Protect Your Pet During Winter and Cold Weather

Follow our tips to keep pets safe and comfortable

From The Humane Society Website
https://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/protect_pets_winter.html

In many areas, winter is a season of bitter cold and numbing wetness. Extra precautions during winter months will make sure your four-footed family members stay safe and warm.
Help your pets remain happy and healthy during the colder months by following these simple guidelines:

Keep pets indoors and warm

Don’t leave dogs or cats outdoors when the temperature drops. Most dogs, and all cats, are safer indoors, except when taken out for exercise. No matter what the temperature, wind chill can threaten a pet’s life. Regardless of the season, shorthaired, very young, or old dogs and all cats should never be left outside without supervision. Short-coated dogs may feel more comfortable wearing a sweater during walks.
The best way to keep your pets safe (and happy) is to keep them with you

Take precautions if your dog spends a lot of time outside

A dog or cat is happiest and healthiest when kept indoors. If for some reason your dog is outdoors much of the day, he or she must be protected by a dry, draft-free shelter that is large enough to allow the dog to sit and lie down comfortably, but small enough to hold in his/her body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The house should be turned to face away from the wind, and the doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.

Help neighborhood outdoor cats

If there are outdoor cats, either owned pets or community cats (ferals, who are scared of people, and strays, who are lost or abandoned pets) in your area, remember that they need protection from the elements as well as food and water. It’s easy to give them a hand.

Give your pets plenty of water

Pets who spend a lot of time outdoors need more food in the winter because keeping warm depletes energy. Routinely check your pet’s water dish to make certain the water is fresh and unfrozen. Use plastic food and water bowls rather than metal; when the temperature is low, your pet’s tongue can stick and freeze to metal.

Be careful with cats, wildlife, and cars

Warm engines in parked cars attract cats and small wildlife, who may crawl up under the hood. To avoid injuring any hidden animals, bang on your car’s hood to scare them away before starting your engine.

Protect paws from salt

The salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your pet’s feet. Wipe all paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates his/her mouth.

Avoid antifreeze poisoning

Antifreeze is a deadly poison, but it has a sweet taste that may attract animals and children. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze (and all household chemicals) out of reach. Coolants and antifreeze made with propylene glycol are less toxic to pets, wildlife, and family. Read more about pets and antifreeze »

The best tip of all: keep your pets with you

Probably the best prescription for winter’s woes is to keep your dog or cat inside with you and your family. The happiest dogs are those who are taken out frequently for walks and exercise, but kept inside the rest of the time.
Dogs and cats are social animals who crave human companionship. Your animal companions deserve to live indoors with you and your family.

Cat Wound Treatment

Original Article: https://www.petmd.com/cat/emergency/accidents-injuries/e_ct_wound_treatment?icn=Emergency&icl=trending_emergency_content#.UpjKI8RDuSp

Steps for Treating a Wound

Cats are just as susceptible to everyday minor injuries as any other animal. Many cuts (lacerations), bruises (contusions), and scrapes (abrasions) are not life threatening and will heal with little treatment. Other wounds can be severe enough to require sutures and moreintense emergency care.
 

What to Watch For

Fresh wounds will usually show some or all of the following:

  • Bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Missing hair
  • Cut, scraped or torn skin
  • Limping
  • Tenderness or pain

If a wound is not seen when it is fresh, it can become infected. In addition to swelling and tenderness, you may observe the following:

  • Discharge (pus) from the wound
  • Abscesses (i.e., an accumulation of pus under the skin) and the resulting hole in the skin when the abscess break open and drain
  • Signs of a fever (e.g., lethargy and ears that feel hot to the touch)

Primary Cause

Wounds can come from bumping or hitting hard or sharp objects, avoiding cars, attacks from animals, and other dangers.

Immediate Care

What you can do at home is ultimately up to your cat. Sometimes the only thing you can do is wrap your cat in a towel or put him in a carrier and take him straight to your veterinarian. There are, however, a few things you can do if your cat will let you, especially if it may be a while before you can get to your veterinarian.

  1. If there is bleeding, apply direct pressure to the wound. The wound should be covered with sterile gauze or a clean cloth, and then pressure applied. It may take 5 to 10 minutes for bleeding to stop. Once it does, tape the gauze in place; removing it may remove the clot and bleeding will restart.
  2. Check for other wounds.
  3. If there is no bleeding and the cut (laceration) or scrape (abrasion) appears minor, try cleaning the wound. Use an antiseptic solution or plain water and gauze or a cloth (not cotton) to gently clean around the wound, and a syringe or similar device to flush the solution over the surface of the wound. Antiseptic solutions are made by diluting concentrated solutions bought at the store that contain either povidone iodine or chlorhexidine diacetate as the active ingredient. Do not use alcohol or hydrogen peroxide on the wounds, as these will actually damage the tissue. Povidone should be diluted to the color of weak tea; chlorhexidine should be diluted to pale blue.
  4. If the laceration is long or deep, or if it is a puncture wound, you can clean around the edges as already described, but do not flush the wound itself. Let the veterinarian do that.
  5. Once you have done all that you can, take your cat to your veterinarian.

