Pet disease precautions — 3 steps to take to keep your furry companions healthy on the road.
Traveling with our dogs and cats is one of the greatest joys of RVing. But coming along for the ride means a greater risk of exposure to certain pet diseases. If your co-pilot has fur, here’s what to know about disease risks of traveling pets like yours.
Regional Diseases Are on the Move
Pet diseases once contained to specific regions are now diagnosed around the country. The mosquito-borne heartworm infection is now found in most states. Lyme disease also traveled far from its East Coast origins and today over half of U.S. counties have the ticks that carry it. Make sure you travel with the right flea and tick spray, and frequently check your pet for ticks or other bug bites.
Fungal Disease Lurks Around the Bend
With their noses at ground-level, dogs and cats are at risk of contracting location-specific, soil-based fungal diseases. In the Southwest, Valley Fever appears as a respiratory infection in pets and people. In the Great Lakes Region, blastomycosis lives along damp shorelines and emerges as skin lesions and breathing difficulties. Keep your pets on leashes, and make sure prevent them from straying too far off pet trails.
Beware of Misdiagnosed Conditions
These vector- and soil-borne conditions often masquerade as other illnesses and can quickly become fatal if a diagnosis is delayed. If your pet becomes ill after a trip and isn’t getting better, seek a second vet opinion. Locate a clinic that’s accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), the only organization that accredits veterinary hospitals in the U.S. and Canada. For a lower-cost alternative, a veterinary teaching hospital can be the answer.
Not all dogs or cats are at risk of these conditions. To keep yours safe, tell your vet about future travel plans and make sure your RV trip planning includes research into Trends in Infectious Pet Diseases and vector-borne pet illness maps.