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Just ask AAH Veterinary Services if you have Questions about your pets in Spain

FAQ
About Spain A few problems to watch out for with your pets in Spain that may not have been an issue in your home country.

Starting in October, pine tree caterpillars begin to nest in pine trees. Their eggs hatch in March, April and May when thousands of caterpillars literally fall out of the trees. These small, brownish yellow creatures emit a caustic acid in their hairs that can cause allergies and rashes, but worse, when pets come in contact with them they usually do so when they have their nose to the ground, and the acid burns their nose causing them to lick and thus burn their tongue/lips etc. The result is an animal in GREAT PAIN, and with a swelling tongue and face. This is a TRUE EMERGENCY. Pets have lost parts of their tongue and/or lips due to this. (see on the web "Processionary Caterpillars") To prevent caterpillars from hatching, the pinetrees should be sprayed in October when the eggs are laid. One can see the nests in the pinetrees in February, and great care should be taken to avoid them and watch the ground for their snake-like appearance as they migrate through the area down the trees and on the ground for the whole month of March.

Grass awns are dry, grass-like weeds that abound in the Spanish countryside from the beginning of July through the end of January. They stick in animals' fur and can migrate and eventually burrow into the skin. Once under the skin, they can produce an abscess. Grass awns are usually found between the toes, in the ears, eyes, up the nose and can be quite painful. They've also been known to migrate into the lungs. Prevention is the best medicine: Brush your animal thoroughly after taking it for a walk, looking carefully between the toes and in the ears and eyes.

Worms are a worry in Madrid due to the large concentration of animals in a relatively small area. Your animal should be dewormed at least 4 times a year, and as often as every 2 to 3 months.

Cats falling from terraces is not just a cartoon fiction but a common occurrence. Since many people live in apartments in Madrid and have cats, they may not realize that cats like to do acrobatics and walk on the railing or will go after a fly or bird out the window not realizing how far up they are, and it can happen in a second! Some people have put up screens on the windows; others use squirt guns to scare the cat away from the terrace. Whatever method is used, this danger is something to be aware of!

Leishmaniosis is an AIDS-like disease in dogs for which there is no cure. Leishmaniosis is widespread here and is a public health issue as it can also be transmitted to humans. It is spread by the sand fly, which injects protozoa into a bite wound. The protozoa multiply rapidly in the body's defense tissue (spleen, lymph nodes and the visceral linings of the organs). The disease can be localized (cutaneous) and systemic (visceral). At first, the infection causes crusty, scaly skin, moth-eaten hair loss, and persistent cutaneous lesions, especially in elbow areas and around the mouth and eyes. This begins very subtly, worsening over the months. If the disease is systemic, the organs are damaged, causing muscle wasting due to malnutrition. Even though the animal may be eating well, it is not gaining weight, and as we say in Oklahoma, it is an ADR (Ain't Doin' Right) animal. The animal's coat will also be dull and scaly due to malnutrition. Dogs usually become infected in the spring and symptoms appear in the fall. The sand flies can be found in humid areas, such as rivers and consistently moist yards, and they come out mainly at dawn and dusk. Northern Madrid is known to have problems with this disease. We are now using the Scalibor collar and Exspot with great success in prevention of the disease. We recommend a blood test each fall to see if the disease has been contracted, and begin treatment immediately. Treatment is considered non curative but we at AAH have had great success with treating Leishmaniasis, especially when caught early.

Micro Chips: It is mandatory to identify your domestic pet with a microchip, and register it within 3 months of living in Spain(at vets) Also it is obligatory to have a pet insurance for dogs over 20 kgs for damages they might do to others(responsabilidad civil). This insurance can usually be obtained with the house insurance at very low cost, but there are also new insurance companies that will cover this and also insure your pet for health issues.

Do you have any questions about animal care for the vet? Send them to aahvetdr.nave@gmail.com.