Its officially black fly season and these are unavoidable nuisances in some parts of the Spokane area. Black flies may not only find you a tasty feast, but also your pet. Black flies are small, biting flies that are pests to people and animals living, working, or playing near running rivers and streams. Black flies are sensitive to weather conditions, and are most active on cloudy, humid days with low wind. Black fly bites are painfully itchy and are created when the fly cuts a hole in the skin to suck blood from animals and people. The flies attack around the eyes, ears, scalp and occasionally on the arms and exposed legs. The pain and swelling of the bite are due to the body’s allergic response to the fly’s saliva that they inject when feeding.
Fortunately, black flies do not transmit any diseases to humans in Washington state, but can cause discomfort and irritation. Black flies tend to bite our pet’s underbelly and groin regions or ears of critters whose ears stand up. The large welts that are left behind are quite distinctive. A bright red circle, about the size of a nickel are usually found in places where the fur is thinner.
At SouthCare, we’re happy to answer any questions you may have concerning these painful bites. One of the most common questions we hear is: “I think I’ve found a target lesion, does my dog have Lyme Disease?” The good news Lyme disease is not endemic to our area. Unless you and Frankie the Fluffball have traveled to the Northeastern, mid-Atlantic or limited regions in California, you are unlikely to have been exposed to Lyme disease. Click here to view the CDC Lyme Disease Map
While a “bull’s eye” rash at the site of the tick bite is common with human Lyme disease infection, dogs have no such indicator. In fact, a dog infected with Lyme disease may show few if any signs, but some of the more common symptoms of this disease can include any of the following:
• Spontaneous and shifting leg lameness that lasts 3–4 days, sometimes accompanied by loss of appetite and depression
• Reluctance to move
If you find black fly bites on your pet, the good news is most pets don’t mind them. Even though these welts may look irritated and sore, they do tend to disappear over time. Some pets may be more sensitive to these bites than others and can develop a skin infection. Signs of this may include irritation of the skin, and/or excessive licking and chewing at the site of the bite. If Frankie the Fluffball has extensive bites and is uncomfortable please do not hesitate to call us! We’re always happy to help you and your pets!
The Easter holiday brings us Easter egg hunts, family, sunny spring days, and Easter lilies. The later of these joys can have a dark side. Potential fatal lilies are true lilies of the Lilium or Hemerocallis species. Examples of some of these dangerous lilies include the tiger, day, Asiatic hybrid, Japanese Show, stargazer and Western lilies – all of which are highly toxic to cats! One of the most popular of these true lilies would be the Easter lily.
Easter lilies may be beautiful to look at but they can be a serious hazard to your pet. Even small ingestions (such as 2-3 petals or leaves) – even the pollen or water from the vase – can result in severe, acute kidney failure. If your cat has ingested any part of the lily and they do not receive medical attention immediately, it can become fatal in as little as three days.
What are the signs of lily toxicity?
- Vomiting (watch for pieces of plant in the vomit)
- Decreased appetite
- Increase in urination, followed by lack of urination after 1-2 days
How do I prevent my cat from becoming ill?
If possible, do not have lilies in your home, not even as cut flowers. If you do have lilies in your house – make sure your cat cannot reach them and inform everyone in your household of the dangers lilies pose to sweet little Mittens.
My cat may have eaten some lily leaves – what do I do?
- Immediately bring your cat and the lily to your veterinarian.
- There are other species of lilies, peace and calla lilies for example, that are less toxic. However, these species can still make your pet very ill. Proper identification of the lily can help your veterinarian select a treatment plan.
- If your cat has recently ingested the plant material, and has not vomited, your veterinarian will induce vomiting. Activated charcoal will be given orally to absorb any toxin that may remain in the gut.
- The key to survival is high volumes of IV fluids – usually for 24-48 hours.
- During this time monitoring of your pet’s kidney values and urine output will be monitored.
- If treatment is successful, there are no reported long-term consequences. It’s still a good idea to monitor for any changes in urination for a time after exposure.
Be especially vigilant during the Easter season. Easter lilies may smell lovely, but they can be lethal beauties.
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