Fleas – The Essential Facts

 

Think fleas are just a summer problem? Not so but somehow this myth persists despite our best efforts. Arm yourself by reading our primer and learning all the things flea that your mother never taught you.

 

  • Fleas and their predecessors have been around since the Cretaceous era (65 million years ago).

  • Fleas used to be bigger (Up to 2 cm long). Today’s fleas are smaller (1.5 to 3.2 mm) but more athletic.

  • Fleas don’t have wings, but they can jump 50 to 100 times their body length.

  • Some people have theorized that humans evolved their hairlessness not just to attract a mate and cope with life on the hot savannahs but also as an adaptation to rid themselves of fleas and other external parasites.

  • The flea life cycle has four stages (egg, larvae, pupae and adult). More than half of the fleas in your house are eggs. That means for every adult you see, there are 100 more preadults waiting to emerge.

  • Fleas need a blood meal to reproduce.

  • Once a flea is on your pet, it will rarely leave since it needs to feed every 12 hours.

  • Once a flea has fed for 24 hours it will die of starvation within 2 – 4 days without a blood meal.

  • Fleas might bite you, but they are species specific and can’t survive on human blood alone

  • Adult fleas may need blood, but their larvae can survive on anything from dead bugs to poop to vegetable matter.                  

  • Fleas are hardy. They have a dormant stage in which preemergent adults can survive in a cocoon for up to 5 months

  • Fleas can’t survive out in the snow and cold, but they do just fine in your home or on a warm and furry host, even outdoors.

  • In your home, the flea life cycle can complete in 12 – 26 days.  

  • Fleas carry diseases such as Plague, Typhus, Cat Scratch Fever and Mycoplasma haemofelis (which effects the red blood cells in cats causing anemia and fever).

  • Fleas also transmit one of the more common tapeworms that plague pets.

  • Many pets are allergic to flea saliva and develop a severe dermatitis from as little as one bite.

  • The best way to deal with flea problems is prevention. Keep your pet on a quality anti-parasitic product all year.

  • If you already have a flea infestation at home, consult your veterinarian. The products and science of flea prevention and treatment change very quickly. Your veterinarian can make sure you get the best, less environmentally impactful product available.

Preventing Pancreatitis in Pets: Knowing the Score This Thanksgiving

pancreatitis in petsIf you haven’t had enough pumpkin spice flavor in your life lately, you’re in luck. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, a fact that has most Americans jumping for joy. Between the turkey, gravy, casseroles, and desserts, we consume far more than we ought to – and pay for it later.

The endless indulgence does not set a great example for our pets either, who watch every move we make intently. It’s no wonder that pancreatitis in pets occurs like clockwork every holiday season. Fortunately, there are definite ways to counteract this dangerous medical condition.

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The Scary Consequences of Not Doing that Dental

 

Don’t wait for the telltale signs of bad breath before scheduling dental care for your pet. By the time an unpleasant odor is evident they will be well on the way to serious dental disease.

Think Dog Breath = Early Disease. Bad Breath = Bad Disease.

 

    • Gingivitis:   Is defined as inflammation of gum tissue caused by a buildup of plaque and tartar. This is the start of dental disease and provides the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive.  Inflammation, swelling and bleeding gums are the body screaming for dental care before things get worse.

      • Inflammation: The presence of inflammation and bacteria will cue up your pet’s immune system. With chronic inflammation, the immune response never shuts off which can damage heart, lungs and kidneys.

    • Gingival Recession: Untreated gingivitis and inflammation damages tissues causing  gums to pull away from teeth.  This exposes  sensitive tooth roots which do not have the same protective enamel as the crown and are more susceptible to damage.

    • Bone Loss:   Once the more vulnerable roots have been exposed, destructive bacteria release toxins which then eat away surrounding bone.

    • Root Abscess: The combination of inflammation, bacteria, gum recession and bone loss can lead to tooth root abscesses resulting in the loss of affected teeth.

    • Tooth Loss: As the cascade of damage continues, teeth will begin to wobble.  A decrease in appetite, weight loss and general malaise brought on by pain follows.

