by Dr. Mark Cox, DVM
Fall/Winter Hunting Dog Care
Hunting seasons are just days away and cooler weather is right behind. Here are a few tips to keep your dogs healthy and safe during the hunting seasons.
The first several weeks of hunting season can be downright hot! Hunting dogs should be gradually acclimated to the heat and exercise, not thrown into the first day of dove season and run all morning long. Have plenty of fresh water available and take frequent breaks in the shade. Watch out for signs of heat stroke - weakness, very red gums early becoming pale or gray later, excessive panting, excessive salivating, increased persistent heart rate (>140). Cool the dog immediately with water and seek veterinary care.
Be sure your dog is protected from fleas and ticks. There are many good products on the market now. Check your dogs after a hunting session for ticks and remove any manually. Ticks carry several diseases which can result in death if not diagnosed early. Fleas can cause blood loss and contribute to allergies and skin problems.
Make sure vaccinations are current. I strongly recommend the leptospirosis vaccine. We see several cases a year in household animals. Transmission is through the urine of infected warm-blooded animals. The newer vaccines for lepto are more effective and less likely to cause reactions than the older vaccines. Also consider the rattlesnake vaccine. This vaccination decreases the severity of rattlesnake toxin and may be the difference in surviving a bad bite. Ask your veterinarian.
This time of year is when a lot of people change or add anti-freeze to their vehicles. The older anti-freezes with ethylene glycol are very toxic to pets. The problem is it tastes good and does not evaporate. Use the newer propylene glycol-based products which are much less toxic.
Watch out for rodenticides. As cooler weather gets here, rodents will start looking for ways into buildings. Many people start using these products in the fall. Many of the newer ones are extremely toxic and it does not take much to cause fatalities. Make sure your pet can't access any of these products.
Happy and Safe Hunting,