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Posted on 10-27-2016

Fall is in the Air

Dr. Rory Hekking

The air is a little crisper, the leaves are starting to change colors, and cheers from college football fans are ringing through the air. Fall has arrived in all its splendor. While fall provides a respite from the heat, there are some common reasons why pets may need to visit the vet during the season.

Allergies – while allergies are often worst in the spring, we see a significant uptick in allergies as the ragweed and mold becomes more prevalent in the environment. Fleas have also had all summer grow into a robust population, so if your pet is itching, it may be time to take care of their allergies before winter sets in.

Arthritis – stiffness when getting up, being more reluctant to go upstairs, or just not running around as much are all signs that arthritis is slowing our pets down. As the temperatures get cooler, our pet’s joints aren’t quite as loose, and we start to see some of the hallmark signs of arthritis. The good news is that medication and alternative therapies can help keep your pet comfortable

Antifreeze toxicity – While Georgia doesn’t experience the cooler temps of other parts of the country, winterization of our vehicles does take place. Antifreeze can have a sweet taste, which can entice pets to drink it. Antifreeze can irreversibly damage the kidneys and, depending on how soon it is caught, has the potential to be lethal. Thankfully, antifreeze companies now add a bittering agent for this specific purpose, but we still need to be cautious with our pets just in case.

Holiday “treats” – Fall holidays are full of reasons to indulge ourselves. Halloween is filled with chocolate galore and on Thanksgiving we get to stuff ourselves silly with food. These holidays can pose real dangers for our pets. Chocolate can be toxic for dogs, especially if it is dark or bakers chocolate.
Giving leftover food, especially fat, from the Thanksgiving feast can cause pets to have major issues with pancreatitis. Most cases can be treated with hospitalization, but some can be fatal. Dogs will also go diving into the trash for food, resulting in eating bones or foil.

We all love fall and the beauty that comes with it. By being aware and proactive about any effects it may have on our pets, we have a great chance to help our pets enjoy the season too. If any of these issues pop up with your pet this season, be sure to let us know so we can help the whole family cheer on the football team!

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