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The Top Summer Safety Issues for Dogs and Cats

The Top Summer Safety Issues for Dogs and Cats

Image credit: Pixabay

Now that summer is finally here, you and your pet can spend more time outdoors enjoying all that the season has to offer. Like the other three seasons, summer presents unique safety challenges for our companion animals. The good news is that you can enjoy a wonderful summer with your pet by taking a few simple precautions recommended by our Westgate Pet Clinic veterinarians.

While dozens of potential issues could arise in the warm weather season, here are the ones that pet owners encounter most frequently:

Fireworks season: Independence Day may be only one day, but the fireworks used to help celebrate it can last for weeks before and after the actual 4th of July. Many communities have other festivals that include fireworks throughout the summer. Unfortunately, the constant loud booms can terrify some dogs and cats. We encourage you to shop in our online store for a Thundershirt to help reduce anxiety or to ask us about medication options if your pet is especially fearful and anxious of loud noises.

Outdoor barbeques: Cooking food outside is practically a rite of summer. From a pet’s perspective, the heavenly aromas may be too strong to resist. This can cause an otherwise well-mannered pet to try to grab meat off the grill, dig through the garbage, swipe food from guests, or become food possessive. It’s best to help your pet avoid temptation by keeping her in the house or kennel.

Lost Pets: The sound of fireworks, having the kids at home all day, and more people coming to the door are just some of the things that can make a pet feel over anxious or excited. This can cause him to dart out the door at the first opportunity. Without a microchip, statistics are not in favor of your pet returning home. Even a tag and collar can slip off or get caught on an object such as a fence. When a pet has a microchip, the person finding your pet can take them to the nearest veterinary clinic or animal shelter for scanning. Since the chip registry holds information you’ve provided, you’ll want to ensure that your contact information is current.

Increased Risk of Tick-Borne Diseases: According to the website Pets and Parasites, the population of ticks is especially high this year and it increases the risk of companion animals contracting a serious disease. This includes Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, and Anaplasmosis. Prevention just makes sense. We carry several tick prevention products in our online store. Our veterinarians are happy to help you choose the most appropriate one for your dog or cat.

These are just four potential summer hazards that your pet faces this summer. Please let us know if you have additional questions or schedule an appointment today by calling (612) 925-1121. We wish you a fun, happy and safe summer!

Prevention vs. Treatment

Why Prevention Just Makes Sense

The heartworm parasite presents a serious and sometimes fatal threat to companion animals. Unfortunately, it is not difficult for your pet to be infected,  and it’s difficult to treat in dogs. There is no heartworm treatment for cats.

The main route of heartworm transmission to dogs and cats is through a mosquito bite. When a mosquito bites an infected animal such as a dog, cat, coyote, fox, or wolf, its takes in larvae from baby worms. The larvae develop into mature heartworm over the next 10 to 14 days. If the mosquito lives that long, it will bite again and transmit heartworm to an unprotected pet or wild animal.

 

Signs of Heartworm Infestation in Dogs and Cats

 

It’s common for animals with heartworm not to show any symptoms in the earliest stages. As the heartworms continue to grow and multiply, it will eventually cause your pet significant distress. The most common symptoms in dogs include:

·   A mild but persistent cough

·   Fatigue after only moderate exercise

·   Resistance to exercise

·   Loss of appetite and weight

·   Heart failure

·   Swollen abdomen

·   Difficulty breathing

·   Pale gums

·   Dark-colored urine

 

The last five symptoms represent serious infestation. Most dogs will not survive at this point without surgical removal of the heartworms.

With our feline friends, the first indication of heartworm is often sudden collapse and death. Those who don’t progress that quickly may display some of these symptoms:

·   Coughing or asthma

·   Vomiting

·   Appetite and weight loss

·   Difficulty walking

·   Seizures

·   Fainting

 

Heartworm Treatment is Long and Expensive

 

If your dog tests positive for heartworm, you will need to restrict exercise right away. This means you need to prevent him from engaging in regular physical activities as well. The next step is to stabilize your dog over the course of several months before our veterinarians can begin administering medication. Your dog then takes one or more rounds of medication approved by the American Heartworm Society. The last step is for your dog to receive a test approximately six months after administration of the last dose of heartworm medication to ensure that he is free of the parasite.

 

Although no heartworm medication currently exists for cats, we may be able to provide your cat with supportive care such as IV fluids and antibiotics. You will also need to ensure that your cat avoids strenuous physical activity at home. Some heartworm issues resolve on their own in cats since they don’t make an ideal host. However, many cats die from the parasite or have permanent health issues such as asthma.

 

If one compares the average cost of heartworm prevention ($5.00-10.00 per month) vs. treatment (up to $2000), not to mention overall impact of heartworm infection to your pet’s health, it’s clear to see that prevention simply makes sense. Why put your pet through the discomfort or potential long term health risks when heartworm prevention is affordable and effective?

 

Prevention is Much Easier

At Westgate Pet Clinic, we follow guidelines from the American Heartworm Society that people should provide their dogs and cats with year-round heartworm prevention. We encourage you to shop in our online store for prevention products or to ask us for a recommendation. We even offer an option where you can purchase your preventive medications one month at a time, shipped to you, on schedule. It’s easy to remember when your medication arrives right to your doorstep! For a limited time, you can also receive a rebate when you purchase Heartgard, Nexgard, or Frontline heartworm prevention products for your pet.

 

 

Image credit:  kozorog / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Our Mission:

We provide the quality care our clients expect and their pets deserve, by relying on the expertise and
compassion of each team member.

 
 
 

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Westgate Pet Clinic
4345 France Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55410
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(612)925-1121
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