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Seasonal Information

Seasonal health care focus (‘specials’) at Riverview Animal Clinic

We often have periods of specific health care focus like Dental Awareness Month, Spay/Neuter Month, and many others. Because we can concentrate many of the focused procedures within a short time period, we can often provide a discount for those procedures. Give us a call and see what health focus periods are coming up!

Seasonal Health Concerns

Hot Seasons

Heat Stroke:

Don’t leave your pet in the car – even on a day when the outside temperature feels cool. As you can see from the chart below (from https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/pets-in-vehicles.aspx) when the outside temperature is a very comfortable 70 degrees, after 10 minutes, the inside of the car is 89 degrees! And within 30 minutes, the inside of the car is over 100 degrees. So if you are running errands and leave your pet in the car, there is a strong chance that the pet could suffer severe damage – or even death – from heat.

Estimated Vehicle Interior Air Temperature v. Elapsed Time
Elapsed time Outside Air Temperature (F)
70 75 80 85 90 95
0 minutes 70 75 80 85 90 95
10 minutes 89 94 99 104 109 114
20 minutes 99 104 109 114 119 124
30 minutes 104 109 114 119 124 129
40 minutes 108 113 118 123 128 133
50 minutes 111 116 121 126 131 136
60 minutes 113 118 123 128 133 138
> 1 hour 115 120 125 130 135 140

Courtesy Jan Null, CCM; Department of Geosciences, San Francisco State University

Of course, overheating or heat stroke can also occur outside the car. On hot days, be sure that your pet has shade and plenty of water. Also be sure to limit activity on hot days – activity can rapidly cause overheating. This is especially true for geriatric and overweight pets and pets that have abnormal breathing, like many brachycephalic animals (eg, Bulldogs, pugs, etc…) or animals with respiratory or heart disease.

Signs of overheating include, excessive panting, bright red mucous membranes (‘gums’), agitation, inability to move, and collapse. If your pet shows any of these signs, call Riverview Animal Clinic (509-758-5022) immediately. While the phone call is being made, emergency cooling can be started by bathing the pet with cold water and placing fans to blow cool air on the pet.

Rattlesnakes:

Rattlesnakes are more active in warm weather so your pet is more likely to get bitten by a snake in the warm months. If you live in an area with rattlesnakes, or if you take your dog into rattlesnake areas, consider the rattlesnake vaccine. More information on the vaccine can be found by clicking here. If your pet has been bitten by a snake, please keep your pet calm and quiet – and call us immediately at Riverview Animal Clinic (509-758-5022).

Thunderstorms:

Many pets, especially dogs, are afraid of loud noises like thunder. During thunderstorms it is important to keep your pet inside, in a place where the pet can’t get hurt or damage property if it gets frantic. A crate or small room with a place where the pet can hide is a good choice. PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PET OUTSIDE. Many pets with thunderstorm fear will run away during the storm, and these pets may be difficult to find since they are scared and hiding. Or they may not be aware of their surroundings and are likely to be injured by cars or other dangers. Having a microchip placed in your pet will help it to be found in case it does escape from your home during a thunderstorm, but it is still necessary to try to keep it from escaping.

If thunderstorms cause your pet to show signs of fear like hiding, shaking, not eating, etc… please contact us at Riverview Animal Clinic (509-758-5022) to discuss training and medication options to help your pet stay calm during the storm.

Cheat grass, fox tails, grass awns:

We live in an area where problems from cheat grass awns (also called fox tails and grass awns) are a common problem once the weather warms and grasses are drying out. The cheat grass seed head (‘awn’) can imbed itself in your pet’s skin in almost any location and cause pain, irritation, infection, abscesses — and even more serious problems depending on the location of the imbedded awn. If your pet has any unusual signs of discomfort and has been outside, the signs could be caused by a grass awn.

Any of the symptoms below could indicate an emergency or pending emergency. Please call immediately (Riverview Animal Clinic 509-758-5022) if your pet has any of these symptoms. If the symptoms are indeed due to a grass awn, the condition can get rapidly worse. Also, the grass awn can migrate to deeper tissues – which can cause more damage and can make the awn very difficult to find.

