Taos is approximately 7,000' high in altitude. For healthy pets, this should not pose a problem. However, for aging pets or those diagnosed with heart disease, this could make breathing difficult. If you have come here from sea level, you may want to go over your pets' medications during an exam. If your pet has severe cardiac issues, you may want to leave them at home or board them at a lower altitude. As we are in an arid climate, make sure that your pets have access to clean water at all times.
Prairie Rattlesnakes: make their home here in Taos. They are more venomous than Diamondbacks, and have a high fatality rate. Time is important when treating rattlesnake bites. Taos Veterinary Clinic does carry the rattlesnake anti-venin. It is extremely expensive and large dogs would need 2 vials. We do have the rattlesnake vaccine, and if you dog is vaccinated beforehand, it will dramatically cut the cost.
Prairie Dogs/Rabbits: are cute, but fleas from prairie dogs transmit plague (which unlike Medieval times, is now easily curable with antibiotics), and fleas & ticks from rabbits transmit tularemia (otherwise known as rabbit fever), and tapeworm. Plague and tuleremia can be transmitted to humans from your pet.
Fleas & Ticks: Because of our dry climate, Taos is not inundated with fleas and ticks as are some other areas. However, we do have some "hot spots" near water areas, and during and after our Monsoon season, we can see an increase. We do not recommend flea collars, and prefer treatments like Frontline, Nexgard, Revolution, etc.
Mosquitoes: Again, not as much as a problem as other parts of the country, but we do find pets with heartworm, so we do recommend pets be treated with Heartgard every month at least throughout mosquito season.
Spiders: are everywhere and we do have black widows and brown recluse spiders here in Taos. Sudden, immediate swelling should be seen by the vet as soon as possible. Swallowing a black widow or brown recluse can be fatal.
Porcupines: Once you get off the mesa, into the foothills, beware of the porcupine! Seeing a dog come in with a "full beard" is not a happy time for you, your dog, or us. Dogs will be sedated in order to effectively, and safely, remove the quills. Often they are also in the soft palate of the mouth, and the eye area has to be carefully examined to make sure quills have not punctured the eyeball. Removal of quills is really a job best left to the vet.