I love summertime for the long days, barbecues, vacation and hikes with our dogs. In the veterinary hospital our caseload shifts with each season. Last week, I described five of the top ten summer hazards seen in veterinary practice. Here are five common, though less frequent ailments:
6. Ulcerated pads - Dogs exercising on hot ground or playing on rough, hot surfaces like gravel can develop painful blisters on their footpads. The pads heal and return to normal with basic care and, over time with continued exercise, they form calluses for added protection. There are other reasons for ulcerated footpads, though, so it is important to have them checked out by a veterinarian.
7. Pancreatitis - Whether you give your pooch leftover hotdogs or he snatches pulled pork that slipped from your friend's plate, eating barbequed, rich, greasy or unusual items can lead to pancreatitis. Pancreatitis causes abdominal pain, vomiting, lethargy, poor appetite and sometimes diarrhea. While some cases are mild, others require hospitalization and aggressive treatment. So ask your guests to keep their barbequed ribs to themselves!
8. Snail Bait Toxicity - Although snails start to come out in April, they continue to live in the garden throughout the summer. There are two main types of snail bait, one fairly safe and the other very toxic. Toxic snail bait contains metaldehyde, a compound that causes muscle tremors, seizure, elevated body temperature and death if untreated. Treatment for snail bait toxicity includes cooling, IV fluids, anti-seizure medications and hospitalization.
9. Xylitol Toxicity - While not specific to summertime, let me mention a commonplace food that can be toxic to pets. Xylitol is natural sweetener found in sugar-free gums, mints, toothpastes and other products, the amount varying by product, brand and flavor. A sufficient quantity of xylitol can cause liver failure and death in dogs.
10. Fourth of July fireworks - Fireworks frighten many dogs and cats. Every year there are pets that escape during the fireworks, get lost or hit by a car. Other pets are so anxious they are destructive to their home or selves. White noise and reassurance can help. Make sure your pet is micro-chipped and wearing identification. Talk to your veterinarian if you are concerned about how your dog or cat will deal with this year's fireworks.
I hope you have a wonderful summer and that my list of summer hazards keeps your pets safe!