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Dubai: With summer having set in, humans are not the only ones prone to infections. Pets are also at risk of contracting among other things ear infections, allergies, sunburn and skin infections.

Symptoms

Sam Matienzo of F10, the registered trademark for a range of infection control and animal treatment products, says extreme temperatures in summer may cause ear infections, the most common complaint with pets. “Signs of ear infections include scratching the ear, head shaking, bad odour, redness of the ear and in severe cases, a head tilt or loss of balance.”

He says many cats and dogs are sensitive to allergens in the environment during the summer months. Unlike humans, who get runny eyes and sneeze, pets must endure the allergens on the coats, which causes them to itch. They can lead to severe skin infections, too.

Matienzo said cats and dogs with light skin and a short or thin coat are particularly prone to sunburn, skin cancer and other solar-induced skin diseases. “The most common sites for sunburn are the bridge of the nose, ear tips, skin surrounding the lips and any other area where skin pigmentation is low.” He said skin infections are more common in dogs than in cats and are usually secondary to an underlying condition or health problem. “These skin conditions can manifest either in a single area or throughout the animal’s body. They are visible in a variety of forms from bald spots that are dry and/or flaky to oozing wet skin folds, or even reddish acne-like lesions - depending on the cause. Therefore, it is important to seek veterinary advice to diagnose these conditions and get proper treatment.”

According to him, increased humidity and temperature open the skin pores, and this can lead to several skin infections. High humidity can also result in rapid increase in skin bacteria and fungal infections.

Tips to prevent infections during summer:

• Use a damp towel after each walk to help remove any allergens or irritants on the pet’s coat.

• Immunise them, treat them for fleas, ticks, intestinal worms and other parasites.

• Keep claws trimmed to prevent scratches

• Bathe them using a medicated, but safe shampoo on a regular basis

• Treat areas in and around the house where they sleep or rest with disinfectant surface sprays

• Use dedicated feeding dishes and utensils for the pet

• Soak the pet’s bedding in a disinfectant

• Pick the right sunscreen for pets, but make sure it is not toxic

• Protect wounds, cuts, scratches and tips of ears from biting flies and fly strikes by applying medicated, but safe sprays.

• Wash your own hands with an antiseptic soap after playing with your pet.