Each year, certain parts of North America are bombarded with rain. While this may be good for the garden, high rainfall can potentially pose some real threats to your dog. Here, I review a few of the risks.
During the rainy season, mushrooms may pop up in your yard with more frequency. There are thousands of species of mushrooms, but thankfully only about 100 are poisonous. That said, mushroom identification is very difficult, so it's hard to tell which are poisonous versus which are benign. As a result, whenever you see mushrooms growing in your yard, make sure to remove them immediately and throw them away to prevent accidental ingestion by your dog. If your dog does get into a mushroom, contact your veterinarian immediately about inducing vomiting to get any potential toxin out.
Certain types of mushrooms may cause organ injury including:
- Gastrointestinal injury (signs include drooling, not eating, vomiting, diarrhea)
- Liver linjury (signs include vomiting, black tarry stool, yellow skin)
- Kidney injury (signs include abnormal urination and thirst)
- Cardiovascular injury (signs include a very slow or rapid heart rate)
- Neurologic injury (signs include hallucinations, tremors, seizures)
When in doubt, get to your veterinarian immediately as it's easier - and less expensive - to treat early on versus once clinical signs have developed.
Leptospirosis, a bacteria-like spirochete, is carried naturally by wildlife, like rodents and raccoons. In high rainfall situations, it’s prevalent in the environment. In dogs that have exposure to water sources, contaminated by wildlife urine (puddles, streams, ponds, etc.), transmission can occur. Canine leptospirosis can result in liver injury and acute kidney injury.
Signs of leptospirosis include:
- Not eating
- Yellow skin
- Excessive thirst
As leptospirosis can accidentally be transmitted to humans, it's important to talk to your veterinarian about prevention, including vaccines.
While mosquitoes may seem like just a pesky insect to you, they can be life-threatening to your dog. That's because mosquitoes can carry Dirofilaria, which transmits heartworm infection to your dog. Thankfully, there is a very effective preventative in either a topical or oral form. When in doubt, use year-round control to prevent problems from mosquitoes. If your dog has thin fur or skin and is more predisposed to getting bitten, use Skin So Soft or a topical insect repellent that repels mosquitoes. Talk to your veterinarian to be safe before applying anything.
4. Toads and frogs
Depending on where you live in the United States, certain types of toads - specifically the Bufo marinus or Bufo alvarius - can be poisonous to dogs. In fact, a dog drinking water from an outside dog bowl, that had a poisonous toad sitting in it, can result in clinical signs of drooling, panting, walking drunk, a racing heart rate, a very slow heart rate, or even seizures. Frogs are not toxic, but can cause gastrointestinal upset when ingested.
To be safe, supervise your dog outside to prevent accidental ingestion of dangers like toads and frogs. When in doubt, contact your veterinarian or ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 if you think your dog is ill or could have ingested something poisonous.
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
A rush to judgment can lead to disaster or regrets
A bird was searching for a home to lay her eggs so they would be safe during the coming rainy season. In her search, she saw two trees, so she went to ask them for shelter.
When she asked the first tree, it refused to give her shelter. Disappointed, she went to the second tree.
The second tree agreed, so she built a nest and laid her eggs.
Then the rainy season arrived. The rain was so heavy that the first tree toppled over and was carried away by the flood.
The bird saw this and laughed. "This is your punishment for not offering me shelter."
The tree smiled. "I knew I wasn't going to survive this rainy season. That's why I refused you. I didn't want to risk your and your children's lives." And it drifted away.
The bird got tears in her eyes. Now that she knew the reason, she felt gratitude and respect for the tree.
How many times have we perceived the wrong scenario, or perhaps the wrong reason for a no? A rush to judgment can lead to disaster, or at the very least, regrets. It's so important to give your brain time to consider all the available facts before taking action that is difficult to reverse.
A variety of factors affect your perception: what you can actually see, hear or feel, previous experiences, opinions of others, even concerns about how you might be perceived. How you perceive a thing determines how you receive a thing. If you perceive something as negative, that's exactly how you will receive that message. In other words, your outlook often determines your outcome.
"We must look at the lens through which we see the world, as well as the world we see, and that the lens itself shapes how we interpret the world," wrote Stephen R. Covey in "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change."
That's why it matters whether you have enough good information to make a judgment about a particular situation. If you are operating on faulty premises or preconceived notions, your response may be completely unreasonable. Look at what you complain about and see if a change in perception can help you.
Therefore, it is critical that you develop your perceptive abilities so that you won't reach the wrong conclusion. The power of perception can change your life.
There are several strategies you can practice that could help you develop more precise perceptions.
