Things that sting
THE flowers are blooming and the weather is getting warm (soon... hopefully) and bringing around lots of bees, mosquitoes and other stinging insects.
Many common garden insects (bees, ants, wasps) can cause allergic or anaphylactic reactions in dogs and cats.
The clinical signs of the reaction will usually be seen within 30 minutes with an allergic reaction presenting as swelling of a localised area, commonly the head, intense irritation or wheels (raised lumps) over the body.
The more severe anaphylactic reaction can present with vomiting, diarrhoea, respiratory distress and even loss of consciousness and death.
Antihistamine and cortisone can be given in the case of an allergic reaction.
The potentially life threatening anaphylactic reactions may require further treatment and stablisiation.
As with humans, many pets find mosquitoes highly irritating and they may cause itchy lesions.
Besides the local, non-life threatening irritation, mosquitoes can spread disease to our pets.
Rabbits can be infected with the fatal myxomatosis virus leading to swollen ears, eyes, white ocular and nasal discharge and swollen genitalia.
Heartworm in dogs and cats is also spread by specific mosquitoes causing potentially fatal disease of the heart and associated arteries.
Heartworm preventatives are available, however there is no vaccine or product available to prevent against myxomatosis infection in rabbits.
The use of “pet safe” mosquito repellents and mosquito proof netting may reduce the risk of infection.
Flies are yet another annoying summer insect.
Flies are, on the whole, minimally harmful to companion animals.
Some dogs may get scabs along their ears and nose which are generally due to fly bites, or other biting insects.
In some cases these bites can be quite severe and fail to heal with the animals continually irritated by the insects.
There are creams available to treat the bites and a number of repellent products in the form of monthly spot ons or daily sprays.
For more information on products available pop into your local veterinary clinic.
Felicity Miller BVSc, Wangaratta Veterinary Clinic