Texas wildlife has many threats to your outdoor pets. Obviously, if you live in an inner-city area, the threats are minimal; however, if you live in the less populated areas of a suburb bordering on the country side, or if you live out of the city limits, you should be cognizant of the dangers that the outdoors present.
Presented below are common threats:
Rattlesnakes are a very common threat to be aware of, as hiking dogs may not recognize a rattler’s scent or sounds and end up bitten on the muzzle. The venom acts on various tissues causing swelling, oozing and clotting of blood, and necrosis of tissues as the venom works to immobilize its prey and to start the digestive process. Bleeding problems often occur in the following days and can be life-threatening. If your pet is bitten, limit their movements and seek immediate veterinary care.
Giant toads are very dangerous to dogs and secretes a toxin from its skin that causes heart failure. A dog just needs to pick up the toad and hold it in his mouth to be exposed. Also called Cane Toad, Marine Toad or Bufo Toad, the critters can bring agony: excessive drooling, crying, extremely red gums and loss of coordination number among pets’ symptoms. If your pet had picked up a toad, immediately irrigate your pets mouth with a garden hose and seek medical attention.
A brown recluse spider’s bite is not very painful right away, but the bite grows into a very large, deep-tissue wound that doesn’t want to heal. Wounds can be very difficult to treat and can result in lifelong damage that often requires surgery to correct. Seek immediate veterinary attention.
Cottonmouth snakes are found in ponds and lakes throughout the state of Texas. The venomous cottonmouth snake, also known as the water moccasin, likes to hang out at water’s edge, making it a threat to dogs and cats near ponds and lakes. It seldom bites unless stepped on or harassed. Its venom is very similar to a rattlesnake’s, though tends not to be as serious. If bitten, keep your pet calm and seek immediate veterinary care.
Black widow spiders are somewhat reclusive and non-aggressive, but dogs and cats can be bitten when they walk through a spider web outdoors or accidentally lie down on a spider. Cats are very sensitive to the venom, which is 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake’s. The venom can send extreme pain throughout cats’ bodies and cause muscle rigidity, followed by a loss of muscle tone. Seek immediate attention!
Fire ants are a very common threat to outdoor pets especially dogs. Dogs can step on a fire ant mound typically when urinating on a bush or a tree trunk where fire ant mounds are commonly found. A dog keeping his nose close to the ground to explore may suddenly cry out, leap back and start pawing his nose. Chances are that his nose hit a colony of swarming fire ants that deliver burning bites. Fire ant bites aren’t as serious as other threats in our list, but they do send dogs to veterinary clinics for sore paws and injured noses.
Easily mistaken for harmless look-alikes, the Coral snake remembered by this rhyme that refers to its bright color bands: “Red touch yellow kills a fellow. Red touch black, venom lack.” The Coral snake injects toxins that will stop a pet’s breathing. On the bright side, unlike Mojave rattlesnakes, Coral snakes actually have to chew a little bit to inject venom because their venom glands are back farther in their mouth. They are primarily found in southeast Texas, although they have been found to inhabit the very far eastern areas of the DFW metroplex.
Bee stings can be a common occurrence for dogs or cats in the outdoors. You may hear a yelp from your dog and then within 20 minutes, see his face swell in size. The cause behind the swollen face may be a reaction to a bee sting. Fatal reactions are rare, but they do occur. Most dogs tend to have a mild reaction, and often a first-time bee sting causes no trouble. It’s the subsequent stings that can be severe. Bee stings if you can avoid them, are critically important to stay away from.”
Raccoons are unlikely to bite, but they’re the most frequently reported rabid wild animal. Consider that a reminder to keep pets’ rabies vaccinations current. Rabies is slightly on the rise in cats, according to the Centers for Disease Control and 1 percent of cats tested for rabies were found positive. Rabies cases reported in cats routinely number three to four times higher than in cattle or dogs, CDC says.
Bottom line, if you live in a rural area or out in the country, it is best to not let your pet roam freely where it can be in contact with these dangers.