West Kelowna  

Smoke affecting animals

Madison Erhardt

The heavy smoke across British Columbia is affecting more than just people. 

Rose Valley veterinarian Dr. Oz is speaking up for those that can't.

"We have definitely, in the last couple of weeks had increased cases of coughing and asthmatic dogs and cats into the clinic due to the smoke."

Oz says the signs and symptoms occur all of a sudden. 

"They will start to cough and have exercise intolerance. When they go outside they cough and cough way more than normal. They also usually don't eat or drink much," he said. 

Vets are encouraging pet owners to bring their animal in if they suspect the smoke is doing any kind of damage.

"Once we know it is the smoke and not something else we will give the animal some kind of medication to calm them down and help with the coughing," Oz added. 

Smoke across the valley is slowly starting to dissipate, but the same can't be said for Quesnel, where an evacuation order was issued for areas that included the BC SPCA’s Quesnel Branch last Friday.

Staff and volunteers worked quickly to evacuate a total of 60 animals to shelters throughout the Lower Mainland. 

“Evacuations are a stressful time for everyone. This most certainly includes the animals we love and care for – they are no doubt feeling it,” said Mark Takhar, BC SPCA’s chief operations officer.

“As there are a number of other areas are under evacuation alert, we continue our preparations, as many expect to see warm, dry weather over the next while. Although we’re hoping we don’t see a repeat of last summer’s devastating wildfires, our staff, volunteers and officers are ready, willing and able to feed and comfort any animals in need of our help,” Takhar added. 

The BC SPCA is asking for donations to support efforts to rescue and care for animals during the wildfires emergency at spca.bc.ca/emergencyalert

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