Pet parents have started bringing pets with tick infection, vomiting and diarrhoea. For a veterinarian, this signals the start of the monsoon season, with fungal and bacterial diseases becoming common as moisture creates a perfect environment for microbes. Follow these steps to keep pets safe.
Invest in tick prophylaxis
As the weather becomes more humid, we expect more cases of tick fever, a tick-borne sickness that causes loss of appetite, low blood platelet count, and fluctuating fever. Tick populations increase in this weather. There are a variety of products that can be used for prophylaxis. Tick collars and spot-ons are an excellent method to keep your pet safe. Be cautious about where you take your pet for a walk. It’s a good idea to stay away from densely forested places and dog parks.
Vaccinate on time
Vaccination can reduce illness severity. A vaccination for leptospirosis, a deadly infection often seen during the monsoon, is included in annual immunisations for companion dogs. For, leptospirosis, which spreads via the urine of infected animals such as rodents, can harm multiple organs, including the liver and kidneys. Ensure your pet doesn’t wade through puddles. If a pet contracts leptosiprosis, there is a chance the disease may spread to humans.
Exercise your pet
During rains, it’s difficult to take pets for a walk. But dogs and cats need activity to stay physically fit and mentally engaged. If you can’t take them for a short walk, engage them in some indoor activity.
Ensure food and water bowl hygiene
Food and water bowls must be cleaned frequently. If food is left out for an extended period, it can accumulate germs and lead to food poisoning. Every meal should include freshly prepared food. Also, make sure pet food is kept in an airtight container, in a dry location.
Ensure good grooming
Ensure your pet is groomed before the rains begin or during the season. It makes it easier to manage their fur. If your pet has any wounds, treat them right away. Since it’s a season that sees an abundance of houseflies, it would be disastrous if flies lay eggs on these wounds, resulting in flesh-eating maggots.
After a walk, clean your pet’s paws/ shoes and ensure they are dry. Ensure your pet is never wet. Moisture can lead to a fungal infection. Pets sweat through their paws, so paw and shoe hygiene is essential. Clean their ears more frequently too to prevent infections.
Note signs of pain
One of my favourite Labrador Retriever patients came to the clinic the day after Mumbai got its first shower. He had been reluctant to get into the vehicle, though he loves car rides. Temperatures drop and fluctuate during the monsoon and sleeping on a chilly surface can increase arthritic pain in senior pets. The symptoms of severe pain are often subtle. Your cat may refuse to climb on to its favourite furniture or your dog may take longer to get up after sitting for an extended amount of time. Look out for such signs so pain medicine or joint supplements can be prescribed.
Address noise phobias
Like people, some pets too are terrified of thunder and lightning. It can be quite crippling, for they may stop eating or experience extreme stress. If your pet has astraphobia, do not take it on walks if a thunderstorm is expected; it could try to flee. Always ensure it’s on a short leash. Provide some hiding space in the house to help it cope. Keep the windows closed to minimise distress. You could even use pheromone dispensers to help it relax. For severe cases, medication may have to be considered.
Dr Nameeta Nadkarni is a practising veterinary soft tissue surgeon and pet blogger from Mumbai, who loves to play the piano in her free time and is ruled by her whimsical cat, Catbury, at home.