Vets are seeing more sick pets — and heat isn’t to blame

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — With severe weather season over and summer finally here, your pet’s health could be at a greater risk than usual, but not for what you might think.

“With the rain that we have had we have seen a lot of snake bites, we see rattlesnakes, copperhead bites,” Dr. Melissa Barrow with Blue Bonnet Animal Hospital said. She says snake bites are the main reason pets have visited her recently. Snake populations spike after heavy rains because we see a huge increase in frog populations, and frogs are a popular meal for snakes.

Snake bites aren’t the only thing that Dr. Barrow is seeing an increase in visits for.

“Make sure they are on flea prevention medication … fleas are horrible after the rain,” she said. Another tiny bug that causes a big problem this time of year is mosquitos. They can potentially carry heartworm disease.

The spike in cases due to wildlife is happening while vets across Central Texas are in high demand from increased adoption during the pandemic. These, combined with also still maintaining some COVID-19 safety protocols, are causing a huge backlog in vet appointments.

“We are definitely overbooked on some days, our staff isn’t getting lunches. It’s a problem for sure.” Barrow said.

While vet offices are packed, they’re are asking everyone to be patient but also proactive for routine appointments, and those should be booked as far in advance as possible.

“For everyone out there, bring good energy, the vets are working really hard, we are doing the best we can to get everyone seen. We are really trying we want to make sure we can see everyone,” Barrow said.

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