Wildfire smoke can impact you and your pets

By Leah Murray
August 16, 2018 - 12:47pm Updated: August 16, 2018 - 7:29pm


MEDICINE HAT, AB – The air quality across the prairies has prompted health advisories for virtually all of British Columbia and Alberta, along with the southern parts of Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

It means people should limit their time outdoors especially if they are doing any strenuous activities. Those with cardiovascular or chronic breathing conditions are more likely to feel the effects.

In general the smoky conditions can cause a runny nose, scratchy throat, irritated sinuses and headaches, it can also trigger a cough.

While people may be feeling the impact of the wildfire smoke, our pets do as well.

“We have seen a few more cases recently of respiratory illnesses,” Dr. Jennifer Flaig, Veterinarian at the Cypress View Veterinary Clinic. “Runny eyes, the sniffles, some sneezing, some coughing, things like that.”

Cypress View is reminding pet owners to reduce their pets outdoor activities when the air quality deteriorates.

“On days where it is extra smoky, I would probably limit time outside,” said Flaig. “If your animal is an older animal or a younger animal they may be more susceptible as well.”

Flaig said if the smoke in the air is bothering you, chances are it’s likely bothering your pet too.

“Not every case is necessarily attributed to the smoke in the air, but definitely I think, some of them are just reactions to the smoke,” she explained.

“There are other [cases] where we’re learning about animals that have respiratory issues that maybe we weren’t aware of before because the smoke is just bringing it out.”

The air quality for Thursday in Medicine Hat, is expected to deteriorate into the afternoon and evening with a forecast air quality of seven, which is considered a high risk.

That is expected to persist throughout the night and Friday’s air quality is forecast to be a six, the high end of the moderate risk category.

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