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PET QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

I am interested in proper care of my pets during the summer. Please give me some information on this subject.

Summer can be especially dangerous to our pets unless we take some precautions concerning their health and safety. Last week I discussed problems connected with food, water, shelter, heatstroke and heartworm. Here are some more common summer problems:Safety - Fishhooks are a summertime hazard. We see pets hooked in the feet and often in the lips, gums and tongues. Pets may even swallow a hook! Please keep those fishhooks carefully stowed away in the tackle box.

In the summer we also see an increase in the number of injuries to pets caused by transporting them improperly. A pet allowed to ride with its head out of the car window may fall out or sustain eye injuries from bugs or debris. Even more dangerous is allowing a dog to ride loose in the back of a pickup. The dog may slip and fall out - especially if the truck swerves or if it suddenly accelerates or slows down.

Venomous insects and snakes - Bugs with venom (bees, wasps and spiders) begin to stir in the early summer. They make their homes in corners, cracks and crevices in your woodpile, brick wall and garage. Dogs are nasal creatures and go where their noses take them - usually into trouble. For the most part, insect bites are painful and cause swelling and some skin death, but if the animal is hypersensitive to the venom, death could occur due to shock and respiratory problems.

If your pet is stung by an insect or bitten by a snake, keep the animal as quiet as possible and transport it to your vet immediately. Putting ice on the area of the sting may help with the pain and swelling and possibly may help to keep the venom localized while on the way to the clinic. As a safety measure, keep the animal on a leash at all times when hiking or camping, and do not allow the animal to roam loose.

Roaming pets - Animals generally spend more time outdoors during warmer weather. Pet owners should be reminded that free-roaming pets can run a greater risk of getting into animal fights, being hit by cars, getting lost or being bothered by youngsters. Children are also outside more in summer, and even calm-tempered dogs can be alarmed by their play and respond by biting. Dogs must be kept under control (proper confinement, license, leash) to avoid dog bites.

Skin problems - Your pet may have more skin problems in warm weather. If your pet is scratching more than usual or chewing on itself, causing patches of raw skin, see your veterinarian for assistance.

Ticks, lice and maggots - Not a very pleasant subject, but necessary. First ticks: Keep your pets away from heavy underbrush where ticks are often found. Check your pet daily around the ears and neck, between the toes and around the rear area. If you do find a tick embedded in the skin, it must be removed carefully, especially if it has started to swell. Talk to your veterinarian on the best method to remove ticks. Once the tick is removed, see your vet promptly to be sure your animal is healthy. Ticks seem to be quite prevalent this spring in the Utah deserts.

Lice thrive in dirty conditions - on unwashed, unbrushed pets.

Maggots are fly larvae, and infestation typically involves animals that are poorly kept and that have dirty, matted coats. A dirty coat and constantly wet skin will also attract flies since, in this condition, the skin is no longer healthy. Maggot infestation on an old, sick or debilitated animal will frequently cause the death of the animal. Even young healthy animals may become seriously ill or die if the problem is not given prompt medical attention. Infestation is always a disease of neglect. Routing grooming and cleanliness will prevent this disease entirely. If an animal should develop an open wound, extra care should be taken to repel flies and keep the wound clean.