What Does a Rainy Season Mean to the Health of Your Pet?
By Dr. Ahmed Mutalib
Post Date: 05/25/2012
Our community has been blessed with a rainy season. Water gives life to things indiscriminately including little creatures like fleas, ticks, mosquitos and many bacteria and viruses. These insects and germs love humid and warm climates and they are expected to be abundant in our environment this year.
Fleas cause skin irritation and flea allergy dermatitis manifested by itching and scratching. They commonly transmit tapeworms in dogs and cats. Recently hatched fleas live on residues and dirt such as in grass while adult flea’s diet consists solely of fresh blood. Fleas have no wings but have legs that are long and strong make them Olympic jumpers to leap onto passing dogs and cats and transfer between animals.
Ticks are blood feeding parasites. They are often found in tall grass waiting for a dog to lay down to attack. They are also found in wooded areas (shrubs and bushes) near hiking trails and especially near water. Ticks can transmit a number of diseases such as Lyme disease which causes severe joint pain in dog, limping, fever and possible kidney damage.
Adult female mosquitos lay their eggs in standing water which can be a lake or a puddle and the eggs hatch and reach their adult stages on water. Mosquitos can transmit heartworms from infected to healthy dogs and cats while feeding on their blood. Heartworms live inside the heart chambers and can cause heart failure.
Intestinal and stomach roundworms are additional examples that require humidity in the environment for them to survive. Eggs of the worms are shed in poops of infected pets. The eggs remain viable in dirt and grass until they are ingested by another pet. The eggs then hatch in the stomach of newly infected pet and grow to an adult worm in their digestive system. These worms cause diarrhea, un-thriftiness, anemia and can infect children as well.
Puddles and shallow ponds are the natural habitat for some bacteria such as Leptospira in the environment. These bacteria cause damage to liver and kidneys and are secreted in the urine of infected dogs. Healthy dogs become infected following eating grass or drinking water contaminated with these germs. Parvovirus causes a deadly infection especially among puppies. It causes damage to the lining of the stomach and bowels resulting in vomiting and diarrhea with blood. Parvovirus is shed in vomits and poops of infected dogs and can remain alive for years in soil and grass. Dogs become infected with Parvovirus following licking and eating contaminated grass with virus.
Giardia inhabits shallow stagnant water and puddles. This parasite causes diarrhea in dogs and cats and are transmissible to people. These germs are shed in poops of infected dogs and cats. Infection occurs following eating of grass or drinking water contaminated with these germs.
These are only few examples of germs, insects and diseases that have been recognized in our area and are expected to be seen more abundantly this season because of the rainy season.It is hard to prevent a dog from sniffing, licking, or even eating grass while taking them for a walk perhaps if a muzzle is placed on them. In spite of this, ticks, fleas, and mosquitos will jump on them while walking on grass or hiking trails.
This leads us to think about preventing these diseases. Make sure your family pet is up to date on vaccines. Parvovirus is included in the routine core vaccines of dogs but Leptospira may or may not be included. Check with your veterinarian. Lyme disease vaccine is not routinely given. It is recommended for dogs taken for hiking and camping in wooded areas. Similarly Giardia vaccine is not routinely administered and is given to pets at high risk. Various products are available on market to control intestinal worms, stomach worms, heartworms, mosquitos, ticks, and fleas. Both of these groups the worms and the insects can be controlled with a single application of an insecticide such as Advantage Multi or Revolution on monthly basis.
At Townsgate Pet Hospital we recommend these vaccines and the application of Advantage Multi, Revolution, or Frontline regularly on monthly basis. We have lowered prices of these products to encourage our community using these preventive measures. We have vaccine clinic every day with no appoint required. We also offer low cost spay and neuter every day.
Townsgate Pet Hospital
2806 Townsgate Road, Suite C,
Westlake Village. CA
Phone: (805) 230-1999.