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Summer First Aid for Furry Friends

On the Floor @Dove Shares Common Summer Pet Injuries and Ailments Along With Tips on First Aid and Prevention

PORTLAND, OR -- (Marketwired) -- 06/26/14 -- Summer is here, and families and their pets are heading out into the great outdoors to enjoy warm-weather adventures. During the summer, cats and dogs are more prone to injury or illness due to increased activity, higher temperatures, and more interaction with other animals and humans. On the Floor @Dove, a leading, online veterinary training and certification program provided by DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital, identifies the top five potential summer pet health dangers and offers some tips on first aid and prevention.

  • Heatstroke: Heatstroke occurs when an animal's body temperature rises to the point where organ damage takes place. Signs of heatstroke include rapid panting, bright red gums, thick and sticky saliva, and rapid heartbeat. As the condition progresses, the animal may exhibit an altered mental state, develop vomiting and diarrhea, and eventually collapse. First aid treatment is to begin the cooling process by soaking the animal in room-temperature water and immediately seeking medical care. To prevent heatstroke, avoid exercising dogs during the heat of the day. If they must be outside, make sure they have access to shade and plenty of water. Cats can suffer heatstroke too, but it occurs more often when they are trapped in a garage, attic or car.

  • Hiking injuries: Hiking is an enjoyable activity for both canines and humans, but it can lead to some emergencies. Always keep your dog on a leash; this will keep him from falling off a cliff, eating toxic plants or attacking wildlife. Hiking dogs frequently suffer small abrasions, so carry bandage material with you to cover any open wounds until they can be evaluated by a veterinarian. Remember to take enough water for your dog as well. If your dog begins limping or is reluctant to rise after a long hike, do not give the animal any over-the-counter human medications. Talk with your veterinarian about specific canine medications that can be administered on an as-needed basis.

  • Fights: Warm weather brings an increase in confrontations between dogs and between cats. If a fight breaks out, use extreme caution; do not try to separate the animals with your bare hands and risk serious injury. If you want to clean your pet's surface wounds (and the animal allows it), use only mild soap and water (avoid hydrogen peroxide, as it is toxic to living cells). All deep bite wounds should be examined by a veterinarian. Bite wounds are often worse below the surface of the skin; what looks like a small puncture wound can quickly turn into a major infection.

  • Outdoor pests: Insects are out in force, and occasionally they cause trouble for pets, especially dogs. Minor allergic reactions to bites and stings are characterized by facial swelling and hives all over the body. A veterinarian can provide treatment to stop the allergic reaction and reduce the inflammation. Vomiting or diarrhea signifies a worse reaction, and immediate medical care is necessary. Anaphylaxis also occurs in dogs and cats; the animal will suddenly collapse and may have difficulty breathing. Take the animal to a veterinarian as quickly as possible.

  • Food-related issues: Barbecues and backyard parties bring friends and good food together, but they also create the opportunity for pets to eat things they shouldn't. Watch your pets closely during outside parties and keep them away from grease drip trays, bones, corncobs, garbage and eager-to-share guests. Bones and corncobs, for example, can cause intestinal obstruction, requiring emergency surgery, while "treats" of the wrong sort can lead to vomiting and diarrhea, which can cause dehydration. If your pet develops vomiting and diarrhea, call your veterinarian for further instructions and possible medical care.

About DoveLewis
DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital, established in 1973 and based in Portland, Oregon, is the only nonprofit 24-hour veterinary emergency and intensive care unit in the region. DoveLewis provides donor-funded programs to the community, including one of the United States' largest volunteer-based animal blood banks; a nationally recognized pet loss support program; a partnership with Guide Dogs for the Blind to bring animal-assisted therapy and education to the community; 24-hour stabilizing care for lost, stray and wild animals; and financial assistance for qualifying low-income families and abused animals. DoveLewis also offers On the Floor @Dove, a web-based training platform that provides on-demand education to veterinary professionals around the world. Celebrating 40 years of service to the community, DoveLewis has treated more than 500,000 animals and has been deemed one of Oregon's Most Admired Nonprofits by the Portland Business Journal for seven years. For more information, please visit www.dovelewis.org.

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