When the sun comes out, so do the ticks and fleas, warn animal medicine advisors

As the early summer sun finally starts to brighten up the days after a long and wet spring, pet owners are being urged to take a few simple precautions to make sure companion animals can enjoy the season too.

The warmer weather not only encourages more of us to venture into the great outdoors, but also brings out some more unwelcome visitors, such as ticks and fleas. During the warm summer months, and given the right conditions, fleas can breed and build up huge populations.

There can be hundreds of fleas around the house, many hidden in various stages of the life-cycle, so it is important that regular treatment is maintained, as they can soon multiply. There are various effective treatments available, and a great source of free advice is by speaking to your SQP (Suitably Qualified Person).

There are almost 7,000 SQPs across the country, and you can find access to these dedicated animal medicines advisors at the many pet shops and country-stores that are approved SQP retailer premises. *

It is the SQP’s role to discover the background of your pet, its living environment and activities, and advise on best forms of treatments when fleas, ticks or mites cause problems. They can also advise on preventative measures and provide guidance to encourage a trouble-free summer.

SQPs hold degree-level qualifications and are legally entitled to prescribe and supply certain veterinary medicines under the Veterinary Medicines Regulations. The free and impartial advice available through your SQP is a great resource for pet owners, as well as for those with horses and farm animals.

Sharon Groves, owner of independent, award-winning pet store, Pets with Hart in Newport, Isle of Wight, is an SQP representative on the AMTRA council, the independent regulatory body for SQPs. She comments, “SQPs play a vital role in providing pet owners with access to qualified, and dedicated advice and guidance to help keep animals healthy.

“It may be as simple as warning against exercising animals in the heat of the day – remember tarmac gets hot! – to eradicating major flea infestations. Your SQP should always be your first port of call.”

Where necessary the SQP will refer to a vet, but often the best forms of treatment can be agreed by discussing an animal’s condition with the animal medicines advisor. The SQP is required to ask a range of questions to establish the general health of the pet, and this will in most cases lead to a trusted and on-going relationship between the SQP, pet and pet-owner.

Take the opportunity to speak to your SQP now to prepare for a long and enjoyable summer with your trusted companion.

* The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) publish a register of approved premises. See www.amtra.org.uk for details