Pets’ summer health concerns
By Dr. Roger Krogstad, DVM
Wildwood Animal Hospital and Clinic LLC
The longer summer goes on, veterinarians see an increase in certain seasonal medical conditions.
Heatstroke was covered in depth in a prior article, but to re-emphasize, begin cooling immediately with a cool water bath or cool compresses on bare surfaces, and call your veterinarian. Asphalt can get blistering hot from the sun’s rays even though the day may not seem extremely warm. Do not expose pets to these surfaces for prolonged periods.
Pets should be kept off of recently weed-sprayed lawns until the grass is completely dry or better yet the following day. There is usually a 1-800 number on the product label for more precise information concerning pet safety.
With all of that hair, would sunburn be a concern? Recently groomed pets may have newly exposed pink skin that can sunburn and blister. Cats with pink ears and eyelids can accumulate enough sun over the years to develop skin cancer, like in people. Dogs with pink nose patches or the habit to sleep in the sun may get severe burns on an ear that lays open and exposed or their pink undersides if sleeping on their backs.
Dogs off leash can get into serious trouble if not directly monitored. Ingestion of toxic plants or toadstools may cause severe digestive upset. There is also the opportunity for exposure to poison ivy, which can transfer to their owners with that first petting after coming out of the woods.
Confrontations — dog or cat fights — are more common in the summer as more pets are allowed to roam freely or exercise off leash. Often “big dog versus little dog” encounters lead to emergencies.
Is your dog a swimmer? Stagnant water may contain bacteria or parasites that could produce skin eruptions or internal illness as with leptospirosis. Also, water in the ears produces an environment that promotes yeast growth and ultimately bacterial infection. Ask your veterinarian to recommend an ear flushing product to use as a preventive once swimming is done for the day. This product would also be helpful in reducing the allergic ear conditions that are prevalent during summer.
During the summer, mosquitoes that could transmit canine heartworm disease are swarming, bees and wasps are defending their territories, and flies are looking for an open wound or sore on which to lay their eggs. Your veterinarian has recommendations for your pet’s protection from these “winged menaces.”
One ground dwelling insect not to be taken lightly is the tick due to the many diseases it can transmit to pets and people. Many new veterinary products are available now to effectively reduce the chance for disease transmission from this common pest.
Summer is a time for fun but also a time to be aware of the health risks. Take necessary precautions with your pets.
Wildwood Animal Hospital and Clinic LLC is located at 210 Airpark Road in Marshfield and online at wildwoodanimalhospital.net.