What's New at KVC
Welcome Francesca, who will be filling in for Sarah while she is on maternity leave.
Francesca enjoys getting to know people as much as their animals and particularly loves nursing hospital patients.
Join the Advocate Frequent Flyers Club and receive 3 free doses for every 12 doses bought. Ask our nurses to fill out a Frequent Flyers card for you next time you are in the clinic.
PET CARE FACTS
Itchy Dogs and Cats
Many pets become excessively itchy as the warmer weather approaches, however this year we have noticed an increase in itchy dogs and cats during the winter. Constant licking, scratching and chewing is annoying and stressful for your pet, as well as causing secondary health problems. Causes include: -
Flea infestation is a common cause of itchy skin, especially if your pet is not on a regular flea prevention product. Fleas are usually dormant in cold weather, but will hatch in your house where warmth and vibration are present. 90% of flea life cycle happens in the environment and only adult fleas will jump on dogs and cats. They will feed on your pets before jumping off again to lay eggs in your carpets, under furniture and between wooden floorboards. Adult fleas lay 50 eggs a day, so it doesn't take long to get a severe flea problem. Some pets develop an allergy to flea bites and these animals become so sensitive that just 1 flea bite will make them feel itchy all over.
Sarcoptic mange is less common and usually happens after contact with carrier animals such as wombats. Sarcoptic mange will cause extreme itchiness and hair loss. They tend to invade hairless area such as ear tips, elbow, abdomen etc.
Bacterial and yeast infections can cause excessive itching and licking. The infected area will generally be moist, red, smelly and may be painful.
Skin issues are not always straight forward, especially when allergy is involved. Allergy is caused by the body's immune system overreacting to an external stimulus. They can be classified as follows:
Food allergy – Some animals develop hypersensitivity towards a certain protein. This is diagnosed by performing a food trial. Your pet will be put on a low allergen diet for 6-8 weeks. If the itch stops, the normal diet will be re-introduced, and if the itch comes back, a diagnosis is confirmed.
Contact allergy – this happens when the skin gets in contact with an allergen such as grass. It usually happens on areas with less hair coverage, such as feet, abdomen etc. Once the contact allergen is removed, the itch should subside, although your pet may required treatment to help stop the itch cycle.
Atopic dermatitis - is an inherited predisposition to develop skin problems from exposure to variety of commonplace and otherwise harmless substances including the pollens of weeds, grasses and trees, as well as house dust mites and mold spores. Diagnosis can be made by ruling out other causes if itching or you can have referral to a skin specialist who can do multiple skin testing, and produce a desensitization vaccine.
What should I do if my pet is itching a lot?
The first thing is to make sure you are up to date with a good flea prevention product. If the itch persists after good flea prevention is applied, please visit for an appointment to diagnose your pets problem and find the appropriate treatment.
Also - Don't foget with the warmer weather coming up - Mosquitoes love our pets too and can cause severe itching usually on the ears and nose.
Human mosquito repellents are generally safe for use on dogs, when used sparingly, avoiding the face and eyes, but please check with your vet if concerned. We also stock pet safe repellants in the clinic.
Unfortunately mosquitoes don't just cause our pets to be itchy. They are the transmitter of heartworm, which causes disease of the heart and lungs and can ultimately kill. Heartworm is best "prevented rather than cured" as heartworm infections are often unnoticed until we see the signs of the damage it has done to the body.
Although much more prevalent in the northern states, heartworm can definitely survive down south, not just in dogs, but in the local fox population also.
Mosquitoes can also carry myxomatosis to our pet rabbits. Once they are infected there is no cure, and euthanasia is recommended to prevent a slow and painful death. To protect your rabbit, make sure they are inside at dawn and dusk when the mosquitos feed, and mosquito proof their hutch.