Not Just a Pretty Face: Grooming for a Healthier Pet

Funny Dog Taking Bubble BathWhen you think of grooming, you might think of a poofy poodle or sleek Persian cat, but all pets need groomed. Some require just the occasional bath, brush, and nail trim while others need more intense care.

Grooming your pet doesn’t just make them prettier and better smelling, though. Regular pet grooming can be an important part of your pet’s regular care. Learn how grooming for a healthier pet can be an essential part of proper pet care. Continue…

Blastomycosis

 

Blastomycosis is a systemic fungal infection which causes illness when it is either inhaled into the lungs causing pneumonia or introduced into an open wound causing a localized skin infection.  Once the organism is in the body it transforms into yeast and can migrate to the lymph nodes, eyes, bones and central nervous system. The disease has a 1 to 3 month incubation period. Blastomycosis is common in the Great lakes and Mississippi river basin area and is found in sandy, acidic soil near water. We do see and treat cases at Animal Family.  There has recently been an uptick in cases in the greater Chicago area so it is worth familiarizing yourself with the symptoms of this disease.

 Dogs are the species most susceptible to Blastomycosis.  People and cats can become infected as well but with much less frequency.  In dogs, hunting breeds aged 2 – 4 years are the typical patient.  When cats do become infected they are generally young to middle aged.

Signs may include some but not all of the following:

  • Weight loss/depression
  • Fever up to 104 F (seen in 50% of cases)
  • Swollen Lymph nodes
  • Decreased appetite
  • Harsh, dry cough (pneumonia)
  • Enlarged testicles
  • Redness and discharge from the eyes (ocular)
  • Lameness (bone)
  • Draining skin lesions (cutaneous)
  • Fainting if the heart is affected
  • Seizures and dementia if the central nervous system is affected.

Diagnosis is made through:

  • Radiographs in cases of cough and pneumonia.
  • Cytology of lung/ lymph node aspirates and skin lesions.
  • Histopathology of bone lesions.Laboratory cultures of tissue samples.
  • Blood titers

Treatment with antifungal medications is successful in 75% of the cases. If antifungals are unsuccessful, surgical removal of lung abscesses may be required. In animals with severe breathing problems, supplemental oxygen may be required for up to a week. Even with treatment, animals with eye involvement may become permanently blind. Males with testicular involvement generally require castration. Early diagnosis improves the chance for survival.  About 20% of dogs may relapse and require a second course of treatment

Davenport, Iowa Veterinary Clinic Lists 10 Reasons People Take Pets to the Humane Society.

 

According to the ASPCA, “approximately 5 million to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and approximately 3 million to 4 million are euthanized (60 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats). Shelter intakes are about evenly divided between those animals relinquished by owners and those picked up by animal control. These are national estimates; the percentage of euthanasia may vary from state to state.” 

That is a really sad statistic.  We work closely with many of our local shelters at Animal Family and are always surprised at the quality of the pets we see.  These animals are neither worthless nor dangerous.  In fact, often the opposite is true.  Many are pure bred and almost all are loving, healthy animals who through no fault of their own end up homeless.

The 10 most common reasons owners give when surrendering a pet at the Humane Society of Scott County are:

  1. The owner is moving and is not able to take their pet with them
  2. The pet is too active for the owner to handle.
  3. The owner does not have enough time to devote to pet care
  4. The owner has encountered problems with housebreaking
  5. The animal is too expensive to care for.
  6. The animal is too young, too old or has developed health issues.
  7. The owner or a family member is allergic to the pet.
  8. The pet does not get along with another animal in the household.
  9. The pet belonged to a child who no longer lives in the home.
  10. The pet has become pregnant

Do you see a common thread among many of the reasons for pet relinquishment listed above?   How many of these problems could be avoided by a little research and planning before acquiring a pet.  For all the information on specific breeds that is available, it seems that people still jump into pet ownership on impulse.

So, please, before you bring a pet into your life, do your research. Think about your lifestyle, future plans, and overall health.  How busy are you?  Can you even afford a pet at this time?  Do you have the time or interest for training, walks and general health and coat care.  Don’t pick your pet based on looks.  Don’t assume you have to have a puppy and never, ever give a pet as a gift without a thorough discussion with the prospective new owner first.

Next week, we will go over what you need to think about before you add a new pet to your family.

Davenport IA, Veterinarian Talks Explains Diseases You Could Share With Your Pet…but Shouldn’t

 

According to the AVMA, in 2007 there were 72 million pet dogs, 82 million pet cats and over 4 million pet birds. At least 3% of the US households own a reptile. Almost one half of those pet owners consider their pets to be a member of the family. We are a pet loving country. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that we can share more than love with our pets. Did you know that according to the Center for Disease Control that almost 14% of the US population has been infected with Toxacara (roundworm of dogs and cats). That’s because up to 30% of dogs fewer than 6 months of age and 25% of all cats are infected with roundworms.

Cats and dogs can carry Roundworms, Tapeworms, Hookworms, Leptospirosis, Ringworm and Rabies to name a few. Pocket pets and reptiles can carry Salmonella. Birds can also carry Salmonella as well as Psittacosis (a bacterial disease).

Who is most at risk? According to our friends at CAPC (Companion Animal Parasite Council), it is generally those who come in contact with the soil the most often. That includes, gardeners, plumbers, sunbathers and of course children. Immune compromised individuals need to be particularly careful.

So should we get rid of all of our pets? No need to get so carried away. Following are some relatively simple measures you can take to control the risk of zoonotic transmission in your family.

  1. Wash your hands after handling pets, soil and feces. Be especially vigilant with youngsters.
  2. Don’t eat or smoke while you handle your pet. Especially if it is a reptile, bird or pocket pet.
  3. Pets and food preparation do not go together.
  4. Keep your pets on a regular schedule of deworming. Dogs and cats should be on broad spectrum, year round anti-parasitic products.
  5. Get annual fecal parasite checks. That’s because you may give your pet his preventative but he may either spit it out or throw it up later on.
  6. Treat pets and their surroundings for fleas.
  7. Dispose of pet feces on a daily basis.
  8. Cover up your children’s sandbox when it’s not in use.
  9. Feed only cooked, canned or dry dog and cat food.
  10. Don’t allow birds or reptiles to roam loose in the house.
  11. If you are scratched by your pet, wash the area thoroughly.
  12. Vaccinate. Yes, there is some risk (1/10,000) of soft tissue sarcomas in cats with the use of Rabies and Feline Leukemia vaccines. We try to make it safer by vaccinating every 3 years. However, our biggest concern is that Rabies is out there and it kills all of us all the time.
  13. Immune compromised individuals should not own reptiles or amphibians.
  14. Don’t let your dog or cat drink from the toilet bowl. According to CAPC this can spread human adapted strains of parasites to pets