Bubonic Plague & Your Pets: Prevention is the Best Medicine

With a recent case of bubonic plague diagnosed in Navajo County, and given that the plague is, unfortunately, common in Arizona, you might be wondering what to do to protect yourself and your furry families from this potentially deadly disease.

Since bubonic plague is usually transmitted by an infected flea, the best thing you as a pet parent can do is make sure your animal companion is on an effective and FDA-approved flea preventative all year round. This is particularly important for cats – felines are more vulnerable to serious illness from the plague. You’ll also want to restrict your pets’ access to areas where rodents roam and keep all pet food in rodent-proof containers. And while not everyone will want to hear this, studies have shown that allowing your pets to sleep in bed with you increases your chance of getting plague. Finally, wear gloves if you have to come into direct contact with a dead animal.

Symptoms of plague in dogs include fever, cough, inflammation in the lymph nodes below the jaw, lethargy, and lesions in the mouth. In cats, look for fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, and an enlarged lymph node/

If you suspect your pet might have contracted plague, don’t wait to seek help. Early intervention is crucial and could mean the difference between life and death. Our team will perform a simple test to discern the presence of Yersinia pestis, the bacteria that causes plague, in your pet’s blood and/or lymph nodes. We can then prescribe a course of antibiotics that, as long we’ve caught the condition early enough, will put your pet on the path to recovery.

That said, prevention is always the best medicine, so if you need to stock up on flea preventative for your pet, give us a call at (480) 893-8423 or browse the wide selection available in our online pharmacy.