The warmth of summer means extra time outdoors for your pets. While this can be a good thing, it can also bring exposure to health risks that are more prevalent during the summer season. Warmer weather doesn't only bring your pets outside, but also a host of other animals and creatures who may interact with your pets and cause them a trip to the animal hospital. Below are some health risks for your pets in the summer:
Fleas are a common problem for most pets, but unless there is a heavy infestation, many pets are not adversely affected. However, if a dog or cat has a flea allergy, the bite of a single flea can release histamines into the bloodstream and cause allergic reactions such as intense itching and scaly skin. Allergic reactions to flea bites are often most noticed around the tail and lower back regions. Pets will flea allergies should be treated with an effective flea medication on a year round basis, rather than just in summer when the flea population is more prolific.
Mites can also affect pets by infecting them with mange, which is an intensely itchy (and sometimes smelly) skin condition that resembles scabies in humans. It is highly contagious and can spread easily when your pet comes into contact with infested animals. Eradication of mange may require several treatments with a scabicide to rid your pet of the mites and their eggs.
Injuries from contact with other animals
Your pets may not only get into fights with other dogs or cats, but also with wild animals on whose living space their human owners have steadily encroached. Dogs and cats may encounter feral offspring of abandoned domestic animals and come away with infections from bites and scratches from fighting. Abscesses are common occurrences when the skin is punctured and bacteria enters. Swelling occurs to form a painful lump that must be drained and treated with antibiotics.
Pets may also encounter wild animals such as raccoons and foxes that have become infected with rabies. These characteristically shy and nocturnal animals will become disoriented and aggressive and bite your pet. If your pet is allowed outside, it should be vaccinated against rabies. In the event that is is bitten by a rabid animal, it must be taken to an animal hospital for immediate treatment. Rabies is fatal to pets.
Pets that haven't been spayed or neutered
Intact pets face a multitude of dangers. If your female pet hasn't been spayed, she will try to escape when in estrus. If successful, she may disappear for days and return pregnant, with sexually transmitted diseases, or with parasitic infestations. If she cannot escape, you will face a horde of potential suitors who will bring the problems to your doorstep.
A male pet will also disappear for days, running into traffic and fighting other males for a chance at a female in estrus. An intact male pet will face the same issues with STDs and parasitic infestations, without the pregnancy but including torn ears and abscesses from fighting, if they are lucky enough not to be killed by a car.
Spay and neuter your pets to keep them safe. Contrary to popular belief, female pets don't need to experience giving birth to a litter before being spayed and male pets don't brood over the loss of their testes. If their owner has an issue, prosthetic testes can be implanted to give their pet a more "natural" look in their hindquarters.
If you have need of an animal hospital, visit Southwest Florida Veterinary Specialists & 24-Hour Emergency Hospital.