It is hot and getting hotter. That only means one thing: Summer is here! And while summer comes with endless possibilities of fun things to do with your pet, summer also has some unique health threats for cats and dogs. Some of these health issues can be easily treated while others can be permanent and even fatal. What do you need to know about common diseases that your pet may encounter this summer? Read on!
Like you, your pet’s body is mostly composed of water. Water makes up 70% to 80% of your pet’s body mass. Your pet needs water for his or her body to function properly. When your pet’s fluids drop by a mere 5%, he or she becomes dehydrated. This can lead to organ failure and even death.
What can you do to prevent dehydration? Watch for the common signs of dehydration like shaking, lethargy, and muscle weakness. Always provide your cat or dog with cool, freshwater outdoors and inside your home. You can also increase the number of water bowls in your house and use a pet drinking fountain to encourage more drinking.
Summer is the season for dangerously high temperatures and a heightened risk of heatstroke. Heatstroke occurs when your pet’s core temperature rises too high and they cannot bring their temperature down on their own. For dogs, this means increasing their core body temperature just two degrees from 102-F to 104-F. Heatstroke can lead to seizures and heart failure.
Never leave your pets in the car—even if it’s just for a few minutes. Switch your pet’s outdoor time to the morning or evening when the temperatures are cooler. While cats are less prone to heatstroke, you still want to prevent heatstroke and heat exhaustion by keeping your cat indoors on the hottest days.
- Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a commonly over-looked disease. Why? Many pets don’t show signs of Lyme disease despite suffering from joint soreness and pain. It’s not until a pet begins to limp or show the effects of kidney problems that their owners bring them in to the vet.
What can you do to prevent Lyme disease? Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks. The best way to protect your pets is to talk to your vet about a prescription for tick prevention. You can also avoid letting your cat or dog walking through tall grass and brush and check them for ticks whenever they’ve been outdoors.
“Leptospirosis” may be difficult to pronounce, it is a very serious disease. This disease causes similar symptoms as the flu: fever, loss of appetite, and vomiting. Like the flu, some dogs recover quickly and life goes back to normal, while others aren’t so lucky. Leptospirosis can cause kidney and liver failure.
Leptospirosis is most often seen during the summer months because that is when we’re most active with our dogs outdoors. Because this disease is caused by bacteria transmitted through water sources or where an infected animal has urinated, rates soar when dogs are allowed to drink from puddles and sniff around where rodents frequent.
While less common in cats, it’s better to provide your cat with fresh water while outside. As for dogs, there is a vaccine you can ask your vet about.
- Heartworm Disease
We hate heartworms disease. Why? Death and infection are far too common for a disease that is 100% preventable. Heartworm disease is caused by larvae that grow into parasitic worms that are transmitted by mosquitos. Over time, these worms grow and lengthen, constricting blood flow and causing damage to your pet’s circulatory system. Eventually, if left untreated heartworms are 100% fatal to dogs. And there is no treatment that can help them if they cannot fight off these parasites on their own.
The best way to protect your pet’s precious heart is to use monthly preventative medicine.Summer is one of the best times to be a pet parent. You can sit on the porch and watch birds together, play in the backyard, and even watch the sunset while planting flowers. We love summer and we bet you do, too. We hope this article can help keep the fun in summer with valuable information. Stay safe and enjoy your fun in the sun!
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— Meow for now —