It isn’t just us who feel the change every June to winter, many of our pets feel the same way about the colder part of the year. Although they do not tend to vocalise their opinion about it as much as some people, they are still susceptible to very similar ailments that many people will know very well.
Many people will contract a common cold during the winter and in some cases, cause the individual to become quite ill. In winter, we see a higher incidence of upper respiratory tract infections in our canine friends. This upper respiratory tract infection is caused by a number of viruses and bacteria and is known as canine cough or kennel cough. It is contagious and can make your dog very ill if it spreads to their lower respiratory tract. We recommend an annual canine cough vaccination to minimise clinical symptoms if your dog is affected by canine cough and minimise the spread of this infectious disease.
Vaccinated dogs may still show mild clinical symptoms if canine cough is contracted and can be treated with symptomatic medications.
Those with sore or stiff joints will know that it is worse in colder weather. This is the same for our older dogs and cats who may be suffering from osteoarthritis. Some studies report 60% of older dogs and up to 90% of older cats (more than 12 years old) will have radiographic evidence of osteoarthritis.
Dogs will tend to have more classic symptoms of osteoarthritis including stiffness in the morning, weakness on slippery floors and lameness or being unable to go on their usual walk.
Cats can be more subtle in their behaviour and will be less active, reduce the time spent grooming and change their posture when resting.
Simple changes at home can help your pet manage their arthritis throughout the winter.
- Making sure their bedding is soft and warm will help reduce stiffness in the morning and keeping them warm throughout the night with blankets, jackets or pyjamas and shelter from the elements will help aid their comfort.
- Modifying their environment to include mats or rugs on slippery floors, help getting up and down stairs or on and off their bed is also important.
- Most dogs will benefit greatly from maintaining a modified exercise schedule throughout winter to help maintain their muscles and stimulate their brain.
Despite this, sometimes winter will see many dogs and cats become severely affected by osteoarthritis and these patients require medications and supplements to help manage their osteoarthritis.
If you are concerned your dog or cat is suffering from osteoarthritis, please don’t hesitate in contacting one of our clinics where our helpful staff will be able to assist you.
Albion Park Veterinary Hospital 4256 3638
Gerringong Veterinary Clinic 4234 1317