Parasite Perils: The Importance of Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Prevention

iStock_000000295959_LargeAs we begin to experience spring here in Davenport, we also must contend with the usual suspects of spring discomfort: fleas, mosquitoes, and ticks. Couple the warm, humid weather with some time on a lake or near the river, and voila, the biting commences. No wonder flea, tick, and heartworm prevention is a hot topic among pet owners. Continue…

Canine Influenza

 

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There has been a large outbreak of Canine Influenza in the Chicago area. However, there are no reported cases in the Quad Cities at this time. That said we do need to educate ourselves about the virus and understand that it could possibly spread to our area.

Canine Influenza H3N8 is a virus that was previously seen only in horses. The first cases in dogs appeared in 2004. In 2005, H3N8 was officially identified as a new and emerging pathogen in canines. It does not affect humans.

Canine Influenza is spread through the air and on contaminated surfaces such as kennels or clothing. It can survive on surfaces for up to 48 hours, on clothing for 24 hours and on hands for 12 hours. Incubation is generally 2-4 days. Unfortunately it is during this period, when the dog is not showing any clinical signs, that the virus is most infectious.

Because this is a new virus around 80% of the dogs who are exposed will develop the disease. About 20% will not show any clinical signs at all but still be contagious. A small number of symptomatic animals will develop a more severe form of influenza and pneumonia. Overall the mortality rate is low when compared to the rate of infection.

Signs of Canine Influenza can be similar to Canine Kennel Cough but are generally more severe in nature. You may see:

  • Nasal and Ocular (eyes) discharge

  • Sneezing

  • Moist or dry cough

  • Low grade fever

  • Anorexia ( lack of appetite)

  • More severe cases may develop (green/yellow and thick) discharge, a high fever and/or pneumonia.

 

Canine Influenza is a virus and as such treatment is primarily supportive in nature. Fluids, nutrition, rest and isolation will help the dog mount its own immune response. This is particularly important in those animals with a severe form of the virus. When pneumonia or purulent nasal discharge is present antibiotics may also be used to treat the secondary bacterial infection. Most dogs will recover within 2 – 3 weeks.

Canine Influenza cannot be diagnosed on clinical signs alone.   Laboratory testing is the only way to confirm an infection with H3N8. This may be done by nasal/throat swab or blood testing.

You can protect your dog by:

  • Canine Influenza vaccine. Vaccination may prevent or most certainly decrease the severity of the disease. It requires 2 vaccinations 2 – 4 weeks apart. Maximum protection can be expected 10 days after the second shot.

  • If the virus is in your community, keep your dog from group situations where you do not know the vaccination status of other pets.

  • At this time, use considerable caution if you travel with your pet to the Chicago area.

  • Remember to wash your hands after coming into contact with other dogs.

  • If your dog develops clinical signs, please isolate them from other pets and call your veterinarian.

Ticks and Fleas and Creepy Crawlers!!!!

 

The world is full of creepy, crawly bugs.  They all have a purpose in the eco-system but unfortunately some of them are not so good for our pets.  Below is some more information on one of the more important ones.

 

Although ticks are commonly thought of as insects, they are actually arachnids like scorpions, spiders and mites. Ticks have four pairs of legs as adults and have no antennae.  Ticks are also efficient carriers of disease because they attach firmly when sucking blood, feed slowly and may go unnoticed for a considerable time while feeding. Ticks can take several days to complete feeding.

Ticks can also carry a variety of diseases that can cause problems in our 4 legged friends. One of the most common diseases present in our area from tick attachment and feeding is Lyme Disease.

 

Lyme disease

An infected Ixodes tick (deer tick) transmits the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria through the skin when it bites. Most dogs (as well as people) do not even feel the bite, which is why the tick can remain undiscovered.  After the initial bite through the skin, the tick secretes “cement” to anchor to its host where it is difficult to remove. Then, it begins to take in its blood meal 30 minutes later.

 

Amazingly, unlike most other insect bites, the tick’s bite is painless and non-irritating because its saliva contains:
– An anesthetic to numb and reduce pain
– An antihistamine to reduce allergic reaction or itching
– An anticoagulant to enhance blood flow
– An anti-inflammatory to reduce swelling
– An immunosuppressant to help aid in the transmission of pathogens

 

INFECTION DOES NOT HAPPEN IMMEDIATELY

The deer tick is very slow in transmitting the bacteria to dogs – only after the tick is partially engorged – 24 to 48 hours after attaching to the dog. This slow transmission of the disease shows the importance of checking your dog for ticks after being outside, even in your own backyard.

