FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — It’s the holiday season, and the Fort Leonard Wood Veterinary Treatment Facility wants to help you keep your pets happy and healthy through the break.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Keep an eye on the weather. Some of our furry friends have a little more fluff than others, and adore being out in the snow. However, please remember to check their paws, noses, tips of their ears and other locations that aren’t protected by a layer of fur. These areas get colder much more quickly than the rest of the body and are more prone to frostbite and other cold-related injuries. Jackets and coats can help our less-furry pets stay warmer outside. Also, our smaller pets will get colder faster than larger pets since they are closer to the frozen ground and snow. Always offer your pets an option to get out of the cold; you can bring them into the house with you, or offer heated and insulated pet houses that are sturdy enough to withstand outdoor conditions. If you are worried that your pet has suffered a cold-weather injury, make sure to contact your veterinarian and have them evaluated.
- Continue to give your pets monthly flea, tick and heartworm preventatives. If you’re thinking that your pets don’t need prevention because they are indoor only, please think again. Even in the winter, these parasites are a constant threat to your pet, and can cause serious diseases. When it gets cold out, fleas, ticks and mosquitos will naturally gravitate towards the indoors, and your pets are at increased risk of an infestation. Indoor-only pets that aren’t on preventatives can still get infestations that result in costly treatment bills. Additionally, while treatment for most of these diseases is available, it is expensive, and contracting the diseases associated with these pests could leave your pet with secondary health effects they will have to live with for the rest of their lives. I recommend all pets receive flea, tick and heartworm prevention year round, regardless of lifestyle.
- Don’t be tempted to feed pets from the table. Every year, hundreds of pets are brought to emergency clinics around the country because they got into something that they shouldn’t have. The holidays come hand-in-hand with tables full of delicious food, and if you’re not careful, your pet might swipe something they shouldn’t have, or a well-meaning family member might offer them something from the table that makes them ill. Alcohol, chocolate, coffee, grapes, garlic and onions are just a few poisonous “people” foods that can cause serious health issues with your pets. Additionally, foods that are high in fat — bacon, ham or turkey, for example — can upset your pet’s stomach and cause a potentially deadly condition called pancreatitis that may require hospitalization. If your pet consumes something potentially toxic, or begins to show signs of illness, have your pet evaluated by your veterinarian.
- Make sure boarded pets are up to date on their vaccinations. If you’re going out of town over the holidays and are thinking of boarding your pets, please note that kennel cough is a highly-contagious respiratory disease that can be prevented with the Bordetella vaccine. This vaccination is usually good for a year, but some facilities request that their boarders get it every six months. It takes about two weeks after the first vaccination for full protection, so keep that in mind when scheduling your appointment.
The Fort Leonard Wood VTF has appointments available and offers services for pets belonging to active duty, National Guard, Reserve, retirees and dependents with appropriate identification. Call 573.596.0094 to register your pet here, or email your records to email@example.com. Please include your current contact information to help speed the registration process.
We hope you and your pets all have a safe and healthy holiday.