Keeping pets safe this summer


Savannah, GA (WSAV) – Kelly Houseman remembers the day a snake bit on Varley in 2009 nearly claimed her pup’s life.  It was the middle of the night and she had to rush her pup to Savannah to the emergency vet.

“This whole area here was swollen up … It was pretty scary- just a matter of seconds.”

Hundreds of dollars later and weeks of recovery, Varley thankfully bounced back.

Fast-forward to last month and the same thing happened to her cat Mattie May.

“It was right here on her arm; poor thing, we didn’t realize it was a snake bit at first because the cats have long hair, but all of a sudden she was swollen and her whole leg had a whole bunch of necrosis in it. So, they ended up having to do a skin graft to fix the bite wound.”

Kelly brought Mattie May to Palmetto Animal League which is known for its affordable care.   Still, the treatment set her back a chunk of money.

“For that one, that was about $350. Had we caught it sooner it would have been a lot less.”

Dr. Stacey Levin says snake bites are among the key dangers your pet faces as the temperature rises.

And often animals suffer from the wound while the owner doesn’t know the cause.

Dr. Levin said, “You’ll see some swelling, the dog might become very lethargic, they’ll start panting and if you do see these signs you need to get them to a vet right away.”

Another major threat in the summertime are mosquitos.

Levin recommends pet owners in our area invest in the flea and tick medication that repels mosquitos as well. Because while you and I can spray down before we hit the outdoors, the ingredients in common repellents are toxic to animals.

And finally, the number one problem pets face in the summer is heat stroke.

Levin’s seen some of the most vigilant pet owners come in because of it.

Levin said, “They don’t have sweat glands so the only way they cool down is to pant.  And they do evaporate a little from their paws, but it’s very important in the summer you don’t want to leave your pets in a car or let them get overheated because it just takes minutes for a pet to get heat stroke.”

Bottom line—while summer may spell beach and a break for most folks, for pet owners it’s more work.

Kelly now uses snake repellant around her yard and keeps a closer eye on the pets outside.

A little extra effort that could prevent a major problem for who many of us consider part of the family.

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