Clinic Stories

The Winter Blues

Both this winter and last were colder and were snow covered longer than usual. This affected animals in some ways you may not expect.

  1. Cold weather is always an added stress to older animals, especially those with joint or breathing problems. Gimpiness can turn into not walking at all and cold temperatures can turn minor breathing problems into major ones.
  2. Reverse sneezing episodes, a honking noise caused by a spasm in the throat in some dogs, can be triggered by cold air.
  3. Small dogs may be unwilling to go outside at all and may lose their house training until the spring thaw.
  4. The snow does not wear nails down and they may need to be trimmed more often.
  5. Exercise is reduced and many dogs put on weight.
  6. Injured joints and occasionally broken bones can occur from slipping on ice or falling through deep snow.
  7. Dogs sometimes fall through ice and can be injured or become hypothermic.
  8. Water fowl, such as ducks and swans, cannot get to food through the ice and face starvation.
  9. Other outdoor animals may also have difficulty finding enough to eat or drink in severe winter weather.

Much of the wildlife we saw over the winter needed nothing more than food, water, and warmth to get their strength back. We kept them at our office until there was open water and access to food. We recently released our last two injured pigeons and are already getting the spring crop of new babies with a new set of challenges.

Back to Top