Posts Tagged ‘summer pet care’

     Now that summer vacation is in full swing, pet owners will be taking advantage of the season to go camping, hiking, swimming, and playing in the backyard with their dogs.  But they’re not the only ones out in force — wild animals are enjoying the weather, too.  The problem is, wildlife can leave behind a bacterium called Leptospirosis, which infects both people and their pets.

LEPTOSPIROSIS PROFILE

Found in:  Water, soil, mud, and food contaminated with animal urine.  Floodwater is especially hazardous.  Also found in an infected animal’s tissues and bodily fluids such as blood and urine.

Host animals:  Raccoons, squirrels, opossums, deer, skunks, rodents, livestock, dogs, and rarely in cats.

Points of entry:  Cut or scratch on the skin; mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, mouth; inhaling aerosolized fluids.  Drinking contaminated water; exposure to floodwater.

Symptoms in people:  Fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, jaundice, vomiting, rash, anemia, meningitis.  Some people show no symptoms.

Symptoms in pets:  Fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weakness, depression, stiffness, muscle pain.  Some pets show no symptoms.  The disease can be fatal in pets.

When will it show up in my pet:  Between 5-14 days post-exposure, although in some cases it may take up to 30 days.

Gravity:  In people, Lepto infection can lead to kidney and liver failure, and death if left untreated.

Who is at risk:  Campers, water sportsmen, farmers, military, to name a few.

Prevention

  • Vaccinate dogs annually for Leptospirosis
  • Don’t allow dogs to drink from puddles, streams, lakes, or other water that may be contaminated by animal urine
  • Don’t swim in water that may be contaminated by animal urine
  • Wear shoes when outdoors
  • Keep dogs out of children’s play areas
  • Control rodents around your home and yard

Resources: 

http://www.cdc.gov/leptospirosis/index.html  Visit the CDC website for comprehensive information on Leptospirosis in people and pets.

http://www.cdc.gov/leptospirosis/pdf/fact-sheet.pdf  Print your own Lepto fact sheet, or send us a message using the contact form, and we’ll print one for you.

http://www.doh.wa.gov/notify/nc/leptospirosis.htm  Further reading from the Washington State Department of Health.

 

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     One of the most serious risks of leaving a pet outdoors during the summer is Heat Stress.  Heat Stress occurs when the pet’s body is unable to cool itself, resulting in dehydration, brain damage, organ failure, even death. 

     Most pet owners are aware of the danger of leaving a pet in a parked car for even a few minutes.  However, pets left outdoors without adequate cool shelter are also at risk.  Purina provides the following tips and advice:

     “Any pet can suffer from heat stress.  However, particularly susceptible are:

  • Very young and older pets
  • Pets with a previous history of heat stress
  • Short-nosed [pug-nosed] breeds
  • Overweight pets
  • Pets with cardiovascular or respiratory disorders

     Help prevent heat stress by:

  • Providing plenty of clean, fresh water for your pet at all times.*
  • Providing adequate ventilation and air circulation when pets are kept in kennels or pens.
  • Providing shade cover when pets are outdoors.
  • Avoiding excessive exercise of pets during hot weather.
  • Never leaving pets in parked vehicles.

     “Some signs of heat stress are profuse panting and salivation, staring or an anxious expression, failure to respond to commands, warm dry skin, rapid heartbeat, fatigue, muscular weakness or collapse.
     “If your pet has heat stress, try to reduce his temperature by gradually immersing your pet in cool water, spraying him with cool water or applying ice packs to his head and neck.  Then take your pet to the veterinarian immediately.”

     *Keep in mind that water left outdoors (especially in metal bowls) can become too hot to drink or provide any cooling benefit.  Check and change the water often.

     Heat stress is a life-threatening emergency.  If you suspect your pet has heat stress, we recommend taking him to the nearest emergency hospital for comprehensive care.

[Purina’s booklet of Spring and Summer Pet Care Tips is available at our office.]

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