by Federica Clement and Thomas Calderoni – Associate Veterinarian clinic San Luca


The first swallow was telling me last night:

And 'next Spring!
Laugh le primule nel Prato, yellow,
and I saw, believe me, already three butterflies.
Caressing her so I told her:
Yes it is time, rondine, flies on the roof!
(Gianni Rodari)

Welcome spring!! And with its arrival begin the first outings, the first long walks, really begins the pleasure to indulge in a little 'more time outdoors ... obviously always in the company of our inseparable four-legged friends!! Among the main problems this habit, We should be remembered, the so-called ectoparasitoses, ie infestations skin parasites and diseases related to them.

In spring and in general, with rising temperatures, nature awakens. So also is the case forfleas, ticks, mosquitoes and other pests which in spring are a real problem and torment for our dogs and cats. In addition to creating nuisance, cancause infections or diseases transmit to them.

Spring Dogs Cats

Le fleas are insects that belong to the genus Ctenocephalydes spp, and the most widespread species, in cats and pet dog is Ctenocephalydes felis. They can find themselves on the body of our animals and our home environment even in winter, butthe infestation increases in late spring and early autumn,  when environmental conditions favor the development of the larvae. Once on the host, therefore, they tend torun the "blood meal" on our animal (They are therefore said bloodsucking insects) It's inside 24-48 hours after the first intake of blood, females begin to lay eggs. The word "flea" already raises in itself an unpleasant feeling itchy and, even if the problem is in most cases only limited to dogs and cats, They are not rare in the interest also of man. Exactly for this reason, it is critical to keep the problem under control, checking occasionally the possible presence of these insects on the body of dogs and cats, intervening as soon as possible in high-risk situations and implementing, when it is indicated, a regular prevention in this sense.

A very important aspect, invece, is the so-called flea allergy dermatitis, determined by an allergenic substance contained in the insect saliva: is sufficient in this case even one parasite to unleash massive skin reactions, which tend to deteriorate rapidly, amplified by traumatise (scratching, licking, mordicchiamento) aroused by itching. Prevention is better than cure!!

In addition to fleas, another serious danger is represented byticks.  Rhipicephalus sanguineus, commonly called ticks, They are of great ectoparasites few millimeters in juvenile stages and more than one centimeter in the adult form. The greatest risk detect through during our picnic, rides at the park or trips outside the city is linked to the fact that their living environment is represented by tall grass and bushes.Even these insects, like fleas, They feed on the blood of our friends, and their passage does not miss a chance to "stick" and feed through a painless bite. Ticks feed on the host's blood, on which they attach themselves thanks to the presence of a sort of beak mug: once identified his victim, climb or they drop on it and introduce the head in his body, sucking the blood and breathing through particular canalicular structures that open outwards. The consequences can be deadly:  anemia, cutaneee wounds and lesions at risk of secondary infections,  transmission, as a result of biting, of infectious diseases of a certain severity, as for example piroplasmosis, l'ehrlichiosi, Lyme disease and emobartonellosi.

A separate concern the vector-borne diseases : The Cardiopulmonary Filariasis and Leishmaniasis.

Both diseases are devious, hardly on the animal we find the presence of parasites, e , because the transmission occurs through invisible enemies (Mosquitoes and sandflies), the diagnosis can be made only with appropriate investigations by veterinary surgeon.

 La filariosi is a disease transmitted by mosquitoes and in particular, according to recent studies, is the tiger mosquito mainly responsible for the spread of the disease. Depending on conveyed parasite, filariasis can submit a form cardiopulmonary (caused by heartworm) or skin (caused byDirofilaria repens). The larvae of the parasiteDirofilaria immitis enter the circulatory system and, once you become adult worms (also long 15 cm), They settled near the heart and lungs, causing cardiac and respiratory disorders. They grow and spread massively so that, if the disease is not diagnosed and treated in time, It can lead to the death of our pet. Adult worms larvaeDirofilaria Repens, invece, They are to be located in the subcutaneous, procuring damage significantly lower. The heartworm can occur even months later than the time of infection, it is therefore important to periodically perform a control test at the vet to check that our four-legged friend is really good.

La leishmaniosi is an infectious and contagious disease caused by the parasiteLeishmania Infantum,  transmitted by the bite of small insects, i flebotomi (sandfly).  The activity of this vector is realized in the twilight and night hours with peak after sunset and when the temperatures are between 15 e i 20° C. During the day, invece, It remains protected and safe refuge in obscure places like homes, cantine, cracks in the walls, of rocks and soil or even holes of trees. During the hours of its activity, This runs the blood meal on the host, thus allowing thecontinuation of the biological cycle of the parasite that has inoculated . Leishmaniasis is a zoonosis, that can also affect humans. Direct transmission from dog to man is not possible because, also in this case, the carrier need is always the phlebotomist. Infatti, dogs only serve as guest "reservoir" ofLeishmania infantum.

In light of the above it is important to remember a basic rule:prevention It is the most important weapon we have at our disposal, so do not be taken by surprise by the good weather, ask your vet a targeted protection plan and customized for your four-legged friend!!

"The information contained in this section are exclusively of informative nature,it, generale e non devono in alcun modo essere sostituzione del parere medico del vostro veterinario di fiducia”