 

Dogs become infected with Lyme disease from the bite of an infected Ixodes tick called “the deer tick.” The tick must be infected with a specific bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi for your dog to get canine Lyme disease. This bacteria is what actually causes canine Lyme disease – the tick is just the transmitter or “vector” for the bacteria.  Dogs don’t get Lyme disease from other dogs or people. Dogs can get Lyme disease anywhere there are infected ticks, such as wildlife area or their own backyards which is why the Lyme vaccination is so important.

 

Assessing the risk for your dog to get Lyme disease is a combination of where you live, your dog’s lifestyle and your dog’s overall health. While many dogs are at risk in their own backyards because of where they live, others may have hunting or travel lifestyles that put them at risk. Understanding the risk in your local area is important.  https://www.dogsandticks.com/map/2012/

 

The breed of your dog is not an important risk factor. Big or small, couch potato or hunting dog, any dog can be at risk. Whenever and wherever dogs come in close contact with ticks – usually wildlife areas where mice and deer live – the risk of exposure to Lyme disease is great 

 

The second important measure is consistent monthly preventatives against ticks. These products are also available at your veterinarian and include Frontline Plus and Nexgard. Ask your veterinarian which product will work best for you.   The bottom line is by staying proactive in your pet’s care and monthly preventative care, you can decrease the risk of severe disease and tick infestation that could affect them their entire life.

Information for this blog was compiled from https://www.lymeinfo.com,  a great source of information for canine Lyme disease. 

THE SHOCKING DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE COST OF PREVENTING PARASITES AND TREATING THEM.

 

Heartworm/Flea Prevention

 

DOG #1:  10 pound Dachshund:

Heartgard up to 25#  12 DOSES $79.54  
Frontline up to 22#  6 + 2 free $127.54  
Discount   -$25.00  
Rebate   -$12.00  
+/- Heartworm Test     $47.51
Total cost  

$184.58

$269.09

Trifexis 10.1–20#  12 doses $224.84  
Rebate   -$25.00  
+/- Heartworm test     $47.51
Total Cost

 

$215.58

$288.09

Heartworm Treatment

Initial examination   $49.76  
Pretreatment Laboratory   $115.74  
Pretreatment Radiographs   $178.29  
Pretreatment Medications   $29.39  
Immiticide Treatment   $107.39  
Post Heartworm test   $47.51  
Hospitalization 3 days   $128.97  
+/-  Pretreatment ECG     $173.43
Total cost  

$659.11

$832.54

Intestinal Parasite Treatment

Intestinal Parasite Screen   $31.52  
Panacur 1 gram  (Rounds, Whips, Hooks) 2 treatments $22.48  
Cestex  ( Tapeworms)   $36.92  
Post Parasite Screen   $31.52  
Mycodex Premise Spray  fleas present $36.92  
Total Cost

 

$143.70

 

DOG #2: 50# Golden:

 

 

Heartgard 26-50#  12 DOSES $102.58  
Frontline 45-88#  6 + 2 free $127.54  
Discount   -$25.00  
Rebate   -$12.00  
+/- Heartworm Test     $47.51
Total cost  

$206.27

$290.78

Trifexis 40.1-60#  12 doses $237.08  
Rebate   -$25.00  
+/- Heartworm test     $47.51
Total Cost  

$228.68

$301.19

Heartworm Treatment

Initial examination   $49.76  
Pretreatment Laboratory   $115.74  
Pretreatment Radiographs   $178.29  
Pretreatment Medications   $38.77  
Immiticide Treatment   $658.07  
Post Heartworm test   $47.51  
Hospitalization 3 days   $128.97  
+/-  Pretreatment ECG     $173.43
Total cost

 

$1,219.83

$1,393.26

 

Intestinal Parasite Treatment

Intestinal Parasite Screen   $31.52  
Panacur 1 gram  (Rounds, Whips, Hooks) 2 treatments $22.48  
Panacur 4 gram  (Rounds, Whips, Hooks) 2 treatments $47.82  
Cestex  ( Tapeworms)   $36.92  
Post Parasite Screen   $31.52  
Mycodex Premise Spray  fleas present $36.92  
Total Cost

