Happy New Year everyone!
Here begins a brand new year, hopefully with less COVID and more normality! It’s nice though to think we’ve started our year with some not-so hot summery days. It’s odd to think we’d had some extreme heat waves already this time last year. But we all love summer and no doubt are pet’s do too! With the long summer days and balmy nights we are often out and about with our pets, more than other times during the year. Trips to the river or beach are the most fun! But with the heat comes the “common” but serious summer hazards which you need to be mindful of when it comes to our furry companions. So we wanted to get in first with some clear summer hazards you need to watch out for:
It can be easy for our frisky companions to overdo it in the heat. Unlike us, our pets cannot sweat over their full bodies; they can only produce a tiny amount of sweat through their little toepads. Therefore they rely on panting to get rid of the hot air. This is why they are very susceptible to heat exhaustion, also known as heat stroke. Heat stroke is extremely dangerous to our pets and can be fatal.
Keep an eye out for:
- Excessive panting
Tips to prevent heatstroke:
- Don’t leave your furry companions in the car, even if you have a window down for them!
- Avoid exercising your pet in the middle/hottest part of the day (one day off won’t hurt)
- Who doesn’t love a fresh haircut? Consider trimming long coated pet’s to help them stay cool
If you suspect your pet is suffering from heatstroke, it is extremely important to contact the clinic, and bring them in to us immediately. If you can, while in the car place your pet close to the air-conditioning and place wet towels over their bellies and feet only – do not cover them completely with a wet towel as it encapsulates the hot air in their skin.
Dogs and cats are curious and mischievous creatures! This often leads them into danger. With snakes slithering in the heat, it is important we all know what to do if our beloved pooch or kitten find themselves in trouble and get themselves bitten.
What to watch out for:
- Enlarged pupils
- Rapid breathing
- Hind limb weakness
It is important to know that different snakes possess different types and amounts of venom. Consequently, symptoms can appear anywhere from 15 minutes to 24 hours after a bite. Therefore it is extremely important to closely monitor your pet, or even better have us monitor them. If you suspect your pooch or kitty has been bitten even if no symptoms are seen, call us at the clinic immediately. We can have a nurse monitor them closely for you and if symptoms are noticed treatment can begin immediately.
What can you do to help your pet survive a snakebite?
If your pet is showing signs of snake bite it can be very distressing. It is important to keep calm and keep your pet as still as possible. This can help reduce the movement of venom around the body. If you can see the bite site, try to keep it below the level of the heart. If you pet is having difficulty breathing, remove his/her collar. If possible advise the vet of what type of snake it was (e.g., Brown, Tiger, Red-bellied) that way we can organise the correct anti-venom ready for your arrival at the clinic. Unfortunately there is no treatment that can be done at home, so the best chance of your pet surviving is to get them to the clinic ASAP!
- Mow grasses around your property
- Clean up rubbish where snakes may find shelter
- Take measures against mice and rats (without creating another hazard with baits)
- Don’t have still areas of water e.g. Ponds
- Be aware that snakes can be very active in early spring when first coming out of hibernation and that a snake, no matter what size, can be poisonous
- Keep the vet clinic number handy – 08 8531 4000
Some myths can be proven as true, however in the snakebite scenario this is not the case!
Please don’t try treatments such as cold packs, tourniquets, alcohol, bleeding the wound or trying to suck the venom from the bite. These are not appropriate treatments, and you should instead be bringing them to the clinic to have anti-venom administered.
Phew… Ok, this one is less scary and life threatening but are just as important! In hot weather it is often forgotten that footpaths, decking, tin roofs and bitumen roads get extremely hot. Sometimes even sand can be too hot for us and our 4-legged friends to walk on. Walking on surfaces that are extremely hot can cause painful burns to our pooches & kitties paws. As a general rule, if it is too hot for you to walk on barefoot, it is too hot for our pets. Walk them later at night or early in the morning to avoid the hot ground
Pesky, little things! These sharp, needle-like seeds get caught in our pet’s fur and then start to burrow down into the skin. In most cases the seed becomes trapped under the skin causing a painful abscess which often leads to surgery where our vets have to surgically remove the seed, flush and clean the abscess. Your pet will be left with a course of antibiotics and pain medications. These pesky seeds manage to find their way into the most inconvenient places; ears, in between toes, eyes, vulva etc.
What to watch for:
Keep an eye out for a red lump or swelling, excessive licking, shaking of ears and rubbing of eyes or discharge from a small wound.
Cats & Cars
Our beloved feline friends are quite good at finding odd places to escape the sun (after they’ve been basking in it in the morning!). One place that tends to be overlooked is under our cars – either directly underneath, under the bonnet or under the tyres. Make sure your cats are not underneath your cars before you zoom off in them.
There’s a lot to take in, right? Don’t worry, this was not intended to scare you out of hitting up the beach or river; more so to make you aware so when you go out with your pets, you can always be one step ahead and can know the tell-tale signs if there’s something not quite right happening.
Here’s to a better start to the year!