Keeping Our Pets Safe in the Summer
Gayln Snair, DVM
Most of us look forward to summer in Central Oregon when we can be outside hiking, swimming, biking, running, and camping with our dogs. At the same time, summer’s heat can also bring unique risks to your dog’s well-being, and here are a few simple precautions for keeping your pets healthy, happy and safe.
I have seen a dog that was in a motorhome with the door open. The owners were sitting outside under the awning enjoying the summer and the breeze while the little dog was behind the screen door overheating. By the time they realized what was happening, the dog could not walk, was no longer panting and the body temperature soared to 105.4°F. The patient was hospitalized for three days on intravenous fluids and treated for heat stroke. He recovered fully, but the outcome could have been very different.
Summer heat that many people enjoy can be problematic for our pets. Aside from heat stroke and dehydration from overheating in vehicles, hot pavement can burn foot pads. If it is too hot for you to walk on, it is probably also too hot for your pets. And it is really hard to keep a pet off its feet while pads are trying to heal. Direct sun on pets with short hair coats, or that really thick-coated dog that just got its “summer hair cut,” can cause sunburns that are painful, and can cause scarring when the burn is severe.
Fun summer activities bring more barbecues and outdoor parties that can be harmful to some of our pets. Things like dropped food and grease under the bbq, if ingested, can cause pancreatitis or vomiting and diarrhea. Simple things like corn cobs can quickly become a foreign body causing a blockage in the intestines, which could require surgery to remove (we see at least one case every year). Swimming can cause exhaustion and swimmers tail in some pets. Small dogs can get hypothermic in cold water. We need to remember that not all of our pets are natural swimmers. Don’t forget that dogs can wear a special life vest too. We have seen fish hooks caught in mouths, legs and sides of the body. Some of those hooks were acquired in the garage before the owners actually made it to the lake or river!
Camping, hiking and exploring can leave our pets vulnerable to stinging, biting and sucking bugs. Check your pets for ticks after being in the underbrush. Deer are common in Central Oregon and they are a big source of tick exposure. Stings from wasps and bees can cause swelling, hives, vomiting and diarrhea. Bites from Black Widow and Brown Recluse spiders, and from rattlesnakes, can cause severe reactions with swelling and necrosis of tissue. I saw two dogs one day that were “playing” with the fun toy that moves and makes noise. Each dog had been bitten multiple times by the rattlesnake. Dogs are sometimes actually drawn to the rattle of the snake and the buzzing of bees.
Watching a beautiful storm come over the mountains can be breathtaking, but for our pets that are afraid of the loud noise from thunder and the popping of fireworks, it can be extremely stressful. If you have a pet that has noise anxiety, make sure your pet is safe. You can try crating or putting him in a central room in the house (away from outer walls), turning a radio up loud so that it is not easy to distinguish between the good noise and the bad noise. A Thundershirt is a compression-type wrap that is sometimes helpful. We have treated dogs that have been so terrified by loud noise that they have tried to escape by running through screens, windows and digging at doors until their paws were raw. When the anxiety is severe, there are medications that can be prescribed to help.
Summer is a wonderful time in Central Oregon and with awareness and a little preparedness, it can be for your pets too!
Welcome to our New Doctor – Introducing Dr. Jessica Puccetti
We are pleased to announce the addition of Dr. Jessica Puccetti to our veterinary staff in May 2018. Dr Jessica grew up on a small farm right here in Redmond, OR. She graduated from Redmond High School in 2005 and graduated from Oregon State University with her Bachelor of Science degree in 2009. Prior to starting vet school, she was a veterinary assistant in Bend. She graduated from Colorado State University with her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 2014. After graduation, Dr. Jessica had two requirements when thinking about her first job: somewhere warm and a big city! For the last four years, Dr. Jessica had been practicing as an associate small animal veterinarian in Phoenix, Arizona at Blue Cross Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Jessica is also a certified Veterinary Medical Acupuncturist (cVMA) and graduated from the CuraCore Integrative Medicine & Education program while in her last year of vet school. Dr. Jessica currently lives with her boyfriend Beau and their two dogs: Kai, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and Beira, a Golden Retriever. They also share their home with two cats: Bebe, a tortoiseshell cat, and Pai Mei aka Little Kitty, their Phoenix tuxedo cat. Dr. Jessica and Beau are so excited to be back in Central Oregon and to be closer to friends and family!
- Sonny’s Sunshine Fund news: Cinder Rock will be holding a raffle for a chance to win a custom hand-painted portrait of your pet. All proceeds from the sale of raffle tickets will benefit Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch. The drawing for the winner will take place the end of July and tickets are on sale now in our office. Ticket prices are $5.00 per ticket or $20.00 for five tickets. The portrait, which will be done on canvas, will be painted by our own resident artist, Chelsea, and you can see more of her work by going to: https://www.facebook.com/inspyrite/
- Dr. Gayln and her husband Gary are excited to announce that their daughter Halee graduated from Ridgeview High School in June. Halee is dual enrolling in OSU Cascades and COCC for next year.
- And more news from Dr. Gayln: her Ridgeview High School Equestrian Team had 10 students qualify for the OHSET state meet and 6 students qualified for the regional competition in mid-June.
- Dr. Holly, who has been teaching kettlebell classes at Breakthrough Strength and Performance Gym in Redmond, went to Chicago recently for an intensive and advanced instructor certification in Strongfirst Hard Style Kettlebell Training. For more information about this strength training program, go to: https://www.strongfirst.com
- Dr. Keith and Dr. Holly are grandparents! Kelli and her husband Trevor welcomed the birth of their healthy baby boy on June 22, 2018. His name is Oliver James Tusow and he was 7 pounds 12 ounces. Congratulations to the whole family!