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Spring is in the air!

Spring, for most people, is the true start for the year. Who doesn’t look forward to the smell of fresh flowers and birds chirping, warmer weather and more daylight hours? As veterinarians, there are some common concerns that we see more of during this time of year.

Heartworm, Flea & Tick Preventatives

While we recommend heartworm prevention year round, some people think that our region is cold enough to kill off all mosquitoes. This is not true. After just 2 days of mild to warm weather, mosquitoes appear and feed. This is how heartworm disease is transmitted. If you have been fortunate enough to not have to battle fleas and ticks during the winter, now is the time to use preventatives. All products work best before you start seeing the pesky little bugs. Also, warmer soils can cause parasites to become more active which your pet can contract by simply licking its feet.

Breeding Season

Spring brings love and new beginnings for many animals, some people coining this as breeding season or kitten season. While dogs usually have more regular heat cycles, they tend to be more active during February through May. Breeding season for felines is triggered by the length of day light hours-10 hours per day seems to be the magic number. The longer days trigger their hormones that induce the estrus cycle (heat cycle). Unspayed female cats are seasonally polyestrus which means that the heat cycle is induced by seasonal changes and can occur every 10-21 days. Male cats are attracted by the female’s scent and yowling. Male cats and dogs show more aggression towards other males in their territory which can lead to fights. Also roaming increases which has dangers of its own. While there is no known distance a male cat will travel for a female, male dogs will travel up to 5 miles.

Lily Toxicosis

Spring flowers are beautiful but some are very harmful to pets. One subject, in particular, we see more frequently in the spring is Lily ingestion. Sometimes cats are attracted to Lily plants but highly dangerous to them. Lily Toxicosis can cause kidney failure within 12-36 hours of ingestion and death within 3-5 days if not treated. Symptoms usually associated with this are vomiting, lethargy, decreased appetite, drooling, weakness, decrease or increase in water consumption, seizures and/or death. With no treatment, the mortality rate is usually 50-100%, with early veterinary intervention including stomach decontamination, fluid therapy and kidney support leads to 90% survival rate. Cat owners should avoid lilies in the home or around the yard if your cat goes outside. If you suspect poison, seek veterinary care immediately. Call our clinic at 757-622-1788 or after hours Bay Beach Veterinary Hospital 757-340-3913. You can also contact Pet Poison Control Helpline at 800-213-6680 (fees may apply).