With the dreary weather of winter (hopefully!) coming to a close, the thoughts of warm, spring days and sunshine are upon us. North Carolina springs are certainly beautiful with the clear blue skies and mild temperatures. With all of the blooming flowers and spring pollen comes a unique set of challenges for both cats and dogs and their owners. Here is a list of common springtime ailments seen in North Carolina pets and tips on how to prepare and prevent your pet from having any issues.
Fleas and ticks
Fleas are seen year round in North Carolina, but springtime brings them out with a vengeance. If your pet contracts fleas, they can cause diseases such as anemia, itchiness, and a severe allergy response. They can also spread to other pets and people, and can lay eggs on the furniture and carpet – leading to a vicious cycle. It is important to keep all pets in your house on regular flea and tick prevention and to vacuum your house regularly to prevent flea infestation.
Ticks start to come out of hibernation in late spring and can expose your dogs to diseases such as Lyme, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Ehrlichiosis. It is important to choose a flea prevention that repels ticks as well, such as Nexgard, Bravecto or Seresto.
Spring and summer bring ants and bees out of hiding. Ants and bees can cause swelling, local irritation and infection, and even anaphylaxis. It is important to supervise your dog while outside to prevent exposure to these bugs and the problems they can bring. If your pet is experiencing bug bites and appears to be in pain, swollen or in distress, please contact your veterinarian immediately.
Mosquitoes and Heartworms
Mosquitos are out wreaking havoc year round in North Carolina. In the spring and summer, they are particularly aggressive. Mosquito bites can be a nuisance for people. When a pet is bitten by a mosquito, they can develop life threatening diseases like heartworms. Heartworms are spread through contact with an infected mosquito and can lead to the development of worms that colonize in the heart and major vessels in the lungs and body. This disease can be fatal, can cause long term damage, and treatment can be expensive and painful, so prevention is key. It is important to ensure your pet is on heartworm prevention year round and tested annually to ensure they are not exposed to heartworms.
Springtime leads to coughing and sneezing, runny noses and watery eyes for many – both humans and dogs. Did you know cats and dogs can also exhibit allergies through issues with their skin? Licking and chewing feet, scratching, rubbing their faces and ears or excessive licking may be signs of allergies. If your pet is experiencing these signs, we recommend consulting your veterinarian.
With blooming plants galore and the holidays coming up, there are a lot of toxic plants that can cause problems for your pet. The most common plant that causes trouble in springtime is Easter lilies. These plants can cause fatal kidney damage in cats. It is important to keep plants away from your pets as a small ingestion can be fatal. Other plants that can be toxic are sago palms, other lily species, hyacinth/tulips, as well as other bulbed plants. If you are not sure the origin of your plant, we recommend keeping your pets away from them to be safe.
With the springtime, lots of creatures are coming out of hibernation, which leads to an increase of rabbit and bird feces, worms, grubs, and other troublesome “tasty treats” for your pets. Often, we see dogs and cats present with diarrhea or vomiting after being outside unsupervised. In addition to these extra opportunities for your pet to indulge, these indulgences can lead to an increase in intestinal parasites from ingesting grass, animal feces or other materials. These parasites can cause GI upset and can even be transmitted to humans in certain cases. If you are concerned about your pet, please contact your veterinary hospital.
Consult With Your Vet
Springtime can bring a set of unique issues for your pets, from allergies, to insects, to gastrointestinal upset. If your pet is due for their annual exam to ensure they are up to date on heartworm and flea and tick prevention, if your pet shows any issues, or you are suspicious of an underlying health problem, we recommend consulting your veterinarian for advice or to schedule an appointment. If you have any questions for our veterinary staff or to schedule an appointment, please feel free to reach out to us at 704-847-8466 or firstname.lastname@example.org.