I’m writing this blog in the midst of a snowstorm. Nonetheless, Spring is around the corner. Given the mild winter weather many of us have been experiencing, Spring has already sprung.
Poisonous snakebites are extremely painful. Keep a muzzle handy. The bite may not be immediately noticeable due to hair coverage. Signs include redness and swelling at the site, nervousness, weakness, disorientation, excessive salivating, vomiting, respiratory distress, and seizures. In the case of respiratory distress, remove the muzzle. Since the symptoms of snakebite and anaphylactic shock are so similar, check for possible wound sites. Pay particular attention to areas where they are licking. When we become overwrought our bodies give off specific pheromones. Your pets, in turn, becomes more excited and stressed. As their heart beats faster, the poison works that much quicker. Remaining calm helps. Remove all collars and clothing (from your pet, not you!) as body swelling may occur. Call you veterinarian FIRST and then transport ASAP.
There are two ways to treat a poisonous snakebite. The first is with antivenin. Many vets do not stock this as it is very expensive and has an expiration date. The second is to treat it as an allergic reaction with antibiotics, steroids, fluid replacement, and pain relief. The sooner it is treated, the better the chance of recovery. If you live in an area with poisonous snakes, keep a constricting band in you pet first aid kit. Additionally, discussing options with your vet before a snakebite is a good idea.
Treat nonpoisonous snakebites as wounds. Inform your vet, as they may want to prescribe a round of antibiotics.
A poisonous snakebite has two clear fang marks. A nonpoisonous snakebite has two semicircles of teethmarks.
Though coyotes hunt mainly from dusk to dawn, females will hunt during the day to feed hungry pups. Do not think your 90lb. golden is safe. They hunt in packs and are highly intelligent, aggressive, and fast. Leash walk your pet and keep cats indoors during peak hunting times. I walk my dogs with an air horn. Most hardware stores carry them and are small enough to fit in a jacket pocket. The loud noise tends to scare them off if they are not rabid.
3. ANIMAL BITES
Bats, raccoons, skunks, and other animals are out in full force. If bitten, your pet will need veterinarian treatment as well as receive a rabies booster. If your pet is not current, they will be quarantined. You can rinse wounds with a surgical scrub. You can find it in the first aid supplies aisle of most stores.
You have a short window to de-skunk your pet. Their spray is oil based. The longer you wait, the more is absorbed into your pet’s skin. Have your de-skunking ready. My kit contains a plastic bucket, scrubber, small box of baking soda, small bottle of hydrogen peroxide, eyewash, and a small bottle of pet degreasing shampoo. It works better on a dry coat. I rinse the eyes both before and after the bath. Combine the rest of the ingredients with warm water, scrub and rinse will. Throw away any cloth collars, as they are not salvageable.
5. INSECT BITES
Insect, bee and spider bites can cause your pet to go into anaphylactic shock. This is life threatening. Do not use tweezers to remove bee stingers as this will squeeze more venom into your pets body. Use a credit card instead. Place the card under the stinger to lift it up and then flick it out.
Symptoms include pain, redness and swelling at site, unconsciousness, seizures, excessive salivation, vomiting, and respiratory distress. This is very similar to snakebite. Keeping calm helps your pet to stay calm. It is a good idea to investigate whenever your pet is licking at an area as it may be the first sign of a bite. Your pet first aid kit should contain an antihistamine dosed for your pet by your veterinarian. If you suspect anaphylactic shock, contact your veterinarian for instructions prior to your arrival at their office.
6. TICKS, MOSQUITOS, AND FLEAS
They spread disease and severe illnesses. Every year there seems to be another new tick borne disease. Use a preventative. I. personally, do not use topical spot on products. I feel that the cons far outweigh the pros. In it’s place I use essential oil based products. The biggest drawback is they need daily application. Aromapaws, Aromadog, Halo, and Pet Naturals of Vermont make repellants I have used with success.
Know which plants, bulbs, and shrubs are hazardous to your pets. The ASPCA’s website; www.aspca.org, has a comprehensive list of poisonous plantings. Many commercially prepared mulches are treated with chemicals that are toxic and cocoa mulches contains cocoa, AKA chocolate. Store fertilizers and pesticides in their original containers and away from your pets. Keep pets away from treated areas as they will absorb toxins through the skin or pads. In addition, they may lick their paws and ingest the poison.
Poison Controls number is 888-426-4435 and their website is www.aspca.org. Pet Poison Helplines number is 1-800-213-6680 and their website is www.petpoisonhelpline.com. This is not a free service, but will be the best money ever spent as minutes matter in poisonings. Both hotlines are staffed with pharmacology trained veterinarians. What is free is the refrigerator magnets from their websites and Pet Poison Helpline has an app for the smart phones.
Frontline is fatal for rabbits. As with any product, use it in its intended manner. The label must indicate it is safe for your pet.
Keep holiday candy out of reach. Chocolate contains Theobromine. It affects the heart and circulatory systems. Even small amounts are dangerous. Pets cannot process Theobromine and it builds up in their bodies. Sugar free candies contain xylitol. It is fatal. Wrappers can cause intestinal obstructions and know where you hide the Easter Eggs. You don’t want your pet to eat a rotten one.
Spring storms bring thunder and lightning. It can be fearful for some pets causing them to run off. Make sure your pet is well identified. A well identified pet has a better chance of returning home. Thundershirts, www.thundershirt.com; is a snug fitting jacket that helps alleviate anxiety during storms. Herbal remedies, from Bach’s and Alaskan Essences; may offer some relief.
We are transitioning from cold to heat related injuries. A pet can suffer a heatstroke in a parked car when the temperature exceeds 78 degrees in as little as 15 minutes. A pet suffering from heatstroke needs immediate attention. Cool them off gradually with lukewarm water. DO NOT USE COLD WATER OR ICE as it will create a thermal barrier. This thermal barrier will hinder your pets’ ability to cool down. Call your veterinarian ASAP for instructions.
As nicer weather comes our way, thoughts of dog parks, hiking and other travel destinations come to mind. Are you prepared to travel with your pet? A good resource guide is Let’s Go Fido by yours truly. Visit my website at www.pawsitivelypretty.com for details on how to order this invaluable guide.
Do you know where your after hours emergency pet hospital is? Is their phone number handy? Calling them before you leave gives them time to prepare for your arrival as well as give you any life saving instructions. Make a practice run, so you will know exactly where they are. It is not a good idea to try to locate them in a state of panic.
Is your pet first aid kit and hiking kit stocked with what you need? Here is a link to my blog article detailing my personal pet first aid kits: www.groomwise.typepad.com/pet_first_aid_care/kits/.
Antifreeze leaks can happen any time of the year. They clean up easily with soap and water. Antifreeze is fatal.
As we wait for the snow to melt and the buds to bloom, take a few minutes to Spring-proof your pets’ life. They will thank you for it.