Spring is Here! Is Your Pet Ready?

Hi Everyone! Spring is here and I am already seeing an influx of itching pets, fleas, ticks, and certain seasonal poisons.  Although we live in Florida and I see many of these springtime hazards all year long because of the warm weather, there is still a notable increase in the spring when the weather starts to change.  (For Florida, this means the weather goes from a beautiful 75 degrees to 90 degrees, 100% humidity, and rain every single day. This is when all you Northerners get to sit back and laugh at us Floridians that enjoyed an amazing gorgeous winter!) Back to our pets- I am going to take a moment to discuss some of the “typical” springtime appointments and emergencies I see and how to keep your pets safe from springtime pet hazards this season.

Ticks and Fleas

We see ticks and fleas all year round in south Florida.  In fact, we have what I like to call “super fleas” that do not respond to the typical monthly flea preventions because they have developed a resistance…oh fun! Ticks and fleas are definitely worse during the spring and summer seasons. Fleas not only cause itching and secondary skin infections, but they also transmit tapeworms, a gastrointestinal parasite.  Ticks can spread a number of different diseases that affect both pets and people: Lyme disease, Ehrlichia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Anaplasmosis, Tularemia,and Babesia.  Monthly tick and flea prevention is key in preventing disease and keeping our pets safe. My number one choice for monthly flea/tick prevention is Nexgard.


Heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes. Again, we see this disease all year in Florida since mosquitoes love our tropical environment.  In the Northern part of the United States, we only need to worry about heartworm disease during the spring and summer months.  It is a serious disease that primarily affects the heart and lungs, but can also affect the liver, kidney, eyes, and central nervous system or even cause death if left untreated. The treatment is expensive and very hard on our pets, so monthly heartworm prevention is important in preventing disease and keeping our pets safe.  My number one choice for monthly heartworm prevention is Heartguard.

Fetilizers and Mulch

Most fertilizers contain a wide assortment of potentially toxic substances including iron and nitrogen. They may also have pesticides, fungicides, or herbicides. Please inquire about the fertilizers you use and the possibility of poison for your pets.


Antifreeze has a sweet smell and taste and our pets love to lick it. Antifreeze is extremely dangerous if ingested and is one of the most common forms of poisoning in pets. Please click here to learn more about antifreeze and other garage hazards.


Snail bait presents a major risk for dogs and cats and is a more common source of poisoning than you may expect. Snail and slug bait products typically contain the poison metaldehyde, and it tastes sweet to your pets. Please be aware of snail bate and ask your landscaper and neighbors if are using them.  Please click here for common clinical signs seen with this poison

Bufo Toads

This is for all my Florida pet parents. Unfortunately, spring and summer bring the Bufo toads.  I see alot of Bufo toad toxicity and it can be very scary.  These lovely creatures excrete poison onto their skin.  Our pets are poisoned when they lick or eat the Bufo toad.  They are very dangerous and if enough poison is ingested, Bufo toad toxicity can cause death.  Please click here to learn more about these toads and what to look out for to keep your pet safe.


Venomous snakes are found in every state except Alaska, Hawaii, and Maine.  With the warm weather, our pets are outdoors more and so are the snakes.  Please be careful and on the lookout.  Unfortunately, I do see venomous snake bites, and it is a very scary and a life threatening emergency.  Please click here for more information on venomous snakes.

Bee Stings

Dogs don’t react well to bee stings. I have treated multiple dogs for bee stings and generally they react with a mild allergic reaction including facial swelling, pain, and inflammation. However, their kidneys are easily damaged if they absorb multiple stings at one time, and dogs have been killed by bees. Please watch out for beehives!

Thawing Ponds

This is for all our Northern pets (fortunately this is one hazard I can check off my list of things I see at the animal hospital). As the ice begins to thaw in lakes, rivers, and ponds, the new exposed water is not going to be apparent to your pets. Please make sure to keep your pet on a leash while walking them outside near thawing bodies of water.

I hope this helps all my pet parents out there be more aware of all the possible springtime pet hazards.  My goal always is to keep our pets safe and healthy.  As much as I love seeing them walk in through my doors at VPAH, I prefer to help avoid “sick” trips to the veterinarian! See you next week!


Junge Katze/Kätzchen jagd einen Marienkäfer im Gegenlicht
Junge Katze/Kätzchen jagd einen Marienkäfer im Gegenlicht

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