As the summer season wanes and we know that winter is around the corner, it is always good to remind pet owners of some of the possible hazards that could be of concern.
Late August through October is the time to watch for fly strike on dogs. The flies are attracted to areas where there may be a wound or fecal contamination. On some dogs, the flies are attracted to the ear tips where they feast on blood from the superficial vessels. These cause wounds can become infected, which then attracts more flies. It only takes a few days for flies to lay eggs that can then continue their larval cycle (maggots) which leads to more problems.
Fall is also the season for increased mushrooms to be present in our yards. Fortunately, most mushrooms do not cause more than gastrointestinal upset which is usually either self-limiting or responds well to simple treatments. However, there are mushrooms that can be quite toxic and rarely even cause a fatal reaction. The best preventative is to monitor your yard and clean them from the grass as they appear. If you know your dog has ingested mushrooms, please call the hospital.
It is not as common as in the past for car owners to drain their antifreeze into the streets, but it still happens. Ethylene glycol (antifreeze) in its natural form is a sweet tasting fluid that dogs or cats will drink. The ethylene glycol in itself is a safe product, but in the body it is converted in the liver to a very toxic and almost universally fatal product unless treatment is started shortly after ingestion. Unfortunately, it takes a very small amount of antifreeze to be fatal to a cat and only slightly more to be fatal to a dog. Treatment can be very rewarding, but it’s expensive and needs to be started within a few hours (usually less than 3-4 hours.)
If your dog or cat needs to be groomed because of mats, the fall is an excellent time for them to be shaved. There will be plenty of hair regrowth before the cooler days, and will allow your pet to be much more comfortable through the winter and spring.