As we know, Tucson is in the midst of monsoon season. Now, while it is safe to say that people enjoy this season very much, the same goes for a few of our pets’ biggest foes. Mosquitoes, Bufo alvarius aka Sonoran Desert toad or Colorado River toad, and noise.

Although mosquitoes are a problem all year round, moisture attracts mosquitoes because they reproduce in stagnant water. An increase in mosquitoes creates an increase in disease. Horses are susceptible to West Nile Virus; yes, this virus is still a threat. Symptoms may range from a droopy lower lip, going off feed, or stumbling with incoordination. An uncoordinated horse = a dangerous horse; therefore, do not approach. Heartworm disease in dogs, less commonly found in cats, is specifically transmitted through mosquitoes. Unfortunately, this disease can progress drastically, without our knowledge, until it is too late. Whether the form of prevention is a vaccine or monthly medication put these concerns on your radar.

Another little, yet large issue during this season are toads. Toad toxicity is a real emergency. These toads love a moist and dark environment; therefore, rainfall gives the perfect freedom to roam. An unsuspecting pet will become curious and try to catch them  by biting into them. When toads are threatened, they release a substance from their skin that is extremely toxic. The toxin is absorbed through gum mucosa and can even get into the eyes. Visual impairment amongst pawing at the mouth, increased salivation, and even seizures can occur. Leaving food dishes outside may attract toads and harbor the toxin in the kibble. If you suspect this has occurred, call your local veterinary clinic or emergency hospital for further instruction.

As always, thunderstorms can be very scary for our pets. The rumbling and loud crash of winds are severely enhanced with their adept hearing. Many pets will try to get away, even if this means jumping fences or through windows. If your pet is fearful and you cannot be home, try to keep some background noise for them to be distracted. Leave all doors and windows closed.  Ideally the best thing we can give to our pets is comfort in their times of fear. Hugs can sometimes be the best relief when you are available. When serious anxiety arises, a Thundershirt can be tested as it provides a consistent hug, but may not work in all cases. Stay safe this monsoon season and look both ways before you cross a puddle!

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