Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

 

Local vet offers advice to protect dogs as rattlesnake season approaches and of a fatal concern awaiting in SoCal rivers

With the weather seemingly offering a lot more sunshine, along with longer days, it allows us to get out and about more. And that means, for many of us, that our dogs get out from behind the four walls too.

So, I decided to check in with Dr. Roxanne Kruger, of Laguna Beach Veterinary Medical Center, to see if she has any advice or cautions at this time of the year for pet lovers.

She reminded me that rattlesnake season is April-October…which basically means now.

Dr. Kruger said, “I would recommend avoiding hiking with your dog during the times of dawn, dusk and at night during those months. When going on hikes with your dog during these months, do not let your dog off leash in high brush areas and avoid going on hikes with tall grass, brush, or marshlands.

“If your dog is bitten, immediately take them to the closest veterinary hospital that has antivenin, as time is of the essence.”

Antivenom, also known as antivenin, is a specific treatment for which venom is injected by the bite or sting of a venomous animal. It is comprised of antibodies and used to treat certain venomous bites and stings.

“Laguna Beach Veterinary Medical Center has antivenin and is ready to treat rattlesnake bites,” added Dr. Kruger. “If your dog is bitten, carry them in a way so the bite area is at or above the heart level to reduce blood flow to the bite area.

“Laguna Beach Veterinary Medical Center is in the process of putting together a Rattlesnake Aversion Training Class at the hospital. During these classes, the dogs will work with defanged rattlesnakes to learn to avoid the sound of a rattlesnake when heard in the wild. If people would like to sign up, they can email us at lagunabeachvetmed@gmail.com.”

Dr. Kruger also added that at the center they carry the Rattlesnake Vaccine which doesn’t protect you fully, but reduces severity if bitten.

I wish I could say that rattlesnakes are all you have to worry about for “man’s best friend.”

But that’s simply not the case!

Have you heard of Heterobilharzia Americana? If not, listen closely, this one is very concerning.

Dr. Kruger said that it is “a liver fluke that if contracted by dogs is fatal.”

To make matters worse, Heterobilharzia Americana was recently found for the first time in Southern California in a river in Blythe.

According to Dr. Kruger, “I would avoid rivers in that area at all costs this summer. In addition, I would think twice before going swimming with your dogs this summer in any river.”

A related article warned “California pet owners to keep their dogs out of rivers this summer after a potentially deadly species of worm has been found for the first time.”

Last week, scientists at University of California, Riverside (UCR) stated that a parasite, previously only found “in Texas and other Gulf Coast states” has made its way to the West Coast and is now threatening local wildlife and pets.

“Dogs can die from this infection, so we are hoping to raise public awareness that it’s there,” said UCR nematology professor Adler Dillman in a story on the subject. “If you’re swimming in the Colorado River with them, your pets are in peril.”

According to an article written by author Jules Bernstein, two species of snails that transmit the worm have been found.

Bernstein adds that the worm leaves the snail at some point, venturing out with the specific purpose of infecting a mammal. The worm can only survive on its own for 24 hours, but if during that time they do come across a dog or raccoon in the water or drinking it, the mammals will become infected.

It’s a scary thought.

Be safe with your pet out there.

• • •

On something a little more positive, get ready for an “egg-stravaganza” like no other as the Laguna Beach Parents Club (LBPC) presents its annual community Easter Egg Hunt next Friday, March 29 at 4 p.m.

The plan is to gather at the picturesque Alta Laguna Park for an afternoon of family fun and festivities open to the Laguna Beach community.

There’s a lot planned: Kids will dive into the thrill of the hunt as they scour the park for hidden treasures, enjoy rhythms of Ms. Brooke’s lively tunes while everyone eagerly awaits the arrival of the esteemed guest – the one and only Easter Bunny.

There will also be a variety of activities, from bubbles, face painting and hair braiding to exciting yard games suitable for different ages.

And, you won’t need to worry about going hungry. Orange Pig Smokehouse will be on-site, serving up mouthwatering BBQ dishes, including kid-friendly choices and even delectable vegetarian dishes.

The Laguna Beach Parents Club (LBPC) is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is run by community volunteers. They were founded in 2005 by parents on a mission to connect families with small children in Laguna Beach through age-appropriate events.

For inquiries or more information, contact LBPD at info@lagunabeachparents.com, or call Jaleesa Peluso (LBPC co-president) at 949.395.0960.

• • •

Here is our new regular feature of Fair Game where Mayor Sue Kempf and I engage in a weekly conversation discussing items of interest taking place in the city.

This week, Mayor Kempf gives an update on the proposed changes to the exterior of Hotel Laguna and congratulates Thurston Middle School’s Izzie Tran on winning first place in the 25th Annual Holocaust Art & Writing Contest.

Hope you’ll give it a listen.


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