Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | November 17, 2010

Cold Season for Furry and Non-Furry Family Members

Jay-Z is Cray-Z for YOU!

Cold Season Targets Furry and Non-Furry Family Members Alike

Yo, whassup?  My name is Jay-Z, I am 9 weeks old, and full of spunk and pizzazz!  I was rescued recently by Second Chance Humane Society with 17 of my siblings, cousins, aunties, and mom.  We are now all healthy, spay/neutered, micro-chipped and ready for new homes.  While I have been snug in the Shelter I hear that it is getting cold outside so I thought I’d take this opportunity to talk about…colds.

Colds can impact dogs and cats just as they can humans.  And we usually contract them in similar ways – under stress when our immune systems are lowered and we cannot fight off contagious “bugs” that are typically in the environment.  Recently rescued pets do have a higher risk of developing these issues, due to the stress of change in environment, etc. but family pets are also susceptible when there is a family or household stressor or change. The heightened pace of the Holiday season and pets being left behind as the family goes to visit Grandma for a week would be an example of this.

Feline upper respiratory infection (feline “URI”) and canine “kennel cough” are the animal equivalents of a human cold or flu infection.  In cats and kittens with URI, symptoms may include sneezing; fever runny nose; red or water eyes; nasal congestion (often seen as drooling or open-mouthed breathing); ulcers on tongue, lips nose, or roof of mouth; lack of appetite or thirst; and lack of energy.

Dogs and puppies affected with canine kennel cough often exhibit a hacking or honking cough, sometimes followed by gagging. Some dogs and pups may have only a runny nose. Without veterinary care, they may become lethargic, run a fever, and lose their appetite.

If you are concerned about your pet exhibiting these symptoms, seek veterinary care as soon as possible (immediately particularly for young pups and kittens or for adult pets who stop eating).  Follow the veterinarian’s instructions closely. Use all medications exactly as prescribed, even if your pet’s condition seems to have improved. Encourage your pet to rest as much as possible by providing a quiet, warm spot (like your lap!) and avoid new situations or stimuli until your pet is feeling better.

Provide food as recommended by your veterinarian and encourage your pet to eat; try warming a high-quality canned food. Gently wipe any discharge from the eyes and nose with a warm, damp towel. To help ease the discomfort of a congested cat, use a vaporizer or place the cat in the bathroom and run hot water in the shower for a few minutes each day. Provide lots of love and concern and be patient; your loyal companion will be ready to join in your normal family activities soon.

As I mentioned, recently rescued or adopted pets have a higher risk of catching a cold while we are adapting to our new environment.  Fortunately my entire family of 18 is a healthy bunch and we have settled in quickly to the Second Chance Shelter.  Whoever has the fortune of adopting one (or more) of our musically inclined family (or any pet in need of a new home) will simply want to transition us gently into our new family and give us some quiet time every day for the first week or so.  Soon we will be singing and dancing about!

Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter Financial Assistance, Volunteer & Foster Care, or other Programs.  Visit our shelter pets online: www.secondchancehumanesociety.org.  Direct Pet Column questions to:  kelly@secondchancehumanesociety.orgPhoto by Real Life Photographs.

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