If your pet spends time in the great outdoors, you may not give much thought to who shares that space with them but you should. Wild animals; such as deer, coyotes, skunks, bats, squirrels, and raccoons, can pose a serious threat as they can carry a variety of diseases that can be transmitted to pets and people. Listed below are a few of the risks that we can help address to keep your pet protected.
Rabies is a disease caused by a virus that attacks the brain. It can affect any warm-blooded animal, including dogs, cats, and humans. It is very nearly 100% fatal.
All mammals can contract rabies, but some are more susceptible than others. Foxes, skunks, raccoons and bats are particularly prone to rabies and can be carriers. The disease is transmitted by the bite of a rabid animal.
The best way to prevent rabies is to have your pet vaccinated. In Georgia, dogs and cats are required by law to be vaccinated.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects wildlife, companion animals, and humans. Symptoms of the disease can vary, but common signs include fever, lethargy, and vomiting. The disease can be fatal if left untreated or even if treatment is delayed.
Leptospirosis is most commonly transmitted through standing water or soil contaminated with the urine of infected animals (most commonly wildlife such as deer or rodents). Pets at particularly high risk include those who frequent dog parks, visit hiking trails or other nature areas that have an increase in wildlife traffic or standing water, spend any time outdoors, even if only in the yard.
An annual vaccine is the best way to protect your pet against leptospirosis infection. In addition, be sure not to let your pet drink from standing water and avoid any areas that may be contaminated.
Tapeworms are long, flat worms that attach themselves to your pet’s intestines.
In order to become infected with tapeworms, your pet must ingest a flea that contains tapeworm eggs. This process begins when fleas are accidentally ingested upon licking or chewing the skin. You may note rice like granules located around the base of your pet’s tail.
Tapeworm infections are treated with a deworming medication that kills the worms within the intestines. It is important to note, however, that any exposure to fleas after treatment may result in a new infection that can occur in as little as two weeks.
The most effective way to prevent infections in pets is with aggressive and thorough flea control.
Ticks are blood-feeding external parasites that can attach to both animals and humans and transmit numerous bacterial diseases, including Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
When it comes to preventing ticks and the diseases they spread, consistent parasite control is key. In addition, you should always examine your pet thoroughly after hikes or other outdoor activities. If you find a tick on your pet, it is important to remove it as soon as possible, if you are unsure or unable to remove it yourself please see your veterinarian for assistance.
A Lyme disease vaccine may be also be recommended for pets who are highly exposed to ticks.
Giardia is a parasite that lives in the intestines and is passed in the feces. In some humans and animals, it can cause diarrhea and cramping. Anything that comes in contact with feces from infected humans or animals can be contaminated with the Giardia parasite.
Wildlife including beavers, muskrats, deer, coyotes, and rodents are frequent carriers of Giardia. Pets may become infected after drinking from puddles or ponds or swallowing infected stool from other animals. Signs of Giardia infection include diarrhea, greasy stools, and dehydration.
Heading outdoors with your pet this summer? Make sure they’re protected. Contact us with any questions or to schedule an appointment today.