Be­ware of sum­mer­time blues

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - NEWS -

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.

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