Sum­mer ex­poses pets to many dan­gers

Northern Outlook - - SUMMER PETS -

Sum­mer pro­vides balmy days that in­vite out­door ad­ven­tures and ex­cit­ing ex­cur­sions but, for your pet, the sea­son can bring dan­gers and dis­com­forts.

Vet­eri­nar­ian So­phie Neil­son has been work­ing at the Ran­giora Vet Cen­tre for eight years and has seen the con­se­quence of many sum­meras­so­ci­ated haz­ards that have be­fallen an­i­mals.

With qual­i­fi­ca­tions from the Royal Vet Col­lege, Lon­don, in

2004, So­phie has treated sev­eral species but now fo­cuses on cats, dogs and small pets.

She warns pet own­ers to be vig­i­lant as she iden­ti­fies some of the risks their an­i­mals con­front when ven­tur­ing out with their hu­man fam­i­lies.

Heat­stroke is a com­mon af­flic­tion and symp­toms in­clude seizures, bright red gums, col­lapse, anx­i­ety, ex­ces­sive pant­ing, sali­va­tion and vom­it­ing. Some cases may be fa­tal or re­sult in or­gan fail­ure.

‘‘If you sus­pect heat­stroke, hose your dog with cold wa­ter and place ice packs on their groin and throat area,’’ So­phie says.

‘‘Call your vet im­me­di­ately. Don’t leave your pet in an unat­tended ve­hi­cle or ex­er­cise them heav­ily in the heat. Ide­ally, keep them inside, use air con­di­tion­ing and pro­vide two bowls of wa­ter in case one gets emp­tied.’’

Roads and path­ways ab­sorb heat and are best avoided at cer­tain times. Touch-test the sur­faces be­fore us­ing them.

Toxic al­gae may in­habit rivers. Check with your lo­cal coun­cil or ECan be­fore giv­ing pets ac­cess to them although they do not mon­i­tor all sites. Dogs are at risk when they in­gest the al­gae.

‘‘Toxic blue/green al­gae can be fa­tal when in­gested,’’ So­phie says.

‘‘Black/brown al­gae can also be toxic. Death can oc­cur quickly so seek ve­teri­nary as­sis­tance im­me­di­ately.’’

Symp­toms in­clude lethargy, tremors, twitch­ing, paral­y­sis, seizures and vom­it­ing.

Grass seeds have tiny barbs and can stick to the fur and travel through skin. They may in­vade the feet, ears, eyes, nose, mouth, bot­tom, groin and armpit. They can cause eye ul­cers, rup­tured ear drums and other prob­lems.

‘‘Thor­oughly ex­am­ine your pet reg­u­larly for seeds (espe­cially in the places listed),’’ So­phie ad­vises.

‘‘Brush and trim them fre­quently and mon­i­tor for head shak­ing, ex­ces­sive lick­ing, dis­charge, red­ness, holes or swelling.’’

Lilies are toxic to cats and cause kid­ney fail­ure. Poin­set­tias, ivy and mistletoe can also harm an­i­mals.

Can­dles and lights can eas­ily be in­ter­fered with by pets.

‘‘Vom­it­ing, di­ar­rhoea and tummy pain could in­di­cate your pet has in­gested an ob­ject that may re­quire surgery,’’ she says.

Grapes and raisins can cause acute kid­ney fail­ure so keep th­ese out of paw’s reach as even small amounts can be fa­tal.

‘‘Kid­ney dis­ease can cause vom­it­ing, in­ap­pe­tence, de­hy­dra­tion, in­creased thirst, mouth ul­cers and smelly breath.’’

Gar­lic, onions, leeks, chives and shal­lots can cause anaemia and stom­ach up­set while fruit stones, seeds and al­monds present a chok­ing haz­ard and can also cause in­testi­nal ob­struc­tion. Some stones con­tain cyanide which can cause car­diac ar­rest and death.

Al­co­hol (ethanol) may give your pet low blood-sugar, re­sult­ing in coma, seizures and hy­pother­mia. Watch out for bones.

‘‘Splin­ter­ing causes mouth, throat and gas­troin­testi­nal sys­tem in­juries,’’ So­phie says.

‘‘Dis­pose of bones care­fully. High lev­els of bone mar­row and as­so­ci­ated meat can cause pan­cre­ati­tis.

‘‘Some bones, when di­gested, end up as a con­crete-like sub­stance caus­ing se­vere con­sti­pa­tion.’’

Fatty foods, in­clud­ing nuts, can cause stom­ach up­set and pan­cre­ati­tis which are pre­ventable, se­ri­ous and painful ill­nesses that may be costly to treat.

In ad­di­tion to this: macadamias can cause neu­ro­log­i­cal prob­lems; wal­nuts can cause bowel ob­struc­tions and neu­ro­log­i­cal symp­toms (if they are mouldy) and Brazil nuts carry a high se­le­nium con­tent.

If your pet en­coun­ters any of th­ese sce­nar­ios, So­phie rec­om­mends con­tact­ing your vet for ad­vice.

‘‘Usu­ally the quicker in­ter­ven­tion is sought, the eas­ier and more successful the treat­ment can be,’’ she says.

‘‘We hope you en­joy sum­mer with your pet and have a safe and happy fes­tive sea­son.’’

So­phie Neil­son, right, re­as­sures a 5-month-old golden labrador, Dakota, be­fore she un­der­goes a pro­ce­dure.

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