The Sun Is Coming Out

by Will Sennitt

It’s great to finally feel a bit of sun on our skin, and I’m sure our pets appreciate bit of warmth on their coats this time of year, too.

It’s a great time to be out and about, enjoying the beautiful countryside Ryedale has to offer. Whether taking in the views up in Rosedale or hiking into the Hole of Horcum—there’s so much for us and our pets to enjoy. But we’re not the only ones venturing out at this time of year. The warm weather also encourages more parasites to come out, ready to dine on the blood of passers-by!

The most important parasites to be aware of in Ryedale are ticks. There are a few species of tick in this area, the most common for us to see at Ryedale Vets is called Ixodes ricinus. These eight-legged creatures spend most of their life circulating between wildlife. At first, they tend to take blood-feeds from small mammals such as mice and rabbits at first. They then use the nutrients in blood to grow into larger forms that can attach to bigger mammals—such as deer, foxes, cats, and dogs (or even us)!

While finding a tick on a ourselves or a pet can be inconvenient and uncomfortable, there’s a more serious reason to be wary of these blood-sucking parasites. They can carry and transmit a potentially life-threatening illness known as Lyme disease. This disease is caused by a spiral-shaped bacteria that can spread throughout the body, ultimately causing multiple organ failure. Lyme disease can affect us and our pets in a similar way.

Another parasite we see more commonly in summer is fleas. Many pet owners will have come across fleas at some point when owning a pet, because they like to take up residents in our homes. Fleas will jump on and off our pets to take meals of blood and then lay eggs in our soft furnishings. The fleas found on our pets do not regularly feed on human blood, but in some cases they will bite and cause irritation. For pets, the saliva that fleas produce when feeding can be highly irritating and cause an allergic reaction, typically displayed by our pets as persistent scratching.

There’s one simple thing that all pet owners can do to help protect their family members: regular ectoparasite treatments. There are many products available to prevent both fleas and ticks from causing undesirable and dangerous diseases. Some treatments work better than others and our pet health experts are always available to find the best one to suit your needs. We also have health plans that remind you to regularly treat your pets.

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