Healthy and Happy

Tips on keeping your pets in top shape during late summer and fall.
Penny, a Treeing Walker Coonhound, enjoys late summer days at Chaska Place Dog Park.

Warmer weather brings potential hazards that can affect our pets, so I sat down with Dr. Michael Grace, a veterinarian at Flying Cloud Animal Hospital in Eden Prairie, about keeping Fido and Fifi safe this summer.

Heat Stroke

Please keep in mind that heat stroke can happen suddenly and to any breed. Seek veterinary care immediately if any signs occur, as heat stroke can lead to organ damage or death. Which dogs are more at risk?

  1. Overweight dogs
  2. Brachycephalic breeds (short-snouted dogs): Boxers, Boston Terriers, Pugs, French Bulldogs, Cavaliers, Pekingese and Shih Tzu to name just a few.
  3. Pets with asthma, heart disease and/or any other major medical problems.

Common signs

  • Drooling, excessive salivation and panting
  • Weakness and collapse
  • Bright red gums, red blemishes on the skin or Petechia—a small (1-2 mm) red or purple spot on the body, caused by a minor hemorrhage.

Prevention

  • Most importantly, leave your dog home.
  • Know the side effects of medication.
  • Provide plenty of fresh water and shade from sun.
  • Turn air conditioning on ‘high’ in the car.
  • If you have a dog with lots of fur, consider a “summer” shave, but always consult a groomer first.
  • Limit activity during the hottest times.

Heartworm

Dogs can get heartworm infection from the bite of an infected mosquito. If not treated quickly, it can lead to death.

Common signs

  • Cough
  • Abnormal lung sound
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Unconsciousness

 

Prevention

  • Monthly heartworm preventative medication and yearly heartworm test

 

Tick Borne Illness
Lyme, anaplasma, and ehrlichia.

Common signs

  • Weakness
  • Fever
  • Shifting leg lameness
  • Loss of appetite

Prevention

  • Check for ticks
  • A veterinarian-approved preventative.

Ear Infection

Watch for this if your dog loves to swim.

Common signs

  • Head shaking and ear scratching
  • Foul smell or debris from the ears

Prevention

  • Clean your dog’s ears with a veterinarian-approved ear cleaner after swimming.

Blue-Green Algae

A parasite found at lakes and damp soil. Check with the DNR to see if any reports have been found.

Common signs

  • Diarrhea or vomiting

Prevention

  • Watch what your dog consumes.

 

Harmony Gallegos is the owner of Harmony and Pets in Eden Prairie; harmonyandpets.com

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Mention this article to get $5 off your next appointment at Flying Cloud Hospital for the month of August 2014.