While the weather has been inconsistent, veterinarians have already begun to see an increase in visits to the veterinary hospital. Once the temperature increases and the rain dies down, people will be taking their pets out to enjoy the nice weather. With exposure to more animals and outdoor activities comes more risk – here are some tips on what you can do to help ensure your pet’s spring and summer are happy, safe, and healthy:
Avoid Hyperthermia (above normal body temperature)
Hyperthermia occurs when your pet’s body can no longer compensate for the excessive external heat exposure. This is not due to an infection and is considered a form of non-fever hyperthermia.
Hyperthermia is an EMERGENCY and requires immediate veterinary care as the elevation in temperature can lead to multiple organ dysfunction if not addressed as soon as possible.
How to avoid it:
-Do not leave your pets in the car: According to Jan Null, adjunct professor at San Francisco State University, “Children have died in cars with the temperature as low as 63 degrees. Basically, the car becomes a greenhouse. At 70 degrees on a sunny day, after a half hour, the temperature inside a car is 104 degrees.” Research has also shown that whether the windows are closed or cracked a few inches, it does not significantly affect the internal temperature of the vehicle and your pet will still be at a significant risk of hyperthermia. Our pets do not sweat like we do and are limited to panting to cool themselves down.
-Always give your pet access to shade, air conditioning, and water.
-Do not leave your pet unattended outside on a hot day. Monitor for signs of discomfort or hyperthermia so you can let your pet inside for relief or act if they are in distress.
-Pets who are overweight, very young/old, or have breathing problems or thick/dark-colored fur are at increased risk
Signs that your pet may be experiencing hyperthermia:
Excessive/heavy panting, excessive drooling, increased temperature above 103 F (39 C) or warm to the touch, dark red gums, red flushed skin, vomiting, diarrhea, collapse, changes in mental status, unconsciousness
What to do if it happens to your pet:
Hyperthermia is an EMERGENCY and requires immediate veterinary care.While in route to the veterinary hospital you can attempt the following:
-Give the pet access to water but do not force them to drink.
-Cool the pet down externally: hose them down with cool (not cold) water, apply isopropyl alcohol to their paw pads, direct a fan at them.
Remember, while there are ways to help prevent your pet from getting worse, only immediate and intensive veterinary care at a hospital will be able to fully reverse and stabilize your pet.
Always be in control of your pet! Walk your pet on a leash at all times or monitor your pet while in a well fenced-in yard:
When on a hiking trail or in your neighborhood, other animals, dogs, and people may try to approach your pet. Having control of your pet will minimize the chances of an altercation and will give you better control if a problem arises. Dog fights, dog bites, and altercations with snakes and porcupines significantly increase as the weather warms up.
The incidence of animals hit by cars also increases with the spring weather. Ensuring your pet is in a well fenced-in yard and monitored OR on a leash at all times ensures they will not escape or get loose and run into the road.
Make sure your pet is up to date on their vaccinations and preventatives!
Fleas and ticks come out to play once the temperature is above freezing! Fleas can cause aggressive itching and internal parasite infestations while tick-borne diseases lead to limping, lethargy, and generalized pain. Even indoor only cats are exposed to fleas that sneak into our homes on our clothing – prevention is key.
Make sure to administer the flea and tick prevention diligently according to the individual recommendations on your product. If you are unsure what product to use, please contact your veterinarian and they will be happy to discuss the variety of options available to meet you and your pet’s individual needs.
As your pets go out to play with their friends, they could be sharing more than toys! Make sure to check with your veterinarian to make sure they are up to date on all the recommended vaccines to ensure they are not at risk! Leptospirosis can be transmitted by your dog sniffing where an infected wild animal urinated, Feline Leukemia can be spread if your cat gets in a scuffle with a stray, Kennel Cough is spread through the air between dogs, and Lyme Disease is spread through the bite of a tick – all of these can be prevented with vaccines!
Monitor for Itchy Allergies!
This time of year is when allergies flare for both dogs and cats! While human allergies cause runny noses and itchy eyes – look for itchy skin and ears on your pets who may have spring allergies too! If you see your pet excessively licking or scratching, let your veterinarian know as soon as possible so prevention for allergies can be recommended. Learn your pet’s normal habits to help avoid hot spots, ear infections, and skin infections!
For more information on any of the above Spring Tips, please contact your veterinarian. Have a healthy and happy Spring!