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Veterinarians See Many Pets With Winter Illnesses, Injuries

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RALEIGH — The snowy weather has been tough to maneuver around, even in a four-wheel drive. Now just imagine what it is like trying to get around on four legs.

The record snowfall was a blast for small kids, but for small cats and dogs like Furball, it was no walk in the park.

"He couldn't see past the snow and everywhere he walked, the snow was taller than him, so he just had a really hard time," said pet owner Thu Nguyen.

Despite his warm-sounding name, veterinarians say toy poodles like Furball do not fare well in the cold.

Older animals and young puppies and kittens are also susceptible to hypothermia.

"Any dog that shows classic signs of hypothermia, trembling or even totally collapsed and fainting, they can certainly go into cardiovascular shock," says Dr. Tom Felder, a veterinarian.

Veterinarians at Boulevard Animal Hospital in Raleigh say they have also seen dogs with frostbite on the tips of their ears and on their paws.

Dogs that have not been outside a lot have soft pads, which can make them more vulnerable to injury than dogs that are outside a lot.

Some indoor dogs have also ended up with cuts on their paws from items underneath the snow, or from the ice itself.

The icy snow is creating other threats as well. Dogs with long legs can slip and sprain a muscle or ligament.

Veterinarians say until the snow melts, walk your dog on a leash to provide support. And do not let your pet stay out longer than you would your child.

Veterinarians say even outdoor pets should be allowed to sleep indoors during this weather. If they are left outside during the day, they should have shelter with blankets or a bed made out of straw.


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