By Dr. Fiona Caldwell, a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best Pet Insurance, a pet health insurance agency.
Examination of old growth tree rings in California suggest this is the driest the state has been in 500 years. California’s governor has asked for a state of emergency as the drought continues on. Drought conditions have far reaching implications. Certainly its impact on the economy has been well documented, but less water has implications for human health, and the health of animals as well! Here are five surprising health consequences droughts have for pets.
1. Apparently the dry, warm weather makes stray cats more interested in mating. Experts aren’t sure why there is a correlation between reproductive activity and dry weather, but area shelters and humane societies have seen a dramatic increase in feral kittens being dropped off in need of homes.
2. As running water dries up there are more and more pools of stagnant water. These pools are common places for animals to congregate and comingle, which can lead to the spread of infectious disease, especially in wild populations. Stagnant water is a prime breeding ground for mosquitoes and California officials are geared for a large increase in the incidence of West Nile Virus (dogs and cats are immune to this disease though). Interestingly, studies actually show the opposite for another mosquito borne disease, Heartworms. The incidence of heartworm disease actually goes down.
3. All that stagnant water can increase the concentration of chemical run off from industries and farming.Read More…