5 Common Winter Illnesses in Pets
Winter brings a lot of delightful things with it. Sipping a hot mug of coffee in your lawn under the sun seems a heavenly feeling. As the winter marches towards Christmas, the white blanket of snow outside, in places that experience freezing temperatures, paints a picturesque canvas. Everything looks so surreal in beauty and marvel. While for many winter brings all fun and excitement, there are also a few who worry about their health and about their strength to withstand the low temperature during these cold months. In this category fall most pet parents who worry about the health and well being of their four legged baby. Pets are more susceptible to fall ill during winter if not taken care of properly. Here we will talk about 5 common illnesses during winter and how to protect your fur baby from them.
Hypothermia- Hypothermia is low body temperature caused by exposure to cold. It is important to limit outdoor activity of the pets to a minimum so as to prevent exposure to the chill and cold wave outside. Pets, especially those with long furs may have wet fur due to mist and fog in the air which freezes and may cause Hypothermia. Also when not dried properly after giving them a bath, the furs may remain wet for a long time causing cold. To avoid this condition, take maximum precaution while taking your pets out. Consider a sweater or jacket to keep them warm and booties for their paws to avoid direct contact with the icy surfaces. The symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, lethargy, and listlessness among others. If you happen to observe any of these symptoms, swaddle them in warm blankets with a hot water bottle and visit the vet as soon as possible.
Frostbite- Frostbite is tissue damage, usually to the extremities. Extended exposure to cold temperatures, snow and ice may cause frostbite. When and if your pet suffers from it, they might have pale, hard skin on their fingers, toes, and nose that becomes red and swollen when warm. This is the symptom of first degree frostbite which graduates to scarier symptoms when the disease progresses. Second degree leads to blisters on their skin and third degree is a darkening of the skin over time, making gangrene a risk. To avoid this, again it is advisable to limit the outdoor hours as much as possible. Protecting your animal’s paws with booties is a must when taking them out and also at home. Warm jackets and sweaters help ward off cold symptoms to a great degree. Ensure that they never lie directly on the floor and invest in some warm mats and blankets for them. Even after taking precautions if your pet shows symptoms of frostbite, then apply warm water to the affected areas and do not massage it. Contact your vet immediately and they may recommend painkillers and antibiotics to treat effectively.
Antifreeze poisoning- You might be using antifreeze if the temperature of your place drops down to freezing point or below in winters. When animals accidentally lick or drink antifreeze, it causes poisoning in them because of its ingredients. It is one of the most common forms of poisoning in household pets. The symptoms include unsteady gait, nausea, vomiting, delirium, euphoria, excessive urination, diarrhoea, rapid heartbeat, depression, weakness and seizures. If you suspect that your pet has consumed the antifreeze, call your vet immediately for medical assistance. But as they say prevention is better than cure, so take appropriate vigilance to keep antifreeze in a locked cabinet away from curious animals.Clean up spills if any. Consider alternate solutions to winterising pipes, and protect animals’ paws when walking outside.
Arthritis- Arthritis is very common in dogs, especially aging ones and those that are overweight and have not had their required share of physical exercise to keep their bones and muscles toned and strong. Over the period of time, it causes unstable joints which results in the surrounding bones to move abnormally. It leads to erosion of cartilage which causes bones rub against bones, leading to inflammation and pain. This pain worsens during winter months as the stiffness of bones increase during colder days. The symptoms include limping and not eager to play or move around. They show excessive grooming and licking their affected joints. Make sure your pet maintains a healthy weight. Take a lot of care during winter months by using warm jackets and good quality kennel mats. Your vet may prescribe steroids, NSAID’s and other painkillers.
Kennel cough- Kennel cough is a very common and highly contagious respiratory infection in dogs which increases manifold times during winters. The symptoms are a honking like cough, sneezing, runny nose, and eye discharge. It is a bacterial and/ or viral infection. To ensure that they do not spread it around, you should quarantine pets when they exhibit such symptoms. Sometimes a humidifier or steam treatment works and if the condition persists your vet could prescribe some antibiotics too for relief.
Some careful measures when adopted during winters, your pet is going to be safe and healthy. Forewarned is forearmed! So undertake these precautionary measures with your beloved pets and enjoy the bliss of these months. Waggfluence wishes all your pets a happy winter season!