Summertime is here and we are seeing an increase in pet injuries caused by outdoor activities. There are some avoidable summer hazards that end up causing pet visits for medical care. The following are the top five pet summer emergencies seen at our practice:
1. Golf cart accidents
This past week we provided emergency care for 3 different dogs that were riding in a golf cart and somehow jumped off and were injured. One patient had a large bruise and sore muscles, the second one ruptured a cruciate ligament and was very lame and painful and the third one had a severe degloving injury of her paw and some fractured bones. Could these be avoided? Absolutely!
Sadly, golf carts usually do not come with seat belts rendering the rides a lot riskier for pets that are left to ride beside the drivers as opposed to riding in the laps of the passenger. I think that riding on the floor of the cart is better than riding on the seat, better yet, have a second person holding the leash and supervising the ride.
2. Pool near-drowning events
It is very important to have pets or kid fences around pools, especially if you have geriatric pets or puppies. The senior pets might be visually impaired and weaker and oftentimes die when they fall in the pools. Many instances of near drownings result in pneumonia or injured paws from clawing their way out of the pool. I taught my dogs and ferret to swim and get out through the pool stairs and this is something I advise pet owners to do.
3. Insect stings
It is inevitable to see multiple cases of bee stings each summer because dogs seem to be drawn to catch the bees. Even yellow flies and wasps are fairly common in the landscapes causing dogs that encounter them to end up with an urticaria reaction. The pet's head swells pretty quickly or their bodies are covered in hives. This situation requires Benadryl orally and for the owner to seek veterinary attention quickly or there is a risk of suffocation if the airways are too swollen to breathe properly. Supervision while your pet is playing outdoors and prompt removal of wasps, red ants and other insect nests can avoid an unpleasant experience for your pet.
4. Blue-green algae poisonings
When the day temperatures are close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the algae blooms in lakes, ponds, and rivers. The dogs that ingest the algae can experience a fatal liver failure in as quickly as hours. If you decide to let your dogs swim in the lakes, please scan the surface and lookout to make sure there are no algae blooms, it could save your pet's life! If you think that there has been exposure, detour to the closest veterinary hospital for immediate care.
5. Heat strokes
The temperatures do not have to pass 90 degrees and yet your pets can easily succumb to heatstroke. The reason is that the pet cannot sweat and if they are exercising vigorously or spending longer times outside without access to shade and water they can overheat. There are many possible lingering health issues even after the overheated pet is saved. It is best to avoid putting the pets at risk by limiting the exposure to the hot outdoors.