Smoke and Wildfires

by | Sep 1, 2016 | Pet Services

 Recently, many people living nearby were adversely affected by the Sand Fire that ravaged the eastern hills of Santa Clarita. We housed many of the pets of evacuees as a community service. As emergencies appear it is important to remember that our animals are also affected by changes in the environment, sometimes even more so, due to their acute senses and varying respiratory systems.
Obviously, fire is a danger to any animal, but air quality warnings for wildfire smoke apply to animals too. When a warning is put out for people to avoid heavy outdoor work or outdoor exercise make sure that you’re not keeping your animals outside as well. Short bathroom walks are generally okay during mild to moderate conditions for healthy dogs but unless longer walks are absolutely unavoidable, they should be halted during air quality alert warnings. Take even greater care for dogs with breathing or cardiac compromises.
Know that birds are extremely susceptible to respiratory complications from any airborne toxins or particulates. Due to their sensitive systems, they are easily susceptible to being hurt long before a healthy person would be. Try to especially keep your pet birds indoors during periods of poor air quality
As always, make sure your animals have access to lots of clean water so they can maintain proper hydration. A well hydrated animal has a moist airway that works better to move and cough out any irritating matter in the air we breathe.
Signs to watch out for include faster breathing or difficulty breathing or unusual coughing, sneezing, vomiting or loss of appetite. Cats may start to breathe with their mouths open. The mouth, eyes, skin or upper airway of animals may swell or become burned or inflamed. Other signs may include increased salivation or foaming along the mouth and in serious cases, animals may walk as if drunk or may be weak or lethargic. A complete lack of oxygen can result in seizures or a coma.
If you think your pet was exposed to heavy smoke inhalation, or there is a fire close by, start by protecting your pet and yourself. Safely remove yourselves as far as possible from the source and attempt to locate a local firefighter or paramedic for assistance. If oxygen is available, it can ideally be given to your pet to help treat carbon monoxide poisoning. Afterwards, immediate treatment with a veterinarian is vital.
If you have any questions please feel free to give us a call at Copper Hill Animal Clinic, 661-296-8848.

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