Vail Pet Talk column: Be aware of common summer injuries for pets
Summer is here, and my family and I are enjoying the longer days and sunny weather. Warm weather means that we’re spending more time outside — and so are our pets. As veterinarians, we see many common injuries this time of year, and it’s important that you, as the owner, know what to do when these things come up.
Lacerations are very common all year round, but we tend to see more of them in the summer. They can happen in so many ways — anywhere from your pooch running through the woods and getting caught on a stick to running into lawn edging in your backyard.
If your pet obtains a laceration, calmly assess the injury and keep the animal quiet. If it is bleeding, apply pressure with a clean cloth. Seek veterinary care immediately, as lacerations often need to be cleaned and sutured, and antibiotics are often warranted in order to prevent infection. If you see a tendon or muscle exposed, remember that time is of the essence. Get to the vet as soon as you can. The longer you wait, the less the chance can be for effective healing.
Another common emergency that can happen as we are off traveling with our pets is snake bites. We are fortunate that they are not very common in our area but they can be around the state. If your animal obtains a snake bite, then call your veterinarian immediately. These can be very painful and life-threatening, no matter the size of the snake.
Ear infections and ear injuries need to be addressed as soon as possible. Signs of an ear problem include shaking of the head, scratching the ears, head tilting, a swollen earflap and a bad odor or discharge coming from the ear. Common ear problems that we see in the summer are ear infections, foreign bodies in the ears and hematomas.
Ear infections and allergies
It is common that after a dog swims, he or she can develop an ear infection due to water sitting in the ear canal. Foreign bodies such as grass seeds, ticks and debris can get stuck deep in a dog or cat’s ear, causing an infection and pain. An aural hematoma is when the earflap swells up like a pierogi and fills with blood. This is usually due to a dog or cat shaking it’s head too much, which happens when they have an ear problem.
Animals can get allergic reactions just like people can. Signs of an allergic reaction in a pet include a swollen face, vomiting, diarrhea, hives, difficulty breathing, redness and lethargy. An allergic reaction is cause for an immediate call to your veterinarian in order to prevent possible shock.
Have you ever seen a dog after getting into a spat with a porcupine? It’s not a pretty sight, and it’s very painful for the dog. If this ever happens to your pet, then call your veterinarian immediately. We like to thoroughly examine your dog for quills and remove them as best we can. Not only do they get quills caught on the outside of their body, but they can also get quills caught in their mouth and throat. Getting into a fight with another animal can also predispose your dog to infection, so it is important to contact your veterinarian if this happens.
Be vigilant when you feel your pet is not acting normal, and do not ever hesitate to contact your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns. We want both you and your pets to have the best summer possible and are honored that you choose us as veterinarians to be a part of your lives.
Liz Foster, DVM, is an associate veterinarian at Mountain Mobile Vet and The Animal Hospital Center. She can be reached at 970-328-7085.
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