By Dr. Jennifer Tavares, Broadway Animal Hospital, Eureka.
California’s North Coast is beautiful and very dog-friendly. Dogs face more hazards when they're traveling than when they're at home. Here are a few precautions to take to keep your dog healthy on summer road trips.
1. Parvo abounds in California’s rural North Coast counties. Thankfully, parvo is a “core” vaccine, and if you keep up on your dog's vaccinations he is probably already protected from parvo.
2. Heartworm exists wherever there are mosquitoes. Areas with abundant creeks, lakes and rivers, have plenty of places for mosquitos to flourish. Luckily, heartworm prevention is an inexpensive, once-a-month tablet you should administer before, during and after your travels.
3. Leptospirosis thrives where there is wildlife, and there are a variety of amazing animals to see along the North Coast. A vaccine can prevent most, but not all, types of leptospirosis, a bacteria that lives in standing water. When caught early, a round of antibiotics can cure lepto. However, untreated lepto can cause liver/kidney failure and death.
4. Salmon and trout poisoning: There are plenty of opportunities to fish along the California coast. Please do not feed any uncooked fish to your canine companion. A nematode that lives in salmon and trout can cause illness—lethargy, fever, anorexia—in your dog. That trifecta of symptoms, if untreated, can cause death.