    • Oronasal Fistula: Severe dental disease can damage enough bone to create an opening between your pet’s mouth and nasal tract. At this stage, chronic respiratory issues are added to dental pain and disease.

    • Jaw Fracture: Continued bone loss can lead to fracture of the lower jaw.

    • Organ damage and Systemic Disease: This is the end game for untreated dental disease. Bacteria and chronic inflammation wreak havoc on the kidneys, liver, heart and overall health robbing your pet of not only quality but quantity of life.

Being the Ears for Your Deaf Pet

deaf petWhether you have an animal who was born deaf or one who becomes deaf during the course of his or her life, coping with hearing loss takes effort. Owning a deaf pet can be a challenge, but with the help and support of the team at Animal Family Veterinary Care, it’s a role you can successfully take on.

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5 Whys of Pet Wellness Visits

  • Animals mask illness.

    • Domesticated, well maybe but first and foremost your dog, cat, rabbit, bird etc… is still an animal and the number one rule in the animal kingdom is that the critter that shows weakness gets eaten first. Even if fluffy lives on the couch that fact is hardwired into his/her brain.

    • Wellness visits are our chance to circumvent to the “no talk rule.” They give us the information we need to catch brewing illnesses before they become major problems.

  • Preventative care costs much less than sick care.

    • Don’t like the cost of vaccines? Paying for the cost of treating Parvo, pneumonia or heartworm disease, far outweigh the cost of prevention.

    • Simple economics. Prevention is always less costly than treatment plus your pet doesn’t suffer damage to the organs that many diseases cause.

  • Your pet will live longer.

    • Good preventative care that catches problems early extends lifespan.

    • Good dental care adds even more.

  • Some of the things we prevent can make you sick too.

    • Most of us let our pets sleep with us so it’s a good idea to make sure they are healthy and parasite free.

  • It’s just the right thing to do.

    • Come on! Pets give us so much unconditional love, protection and service. Let’s do what we can to give them a long and healthy life in return.

Ready to Care for Breed-Specific Conditions? The Most Common Pet Health Problems  

You might like the look and temperament of a certain pet breed, only to find out that there are serious pet health problems associated with it. Of course, not every pet will suffer from issues that affect the breed in general, but it is important to acknowledge the health prospects of a prospective pet, both before and during the adoption process. The more information you have in the beginning, the more compatible you and your pet will be in the long  run.

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Worst Case Scenario: Protect Your Friend With a Pet Fire Safety Plan

Statistics alone make a pet fire safety plan an important priority. Pets are responsible for hundreds of house fires each year, but more than 50,000 pets annually are threatened by an inferno at home. It’s urgent that we all spend a little extra time this summer acknowledging fire risks, designing a pet fire safety plan, and understanding the in’s and out’s of evacuating your home.

Disaster Prep

Request a safety pack from the ASPCA. Rescue workers know to look for these on doors and windows and can quickly get to work looking for your pet. There are other pointers on the website for ASPCA Disaster Preparedness.

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Is Pet Anxiety Normal at the Start of the School Year?

pet anxietyIt might seem a bit early, but it’s good to be prepared if your pet will experience any changes to the household dynamic this coming school year. During the summer months, the house may be absolutely brimming with squeals of laughter, blobs of peanut butter and honey, and a never-ending parade of activity. But what happens when the school year starts?

Confusing quiet, discomforting boredom, and pet anxiety are normal at the launch of the academic year, but these anxieties can be prevented – and the team at Animal Kind can help you prepare.

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Tips to Keep a Pet Cool All Summer Long

We begin each summer poised to have fun and maybe even get away for a bit. What’s not to love? However, sky-high temperatures, extreme humidity, and diminishing breezes can drain all of our collective can-do spirits. And we’re not alone. Our pets are right alongside us, enduring the ups and downs of the season. Luckily, there are many ways to keep a pet cool.