Call us if your pet:

  • Is shaking or tilting its head, rubbing its ear, or is tender around the ear. This could indicate an awn in the ear causing ear infection or something more serious like a ruptured ear drum
  • Has a sudden onset of violent sneezing, curling its lip, or rubbing its face. This could indicate that the pet has inhaled a grass awn into its nostril. These can be very difficult to find if they are not removed immediately.
  • Has a sudden onset of coughing. This could indicate that the awn is in the airway or lung.
  • Is suddenly squinting or rubbing its eye or is unable to open the eye. A grass awn in the eye can cause serious damage!

To help prevent grass awns from imbedding into the skin of your pet, keep them away from dried grasses and shave hair (especially in long haired dogs) from commonly exposed areas like feet, vulva, and penis.

Fleas/Ticks:

Fleas and ticks are not only annoying to your pet, they can also carry diseases and can cause irritating skin conditions. Not all flea and tick preventative products are medically proven to be efficacious – and some are not even safe. It is important to use veterinarian-approved products to prevent fleas and ticks. Please call us Riverview Animal Clinic (509-758-5022) for information on safe and efficacious products for your pets and see the flea and tick page on our website for more information.

Cold Seasons

Hypothermia (excessive cold), frostbite:

In the cold winter months, be sure that your pets are indoors (house, shed, barn, etc…) where they can keep warm. If they must be outdoors, be sure that they have a dry place out of the wind with a heat source so that they don’t get hypothermia and/or frost bite. Small pets like cats and small dogs, especially those with short hair, are most likely to suffer hypothermia so be sure to provide them a warm place if the weather is even moderately cold. Also be sure to increase the amount of food that outdoor pets are fed if the weather is really cold. Trying to keep warm increases the calories that your pet needs. And shivering GREATLY increases the need for more calories! So if your pet is shivering, get it somewhere warm and give it a good meal after it warms up. If your pet is shivering severely, can’t move, is nonresponsive, appears dazed, or has discolored (blue or black) extremities, your pet could have severe hypothermia and/or frostbite. Get the pet somewhere warm and call us immediately (Riverview Animal Clinic 509-758-5022).

 Antifreeze:

Antifreeze is extremely dangerous to pets and ingestion of antifreeze commonly leads to death. During the time that people are changing antifreeze, pets may have ready access to antifreeze drained from, or leaking from, cars. PLEASE DISPOSE OF ANTIFREEZE IN AN AREA INACCESSIBLE TO PETS. And please fix any leaking cars immediately. Antifreeze is slightly sweet and pets like to drink it so please be responsible and make sure that animals do not have access to antifreeze. If your pet has ingested antifreeze, callus IMMEDIATELY (Riverview Animal Clinic 509-758-5022). You can read more about antifreeze poisoning on our poison and toxin exposure page.

Holiday Seasons

Chocolate Toxicity:

Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can be toxic to dogs and cats. Exposure to chocolate commonly occurs during the Holidays like Christmas and Easter. Chocolate causes excitement, fast heart rate, vomiting, diarrhea and other signs. If your pet has consumed chocolate, please call us at Riverview Animal Clinic (509-758-5022) and see more information on our website under poison and toxin exposure and treatment.

Fireworks:

Many pets, especially dogs, are afraid of loud noises like fireworks. During fireworks displays it is important to keep your pet inside, in a place where the pet can’t get hurt or damage property if it gets frantic. A crate or small room with a place where the pet can hide is a good choice. PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PET OUTSIDE. Many pets with fireworks fear will run away during the fireworks show, and these pets may be difficult to find since they are scared and hiding. Or they may not be aware of their surroundings and are likely to be injured by cars or other dangers. Having a microchip placed in your pet will help it to be found in case it does escape from your home during a fireworks display, but it is best to insure that pet doesn’t escape in the first place!

If fireworks cause your pet to show signs of fear like hiding, shaking, not eating, etc… please contact us at Riverview Animal Clinic (509-758-5022) to discuss training and medication options to help your pet stay calm during the fireworks display.