by Anna Tilley from Ryedale Vets
Summer is on its way and we all love the sunshine. While you are enjoying spending time outside, it is important to think of your pets and how they might be coping with the heat. Here are a few of the main hazards of summer, and some tips on keeping them safe during the season.
We hear the ‘DO NOT LEAVE DOGS IN HOT CARS’ campaign every year, but, unfortunately, it still happens. A pet’s body temperature can rise quickly when in a car (even with the windows open) and even just being out in the heat of the day. Heatstroke can be FATAL. Please remember your that pets are wearing a fur coat! Provide shade in the garden, have fresh water available at ALL times, and NEVER leave them in a car, even for a short length of time. Avoid walking dogs during the hottest hours (10am–3pm) and don’t over exercise them when it is warm.
Adders will be out basking in the sun, and inquisitive pets disturbing them will receive a nasty bite. Adders do not produce lethal venom, but can cause a nasty reaction. The area will swell and become painful, and in some cases the dog may have an anaphylactic reaction to the venom, suffering breathing difficulties and shock symptoms. Please always call the vet if you suspect an adder bite.
Sunburn can be a common problem for pets with white extremities. The initial sunburn is sore and painful, but there is a further risk, especially to white eared cats, that the burn may progress to an aggressive form of skin cancer. Use a human factor 50 sun cream on those white ears (and ear tips), noses, and any other delicate areas exposed to the sun. This applies for horses with pink muzzles too!
Not as common as in hotter climates, but can still be an issue. Roads and pavements can become hot to the touch, and delicate paws are easily burnt. Avoid tarmac in the hottest hours, and allow your pets to walk on grass verges where possible.
Commonly seen in rabbits, and caused when flies lay eggs on mucky back ends or open wounds. Maggots hatch out and eat the flesh of the pet. This can be FATAL. Daily checks are imperative, and back ends must be kept clean and dry. A preventative treatment is available and easily applied at the beginning of the season. Any stage of flystrike MUST be treated by us immediately.
Fleas & Ticks
Protection against these critters is recommended throughout the year, but especially in the summer. Ticks are rife at the moment, and should be safely removed by using a special hook, with a rotating action. Never pull/burn/douse a tick as the head may be left in!
If in doubt, ALWAYS phone your vet for advice and help. We hope you all enjoy a long, happy and safe summer with your pets. Why not visit us on our stands if you see us at the local shows this summer?