Top tips for a healthy summer for your pet

As the summer sun finally arrives, animal medicines advisors are urging all pet owners to take extra precautions to help avoid common problems over the warmer months.

SQPs, or Suitably Qualified Persons, are advising all animal owners to keep on top of worming treatments, particularly those with puppies and kittens.

Sharon Groves, owner of Pets with Hart on the Isle of Wight, an SQP representative for the independent SQP regulatory body AMTRA, explains, “As the weather improves after a long, wet spring, keeping up to date with worming is crucial.

“There are many different types of worm, therefore differing types of wormer are available. By establishing the unique circumstances of the pet by asking a series of questions about previous treatments, living environment and general health, the SQP can help advise on the most suitable and effective form of treatment.”

It’s not just a pet’s health that can be affected by worms. Some worms can be passed on to humans and can be particularly dangerous for pregnant women or children. In worse case scenarios it can cause blindness or birth defects, so regular worming treatment should be a key part of a pet’s healthcare routine.

One of the most common ways for worm eggs to be passed on is through excrement, so careful disposal of poo is always important. For example, when walking or exercising a dog, make sure poo is never disposed of around horses or farm animals as it can be potentially fatal, and can cause colic in horses.

Although parasitic worms are a concern, they are not the only potential threat for pets. During the summer, rabbits are at particular risk from fly strike, a distressing and potentially fatal disease caused by green bottle fly or related species laying eggs on or around the rabbit’s rear. Hatching within hours, the maggots eat the rabbit’s flesh and release dangerous toxins.

Fortunately, there are a few simple steps that rabbit owners can take, such as changing bedding, providing a carefully monitored diet and regular checking, but again the SQP is best placed to give advice and guidance to help prevent problems.

Most importantly, whatever the pet, owners should ensure the animal is kept cool and comfortable, with access to clean water.

There are a few other pointers the sensible pet owner should follow to help enjoy a happy and pain-free summer. Sharon concludes, “SQPs are always available to offer advice and guidance. We are able to prescribe and supply medicines to help treat conditions, but we are also best placed to give advice to help prevent problems in the first place.

“Please make use of your SQP, so that together you can enjoy what we hope will be a long, balmy summer with your trusted companion.”