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Posted on 09-19-2017

Summertime and the living is - sweaty, at least here in Central Texas. Texas heat brings its own set of challenges to pet owners, particularly those with pets who are more "Home on the Range" than "Couch Potato".  Here are two of the more urgent summertime issues we have been seeing here at Four Paws Veterinary Hospital -

Snake Bites - most years we think of rattlesnake bites as peaking in the spring and fall, but this summer we have already seen more than a few pets who have been bitten badly.  If you suspect your pet has suffered a rattlesnake bite seek immediate medical attention!  Here's the deal: not all bites are created equal - some are "dry" bites where little or no venom is injected, and some are "all in" bites where the snake injects ALL its venom, keeping nothing in reserve. MOST are somewhere in the middle, but - and here's the rub - if you wait to see how your pet is affected, the window of effective treatment may close, leaving you with few or no options.   If you think your pet is at risk, consider giving him or her the extra protection of the "Rattlesnake Vaccine" - it does not confer total immunity to snake bites, but it does skew the odds in favor of a positive outcome to medical treatment.  

Heat Injuries - Oddly, it seems we see more heat related problems when the thermometer is in the 80's and low 90's - as temperatures approach triple digits the instinct for self-preservation kicks in and humans and their pets usually reduce activity.  Therefore it is wise to be alert for signs of hyperthermia in your pet  three seasons out of four around here!  The young, the old, pets on certain medications, breeds with "smooshed faces" (brachycephalic, such as persians and pugs), and obese pets are most at risk, but any pet can overheat, sometimes in a short period of time!  Signs may include prolonged panting, excessive drooling, reddened gums, a rapid heart rate, and of course an elevated body temperature (above 103.0). Your pet may or may not collapse. Cool them off as soon as possible by putting them in cool (not ice) water (or putting cool water on them) and getting them into a cool area. Allow them to drink as much cool water as they care to (even if they vomit some of it up, it cools their body internally) and let your vet know that you are on your way in with an emergency!  The veterinary team will evaluate the extent of the injury, then recommend therapy that may include IV fluids, medications, and lab work to determine whether any organ systems have been compromised.

Here at Four Paws Veterinary Hospital, we sincerely hope that we never have to see you for either of these emergencies, we just want you to be informed so that you can make intelligent decisions for your pet's medical care.


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