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Is My Dog a White Walker or Is It Just Cataracts?

If you have ever seen a dog with cataracts and you have seen Game of Thrones you will immediately understand the reference. Cataracts make your dog’s eyes look cloudy and grey. In Game of Thrones, the white walkers have grey and blue eyes. We already know winter is coming but as your dog ages are cataracts coming?

Many people believe that cataracts are a natural part of aging. Not all aging animals, or people, develop cataracts. Cataracts are caused by a disease affecting the lens of the eye. They cause impaired vision and can even cause blindness.

The most common cause of cataracts is genetics. But there are other conditions such as diabetes, nutritional disorders, eye injury, or infection that can also lead to cataracts.

Symptoms

  • A bluish, gray, or white layer in the eye
  • Impaired vision which can be noticed by a reluctance to climb stairs or jump on furniture, and clumsiness.
  • Eye irritation (redness, discharge and excessive blinking)
  • Rubbing and scratching of their eyes.

Your Vetco veterinarian will have to determine if your dog actually has cataracts. This is done with an eye exam. Depending on what is going on with your dog, your vet may want to run some blood tests to determine the underlying cause.

Once diagnosed there are treatments available. They can get eye drops to help with the inflammation. Most of the time cataracts are not treatable. You should discuss with your vet the best ways to help and care for your dog once they have cataracts.

 

Animal Care for Albuquerques Cold Winter Months

cold safety albuquerque vet

cold safety albuquerque vetYour dog is walking around in a winter coat, so you don’t need to worry about him getting cold right? Wrong. Though Albuquerque doesn’t get a lot of snow, we do get cold weather. It is a myth that cats and dogs can naturally withstand cold temperatures. There are breeds of dogs, like huskies, that prefer cold temperatures. Most domestic pets are not built to withstand the cold and are susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite.

Cold Weather Tips

  • Always check the weather before leaving your pet outside for any period of time.
  • Put a jacket or sweater on your pet to help keep them warm, especially pets with short hair.
  • Put booties on their paws if they will be running around on ice or snow. The ice and snow can cut the pads of their feet which leads to infections.
  • Don’t leave your dog or cat outside. If you are not going to be home, bring your dog or cat back inside.
  • Don’t leave your dog in the car. Just like in the summer where temperatures in a car can rise with surprising speed, in the winter they can fall with surprising speed. When you leave your dog in the car, you are putting them at risk of hypothermia and death.
  • Dogs shiver to stay warm. If your dog is shivering it is because he is cold.

Signs of Hypothermia:

  • violent shivering followed by listlessness and apathy
  • a rectal temperature of below 97 degrees
  • coma

If you think your dog has exposure or hypothermia, call your Albuquerque vet immediately.

What is Frostbite?

Animals have ways of dealing with cold temperatures but when exposed to extreme freezing temperatures for an extended period these same mechanisms that work to keep them warm and alive can actually cause damage and death to the tissues of their extremities (tips of ears, tail, foot pads.) more commonly

Albuquerque Now Requires Insulated Dog Houses

winter dog house albuquerque vet

winter dog house albuquerque vetAlbuquerque is cracking down on pet owners. Despite our relatively mild winters, it still gets cold here, especially at night. It is not uncommon for temperatures in Albuquerque to drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit at night, and even colder if you live in the mountains or even a bit farther north like Placitas.

The City of Albuquerque is requiring pet owners supply their outside dog with an insulated dog house. If you don’t you face a fine of $500, a court appearance, and up to 90 days in jail.  Many people believe that because their pets have fur they won’t get cold. For most breeds this is not true. The majority of domestic cats and dogs are not equipped for cold weather and are susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite.

You may chose to put a sweater or jacket on your dog, or possibly even booties for their paws. This is great for when they are running around, but for night time, your pet needs to have a suitably insulated place they can retire to and stay warm. Many pet stores have insulated dog houses you can buy. You can also insulate your own with supplies from the local Albuquerque hardware store. We also suggest giving your outdoor pet a nice bed to sleep in and some of your own blankets.

If you see anyone with a dog outside without suitable cold weather protection you should report it to the ABQ Animal Welfare office by calling 311.

 

If you have questions about hypothermia, frost bite, or how to care for your dog in the winter, please call Vetco at 505-292-3030.

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The information provided on this website is written by Vetco staff. All information is meant to be informational and is not meant as veterinary advice. If you have a health question regarding your pet, their treatment or anything concerning their veterinary care, please call Vetco to consult with a veterinarian.