Look at yourself as others might see you. Past experiences can evoke powerful memories that guide your perceptions. For example, a particular negotiation with a difficult customer has made you dread doing business with them again. But move to the other side of the table: maybe that customer has had some bad experiences with quality, delivery or price that affect their perception. A little empathy can go a long way.
Know what triggers your responses. Certain smells or songs can remind you of good times or unhappy memories. Remind yourself that you are in the present situation and try to ignore some of the factors that color your judgment.
Ask for others' opinions. We all see things through our own lenses, and different perspectives can help you shape your perceptions incorporating things you may not have noticed. You may not agree with their observations, but you will have a broader range of possibilities.
And finally, don't overlook the obvious. Quite often, the truth is right in front of you. When the facts all add up, it's reasonably safe to conclude that your perception is accurate. You can trust your intuition when you have good information. Second-guessing yourself when you have good information is an exercise in futility.
An old story tells of two cowpokes who came upon a man lying on his stomach with his ear to the ground. One cowpoke said to the other, "You see that guy? He's listening to the ground. He can hear things for miles in any direction."
"Really?" The other cowpoke got down off his horse and approached the prone man. "Is anything nearby?"
The man looked up. "One covered wagon," he said, "about 2 miles away. Two horses, one brown, one white. A man, a woman, one child and a piano in wagon."
"That's incredible! How can you know all that?"
"Simple," the man replied. "It ran over me about a half-hour ago."
Mackay's Moral: What you see may not be what you get — but maybe it is.
Florida dog owners warned about deadly Bufo toads
It's Bufo toad season in Florida and pet owners are being cautioned to keep an eye out for the toxic toads, which can kill dogs within minutes.
As temperatures rise and the rainy afternoons start in Florida, the deadly amphibians will be out.
A poison produced in glands on the side of their necks can make dogs and cats very sick, and even cause deadly seizures. The toads use the poison as a defense mechanism when they feel threatened.
"If the dog comes in contact with the toad, licks it, sniffs it, anything that can come in contact with those mucus membranes or gums, then they can have seizures pretty quickly from these toads," Dr. Lisa Ciucci of the Gardens Animal Hospital in Palm Beach Gardens told WPBF.
Also referred to as Cane or Marine toads, they are the largest of the frogs and toads found in Florida, ranging from 4 to 6 inches and often weighing more than two pounds, according to the University of Florida Wildlife Extension.
If you suspect your pet has come into contact with a Bufo toad, experts say to wash out the dog or cat's mouth as quickly as possible and to rush the animal to the nearest vet.
Spring Safety Tips for Construction Workers
Most everybody looks forward to spring and the respite from the frigid, icy weather. However, with spring comes some safety hazards for construction workers that they might not think about until disaster strikes. What are some of these hazards and how can construction companies prepare for them? Let’s take a look at some spring safety tips.
The first one is ordinary rainfall. Rain by itself presents the hazard of workers slipping on wet surfaces. This can be detrimental or even fatal if the slipping occurs on a high-rise construction site. A way of preventing this is to wear slip-resistant boots at all times, especially during the rainy season. Not only is rain a safety issue, but when it is mixed with dirt or sand it can produce mud. The dangers of slipping on mud exceed those of slipping on wet surfaces. Additionally, muddy boots can cause workers to slide and fall when climbing up onto mobile equipment such as bulldozers or cranes. Be sure to remove any mud from your boots prior to ascending onto equipment or construction site surfaces. It is a good idea to wipe mud off of your gloves as well to make certain you can get a good grip on the equipment.
Another safety issue that can be caused by spring rain and resulting mud is that it can make slopes more difficult to maneuver. This is something to watch out for when operating machinery. It is possible for your machine to slide and go careening down the slope onto the ground below. There could be serious injuries to the operator as well as workers on the ground who did not see it coming toward them. It is a good idea to make sure other workers stay clear of machinery as much as they can. Machine operators should always wear safety belts to prevent serious injuries. This is great advice to follow even when the weather is clear.
The outside temperatures during spring can also present safety hazards. Despite umpteen weather forecasts in the mornings, it is not always possible to predict when temperatures will turn hot. Rising temperatures can result in illnesses or dehydration if there is not a sufficient water supply. Workers should avoid foods or drinks with high amounts of sugar.
There is also a significant risk of sunburn if workers fail to wear sun-resistant clothing including long sleeves and pants, hats, gloves and sunshades. It is advisable to use sunscreen products with an SPF of 15 or more at all times. Pay strict attention to health warning signs like dizziness, nausea or increased pulse. Construction management should already have procedures in place to deal with the effects of heat or extreme sun exposure on workers. Better safe than sorry.