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With the rapid growth of urbanization these days, people are
coming into contact with wild animals more frequently than ever.
This means that our domesticated animals are coming into contact
with them as well, which can sometimes pose a dangerous
If you own a smaller animal such as a cat or smaller breed of
dog especially, it is important to stay mindful of any signs
hinting to the presence of wild animals near your home.
"It happens quite frequently that domestic animals are attacked
by wild animals," said Dr. James Barr, Clinical Assistant Professor
in emergency and critical care at the Texas A&M College of
Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.
"I have personally worked on several cases where coyotes have
been confirmed as the culprit, but it is not always the case that
it is witnessed, and the actual animal that did the attacking is
If there are known coyotes in your area, be wary of leaving any
pets outdoors, especially at night.
"Coyotes are likely the most menacing of wildlife threats to
domestic animals in Texas, and are often blamed (although not
confirmed) for many pet deaths in the wild," said Barr.
Snakes are another obvious threat to your animals if you have
problems with them in your area. Refer to our "Venomous Snakes of
Texas" Pet Talk for more information on how to identify those more
dangerous species. /news/pet-talk/venomous-snakes-of-texas
In some cases, our pets do not necessarily have to be involved
in a violent situation with a wild animal to be affected by
Wild animals can indirectly pose a threat to our domesticated
friends through the transferring of their bacteria.
"One of the most common infectious causes of renal failure that
we see in our ICU in domestic animals is Leptospirosis," explained
Leptospirosis is a disease carried by mice that can be spread to
Many times with horses or livestock, if an opossum's or a
skunk's waste comes into contact with their food source, the animal
can become very ill.
When a horse consumes roughage with opossum feces or urine in
it, this can severely affect their nervous system and often lead to
On the other hand, your pet might be the one attacking the wild
A good example would be when dogs attack Cane Toads. These toads
are loud, slow, abundant in Texas, and unfortunately toxic to
"Ultimately, intoxication with the Bufo toxin can result in
cardiac arrhythmias, hyperthermia, seizures, coma, and death in
extreme circumstances," said Barr.
Typically though, Barr explained that the clinical signs are
mild and include hypersalivation and some tremors.
"Most Bufo Toad intoxications are no worse for wear," said
Inevitably, the line that separates us from the natural world
will be crossed from time to time. To keep your animals safe and
out of harm's way try to stay as educated as possible on the types
of wild animals in your area.
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