Beware of Spring Fever

The first nice days of spring have finally arrived after weeks of cold and rain. But this time of year always makes me wary for pets, especially dogs. Back when I was a young teen, on one of the first warm days in early May, my dad took our 7-month-old mixed breed puppy Rexy for a long walk. He had let him run lose to get some exercise, but the skittish dog saw some people and ran into a busy street—getting run over by a car.

Photo of Rexy
Rexy

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Dogs, Herbicides, and Weeds, Oh My!

The weeds, the dandelions─yuck.  Should I spray an herbicide?  But what about my dogs?  How can I do this safely?   So I usually put it off until the weeds get the better of me and I just have to spray them and try to keep my dogs off of the lawn for a day, or at least try.  Most herbicides state, ‘safe’ for pets after it has dried. But are they? Here is what my research uncovered:

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Wobbly Gait in Dogs – Is it Serious?

Cassie tripped as she walked on the driveway, caught herself and kept walking toward me.  How many times had this happened today?  At least ten, or was it closer to twenty?  I watched her walk, awkwardly curving to the left.  My vet thought she had arthritis in opposite legs, causing her to trip and walk abnormally.  A week later, she couldn’t walk and was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  We had to put her down less than a week later as her condition deteriorated.

Ataxia or abnormal gait, takes many different forms, most of which are neurological, although there could be joint issues such as arthritis. 

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Dog on Dog Attacks

Cassie and I used to walk over three miles back and forth to work, most days every week, even through the winter. We walked residential streets and at least a dozen times a year a loose dog would approach us. I tried to avoid all encounters knowing if Cassie got into a fight, she wouldn’t stop. So as a dog approached I’d pull Cassie close to me and yell at the dog in a loud, low voice to go home, to go away, while waving my arms. This worked for almost every dog, who realized they’d have to take on me as well as my dog. Never raise your pitch when yelling at a dog – this can cause more excitement in dogs.

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If the Water’s Green – It’s not Clean – Keep your dog away.

It’s that time of year again, late summer, when the weather’s hot, the water’s stagnant, and bright green scum floats on the surface of the lake.   Take a scoop of the lake water with a clear cup. Are there green particles suspended in it? Does it look like someone dumped green paint on the lake? Likely, it’s blue-green algae or cyanobacteria–even though the water looks green.

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Dogs and Bee Stings

As I trimmed the shrub in front of my house, something stung me hard near my elbow—a yellow jacket. I swooshed it off and continued trimming trying to ignore the pain. Then I noticed another yellow jacket circling me—then another. Where were they coming from? I looked down and saw dozens of them on the vinca groundcover, pouring out of a hole in the ground.

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Sebaceous Cysts

Cassie's sebaceous cyst on her back.
Cassie’s sebaceous cyst on her back.

A large hard scab stuck to the fur on Cassie’s back for over a month. We thought it was from rolling on rigid sharp crusts of ice and snow. A routine visit to the vet revealed the scab was harboring a sebaceous cyst.   Several more occurred on her right leg and ear. The vet shaved her fur and exposed a raw, oozing wound.

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