Summer Health Concerns for Dogs

5 Summer Health Concerns for Dogs in Central Oregon

Summertime means outdoor activities with your dog and increased exposure to nuisances and dangers that can irritate or cause harm to a pet. Central Oregon is home to many things that can make you seek out veterinary care for your dog when you least expect it. You can avoid them through awareness and keeping an eye on your dog to keep them from getting into trouble. Here are some of the things to be on the lookout for during the summer.

Cheat Grass

Cheat grass is an invasive species of grass that has a reproduction strategy of attaching its seeds to animal fur. The seeds are long and sharp and capable of penetrating flesh. Seeds burrow between a dog’s toes and in their gums when they groom themselves, resulting in a painful condition. Regular grass seed has a similar danger but is less likely to be an issue as most lawns are prevented from going to seed.


A porcupine can deliver a load of quills to a dog’s face and mouth in very short order. The quills are barbed and difficult to remove which makes veterinary care a necessity. The veterinarian can anesthetize your dog and do a thorough job of removing quills. It’s important to see the veterinarian as soon as possible since quills can burrow further into the flesh if not addressed.

Hemorrhagic Enteritis/Clostridial Cause

Hemorrhagic enteritis is a gastrointestinal infection of no known definite cause. Deer and elk carcasses are the suspected source of the condition, but no direct link has been identified. A dog infected with hemorrhagic enteritis will show lethargy, lack of appetite, diarrhea, and blood in the stool and/or vomit. A dog displaying these signs needs immediate veterinary care for aggressive and life-saving treatment.


Dogs get skunked because they perceive the skunk’s defensive posture as an invitation to approach and make friends. Unfortunately, dogs don’t recognize skunks as dangerous and accept the invitation. Dogs are frequently sprayed directly in the face which results in irritated mucous membranes in the eyes and mouth. That’s on top of the hard-to-eliminate skunk odor.

Internal Parasites

Heartworm is a type of worm that resides in the chambers of a dog’s heart and causes damage to the organ. It’s not a prominent parasite in the Central Oregon region, but dogs should still be seen by a veterinarian for regular preventative treatment.

Roundworms live in a dog’s gastrointestinal system and their eggs are passed via feces. A roundworm infestation may cause a dog to have diarrhea and/or vomit. The eggs can be picked up by other animals or humans and start a new round of infestation.

Giardia is protozoa that is found in all bodies of water in Central Oregon and makes it home in the intestines. Signs of infestation include vomiting and diarrhea, sometimes with blood and mucous, and poor appetite.

Hookworms are found in soil. The larvae get into the body by penetrating the skin or by ingesting during grooming. From there, the larvae attach themselves to the lining of the intestines and consume blood. A dog may be lethargic from the loss of blood, experience weight loss, and have chronic diarrhea.