By DR BENJAMIN J GRAHAM
One of the most common reasons that pets are presented to the vet outside of their annual general health check and vaccinations is due to itching.
Some itching is seasonal, some is due to allergies to food or materials, some is due to fleas, mites or other parasites and insects, and some itching is due to either primary or secondary infection.
(There are also a myriad of other hormonal, autoimmune and behavioural reasons that we won’t go into detail about today).
Itching can cause excessive scratching, biting or licking of the skin and coat.
This can result in damage to the skin, saliva staining of the coat (brown staining of the fur on the paws and face is common) and it can result in hair loss, not to mention the incessant and annoying sound of a constantly scratching pet – just imagine how they feel!
Damage to the skin also increases the risk of a secondary bacterial or fungal infection. If this happens, scratching may continue long after the initial cause is gone!
Diagnosis of your itching pet starts with a thorough clinical examination by your vet and may also require samples to be examined under the microscope or at the lab.
Your vet will ask LOTS of questions to help identify the initial cause. Rest assured though, all itchy pets can be treated or managed with great success to improve quality of life for your companion, and reduce that annoying scratching! Vet Dr Graham is from BVSC South Windsor www.bvsc.sydney
Puppy scams increased five-fold during the COVID Pandemic. According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Scamwatch, Australians lost nearly $300K to puppy scams last year. Leading animal welfare charity Companion Animal Network Australia (CANA) says puppy scams have caused a lot of heartbreak and anger, and unwittingly involve legitimate businesses in Australia.
TIPS TO SPOT SCAMS
• Scammers set up fake websites or ads on online classifieds and social media. Email is the only way to contact them.
• Scammers normally ask for up-front payments via money transfer to pay for the pet and transport it to you. They will find new ways to ask for more money, such as claiming higher transportation costs to get across interstate borders.
• If the price looks too good to be true, it probably is!
• Only buy or adopt a pet you can meet in person.
• Research the seller online using the exact wording in the ad and do a reverse image search for pictures of the specific puppy to see if you can find matching images or text on multiple websites.
• If you are in doubt, seek advice from a reputable dog breeders association, veterinarian or local animal shelter. For more information, visit www.scamwatch.gov.