Springtime Pet Care

by Meghan Vos

Spring is finally here! The warmer temps are welcomed, but they can come with some potential hazards for our pets. Read on to find out how you can prep your pet for a healthy spring and summer.

With warmer temperatures comes the perfect environment for various parasites to surface. Mosquitoes will be out in force which carry a risk of transmitting heartworm disease to dogs and cats. While heartworm disease has previously been thought of as a strictly Southern disease, it has unfortunately become very common in the colder climate of the Midwest, as well. The life cycle of the heartworm makes it easily transmissible to our pets. If a mosquito bites an infected dog, they ingest the larva called microfilaria. The mosquito is then able to transmit infective larva to other animals through a simple bite, injecting it into the animal’s bloodstream. It will take about six months for the larva to mature into adult heartworms, which reside in the heart and lungs. Animals with heartworm disease will suffer with respiratory problems, fatigue, heart failure, and eventually death. Treatment is available, but it is costly and difficult, with some animals not tolerating it. Luckily for our pets, there are a myriad of available preventatives ranging from monthly chewables to injectables that last for an entire year. Many of these products offer the bonus of covering intestinal parasites, as well.  

As the weather improves, so does our desire to be outside exercising with our pets. It is important to ease into increased activity to avoid injury. It is known throughout veterinary circles that springtime brings increased cases of soft-tissue injury and even torn cruciate ligaments, which require surgery to repair. Start with walks on even terrain and pay attention to your pet’s weight. Overweight or obese animals are more prone to injury and will take longer to get in shape for rigorous hiking or running. Check your dog’s toenails before walks to be sure they are not overly long, which can cause abnormal gait and pain. 

Follow these tips and have an enjoyable springtime with your pet!