The smoke haze from the Southwest wildfires is not just affecting the humans living in the Rio Grande Valley, it is also affecting the animals.
Los Lunas veterinarian Donny MacDougall said he is already seeing people’s pets affected by the smoke.
“We have to remember their senses are more sensitive than humans,” MacDougall said. “Animals with existing conditions in their eyes and cardio-pulmonary disease are being affected.”
Such conditions as feline asthma or horses with heaves or chronic obstructed pulmonary disorder can be aggravated by the smoke haze.
“Swamp coolers may get the smoke out of the air in the homes, but the traces of toxins from the burnt houses may aggravate cats with asthma,” he said. “Cats are among the hunting species that rely on their olfactory senses. The addition of the smoke in their environment may overload their senses and make them goofy.”
Prey species, such as horses, use their olfactory senses to detect enemies and danger. The smoke haze could cause them to become skittish.
“If a horse has a cardiopulmonary disease, it could worsen because of the smoke,” MacDougall said. “Owners of such horses should be alert to possible worsening conditions.”
Like humans, the smoke will also affect animal’s eyes. “Animals with allergy eyes or infections could have some dramatic aggravation,” the vet said. “I’ve already seen a Pekinese affected by the smoke.”
MacDougall warned that pet owners should keep an eye on their animals and be alert for any change in their behavior and health conditions.