 

$233.24

 

DOG #3: 90# Great Pyrenees:

 

Heartgard 50-100#  12 DOSES $123.10  
Frontline 45-88#  6 + 2 free $127.54  
Discount   -$25.00  
Rebate   -$12.00  
+/- Heartworm Test     $47.51
Total cost

 

$231.19

$315.70

Trifexis 60.1-120#  12 doses $245.36  
Rebate   -$25.00  
+/- Heartworm test     $47.51
Total Cost

 

$237.54

$310.05

Heartworm Treatment

Initial examination   $49.76  
Pretreatment Laboratory   $115.74  
Pretreatment Radiographs   $178.29  
Pretreatment Medications   $58.75  
Immiticide Treatment   $1,116.97  
Post Heartworm test   $47.51  
Hospitalization 3 days   $128.97  
+/-  Pretreatment ECG     $173.43
Total cost  

$1,700.10

$1,873.53

Intestinal Parasite Treatment

Intestinal Parasite Screen   $31.52  
Panacur 1 gram  (Rounds, Whips, Hooks) 2 treatments $63.04  
Panacur 4 gram  (Rounds, Whips, Hooks) 2 treatments $90.64  
Cestex  ( Tapeworms)   $36.92  
Post Parasite Screen   $31.52  
Mycodex Premise Spray  fleas present $36.92  
Total Cost  

$313.16

 

 

Summary

 

Prevention

Treat Heartworm

Treat Intestinal Worms

10# Dog

$215.58-$288.09

$659.11-$832.54

$143.70

50# Dog

$206.27-$290.78

$1219.83-1393.26

$233,24

90# Dog

$231.19-$315.70

$1700.10-$1873.53

$313.16

 

The real question is why would you not

prevent???????

 

Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC)

 

A rose may be a rose by any other name but a cough…well a cough can be a lot of things.  Kennel Cough, Infectious Tracheobronchitis, Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease are all terms that are used interchangeably for CIRDC.  Do dogs with CIRDC always cough? Well… they frequently cough but not always. They may sneeze, have discharge from the eyes and nose, develop pneumonia or not show any signs at all. Some dogs may cough so hard that owners may confuse it with vomiting.  If you’re not sure watch this link. The causes of CIRDC are many and complicated and there are always new pathogens emerging.  Finally, CIRDC can be caused by more than one infectious agent.

Listed below are some of the pathogens that have been identified as major players in CIRDC.

 Currently identified viral agents include:

  • Parainfluenza virus  (vaccine available)
  • Adenovirus (vaccine available)
  • Canine respiratory corona virus
  • Canine herpes virus
  • Canine distemper virus (vaccine available)
  • Canine influenza virus (vaccine available)

 

Currently identified bacterial and other agents include:

  • Bordetella bronchiseptica (vaccine available)
  • Mycoplasma spp.
  • Streptococcus equi and zooepidemicus

 

Viruses and other infectious agents have been around for a long time and are highly successful organisms.  They spread easily and are frequently shed before any outward signs are evident. Once established in the respiratory tract secondary infection by other agents may also occur.  If that’s not enough, certain species can actually help each other infect your pet.  While vaccines are important in preventing CIRDC they unfortunately do not cover every pathogen that can cause disease.

When you think of CIRDC think of the colds your kids pick up at school and daycare. They can be spread by air and by physical contact. Interaction with other animals, stress, individual immune status, age, vaccine status and other factors can all play a role in development of CIRDC.

What’s the best way to manage CIRDC?  Most animals do best at home. If your dog begins coughing, call your veterinarian.  Coughing may be quite dramatic but in most cases it is self limiting. However, like a cold it can take a long time for symptoms to resolve on their own.   Each case is different and medications may be prescribed. Severe cases can cause pneumonia so any pet that appears to be in respiratory distress or is very lethargic should go to the clinic.  Once on the mend, please, don’t expose your dog to any other animals for a minimum of 7 days after all medication is finished and no symptoms are present.

 

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

Christmas Hazards That Can Harm Your Pet

 

 

 

 

1)   Potpourri:    Liquid potpourri can make your home smell festive for the holidays but remember to keep it away from your pets.  If the worst happens and your pet swallows liquid potpourri or spills any of it on themselves, you may see some of the following: drooling in case of ingestion, burning of the skin or mouth, weakness and vomiting. If you think any potpourri may be left on your pet’s skin, bathe them ASAP and call your veterinarian.

