pets’ health.
This is a good time of year to consider spaying/neutering young cats, as the spring weather is a time when cats begin to breed. Cats can have multiple litters throughout the year, and their offspring can produce offspring themselves that same year, so one young cat can result in a potentially serious problem if left undone.
It is also a good idea and a responsible thing to do, to neuter young male cats, as this will reduce pregnancies, reduce fighting and therefore injuries, and reduce scent marking in the home and environment. Cats can be spayed/neutered at a young age, even as young as 5-6 months, so now is the time to nip the problem of young feline ‘discos’ in the bud!
Because many of us are spending more time at home, this is a great opportunity to get your pooches ship-shape for summer if they’ve put on a few pounds. Like ourselves, walking your dog is the best exercise they can get, and this benefits both man and beast. Please be aware, though, that there are a few guidelines that you should follow when walking your dog – especially in public places, where we are now asked to obey social distancing.
Walk your dogs on a relatively short lead and do not let them interact too much with others when our walking. Please be aware too that the fields are currently full of ewes with their lambs and even the sight of a dog can be stressful for them at this time of year. Keeping your charge under control at all times is the responsible and right thing to do.
As mentioned earlier, this is the start of tick season, and already there is a growing flow of patients coming in with ticks. This is a good time of year to get back into the habit of regular worming and parasite treatments for your pets. In the case of ticks, this can potentially reduce the risk of your pet contracting Lyme disease. I have seen a significant growth in the number of pets diagnosed with this serious and potentially devastating disease in recent years.
Everybody feels better after a spring clean, and that goes for our pets also, so get that list written and executed. Stay safe and stay apart (for the time being).

Veterinarian Conal Finnerty MRCVS practises at the Skeldale Vet Clinic in Ballinrobe and Belmullet. Follow the clinic on Facebook, or call 094 9541980 or 087 9185350 to make an appointment.