Lake Life


Kiwanis hear summer pet concerns
Monitor Staff Reports
SEVEN POINTS–Summer traveling is tough on puppies, who are most susceptible to the Parvo virus, Cedar Creek Kiwanis members heard Wednesday.
Dr. Jim Collinsworth, a veterinarian at the Lakeside Animal Clinic in Gun Barrel City, said the clinic has already treated 21 cases of Parvo this year, and warned dogs can catch the virus from visiting a roadside park that an infected dog visited months ago.
Puppies’ immune systems really can’t assimilate vaccinations until they are at least eight weeks old, and a puppy is not fully protected until he/she has had at least three shots, Collinsworth said.
“Rottweilers seem to be especially sensitive (to Parvo),” he said. “You need to try and keep puppies inside until their immune system is up and functioning well.”
Drinking contaminated water can lead to Giardia, which is a disease that can spread from an animal to a human and from a human to an animal, Collinsworth said.
Summer temperatures mean a real danger of overheating, so it’s never a good idea to leave a pet inside a parked car for any length of time, he said.
“Dogs and cats don’t have sweat glands like we do,” he explained. Dogs and cats cool themselves by panting, but temperatures in parked cars quickly reach levels that panting can’t overcome.
Like humans, dogs and cats also can suffer from traveler’s diarrhea – the fabled “Montezuma’s revenge” – when new bacteria in water or food cannot be handled by the animal’s intestinal “bugs.”
Instead of Pepto-Bismol, dogs and cats can be given buttermilk or yogurt, Collinsworth said. “You’re trying to put in good bacteria for bad,” he said. “That will help.”
Dog bites usually involve dogs new to the neighborhood, who visit the other animals, creating a territorial dispute.
“We’ve already treated 20 bite cases this year,” he said. “We recommend keeping your animals confined in a fenced back yard.”
The clinic has treated two cases of snakebite this year, Collinsworth said.
Even though most snakes seen in this area are not poisonous, there are a few exceptions, such as cottonmouths and copperheads, he said.
“We’re also hearing a few cases of rattlesnakes being seen,” he said. “One of our local ranchers had some hay brought in from West Texas, and he’s seen five rattlesnakes since then.”
Raptors, which include hawks and owls, occasionally nab a very small dog or cat, but raptor attacks are rare, he said.
Pancreatitis is a disease that primarily affects dogs, and is almost wholly preventable, because it’s caused by people feeding “people food,” particularly pork scraps, to their dogs.
“We’re seeing a lot of this,” he said. “It’s marked by bloody diarrhea and vomiting, usually after eating a high-fat meat.
“It can be a very rapidly fatal disease, and it’s very preventable,” Collinsworth added.
The problem is dogs’ livers can’t break down the fats, and that leads to failure of the pancreas. “It’s the number one disease for schnauzers,” he noted.
On the subject of food, Collinsworth said feeding better-quality pet foods leads to better digestion and nutrition.
Dogs may end up eating more of a cheaper food to get the nutrition they need, so any savings on cost is offset by the pet eating extra food, he explained.
If the pet is eating a lot and pooping a lot, they’re probably not getting enough nutrition from their current food, Collinsworth said.
So far this year, the clinic has seen two cases of rabies, both in skunks.
In this area, “99 percent” of the rabies cases seen are in skunks, although some cases do show up in dogs, cats and horses.
Since cats are solitary nighttime hunters, they are more likely to encounter a skunk. “It’s probably more important to have your cats vaccinated for rabies than dogs,” Collinsworth said.
There haven’t been any cases of West Nile Virus seen this year, he said.
Although cats and dogs can test positive for WNV, they don’t die from the disease, he added.





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