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October 3, 2011 / Jackie H. Burns

Cautions for Outdoor Pets in Autumn

Autumn is a beautiful time of year, but we at Holmes Veterinary Hospital see more accidental injuries and toxicities in fall.  

This is  due in part to the fact that people and pets enjoy outdoors activities more when the weather is cooler.  We typically see more injuries during this time.  More pets are out so there are more dog fights, lacerations and hit-by-car trauma.  We also see more intentional injuries and poisoning.

It is now white tailed deer hunting season in the Upstate of South Carolina.   Every year during hunting season, we see free-running dogs that have been shot by hunters.  

Even if you think no one is hunting near your property or think that your dog never leaves your property, we advise that you do not let your dog run loose during deer hunting season, which ends January 1, 2012.  We have even seen dogs shot while being exercised by their owners on their own property.

To allow them to be seen and immediately recognized as pets, your dog should wear a brightly-colored collar with tags.  However, the best means of preventing accidental injury remains keeping your dog within a fenced yard and leash walking for exercise.

Another fall hazard is radiator anti-freeze, which is extremely toxic to dogs and cats.

Anti-freeze is sweet in taste so dogs and cats will readily drink it.  Sometimes pets consume accidental spills or product left out when the weather turns cooler and people change their radiator fluid or add anti-freeze to their radiators.   We have also seen cases of pets and wildlife poisoned by antifreeze put into fountains and water features to prevent them from freezing, as well as intentional poisonings with anti-freeze.

Early signs of anti-freeze poisoning mimics intoxication.  Dogs may stagger and sway as though drunk and their reflexes may be altered.  Sometimes they seem barely able to walk.  Sometimes they have seizures.

If very quick treatment is not instituted, permanent kidney damage occurs that usually results in death.   If you suspect your pet has been poisoned with anti-freeze, you must see a veterinarian as soon as possible.  There is a very narrow window of time during which a pet may be successfully treated for anti-freeze poisoning.   If we are not open, it cannot wait until tomorrow.  You should take your pet immediately to one of the areas animal emergency clinics, such as the Animal Emergency Clinic in Greenville or C.A.R.E in Spartanburg.

Have a safe and happy fall!

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