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Barb Kerbox

Pet Tales

Barb Kerbox of Eureka Springs is a longtime pet-lover, pet owner and animal caretaker, as well as a contributing writer and photographer.

A vet's advice for the dog days of summer

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The following is advice gleaned from our own local veterinarian, Dr. Anthony Pike, Highway 23 South, Eureka Springs, 479-253-8923.

The summer months bring on the worst due to the shear number of things that can trouble your pet.

Warmer months bring out the most activity in our animals, as well as the pests in swarms, namely fleas and ticks, and diseases that ticks can give your dog or cat.

HEAT STROKE is obviously a big problem, in older and over weight dogs. DO NOT LEAVE PETS IN CARS.

Keep fresh water available to pets at all times. If they get overheated, get proactive, and cool them down hose or sink, while calling vet.

If they get cuts some deep lacerations may need stitches, call if you are not sure.

There are four tickborne diseases that vets see in dogs in this region. The most prevalent tick disease is Ehrlichia. Lyme disease is of concern as well Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Anaplasmosis.

There is a blood test that vets have that checks for all four. So if your dog is acting dramatically different and seems sick you may want to call them and see if you should have them examined.

In cats, the big bad deadly disease is clinically known as Cytauxzoonosis (Bobcat disease) in which the survival rate was only 10 percent when treated with Psytoxizone.

More recently a newer drug has been known to have a 60 percent survival rate for cats with bobcat disease, called Atovaquone.

One of the biggest problems is getting the animal treated sooner than later, as early treatment gives the best chance of survival. So if your animal is sick, you can call your vet first and ask-then see if the symptoms you describe warrant immediate further action.

Don't try to diagnose the symptoms yourself; just be observant, and call if you aren't sure. Get help if it seems serious -- get in ASAP.

When your pets do have problems, provide a safe solution, a safe environment for them.

For fleas and ticks, use animal-specific products, for example: Never use poisons on your pet -- not designed for use on animals!!!

Cats get cat flea powder and cat food. Dogs get dog products, dog flea powder, dog Frontline, and dog food, and this is because dog flea and tick products are usually stronger and too harmful to use on cats.

Think hard and long about breeding them; have a purpose for the offspring.

Curb your animal's freedom; keeping them safe is your responsibility, not letting them roam free. More problems happen when animals are not supervised or kept in a safe place. And besides you can enjoy your pets more when they are with you.