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Common Pet Illnesses During The Autumn Season And How To Identify Them

As the vibrant hues of summer fade into the gentle, earthy tones of autumn, pet owners must remain vigilant to protect their furry companions from the seasonal hazards that can affect their health. Autumn, with its crisp air and falling leaves, brings along a set of challenges for pets, leading to an increase in certain common illnesses. In this blog, we explore some of these pet illnesses associated with the autumn season and provide guidance on how to identify them.

1. Flea and Tick Infestations:

Autumn is no time for your pets to let their guard down against the persistent menace of fleas and ticks. These tiny parasites thrive in the cooler weather and can make your pets' lives miserable. Common symptoms of flea and tick infestations include excessive scratching, biting, or licking, as well as the presence of tiny, dark specks (flea dirt) in your pet's fur. To prevent these pests from causing harm, use veterinarian-approved flea and tick prevention products regularly.

2. Seasonal Allergies:

Just like humans, pets can develop allergies to seasonal changes, including autumn. Pollen, mould spores, and other allergens are more prevalent in the air during this time. If your pet starts sneezing, coughing, or has watery eyes, it might be experiencing allergic reactions. Consult your vet to identify the allergen and explore treatment options, which may include antihistamines or allergy shots.

3. Poisonous Plants and Mushrooms:

Autumn is when certain toxic plants and mushrooms become more abundant. Some common toxic plants to watch out for include autumn crocus, chrysanthemums, and mushrooms like Amanita phalloides. Ingesting these can lead to gastrointestinal distress, organ damage, or even death. Be vigilant during walks and outdoor adventures with your pet, and remove any suspicious plants or fungi from your garden.

4. Seasonal Shedding:

Many pets undergo a seasonal coat change in the autumn, shedding their summer coat to prepare for the colder months ahead. While shedding is a natural process, excessive hair loss might indicate an underlying health issue, such as allergies, stress, or hormonal imbalances. Keep an eye on your pet's fur and consult your veterinarian if you notice anything unusual.

5. Cold-Weather Injuries:

As temperatures drop during the autumn months, your pets are at risk of cold-weather injuries. Hypothermia and frostbite can affect animals exposed to chilly conditions for extended periods. Signs of these conditions include shivering, lethargy, and pale or discoloured skin. Ensure your pets have access to warm shelter and limit their exposure to cold weather.

6. Seasonal Food Hazards:

Autumn often brings a bounty of seasonal fruits and vegetables, but some can be harmful to pets. Grapes, raisins, and some types of mushrooms can be toxic to dogs and cats, leading to kidney damage or failure. Keep these items out of reach and educate your family about potential food hazards for pets.

7. Reduced Exercise and Weight Gain:

With the days growing shorter and the weather turning cooler, pets may get less exercise during the autumn season. This reduced activity can lead to weight gain, which in turn can contribute to various health issues, such as diabetes and joint problems. Ensure your pet maintains a healthy weight by adjusting their diet and exercise routine accordingly.

8. Kennel Cough and Respiratory Infections:

As pets spend more time indoors during autumn, they may be exposed to viruses like the canine parainfluenza virus and Bordetella bronchiseptica, which can lead to kennel cough and other respiratory infections. Symptoms include a persistent cough, sneezing, and nasal discharge. If your pet shows signs of respiratory distress, consult your vet for appropriate treatment.

9. Seasonal Depression:

Autumn can also affect your pet's mental well-being. The reduced daylight hours and changes in routine can lead to seasonal depression or anxiety in some animals. Signs may include lethargy, changes in appetite, and withdrawal. Spend quality time with your pet, engage in interactive play, and consider consulting your veterinarian for behavioural advice or medications if needed.

10. Antifreeze Poisoning:

As autumn arrives, people often start using antifreeze in their vehicles. This sweet-tasting liquid is highly toxic to pets, and even a small amount can be lethal. Symptoms of antifreeze poisoning include vomiting, seizures, and loss of coordination. If you suspect your pet has ingested antifreeze, seek immediate veterinary care.

In conclusion, autumn, with its unique charms, also presents a set of challenges for pet owners. By being aware of common pet illnesses associated with the season and knowing how to identify them, you can help ensure the well-being of your furry friends. Regular veterinary check-ups, preventive measures, and a watchful eye can go a long way in keeping your pets happy and healthy during the autumn season. So, embrace the beauty of autumn with your pets by your side, knowing that you're well-prepared to tackle any challenges that may arise.


Order Dr Hannah Parkin's Amazing Guide To Caring For Your New Puppy.
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