Spring into action
By: Megan Elias
Spring is one of my favorite seasons. We’ve all heard that proverbial phrase April showers bring May flowers but something we may forget is spring can bring some potential hazards for our furry friends. It is important as pet O’s to know what those hazards are and how to prevent them. Some of those hazards include leptospirosis, plant toxicity and slug/snail bait.
Leptospirosis sounds pretty scary and it can affect people as well as dogs. It is an organism that can be picked up by the ingestion of stagnate water that an infected animal has urinated in. Life stock and wild life are the most common carriers of the bacteria. In an article Written by Wendy Brooks DVM she states “Leptospira interrogates sensu lato [leptospirosis] has been sub-classified into smaller related groups called serovars. Over 250 serovars have been named and at least 10 are important for pets.” (https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/). Despite the number of serovars, there are things you can do to prevent infection.
Those April showers bring stagnate water so one of the easiest ways to thwart the contagion is to steer clear of puddles and be cautious about what you let your dog drink out of. If possible remove any standing water from your yard and try to minimize your pet’s exposure to animals that you are not familiar with. Another easy way to prevent some of the most common strands of leptospirosis is to vaccinate. Although vaccinating may not prevent all strands it can reduce the austerity of the disease.
Spring is most known for its new growth. After our cold Oregon winters the site of blooming flowers is typically a signal of hope for slightly warmer weather. However some of the new growth presents hazardous to our animals. Upon ingestion animals can develop diarrhea, vomiting and hyper salivation. Certain plants can even cause kidney/liver failure, respiratory distress and death. The severity of the reaction varies significantly depending on what is ingested. Some of the most common toxic plants include lilies, azalea/rhododendrons, foxglove, tulips, daffodils and crocus. Visit The Pet Poison Helpline for a more detailed list of plants to be weary of and if you feel your animal has ingested a toxic plant call your veterinarian right away (https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/).
It is frightening to think that something so beautiful could be the source of such harm but that is why it is vital to know which plants cause problems. Avoiding pernicious plants is the most effortless way to reduce consumption but we realize that is not always practical. Our recommendation is to keep your pet on a leash when you are in an unfamiliar area. If you have plants in your home try finding a high place or a hanging basket that your pet can not access.
Those beautiful flowers can bring unwanted slimy pests and no one wants hole in their plants. The pests are usually repelled with your garden variety bait which presents as yet another threat to our companion animals. Toxicities in dogs seem to be more common than in cats and is provoked when the dog licks or eats the deterrent. The most routinely used ingredient in baits is called metaldehyde and consumption can cause a plethora of problems. Any dose of metaldehyde 2 mg/kg or greater in dogs warrants decontamination (ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center [APCC]. An animal can experience rapid breathing, seizures, hyper sensitivity and fever. All these symptoms would require the attention of a veterinarian.
Similar to reducing the consumption of plants one of the simplest ways to avoid slug and snail bait is to keep your pet on a leash and be aware of your surroundings. Additionally a safer alternative to metaldehyde is iron phosphate. Unfortunately Iron phosphate is not as effective as the former. Keeping your animal busy with a toy can distract them enough to prevent them from ingesting things they are not supposed to.
In conclusion keeping your animals happy and healthy is one of our top priorities. By springing in to action and taking preventative measures you can have an enjoyable season without urgent trips to your veterinarian.