Spring Forward Your Pets!

New York is great in the spring, probably the best time of year here, in my opinion. The bitter chill of winter is a fading memory and we haven’t yet been bombarded with the 95 degree, 80% humidity days of July and August. It’s a time to delight in the sunshine and promise of warmer days to come, and well, just spend some good ol’ quality time outside! For many of us, we get to share this good fortune with our four legged friends. Even my three cats, while they don’t get free rein of the wild outdoors, they do get some great kitty outdoor time as they stretch out for a springtime snooze in the sun on our gated balcony. While it is a time to celebrate Mother Nature, spring is also a time to make sure our furry companions are protected against common springtime hazards.

Parasite prevention is critical year-round, not only for the health of our dogs and cats but also from the perspective of public health as some of these parasites can be transmitted to humans. Given the mildness of this past winter (read: idyllic blessing and repose from harsh winters-past, in my humble opinion), this spring and summer promise to delivery higher loads of pesky “bugs” (parasites, viruses, bacteria, mosquitoes, ticks, fleas) normally knocked back in numbers by cold weather. Therefore, we should be extra diligent to ensure our cats and dogs are adequately protected. All cats and dogs should receive heartworm prevention (yes, even indoor cats – face it, your apartment is not a impenetrable biosphere), gastrointestinal parasite protection (again, even indoor cats can be exposed if we inadvertently bring microscopic eggs in on our shoes, for example) and based on lifestyle and exposure, flea and tick prevention.

Spring is also a good time to update your pets’ vaccinations, which will be individually tailored based on lifestyle and risk of exposure to common bacteria and viruses. The ASPCA has a wonderful website dedicated to Springtime Safety Tips. I highly recommend taking the time to read this info-packed article, especially the links to poisonous plants and home chemicals. Finally, among other things, springtime also brings the increased likelihood of allergies and traumatic events (scuffle at the dog park, plant parts in paws, etc). Bottom line: we’re here to help. Check out our Pet Care & Resources page for tips on common health issues as well as general wellness care for dogs and cats including vaccination recommendations. Or, better yet, stop on by our hospital to check our our new digs and say hello in person! Thanks for reading, and I look forward to meeting you and your furry family members…

Kristin Lester, DVM, MBA, Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist
Seaport Animal Hospital
80 Beekman Street, New York, NY 10038