My next blog entry was going to be about grain free diets, but let’s save that for next time. This time around, a few reminders are in order.
It’s been hot and the heat is here to stay, at least for the next several months. A reminder about heat and your pets is in order. It is truly heartbreaking to see video of a dog happy and healthy taken an hour before being presented at our hospital overheated and struggling to survive. Please don’t walk your dog’s during the heat of the day. Morning walks are best and need to be over and done by 10 am. This is especially true for brachycephalic breeds which are dog with “short pushed in muzzles” such as Bulldogs, Pugs, French Bulldogs, Boston’s, Boxers, Mastiff’s and American Bulldog’s. These are all breeds that are “at risk” for overheating quicker than other breeds. Even the American Pit Bull Terrier is somewhat brachycephalic in skull type. Another reason to get your walks done early in the day is the temperature of the asphalt. As the day proceeds and heat builds, the asphalt our dogs walk on can become scorching hot. Paw pads can burn very quickly and easily. Always have fresh water available for your dogs and cats. If you think your dog or cat is overheated, you can rinse them with cool water and bring them into the hospital for further treatment right away. This next sentence deserves to be in all capital letters! NO ICE BATHS FOR DOGS EXPERIENCING HEAT STROKE! If cool water is good, cold must be better? Wrong! Using Cold water or ice water to col a dog causes vasoconstriction of peripheral vessels which means it ends up trapping heat inside the body. Ice water is ok to drink but never submerge an animal in ice water.
For much more about heat and your animals, you can read one of my previous blogs:
The next important reminder is about Fleas. This past wet winter seems to have set up optimal conditions to have large numbers of fleas multiplying quickly. For our feline friends, this can mean severe flea allergies. We have also seen severe anemia from flea infestations. Fleas can also carry an organism that causes a hemolytic anemia in cats. In dogs, the most significant problem we see from fleas is a flea allergy which causes itching on the back half of the dog. We have multiple ways to control this problem. Revolution is a topical medication that is outstanding for flea control in both cats and dogs. Be sure to give the cat formula to cats and the dog formula to dogs as giving the wrong one to the wrong species can create severe medical issues. There is also an oral medication for dogs only called Simparica and it achieves terrific flea control. Flea medications can be adjusted to your specific pet’s needs. Ask your veterinarian which treatment plan is right for your pet. For more detailed information about fleas and the issues they cause, you can read a blog I released back in 2014:
Now, about those pesky foxtails! In addition to fleas, this past wet winter has led to explosive growth of this annoying weed called foxtails. These are the plant awns that stick to your socks when you walk through a field. They are also a significant problem for our pets. I have removed many foxtails lately from cat patients who spend time outdoors. If you think getting one stuck in your sock sounds painful, think about these poor cats who get them stuck in their eyes! A foxtail in your conjunctiva is no picnic! In dogs, foxtails seem to like to get into ears and snuffed into noses. They can penetrate the oral cavity and cause abscesses in and around ears. They can be inhaled into lungs and cause serious and potentially fatal pneumonia and they can then migrate out of the lung, slide along the diaphragm and end up causing discospondylitis of the vertebra. The most common thing these pesky foxtails do is puncture a dog’s skin and cause abscesses in between the toes. Check your dog’s feet daily and remove plant material from in between the toes and the undersides of the feet.
And last but certainly not least is the subject of current identification for your pets. Summer is a time of vacations, fireworks and outdoor adventures. Lots of fun for the family but also a potentially dangerous time for your pets. Your pets count on you to keep them safe and sound and one of the best ways to do that is to make sure they have been microchipped and always wear a collar and ID tag with current contact information. A microchip is a quick, safe and cost-effective way to permanently identify your pets. Unlike a collar that may be torn off or become separated from your cat or dog, a microchip is permanent and can quickly identify your pet when scanned by animal control or a veterinarian. A microchip registered with current information is the quickest way to get your lost pets back home to your family. This 4th of July, we were able to reunite 4 dogs with their owners because of registered microchips that owners had purchased for their dogs. The dogs had all escaped their yards and were running loose because they had been frightened by fireworks. But microchips aren’t just useful for the 4th of July. Many dogs and cats are lost because of people accidentally leaving gates or doors open. Remember that a person cleaning a pool, doing yardwork or making repairs to your home doesn’t necessarily think about keeping gates and doors closed properly. A registered microchip and a collar with ID tags is a winning combination.
Ok, next time I promise……..the trending grain free diet.
Until next time,