Avoid Heat Stroke

Dogs and cats pant and sweat through their paw pads in an attempt to regulate internal body temperature. While helpful, these methods aren’t entirely effective, and body temperature can quickly climb to dangerous degrees. Heatstroke is characterized by a temperature of 104 degrees or higher. With these ideas to keep a pet cool, you can protect against devastating consequences:

  • Provide ample shade.
  • Always have a fresh supply of cool, clean water inside and outside the home. Also be sure to bring water and a collapsible bowl along when out for a walk.
  • Reduce exposure to the heat by enforcing dawn and dusk exercise times.
  • Make ice packs that your pet can lick or lay down on.
  • Encourage your pet to walk on the grass instead of hot asphalt or concrete.
  • Install a shallow wading pool or sprinkler for your pet to test out throughout the day.
  • Airflow is just as important as shade. If your pet prefers an enclosure or pet house, be sure that air can flow over him or her. Likewise, setting up fans on the porch and throughout the house will help.

A Word on Fur

Perhaps counterintuitively, your pet’s fur actually helps protect him or her from the sun’s harsh rays. However, you should definitely keep a pet cool by grooming regularly. This will reduce the buildup of loose fur without exposing the skin to dangerous UV rays.

We are always here to offer your pet a refreshingly light summer trim. Pet grooming is just one of our specialties, and we’re happy to help.

Keep a Pet Cool

A critical component of summer pet safety is knowing that pets should never be left in a parked vehicle. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, temperatures inside the car can rise to lethal temps. Keep a pet cool by leaving him or her at home while you run your errands.

Know the Signs

Another way to keep your pet cool and safe this summer is to simply recognize the signs of heatstroke and heat exhaustion. Be on the outlook for dark red or dry gums, lethargy, depression, and odd behaviors.

Please give us a call if you suspect your pet needs immediate care or if you have additional questions about ways to keep a pet cool.

 

 

 

 

 

Making Veterinary Less Stressful for Your Dog

 

We have all seen owners and/or trainers who have taught their dog, bird, horse or cat to do amazing things. Birds with huge vocabularies, bike riding dogs and dancing horses. So how hard should it really be to teach our dog to tolerate a visit to the vet?? If you’re willing to invest a little time, you can train your dog to be a happier patient.

 

It’s all about practice, practice, practice.  The first place your new puppy should visit is the veterinary office. The very first visit should just be to say hello and get some treats. Use the second visit to make sure they are healthy…

Get your puppy used to having his/her feet handled at home. Start by holding a paw then move on to grasping a toenail. Even if you never plan on clipping nails at home, get your pup accustomed to the clipper around their feet. Remember to use lots of treats and praise!

 Teach your puppy how to take pills before they actually need to. Have your puppy sit sideways next to you or on your lap if they are small. Place one hand around the top jaw with your thumb and middle finger behind the canines. Use your other thumb and forefinger to gently open the lower jaw. Now just place a small treat or piece of cheese in the mouth on the tongue. Do this a few times and you shouldn’t have any trouble when the time to actually medicate comes along. Today there are even specially made products to hide pills in that most dogs love!

Handle your puppy’s ears, clean the area around their eyes, lift their tail and run your hands along their abdomen. Desensitizing your pup to handling is one of the kindest things you can do for them.

Teach your dog to stand quietly. Much of a veterinary exam is done with the pet standing. If your dog is accustomed to standing calmly beforehand the stress level will go way down. Again, use treats and gentle praise to let your dog know they are doing the correct thing.

Teach your dog to walk on a leash. If your dog is out of control in the waiting area things will only go downhill in the exam room.

Once your pet is protected by vaccines, schedule a puppy class and/or doggie daycare. A well socialized dog is a stable dog.  No kidding…our happiest patients are campers and Puppy Class alumni.

It’s OK to bring something from home. A toy or blanket work fine and pets find the familiar odor of home calming .

If you‘re nervous your dog will be too. Whatever you feel telegraphs directly to your pet. Some people can’t actually be in the room with their dog and that’s OK. Just don’t let your limitations make things more difficult for your pet.