Winter Newsletter

January 8, 2014 |

2007_319_sizedWinter and the holidays are here. It is Flu season for us but I actually see fewer serious respiratory infections at this time of year. Pets that are indoor and outdoor may suffer respiratory issues because the humidity in a home is generally lower in winter. A constantly running furnace can increase mold spores and allergens in the air that are then breathed in by your pets. This can lead to infection but actually begins by creating allergic inflammation in the lungs and airways. Bacteria and virus already present can then invade tissues more easily. For similar reasons some pets itch more in winter because of the dryness and increased exposure to house dust mite debris. The more time spent indoors the longer the exposure to the dryness and allergens. First and foremost we still see pets with fleas in the winter so before a trip to the vet for itching look your pet over thoroughly for live fleas or dark flea dirt specs by parting the hair to look at the bare skin.

Small dogs are more sensitive to cold because they have a much larger surface area per pound of body weight than large dogs. Wind chill is also more dangerous because they have more skin exposed from which to lose body heat. Dogs and cats kept outdoor need shelter from the wind and a source of fresh water that has not frozen. Dehydration increases your pet’s susceptibility to hypothermia. Sometimes water freezes before a pet decides to drink especially if they are fed when the water is replaced.

Many of the brands of automotive antifreeze are still toxic at a very small dose. One lick can be a deadly amount for a cat. Ethylene Glycol antifreeze has a pleasant flavor and attracts some pets to lick up a spill on the ground. You should eliminate any chance of exposure. Putting antifreeze in food to poison nuisance vermin is a dangerous plan. The cats and dogs often find it first. Catch em Alive traps are a safer alternative.

Holiday meals can also be hazardous to your pet. While the family simply takes a nap the pet with borderline pancreatitis can be triggered into a life threatening crisis by consumption of fats and oils. The cat with hypertension or a dog with early congestive heart failure can be pushed over the edge by exposure to salt. Simply licking a plate with salty gravy could be enough to cause serious illness to certain pets.

The good news is Santa’s reindeer are most likely to carry the winter tick Dermacentor albipticus that has not been shown to transmit Lyme disease! Rocky Mountain Fever but not Lyme disease. Happy holidays and let’s hope Santa has taken Rudolf to the vet! A Rabid Reindeer would be an alliterative atrocity of preposterous proportions!

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