Posts Tagged ‘frostbite’

3 COMMON COLD WEATHER DANGERS TO WATCH OUT FOR!

By Dr. Tracy McFarland, for Pets Best Pet Health Insurance
(Shared by permission)

While Fall is definitely my favorite season, it does bring certain hazards to watch for when it comes to your cat.  Knowledge of these potential dangers gives you the power to keep your cat safe. Prevention is much better than treatment! Here are three hazards you should be aware of:

1. ANTIFREEZE

Cooler weather often brings the necessity for changing or adding antifreeze to your car. If your radiator leaks, which occurs more commonly in older cars, antifreeze can end up on your garage floor, driveway, or in the gutter.

Antifreeze can contain ethylene glycol, which is extremely poisonous to cats. Because ethylene glycol has a sweet taste, cats, dogs and wildlife are attracted to it. As little as a teaspoon of antifreeze can cause irreversible kidney damage and death, if not treated within the first few hours after ingestion. Antifreeze causes harm, first by gastrointestinal irritation and then by the formation of calcium oxalate crystals that destroy a cat’s kidneys, if prompt action isn’t taken to remove as much of the toxin as possible, followed by intravenous fluids to flush the kidneys, for two to three days. Pets may display confusion, weakness, or a wobbly gait. If given soon enough, veterinary intervention can prevent severe kidney damage caused by antifreeze toxicity. Consider using one of the newer nontoxic antifreeze compounds in your car’s radiator.

[Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian, says the best way
to protect your cat from winter hazards outdoors is to keep your cat indoors!]

2. HYPOTHERMIA

Cold weather itself poses a hazard. Extreme cold weather can cause life-threatening hypothermia, despite cats’ fur coats. While certain breeds such as Maine Coons have adapted to withstand harsh weather conditions, and most shorthaired cats can develop a thick undercoat when exposed to cold temperatures over time, the combination of cold and wet can be deadly. Signs of hypothermia include shivering, shaking, lethargy, and slowed or dull mental state.

3. FROSTBITE

Another cold weather hazard to cats during the winter is frostbite. This condition occurs when skin or body parts actually freeze from being exposed to extreme cold. Skin at the affected areas may look discolored, painful when touched or lack of feeling altogether, cold to the touch, and even frost or ice crystals may appear on the skin.

Common pet extremities susceptible to frostbite include:

  • Paw pads
  • Toes
  • Tail tip
  • Nose
  • Ears
  • Muzzle

If your cats live outdoors, shelter from cold, wind and damp will be very helpful, and indeed lifesaving in extreme weather conditions. If bringing your outdoor cat indoors into your home is not an option, please make sure he or she has an insulated doghouse, barn or out building to shelter in. The floor needs to be raised enough to stay dry, even in heavy rain.  Certain breeds cannot withstand severe weather, even with shelter. The “oriental” breeds, such as Siamese, Burmese, Tonkinese and Abyssinians have sleek coats with little undercoat. They love warmth and would be miserable and at risk in cold weather.

Enjoy all the pleasures of the season and with a few precautions your cat can be there to enjoy them too.

Need help identifying signs or symptoms of the hazards mentioned above? Every Pets Best Insurance policy includes access to our 24/7 Pet Helpline. Learn more about this service and how it can help keep your pets safe and potentially save a trip to the vet.

By Dr. Tracy McFarland, a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best. Since 2005, Pets Best has offered pet health insurance plans to U.S. dogs and cats.

This article originally appeared on the Pets Best blog here.

Read Full Post »

     According to the calendar, December 22nd is the first day of winter.  According to my frozen fingers, winter is here.  Do your dogs and cats a favor, and bring them in at night.

  Winter Pet Care Tips from Purina  

     Winter and the busy holiday can pose special risks for pets.  Help your pet to weather the winter and stay healthy and safe by following these simple tips.

  • Keep indoor pets in a dry, warm area free of drafts.  If possible, elevate your pet’s bed off the floor.
  • Bring pets inside when temperatures dip into the 50s or even the low 60s.  Otherwise, in warmer temperatures, provide outdoor pets a dry, insulated shelter out of the wind.
  • Staying warm requires extra calories, so feed your pet accordingly when the temperature drops.  Talk to your veterinarian for advice on feeding your pet.
  • Cats and kittens often nap on car engines for warmth.  Knock on the hood and honk the horn; then wait a few minutes before starting your car.
  • Pets like the smell and taste of antifreeze, but even a very small amount can kill them.  Thoroughly clean up spills at once.  Tightly close containers and store them where pets cannot get to them.
  • Always have fresh, clean water available for your pet.
  • Alcoholic beverages, holiday treats such as chocolates, and bones from poultry, pork and fish can be harmful or toxic to pets.  Keep your pet on his regular diet.
  • Many plants – including Christmas rose, holly, mistletoe, philodendron, poinsettia, and dieffenbachia – are toxic to pets.  Keep them out of your pet’s reach.
  • Remove ice, salt and caked mud from your pet’s paws and coat at once.  Contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet has frostbite.  Frostbitten skin may turn reddish, white or gray, and it may be scaly or sloughing.
  • Holiday paraphernalia can be dangerous to pets.  Cover or tack down electrical cords.  Keep tinsel and glass ornaments out of your pet’s reach.  Read warnings on items like spray-on snow.  Never put ribbons around your pet’s neck or allow it to play with plastic or foil wrappings or six-pack beverage holders.

Original post.

 

Read Full Post »