Posts Categorized: Pet Care Advice

Summer woes

Did you know one of the most common skin problems we see during the summer is due to spear grass?

Spear grass is a term we use to describe any of the grasses we see in Kamloops with sharp, hard seeds which ‘hook’ or attach to our pets fur.

Due to the shape and texture of these seeds, they tend to migrate towards the pets skin. Once against the skin, they can puncture the skin and work their way deeper into the tissue.

Common areas we see these pesky seeds is in between the toes and in the ear canals.  Often the area is tender, inflamed and can become infected.

It is not uncommon for heavy sedation or anesthetic to be needed in order to safely remove the embedded spear grass.


How can you protect your pet from this summer woe?

  • Avoid walking in areas full of these grasses when the grass is dry and has gone to seed. Once the seeds have fallen, it is best to avoid these areas till the snow covers the grass seeds or have your pet wear protective foot booties.
  • Comb your pet regularly, especially after being in an area with spear grass. remembering to pay extra attention to the ears and paws. Being careful to watch/feel for any seeds ‘tangled’ in their fur.
  • Clean your yard of any of the common spear grasses in our area to avoid extra exposure to your pet.

If you do notice your pet licking their paw, a specific area of their body, shaking their head or pawing at an ear; be sure to call us. It is very important to remove these grass seeds before they migrate into tissues of the body!


Ticks in Kamloops

Ticks are an ectoparasite that are part of the arachnid family. They feed on the blood from small mammals, birds and sometimes reptiles. There are 2 families of ticks; hard bodied ticks (Ixodidae family) and soft bodied ticks (Argasidae family).

Did you know that ticks prefer warm and humid climates (this explains why we see a lot of ticks in Kamloops and the surrounding area!)?

Here are some interesting facts about ticks:

  • they can starve for a long period of time before dying of starvation–eek!
  • ‘questing’ is the term used when a tick climbs onto a leaf, twig or grass and stretch out its first pair of legs and ‘taste’ for a host to come near.
  • ticks have up to 4 pairs of legs!
  • ticks know a host is nearby by detecting its breath, odor, heat, moisture or vibrations
  • they transmit diseases and infections
  • the most common disease and infections seen in Kamloops are
    • bacterium Rickettsia which causes Rocky Mountain Fever
    • Lyme disease
    • Tick paralysis
  • Both the attachment of the tick and the time it is feeding for play a role in the likeliness of disease and infection transmittance.
  • it is best to remove ticks within 36 hours of attachment to prevent transmittance of disease.
  • they secrete an anticoagulant into the tissue to prevent the blood from clotting while its feeding–Good thing they are as small as they are or one bite from a tick and we’d all turn into a bleeding mess!


How can you prevent ticks from crawling on you and your pets?

  • Oral prevention such as Nexgard (for dogs) this is a soy based, beef flavored chew able tablet
  • Topical prevention such as Revolution (dogs and cats) this is a liquid that is applied to skin at the nap of the neck
  • Clothing and fur spray such as Tick End. This is a spray that you can spray on your pets fur or on clothing to help deter ticks, fleas, mosquitoes and black flies. Plus it can be used on your pant legs to help prevent the nasty little bugs from crawling up you to find their next meal!

What do you do if you find a tick on you or your pet?

  • First determine if it is attached. If not, simply pluck it out of the pets fur
  • If it is attached to the skin, make note if where it is by a picture or marking a circle on the pets fur with a marker. This will help you and your vet find the area if any infection or irritation occurs at the attachment site.
  • Once the spot is determined, use tweezers or a tick remover to safely pluck out the tick.
  • Use a dab of hydrogen peroxide or antibacterial soap to disinfect the area that the tick was attached to.
  • Call Central Animal Hospital to male sure your pet is on adequate tick prevention.
  • Remember to check with us too to see if there are any tick studies we know of that we can send your unwelcome quest to. These studies help determine which diseases are present and most prevalent in our area.

Check out the video below to see how a tick remover works. Don’t forget to pop in to Central Animal Hospital to pick up your tick remover and Tick End spray!