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having a wild time

The great outdoors offers both you and your pal a terrific opportunity to exercise and have fun, but an unexpected tangle with wildlife can be a scary experience. As with so many things in veterinary medicine, good preparation can lead to a better outcome: Cujo alert: the rabies vaccine is required by law in most states, and it’s important in case your pet has a run-in with any wild critter. (Rabies is almost always fatal and is widespread across the U.S.) Being current on other wildlife-related vaccines, like leptospirosis, is a good idea, too. Contact your vet to see when your pet was last inoculated.

Love of learning: reading up on local wildlife (or those near your destination) will help you avoid cross-species encounters. For example, knowing that Western Diamondbacks den in cool caves or rocky recesses will help you keep Fido’s nose out of rock piles when hiking in New Mexico. In the event of a snake-bite, identifying the offending snake can help enormously during treatment.

Record time: No, this isn’t a challenge to try and beat a personal best, but a reminder to make sure you travel with a relatively up to- date copy of your pet’s medical records, especially if your pet has any serious past or ongoing medical conditions. Many clinics can now even download a copy of your pet’s records onto a portable pocket size USB drive, which you can carry around with you easily(some can even be affixed to your key chain). A doctor in the house: While there always seems to be a vet office “just around the corner,” in an emergency, time is of the essence. Before your trip, use the vet locator (in your gopetplan.com online account) to find phone numbers and addresses should your pet need medical attention. Tip: call ahead and check the hours of business. Now that you’re all prepared, the biggest problem is choosing where to go!

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