Beware of summertime blues
THE rise in temperature as summer sets in mirrors the rising concerns of dog owners across the city because the warmer weather brings health conditions that can afflict four-legged members of families.
Parvo viral enteritis, a viral infection of the intestines, is common in unvaccinated dogs. The virus attacks the fast-dividing cells of the body, namely the lining of the intestines and the immune system.
Affected animals vomit, have diarrhoea, are lethargic and become dehydrated very quickly. Left untreated, parvo virus has a high mortality rate and, even with intensive treatment, the survival rate is only 70% to 80%.
Dr Bianca Achtzehn, a vet at the Panorama Veterinary Clinic and Specialist
Centre, told Weekend Argus prevention was better than cure – dogs could be vaccinated against the virus.
The standard 5-in-1 vaccines dogs receive (three to four vaccines at monthly intervals as puppies and one a year thereafter) included one for parvo virus.
When the weather is warm people are more likely to have parties and braais.
“The end result is they get in to a festive mood and give their dogs table scraps to eat,” Achtzehn said.
“Any fatty meat which dogs are not used to getting on a regular basis can bring on vomiting and diarrhoea and bones commonly get stuck in intestines and require a surgery to be removed.
“Around Christmas, there is also an increase in kidney problems in dogs as people treat their dogs with fruit cake and mince pies.
“Unfortunately, the raisins in these foods can cause kidney failure. The severity and cause of the stomach upset will determine the treatment.
“The owners can give it a day or two to see if it will run its course or treat the animal with over-the counter pro-biotics, such a Prokolin, Diomec or Protexin.
If, however, their dog starts vomiting, the diarrhoea lasts more than three days or turns black or bloody, then they do need to be taken to the vet.”
Snakes and scorpions are active in the warmer weather and people are more likely to take their dogs on hikes in the summer months where they may encounter these venomous creatures.
If a dog has been bitten by a snake or a scorpion, it must be taken to a vet immediately and should be hospitalised.