A healthy dog is a happy dog, and many pet owners know the benefits of attending annual appointments at the vet for vaccination shots and an overall check-up. But, outside of that yearly visit, how often does your dog need a veterinary check-up? With winter on its way, there are several colder weather ailments that require veterinary attention. Here are three common canine winter illnesses that you must make a vet appointment to discuss.
Depending on which Australian state you live in, frostbite is a potential issue for your pet over winter. For example, New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania experience snow in winter. Since your dog needs to go outside several times a day for toilet breaks, there is the potential for frostbite each time they venture outdoors. Some variables determine how quickly frostbite may occur in your canine. These variables include its size, coat length, fur thickness and the length of time spent out in the snow. Signs of frostbite include:
- pale skin that becomes swollen and red once warmed
- skin blistering
- darkening of skin over days following exposure
After sustained exposure to cold outdoor temperatures, any of these symptoms warrant a trip to your vet for diagnosis and treatment.
It is not uncommon for dogs to have a cold during winter. Canine colds present similar symptoms to those in humans, so expect to see dripping noses, a minor cough and some tiredness and lethargy. Watch your dog's behaviour for a day or two and allow them to rest and heal, as this is the best way to treat their cold symptoms. If available, place a humidifier in their sleeping area to help make breathing easier. However, if your pet is not showing improvement within 48 hours, or you feel the cough is getting worse or their lethargy is profound to the point of not eating or drinking, then make an appointment for a veterinary check-up. Your vet may need to prescribe antibiotics to clear the infection if it is causing your dog to suffer.
Dog arthritis is not always an age-related condition. For example, if you have a large breed dog who is overweight or just over-active, then arthritis may appear early in life because of the stress put on their joints. Arthritis is no fun during winter, as the cold temperature makes the joints constantly ache. Signs of arthritis suffering include:
- reluctance to play
- hesitation to go upstairs
- withdrawn behaviour
If you notice any of these changes, take your dog for a veterinary check-up as soon as you can. Your vet will take X-rays to determine how severe the arthritis is and then prescribe medication to help relieve the pain.
As you can see, there are several reasons you may need to visit your vet this winter. If you have any further seasonal concerns, give them a call with your questions.
Contact a vet for more information about dog veterinary check-ups.