PITTSBURG – Summertime can be a time of fun and frolicking for pets. However, some illnesses can put a quick break on that time in the sun.
From parvo to tick-borne diseases there are several bugs needing to be kept at bay this summer.
Pittsburg veterinarian Heather Wallace, of Broadway Animal Hospital, has some tips for keeping the community’s furry family members healthy.
“We’ve had some warm winters the past few seasons,” Wallace said. “This allows the flea population to really increase. So my first advice is to get your pet on a good flea and tick regime.”
Wallace encourages the preventive medication as many of the local diseases are spread through tick and flea bites. Dangerous ones can cause anemia, lameness or even death. Most of which are preventable by readily available flea and tick medication.
She warns pet owners that medications found over-the-counter at large stores do not have the same effectiveness as those available at a vets’ office.
“The medications at large stores are old formulas,” Wallace said. “They are not having a 30 day effectiveness, the way we have with our new medications.”
Other health concerns Wallace looks for in the summertime are parvo and heat-related illnesses.
“Parvo can live in a yard for two years,” she said. “Renters should make sure their pet is properly vaccinated, as a pet that has had it’s full set of shots and boosters should not be affected by the disease.”
Heat injuries can happen faster than owners often realize, and are not limited to just the danger of leaving a pet in a hot car. According to Wallace, a pet can get burned paws in just 60 seconds on concrete when the temperature is over 87 degrees.
Pets can also be prone to overheating. Signs of heat-related illness can be excessive panting, rapid breathing or lethargy. If any of these symptoms are present, she suggests getting your pet wet, wiping rubbing alcohol on their paws and immediately calling the vet.
“Overheating is a two-fold kind of problem,” Wallace said “We have the initial problems, but then a few days later we can have more serious things present like organ damage. It’s very important to keep them cool when it’s very hot outside.”
Although many of these problems can be scary for pet owners, Wallace said most can be easily prevented by a veterinarian. She encourages people to reach out to their vet for options or information.
“We care about these animals,” she said. “People shouldn’t hesitate to call us if they have a question or concern.”