Allergies and ticks

By Vet Graham Lewis

With a mixture of sunshine and showers in the last few weeks the grass is fair growing at the moment, which I’m sure anyone with hayfever is aware of as well!

Unfortunately, our four-legged friends also often suffer with allergies and can be particularly bad at this time of year, with pollen allergies making some dogs and cats very itchy and leading to problems like skin and ear infections. 

Allergies cannot be cured sadly, but often there are treatments that can help relieve the symptoms and make it less painful and uncomfortable for our pets, as well as reducing the likelihood of getting infections as well as the allergy.

Cumbria also has plenty of long grass, bracken, sheep, deer and woodland. These combine to give us one of the most beautiful parts of the world but also an ideal habitat for ticks and harvest mites which can become problems for pets over the spring, summer and autumn.

Ticks are not very pleasant and can also spread diseases such as Lyme disease which can affect animals and people. 

If you see a tick attached to your pet, please do not try to remove it with alcohol, tweezers or Vaseline - this often leads to the head getting stuck in. 

A tick removal tool is a really handy thing to have, and very cheap and available from your vet.  Or if you don’t want to do it yourself your practice can do it.

 You can also use tick preventative treatments which we would recommend at this time of year.

Harvest mites in the summer and autumn can cause intense irritation to some pets. They are little orange mites that live in the soil and cause reactions commonly on paws, tummies and sometimes the ears of affected animals. 

These often need treatment but if your dog gets bothered by these then washing their paws and bellies after a run during this time of year can sometimes help. 

At this time of year, it is always a good idea to check your pets a bit more regularly. Look between the toes and in the ears and part the fur to look at the skin. 

Signs of a problem could be redness, any discharge or a smell that could mean infection, or intense itching or licking at areas. 

Often it is better to get these problems treated quickly as deep skin infections can take hold and these can require weeks of treatment to sort out.