Summer has many joys for pets—but many also get the summertime breathing blues. Heat, humidity and pollen inflame allergies and chronic respiratory conditions, and contagious illnesses become common as families board their pets while they go on vacation or take them to dog parks more often.
Some viral issues, such as canine influenza (CIV) and bordetella (kennel cough) can be prevented by keeping your pet’s vaccinations current. We highly recommend kennel cough vaccines for any dog who will be in close contact with other dogs. We also have the CIV vaccine available should there be an outbreak here or wherever your dog is traveling.
Recent extreme heat has been a threat to all animals human and otherwise, and we would encourage you to make sure your pets have access to cool, shaded spaces if they’re not indoors and always have plenty of fresh cool water available. Senior pets and those with existing respiratory issues and heart problems should be kept indoors in an air-conditioned environment during hot spells. Watch for excessive panting, drooling, reddened gums, rapid heart rate and dehydration.
Chronic bronchitis in both cats and dogs is a common problem that occurs when the mucous membranes of your pet’s airways become inflamed. The result is usually a persistent cough that can’t be attributed to any other condition and can be irritated by a variety of environmental factors including heat and allergens. The specific cause of the issue is rarely identified, but it’s still important to have a diagnosis to rule out other serious conditions with similar symptoms. Chronic bronchitis differs from asthma, as the latter condition involves recurring episodes of airway narrowing as opposed to continuous inflammation.
Allergies are also common during the summer growing season, when pets are outdoors more and in contact with allergens that can inflame eyes, ears, and airways. Up to 10% of dogs suffer from environmental allergies; cats are much more susceptible to asthma. Both conditions can make your pet miserable with sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose and in the case of allergies there’s usually skin irritation as well. If your animal friend is exhibiting any of these symptoms, a visit to the vet is important so a cause can be determined—or at least so the resulting respiratory and skin issues can be addressed.
We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about summer respiratory issues and how they can affect pets. Just give us a call at (703) 956-1522.