Spring Time Health Hazards to Avoid as You Get Outside:
After our longer-than-usual winter and snowy start to spring, I am sure you are eager to get outside with your pets. With the warmer days, bright sunlight, and heavy spring rains, we will have an emergence of some spring-time health hazards that you will want to keep your pet away from.
Antifreeze – antifreeze is extremely sweet, and unfortunately extremely toxic. As little as one teaspoon of antifreeze can be deadly to a cat, and less than 4 teaspoons can be deadly to a 10 lb dog. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills and store it in a tightly closed container and secure in a cabinet. Signs of exposure to antifreeze include the classic ‘drunken sailor’ behavior- stumbling and falling over 1-2 hours after exposure.
Lilies- Lilies are often found in Easter and Mother’s Day flower arrangements. Many types of lily, such as Tiger, Asian, Japanese Show, Easter, Stargazer, and the Casa Blanca, can cause kidney failure in cats. As cats are drawn to plants in the home, they will often nibble on the leaves and petals. Signs of exposure to lilies include drooling, vomiting, anorexia, and lethargy.
Mushrooms- mushrooms flourish in the spring rains and wet damp earth. There are a wide variety of mushrooms that cause various toxicities in pets depending on the variety. Some mushrooms can cause mild vomiting and diarrhea, while others can cause stumbling, disorientation, vocalization, severe vomiting and diarrhea, and progress to causing liver failure, kidney failure, internal bleeding, and cardiac arrest.
If you think your pet has been exposed to a toxic substance, contact a veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (1-888-4-ANI-HELP) right away!
Bee stings– a dog’s natural curiosity can lead it to go explore a hive or even ingest a bee. Just like people, some dogs can have a severe allergic reaction to bee stings with hives, welts, facial swelling, vomiting, and difficulty breathing. If you see any signs of an allergic reaction, take your pet to a veterinarian right away!
Snake bites– Virginia is home to 3 poisonous snakes- the Timber Rattler, the Copperhead, and the Cottonmouth. The Cottonmouths’ and the Timber Rattlers’ venom are the most potent, but they are the least likely to strike. Copperheads are more aggressive, but luckily have less toxic venom and often bite without releasing venom. Be careful hiking off leash with your dog as snakes can hide out in heavy brush. Signs of a bite wound included severe pain at the bite site, bruising, swelling, pinpoint hemorrhage. Fang punctures may not be visible. Due to the risk for swelling of the throat, please have your pet examined and treated by a veterinarian immediately.
Skunk Spray Toxicosis – The musky odor of a skunk is extremely potent and can be very hard to get out of a pet’s fur. The musk can be sprayed up to 15 feet and contains volatile compounds that can irritate the eyes and throat. The musk can cause temporary blindness, drooling, vomiting, and difficulty breathing. In rare cases, the chemicals in the musk can cause severe damage to the red blood cells.
Spring is the perfect time to be outside with your pet- not too hot and not too cold. Please be mindful as you go outside so you can help keep your pet healthy!