Summers are here and oh boy, are they here to stay! From basking in the early morning sunshine, to enjoying frivolous dips in the swimming pool… summer definitely an active season not only for us, but for our pooches too! Delhi, this year did not experience the bone chilling winter, however, the burning heat awaits us all. The transition of winter to summer sadly marks the start of various companion animal diseases due to increase in the vector population (eg: ticks, fleas, mosquitoes).
So, let’s get acquainted with a few rampant pet diseases and how to protect your furry friends from the same.
1. Canine Parvo viral gastro-enteritis: Puppies below the age of 1 year are affected, especially if not vaccinated. This disease manifests as vomition, loose motions, blood mixed stools, lethargy and dehydration. The virus is shed in the faeces so, contamination of the environment is the main cause disease spread. If your pup shows any of the mentioned signs, immediately take your pooch to the Vet and have a Rapid Parvo test and a complete blood count done. Adequate fluid therapy with antibiotics and supportive therapy is the mainstay treatment.
2. Tick fever: Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis, Borreliosis and Babesiosis are the most common diseases spread through the bite of an infected tick. The symptoms include fever, lethargy, congested mucous membranes, swollen lymph nodes, occasional limb pain. Early diagnosis is crucial. A Snap diagnostic test to rule out the causative agents, a peripheral smear for Babesiosis and a complete blood count to evaluate the platelet and haemoglobin count are essential. Tetracyclines remain the drug of choice and adjunctive therapy as per your Vet’s prescription. Anti-tick and flea washes, spot-ons and sprays and collars available in pet shops help to prevent tick and flea infestations.
3. Moist eczema: An isolated patch of hair loss on your pet exposing a moist wound indicates a “hot spot”. Get the wound examined and antiseptically dressed by your vet. Antibiotics and routine antiseptic wound dressing for a week will clear the same.
4. Myiasis: Maggots (The larvae of flies) are the most annoying parasites to infest any wound. The slithering creatures impair wound healing and also cause alot of annoyance to pets. A maggot wound needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Appropriate fly repellants should be used. Prevent your pet from ingesting the maggots.
5. Heat stroke: The sweltering heat in the Delhi NCR region can definitely cause a heat stroke in both dogs and cats. Hairy dog breeds such as Saint Bernards, German Shepherds, Siberian Huskies, etc are predisposed. The signs include excessive panting, congested mucous membranes, gasping, inability to get up, altered mentation, unconsciousness, etc. Rush your pet to the nearest Vet immediately as time is of the essence. Cold fluid therapy, oxygen therapy, cold water washes, shaving of the body hair, ice packs need to be placed.
Tips to help your pooch to be “summer ready”:
- Get a full body shave done for all hairy breeds. Vanity should not supersede life!
- Provide abundant cool drinking water at all times.
- Seasonal fruits such as watermelons and sun melons can be given as a treat.
- Keep your pets indoor during peak sunlight hours (10am to 3 pm).
- Take your pet for an early morning and late evening walk.
- Never lock your pet inside a car or any vehicle without leaving the windows open, even if it is for a few minutes.
- Bathe your pets more frequently during summer.
- Deworm your pets regularly and use an anti-tick and flea regimen.
- Leave the fan or air-conditioner on when leaving cats/dogs at home alone.
- If your pet resides in the backyard or in the lawn, provide a shady cool spot for him/her to sit during the day.
- Atleast one meal should include curd or lassi to improve gut health.
Cheers to the sunny side of life!
The author is a meritorious Post-graduate in Veterinary Surgery and Radiology and is currently practising at CGS Hospital, Gurgaon.
The laboratory diagnostic tests, treatment options and grooming services mentioned in the article are available at CGS Hospital, Gurgaon. For more information, visit www.cgshospital.com
By: Dr. Salisha Whitney Correia