What Are the Most Common Winter Illnesses for Small Pets?

What Are the Most Common Winter Illnesses for Small Pets?

December 5, 2020

Everyone knows that winter means cold and flu season, and that the risk is heightened even more this year with the presence of COVID-19. However, did you know that small pets can also be at risk for sickness at this time of year? It’s true—like any other mammal, the cold weather can make dogs, cats and other pets susceptible to illness. Your feline friends in particular can fall victim to disease, so it’s important to know what to watch for and how to perform proper pet care in Saint Francisville, LA.


Even though they might seem like the cold doesn’t bother them thanks to their fur coats, it’s still entirely possible for small animals to contract hypothermia. Hypothermia is when an animal’s body temperature lowers thanks to exposure to the cold, and this problem is exacerbated in pets when their wet fur freezes. Make sure you’re not leaving your cat outside for too long, and watch for symptoms like shivering or lethargy once they come inside. If you suspect they already have hypothermia, you can help them with basic treatment, including applying warm water to the affected areas and calling your vet right away for next steps.

Kennel cough

While this one sounds like it would be limited to dogs, kennel cough can infect cats as well. The disease spreads easily when animals are in close contact (hence its name), so be wary if you leave your pet with others for an extended period. The most obvious symptom is a honking cough, but sneezing, runny nose and eye discharge can also be present. You should immediately quarantine the pet away from your other ones, and an easy pet care option in Saint Francisville, LA is to use a humidifier or steam to help ease symptoms and comfort the animal.


Just like humans, animals can experience pains as they age, and arthritis is chief among these. Over time, small pets can develop this chronic inflammation and pain in their joints, and you’ll know it’s set in when they start to limp or slow down or struggle to get in and out of the litter box. Make sure that you help them by keeping them at a healthy weight, and your vet might even know how to prevent the onset of arthritis with a special diet. There are a number of ways to treat this condition once it’s set in, which can be quite painful for the pet. Steroids, NSAIDS and other pain relief options can help—discuss your options with your vet.

Pet care in Saint Francisville, LA, even when the weather gets colder, is usually just a matter of simply paying attention. Make sure they’re eating right, they don’t have any common symptoms of illnesses and you promptly take them to the vet if they seem sick, and you can nip a lot of problems in the bud. St. Francisville Animal Hospital is experienced at working with pets of all types on their health needs, so call today to learn more. Remember, we even offer boarding services, so if you’re looking for someone to watch your pet over the holidays, just reach out!

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