2)   Oh Christmas Tree:  As beautiful as Christmas trees are, they can pose considerable danger to your pets.  Don’t make this the Christmas you remember because of the trip to the emergency room. Be sure to secure your tree properly so playful pets don’t topple it and injure themselves. 

3)   Ornaments:  Cats love to play with tinsel but it can be a deadly game.  If ingested tinsel can cause a linear foreign body capable of cutting through intestines. Signs may include loss of appetite, lethargy and vomiting. Notify your veterinarian immediately if you think your cat has eaten any tinsel.  Ornament hooks can also be a hazard.  They are easily swallowed by pets and can lodge in the stomach or intestines.  Even broken ornaments knocked from the tree can cut sensitive paw pads. In general, it is best not place ornaments low on the tree where pets can dislodge them. 

4)   Electrical Cords: All kinds of pets are susceptible to allure of chewing electrical cords. Once they come into contact with bare wire,  they can die suddenly or receive severe burns to the mouth.  Signs of electrical burns include drooling, blisters and swelling around the mouth and an unwillingness or inability to eat or drink.  This type of injury requires immediate veterinary care.

5)   Poinsettias/Mistletoe:    Both these plants are commonly used as decorative accents during the Holiday season.  Poinsettia can cause local irritation to the mouth, gums and GI tract if ingested.  Treat your pet by washing the sap off immediately to stop further irritation. If your pet is  vomiting or if their eyes appear inflamed, call your veterinarian  It is the berries of the Mistletoe that pose a danger to pets.  Depending on the amount ingested, symptoms can range from GI upset and vomiting to drooling, diarrhea, increased urination, and rapid heart rate and respiration.  All of these symptoms require immediate veterinary care. 

6)   Alcohol:   Are there still people who think it is funny to feed pets alcohol?  Sadly the answer is yes.  It really doesn’t matter whether toxicity occurs by accident or intent; it is important to understand that pets can die from alcohol ingestion.  Alcohol poisoning is dependent on the amount of alcohol ingested as compared to an animal’s weight. That means when a small pet gets into an alcoholic beverage, it can cause a significant toxicity problem. According to Becky Lundgren, DVM, “Within 15 to 30 minutes after the pet has drunk the alcohol on an empty stomach (or within 1 to 2 hours on a full stomach); central nervous system signs (such as staggering, excitement, or decreased reflexes) can begin. Behavioral changes can be seen, as can an increased need to urinate. As the problem gets worse, the pet may become depressed, have a slow respiratory rate, or go into cardiac arrest. Puppies and kittens are at particular risk because of their small size and immature organ systems.”

7)   Chocolate:  Most people are aware that chocolate is bad for pets.  We just need to be extra careful to keep it away from them during the holidays.  As with most toxicities, problems with chocolate vary depending on the amount of cocoa, the size of the animal and the total amount ingested.  Again, a small pet that eats dark chocolate can be expected to have a much more severe problem.  Signs of toxicity include increased excitability, increased irritability, increased heart rate, restlessness, increased urination, muscle tremors, vomiting and diarrhea.  Be sure to call your veterinarian immediately if you think your pet may have ingested chocolate.

8)   Grapes/Raisins:   Lots of Holiday breads and treats contain raisins or grapes. We love them but accidental ingestion by our pets can cause kidney problems.  If you suspect your pet may have ingested either call your veterinarian ASAP.

9)   Burning Candles:  This hazard doesn’t need a lot of explanation.  We all just need to remember to take extra care that candles are safely out of the way of rambunctious pets and children. 

10)  Overindulgence:   As tempting as it may be, please don’t share your holiday bounty with your petsToo much fatty food can cause a bout of pancreatitis (an inflammation of the pancreas caused by over secretion of the enzymes used to digest food) and land your pet in the emergency room.  Signs of pancreatitis include: vomiting, no or decreased appetite, an abdomen that is painful to the touch and/or a hunched appearance, fever, diarrhea, lethargy /depression, and dehydration.  Pancreatitis can be life threatening and requires immediate veterinary care. 

So, please enjoy the holidays but remember keep a watchful eye on your pet as well.

   ASPCA Poison Control:   888-426-4435       

   https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control

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