Vets Corner: Spring Hazards

May 25, 2014 at 6:00 pm Leave a comment

Sick dog 02
Spring in most veterinary hospitals is the busiest time of the year for routine care such as annual physicals, vaccines, heartworm and tick disease testing, and picking up heartworm and flea and tick preventatives. What we don’t count on is the sharp increase in emergency cases that occur from the increase in outdoor activities.

male-dog-in-heat-not
Female dogs come into heat twice yearly and nearly all come into season in the spring. Intact male dogs can pick up the scent from miles away and will follow the scent without paying attention. This past weekend I personally saw four dogs that were hit by cars for this very reason. They either got out of their enclosures, or a family member let them out unattended. A pet being hit by a car is one of the most devastating emergencies that we see and in most cases the injuries are severe and many times fatal. The most common cause of death for cats that go outside is being hit by a car. As traumatic as the injury to the pet, it is also traumatic to the family as in most cases the loss could have been prevented. I myself lost a young dog in the street when my son’s friend forgot to close the gate so this is a subject that is near and dear to my heart in more ways than one.

Antifreeze
Another very common hazard as pets are out exploring is exposure to toxins. Antifreeze poisoning is very common this time of the year. Antifreeze, ethylene glycol, is a toxin that is often drained and left in a pan or bucket and forgotten. It has a very sweet taste so both cats and dogs will drink it readily. Only a very small amount can cause complete kidney failure within 48 hours. There is an antidote if discovered very early, but once the symptoms of kidney disease appear it is usually fatal. We take any exposure to antifreeze, no matter how small, very seriously for that reason.

cats fighting
Coyotes and other predators are becoming much more common in towns and suburban communities and if cats and little dogs are left outside unattended they are, unfortunately, considered prey. Many cats get the urge to go outside as the weather improves. They are territorial and will get into fights with other cats leading to very painful abscesses. These bites are the way viruses like feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency are spread. Both of these diseases have no cure, so the only treatment is prevention.
dog running

Exercise for our pets is very important in maintaining good health for life, but it is important to make sure that the type of exercise is safe. A good brisk walk on leash is a great way to do so, but is not possible in all areas of the country year round. Off leash dog parks can be a great way for a dog to run off leash, but it is still important to pay attention that the dogs all get along. Doggy day care businesses are becoming very popular and can be very helpful in the winter to keep the pet socialized and fit. There are great toys and activities to keep your cats active inside the house and websites exist that demonstrate how to create a cat friendly room so that going outside does not become an issue.

Have a happy and safe spring and summer!
By: Dr Landorf, Oakwood Hills Animal Hospital

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Entry filed under: Cats, Dogs, Guest Posts. Tags: , , , , , , .

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