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Summertime and the livin’ is easy??

Each season brings animals with unique conditions to the office. Summer brings some real challenges for pets, owners and veterinarians. These are the “Summertime Top 10 Pet Issues and Hazards” in reverse order of difficulty in prevention, treatment, and prognosis.

10 - SUNBURN. If you shear your pet, be very careful of sun exposure the first couple of weeks. Like humans, animals can sunburn if skin is suddenly exposed to strong sunshine. Because of skin cancer risks, treat pink noses and ear tips with sun block.

9 - HEARTWORM EXPOSURE. This is more common in the summer simply because animals are outdoors more, and the mosquitoes are active. Continue your preventative year-round.

8 - FLEAS. Fleas reproduce faster in summer weather and the flea population increases exponentially. They can cause skin conditions and anemia, along with home infestations and misery, in pets AND their human housemates. Treat with quality products on a regular basis as recommended on the packaging.

7 - TICKS. Ticks are active and hungry in the summer. They carry diseases that may not show up until weeks later. If not removed carefully, the attachment site can become infected. If there are ticks in your yard, consider treating the yard as well as the pet.

6 - MAGGOT INFESTATION. Because flies are common and reproducing during warm weather, every summer we will see a few dogs with maggot infestations under their coat along the skin. If your pet has a heavy matted coat, which becomes wet (think water tank, pool, pond or puddle) or dirty (diarrhea) and the coat does not dry at skin level, flies will lay eggs in the coat. When fly eggs hatch you will have maggots in the damp coat along the skin causing skin irritation and infection. Keep the coat combed out, dry and clean.

5 - INTESTINAL PARASITES. Research has shown that the life cycle of common intestinal worms, round, hook and whipworms shortens from about 31 days to 18 days in warm, humid weather. This means that your pet can reach a serious infestation level twice as fast in the summer. Digestive issues and anemia are the results of overwhelming worm infestations. Round and hook worm eggs passed in the feces may also be contracted by humans (think children and bare feet). Deworm your pets, most heartworm preventatives given monthly will work great, and pick the fecal material up out of the yard routinely.

4 - THUNDERSTORM AND FIRECRACKER STRESS. Many pets are sensitive to sudden loud noises. Make certain that your pets have a safe and quiet location and consider giving melatonin or Sileo to help control stress. If necessary, ask your veterinarian for a mild and safe sedative.

3 - SNAKEBITE - If you find a sudden swelling, frequently on the face or foot, have your dog seen by the veterinarian. Often you can see the fang marks and the swelling comes up very fast. If you live in an area with a history of venomous snakes, consider the snakebite vaccination.

2 - DEHYDRATION - Water the pets with clear, clean and cool water OFTEN. Watch for any diarrhea or vomiting. Extreme heat can make dehydration a serious or fatal problem very quickly.

1 - HEATSTROKE - Pets need to be afforded shelter from extreme temperatures. If the pets are normally outdoors, shade, breeze and water will be appropriate, but if the pets are normally indoors, do not try to rapidly adjust them to outdoor living. They need to be acclimated slowly, if at all. Do not leave pets in enclosed places in hot weather (CARS!!!). Heatstroke can lead to brain damage, seizures, and muscular changes. If not fatal, it may leave a pet with serious health issues that may last a long time.

Summertime and the livin’ CAN be easy if we are smart about pet care.

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