NEW YORK (PIX11) — Pets are no different than people when it comes to breathing. We all breathe the same air, and your pets are just as vulnerable to the same health issues as people from inhaling toxic air created by the wildfires in Canada.
Dr. Andrea Shliselberg, with the Veterinary Emergency Group in Manhattan, has treated a few pets exposed to the same toxic smoke as the rest of us this week. And that has put them at risk for health problems.
“The biggest risks are going to be breathing issues…anything related to respiratory function. It also affects their eyes, ocular irritation and could affect their ulcers,” Shliselberg said.
Eleanor, an 11-year-old French bulldog, was brought in in respiratory distress and was recovering in an oxygen chamber.
“She was out walking and started to develop respiratory signs and she wasn’t breathing normally,” Shliselberg said. “She was brought here for oxygen therapy.”
As the smoke cleared, dog owners brought their pets to the dog run at Union Square after being cooped up for several days.
Mike Mosley said keeping his golden retriever inside was difficult, so he took him to the park for a short visit. Mordechai Levovitz said he hadn’t walked his dog much, so he decided to bring him out for a short time with the weather looking a little better.
Valerie Cortes, also out for a short sprint around the park, plans to stay indoors until the dangerous air is gone. She’s trying to organize an activity.
“Actually, I tried to talk to other dog owners to see if we can have a playdate,” Cortes said.
Back at the veterinary, we learned that certain breeds of dogs are more vulnerable to health issues than others.
“English Bull Dogs, French Bull Dogs, Boston Terriers,” Shliselberg said.
She cites the warning signs to look for to know your pet is having a breathing problem.
“They’re beginning to slow down. You’re seeing them having difficulty breathing, panting, their gum coloration turning blue,” Shliselberg said. “In cats, you can hear them cough, gag, or open-mouth breathing which you should never see in a cat.”
You should contact your veterinarian if your pet is stumbling or acting more sluggish than usual. The best advice right now, until the smoke clears, is to keep your pet indoors at much as possible.