Autumn Advice

Labrador sitting on leaves during Autumn

Autumn is my favourite time of year as the weather cools down and the dogs can enjoy long walks snuffling through the falling leaves, but autumn is not without its dangers to pet health.

Cats and dogs can both become infested with Harvest Mites between August and November (if the weather stays good). These are usually found lurking in long grass and their bites can cause intense itching. Common places to find mites are the head, ears, and feet and they are easy to see as, although they are small, they are bright orange! Harvest mites seem difficult to kill with routine parasite control products but can be treated with Fipronil Spray (on prescription from your vet). Harvest mites may also be implicated in the mysterious disease called Seasonal Canine Illness (SCI). The symptoms of SCI are vomiting, diarrhoea, and lethargy and these clinical signs are usually witnessed within three days of having roamed in a woodland area. Most dogs affected by SCI also have Harvest Mites, but this could be a co-incidence as testing the mites has revealed no infectious or toxic agent. Most cases of SCI are seen between August and November and most dogs recover if given intensive fluid therapy by a vet.

Labrador sitting on leaves during Autumn

Dog owners should also be mindful of mushrooms at this time of year. Although there are many edible species in our woods and grassland, there are also some very dangerous ones for pets. If your dog eats any fungi on a walk, take a photograph of the fungi and seek veterinary advice as soon as possible. Common effects of fungi toxicity are vomiting and diarrhoea, but some can cause liver damage, seizures, and death.

Shorter days mean you might be forced to do dog walks in the dark. Invest in Hi-Viz and reflective clothing for yourself and your dog as well as a good head torch. Cats are also at greater risk from poor visibility in autumn and winter, so consider a reflective collar, and also try and keep them inside from dusk until dawn. Some cat flaps can be programmed to shut the cat in after a set time of day. To ensure your pets don’t become bored, try thinking up some indoor games and training ideas, as well as using puzzle feeders.

Rabbits can remain in outside hutches during autumn but do make sure their hutches are safe from draughts and leaks. If the weather turns really bad consider indoor housing, but don’t forget your pets will still enjoy time out on the grass on nicer days. Housing for indoor pets should be positioned away from draughts, but also away from radiators which may get too hot.



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