Fly bites on pets not as bad as they look: veterinarian

Fly bites such as these are very common on pets in the early months of spring. COURTESY: KerriLynn Lommer.

If you have noticed some peculiar marks on your pet’s stomach recently, there is no need to immediately panic.

These could just be gnat or blackfly bites and although they may look bad, they are generally harmless.

Gnats and blackflies are especially prevalent in the early months of spring and tend to target pets that spend a lot of time outside.

READ MORE: Edmonton sees first wave of mosquitoes ahead of summer

According to the Morinville Veterinary Clinic, its staff receive an average of 10 phone calls per day throughout the season regarding these bites.

“[The flies] usually appear mid-May to mid-June and last three to four weeks, depending on the weather. Marks usually last 48 to 72 hours,” said Dr. Jessica Miller, a veterinarian at the clinic located north of Edmonton.
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“These marks usually appear as a red dot, or sometimes a circular red ring. They are not crusty and not usually itchy.”

Pet owners can rest assured that the bite marks are not hurting their furry friends and will subside quickly on their own.

In rare cases, the bites may cause a bacterial infection, but it can easily be treated with antibiotics.

Marks you may find on your pet’s stomach this spring. COURTESY: Tessa Lee.

“The only thing going through my head was that it could have been an allergy or poison ivy,” said dog owner Tessa Lee. “He wasn’t bothered by them at all, I was more scared.”

In order to combat the influx of calls from worried pet owners around this time of year, some veterinary clinics have taken to Facebook to provide more information.

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As far as precautionary measures go, veterinarians recommend consulting with them before using a repellent. Simply monitor the affected animal and watch for signs that the bite could be turning into something more serious.

“Insect bites and reactions to bites are fairly common in animals. They are usually on the underside of the dog where the hair is sparser, so it is easier for insects to bite,” said Jocelyn Forseille with the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association.

“If the lesions don’t resolve within five days, or the dog is itchy, off food or depressed, please see your veterinarian.”

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