Episode 113 S3-32
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The biggest risk to your dog in a disaster scenario depends upon the disaster. If it is a nuclear catastrophe, then you worry about nuclear fallout and contaminated food. However, if the disaster is flooding, concern shifts to different topics: disposal of waste, infection, infestation, diseases, etc.
In a situation like this you may be separated from your beloved pet and your dog might be housed with lots of other dogs. This could spread diseases like distemper. Distemper is a viral disease that affects a dog's ability to fight infection. Symptoms of distemper include respiratory problems, neurological problems, cough and nasal discharge. The disease can rapidly spread through animals without an immunity. Dogs can only get immunity from their mom, a vaccination or a very small exposure.
The number of dogs with rabies will increase in a SHTF situation because of a lack of vaccinated animals. You can expect to see the numbers increase amongst domesticated and wild animals of all types. Make sure you stay current on your vaccination schedule now so that if anything happens your animal had the most protection. If you suspect an animal has rabies, you should separate it from the others. An animal with rabies will have behavioral changes. For example a dog that is docile may become viscous and an aggressive animal may become docile. Unfortunately without access to veterinary care the dog will probably die from this disease.
Cats are of concern as well. Cats can carry viral diseases like Toxoplasmosis and Coccidiosis that can be harmful to pregnant women. Make sure your cats are vaccinated.
Good sanitation is the best way to prevent disease.
After your supply of dog food has run out, make sure you do not feed your dog a diet high in fat. Dogs need a grain rich diet with non-fatty proteins. You may think this is strange because dogs are carnivores but when dogs make a kill in the wild, the first part of the animal they eat is the intestines. The offal or innards of the animal are eaten first because they are rich in plant vitamins. Plan ahead and keep at least a weeks supply of dog food on hand for emergencies.
There is no special breed of dog for the apocalypse. A medium sized dog, about 40-50 lbs, can probably do the best. They have the least amount of medical problems on average and don't usually require as much maintenance as a toy dog. Make sure your dog matches the climate they are going to be surviving in.
Start preparing for your pooch. Here's a list to get you started:
Stay Up to Date with Vaccinations and Yearly Checkups.
Have a Carrier and Know Where the Animal’s Collar and Leashes Are.
Have Your Dog Chipped just in Case You Get Separated.
Have a Copy of Dog’s Important Vaccination and Medical Information in Your Important Document Folder.
Have Enough Medication to Last at Least One Week.
Have Extra Food to Last a Week.
To combat fleas and ticks, you need to find natural repellents and soaps that will do the trick. For more information on natural flea repellents check out, DogsNaturallyMagazine.com/. The author, Rita Hogan has some great tips on how you can naturally keep these pests at bay. Start stocking up on collars, soaps and sprays, now.
Heart-worm is another concerning disease. You may not even know your dog has heart-worm until it has heart failure. Heart-worm is carried by mosquitoes so controlling their population is essential. Try to eliminate standing water. If you are in flooding conditions, realize their may be more mosquitoes than normal and putting your dog at an increased risk. Use natural repellents or the specially manufactured dog repellents. If you are going to use human grade "Off" or deet based product, use it very sparingly. If your dog does have symptoms of heart-worm it will usually be coughing, and lack energy.
The most frequent problems your dog might encounter are things like cold and flu viruses. A dog could become poisoned from eating old or contaminated food. They animal is likely to get an abrasion that may get infected. You should have a first aid kit for Fido with:
Lots of gauze and ways to soak up blood
Betadine or Hydrogen Peroxide
Lyme disease is another disease that is worth mentioning. Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria causes Lyme disease in dogs. Deer ticks, usually after feeding on the dog for 2-3 days, transmit the disease. –petmd.com Lyme is very serious disease but not always fatal. The severity depends on the animal’s ability to fight it and a large percentage of dogs that get Lyme, never exhibit symptoms. However, neurological problems can occur from it and some dogs may exhibit reoccurring lameness and kidney failure.
For more information TR suggests a visit to www.avma.org
The Changing Earth Series
I grew up on a farm in North Dakota, that grew primarily wheat and had a feedlot some of that time. I became interested in the field of Veterinary Medicine while in elementary school because of the local veterinarian in Beach, North Dakota. During high school, I applied to Kansas State University Vet School in Manhattan, Kansas, since North Dakota did not have one, with the intention to return to North Dakota to practice. In 1972, I graduated with a degree in Veterinary medicine with special emphasis on gastroenterology and small animals. I practiced in a south Chicago suburban small animal hospital for 2 years before returning to Kansas State to obtain a Masters in Surgery & Internal Medicine again with emphasis in gastroenterology as well as Statistics. In 1980, after getting my Master’s degree, I went to work for Mobay, a subsidiary of Bayer Industry, in Stanley, Kansas, where I did work in the field of Toxicology. There I became Board Certified in Toxicology in 1984. In 1986, I began work for the state of California as a Staff Toxicologist in the Pesticide and DTSC (Department of Toxic Substances Control) divisions where I worked until my retirement in 2009. -TR Hathaway
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