Veterinary Care

Diagnosis
Your veterinarian will carefully examine your cat and evaluate all wounds that are found. Your cat will also be evaluated for indications of other problems. The cat’s hair will need to be shaved off for proper evaluation. Some wounds may require X-rays. Sedation may also be necessary to accomplish the examination.
Treatment
The basic goals of treatment are to prevent infection and speed healing. Different types of wounds require different methods of accomplishing these goals. Most of the time your cat will require sedation or anesthesia to treat the wounds safely and without causing more pain.

  • Small scrapes and cuts often require nothing more than a thorough cleaning and maybe a little skin glue to hold the edges of the cut together.
  • Long and/or deep cuts require careful cleaning to be sure there is no debris in the wound and careful examination to determine the extent of the damage. If the wound is less than 12 hours old and not heavily contaminated, it will probably be sutured closed.
  • Puncture wounds, especially from animal bites, often have extensive damage under the skin that is not visible on initial exam. After removing any possible foreign materials, these wounds have to be thoroughly probed and then carefully cleaned with large volumes of antiseptic solution. Sometimes these wounds must be opened surgically to treat damage deep in the tissues.
  • Meanwhile, puncture wounds and/or wounds that are over 12 hours old, contaminated or showing signs infection, abscessed, or missing large amounts of skin are usually not sutured. Instead they are covered with bandages until such time as the wound is healed or the wound is healthy enough that sutures will actually help the wound rather than trap infection inside.
  • Large or deep wounds, contaminated wounds, or multiple puncture wounds often require the placement of a Penrose drain, which is soft rubber tubing that allows excess, contaminated tissue fluid to drain out, and keeps a small opening available for flushing antiseptic solution through the wound.
  • Your veterinarian will give your cat medication for infection and possibly for pain, which you will need to continue giving at home.
  • Most cats are released within 24 hours of being admitted.

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Living and Management

The most important thing you can do once your cat is home is to provide good nursing care. Fortunately this is usually for only 1 to 2 weeks. Good nursing care includes:

  • Keeping your cat from licking, chewing or scratching at the wounds, sutures, bandages, or drains. This may require the use of an Elizabethan collar.
  • Keeping bandages clean and dry and changing the the bandages as directed by your veterinarian. This may be as often as 2 or 3 times a day initially. You may need to take your cat back to the vet for the changes, especially if he is not cooperative. If the bandages get wet, or you notice an odor, chafing, or an increase in drainage (or the drainage doesn’t subside), take your cat to the vet for evaluation.
  • Placing a thin film of an antibiotic ointment around the edges of the wound once or twice a day, but only if the cat can’t lick it off.
  • Making sure your cat gets all the medication that has been prescribed. If you are having trouble administering it, contact your veterinarian.

Unless the wounds are severe or complications develop, here is a typical schedule of events after the veterinary visit:

  • Penrose drains are removed 3 to 5 days after being placed.
  • Sutures are removed 10 to 14 days after being placed.
  • Antibiotics are generally given for 7 to 10 days.
  • Pain medication, if used, is usually given for 5 to 7 days.
  • Bandages may be left on for as little as 24 hours or up to several weeks, depending on the nature of the wound. Bandage changes are at least once a day to start; longer intervals between changes may be possible later in the healing process.

If a wound, especially a puncture wound, was not seen, and if your cat did not take antibiotics, an abscess can form, resulting in symptoms described at the beginning of this article. Abscesses take about 10 to 14 days to develop, and often are not noticed until they rupture. An abscess will require another trip to your veterinarian.

Prevention

Since cats are most likely to be injured when roaming outside unattended, the best way to prevent injury is to either keep the cat inside or only let him out in a protected, confined area.

Dr. Robert Franlkin Honored With the CVM Distinguished Veterinary Alumnus Award

The College of Veterinary Medicine’s Distinguished Veterinary Alumnus Award is given to honor distinguished DVM graduates for veterinary excellence in practice or teaching and research.
Dr. Robert Franklin’s priorities are to provide the best care for his animal patients and clients and to be sensitive to the strong feelings of the human-animal bond. He served for nine years on the board of the Delta Society and under his leadership a capital campaign raised 7.6 million dollars to build the Delta Society headquarters in Bellevue, Wash. The Delta Society now has over 11,000 volunteer pet Partners in 50 states and in 16 countries. Dr Franklin has lectured widely about the compelling research results on how animals impact human health. He has presented lectures on animal welfare and human-animal bond at the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association meetings and helped bridge efforts between the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association and the Oregon humane shelter. He has also provided leadership for the development of Hospice guidelines for the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association.
Dr Franklin received the Veterinary Service Award from Region 6 of the American Animal Association in 1995 and the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association Animal welfare award in 2000. He is board certified in internal medicine and currently owns an internal medicine referral practice in Oregon.