Keeping pets healthy in the summer
OKLAHOMA CITY — These hot summer months mean extra care for the furry members of our families. They need protection from the heat, from parasites, and even allergies. "He likes swimming in the lake," said Laura Lorenzo, as she showed off the family's dog, Duke.Giving your pet plenty of cool water is key in preventing heat stroke."They'll be out there. They'll be perfectly normal. Then they seem to suddenly overheat," said veterinarian Brett Boatsman. "So it's more of a collapse." Dr. Boatsman has already this summer treated several metro pets for heat stroke, among them, a dog that died after being left in a car overnight. If your pet gets overheated, act fast. "Get them soaked down with some cool water," said Dr. Boatsman. "Rubbing alcohol, you can place that on their paws and their ears." Along with the heat, summer brings the height of flea and tick season. "Parasite control has become so much easier than it was, say, 20 years ago," Dr. Boatsman said. For topical prevention, Dr. Boatsman recommends Vectra. Or you can give your pet an oral flea and tick pill like Trifexis, which also has heartworm meds in it. "If you apply one and it doesn't work, it doesn't mean none of them are going to work," he said. "You just have to try something else." An uptick in mosquitos means a bigger risk for heartworms. If you can't remember that monthly Heartguard pill, you can can instead get your pet an injection called ProHeart twice a year.Parasites and heat aren't the most common issues vets like Boatsman see in Oklahoma. "The most common medical problem, by far, we see in dogs are allergies," he said. "Environmental allergies." Grass, weeds, and tree pollens can lead to scratching, ear infections, and skin breakouts even for indoor pets. Over the counter antihistamines help with only some allergies. Some pets get regular cortisone injections."Allergies are frustrating to deal with," said Dr. Boatsman. "There's no way to prevent it." Apoquel is a new allergy pill for pets on the market. It is reportedly extremely effective especially for skin allergies. But the manufacturer can't make enough of it. Vets like Dr. Boatsman can't keep it in stock. That shortage isn't expected to let up for another year.