Davenport, Iowa Veterinarian Itching to teach you about Fleas

 

Who hates fleas?  Everybody hates fleas!  Ctenocephalides canis or felis better known as the common flea is not a visitor anyone ever welcomes to their home.  For those of us who have had to deal with a flea infestation- once is definitely enough! Aside from the obvious “yuck” factor, there are a lot of good reasons to avoid this hopping, biting scourge of the insect world.

  1.  Fleas make their living by biting other animals and feeding on their blood.  When fleas bite they inject saliva into the skin of their host which can cause inflammation, itching, allergic dermatitis and hair loss.  Even worse, if the host is small enough or the number of fleas’ large enough, anemia can result from blood loss.
  2. Fleas don’t just bite your pet.  They bite you.  They bite your children.  Everybody gets itchy.
  3. A single female flea can lay up to 50 eggs each day and up to 2000 eggs in her short life time!!!  Of course by the time you discover that your pet has fleas, there are most likely eggs and larva throughout your home.
  4. Fleas act as a transport vehicle for the aptly named “Flea” tapeworm.  Pets ingest fleas as they groom.  Once the flea is in the digestive system, the larva breaks free and finds a home in your pet’s intestines. An adult tapeworm can grow up to 75 cm (29.5 inches).  According to CPAC (Companion Animal Parasite Council), “Infections of children with D. caninum following ingestion of an infected flea are occasionally reported. The disease induced in the child is generally mild, confined to the intestinal tract, and readily treated, but can still be distressing to the family.”
  5. Fleas carry the Plague – the Bubonic Plague.  This is particularly important in the Rocky Mountain States.
  6. Fleas carry Typhus and yes it can be transmitted to humans.  According to Pubmed Health, “Typhus is caused by one of two types of bacteria: Rickettsia typhi or Rickettsia prowazekii.” The form of typhus depends on which type of bacteria causes the infection. Murine typhus occurs in the southeastern and southern United States, often during the summer and fall. It is rarely deadly. Risk factors for murine typhus include:
    1. Exposure to rat fleas or feces
    2. Exposure to other animals such as cats, opossums, raccoons, skunks and rats
  7. Fleas can help to transmit “Cat Scratch” disease from one cat to another.  We humans get Cat Scratch Fever when we are scratched by an infected feline.
  8.  Fleas can transmit  Mycoplasma haemofelis a blood borne parasite that can cause damage to the red calls which results in anemia in your pet.
  9.  Even if your pet never goes outdoors, you can carry fleas into the house on your pants legs. Fleas can survive the winter just fine as long as you continue to heat your home. 
  10. Once there is an established flea infestation, it can be time consuming and expensive to resolve.  Like so many other problems fleas are much easier to prevent than alleviate.

 

I don’t know about you but I’m going to go make sure my dog is up to date on his flea prevention.

Ways to Recognise Illness in Your Cat From Davenport, Iowa Veterinarian

The decrease in feline veterinary visits has us worried.   We love our cats but do not provide them with the same level of care that we do our dogs.  It’s true that cats are great at masking illness.  However,  by putting off a veterinary visit until your cat is seriously ill,  we  only make for greater expense for us and stress for our pet.  We all need to learn how to better recognise the signs of illness in cats, so this week we have decided to reprint a great article  from Pet Docs on Call covering  just this subject.

 

By Dr. Jen Mathis, Certified Veterinary Journalist and member of the Veterinary News Network received veterinary care in the past year.hadn’t”There are 82 million pet cats in the U.S., compared with 72 million dogs, making cats the most popular pet.  Yet studies show the number of feline veterinary visits is declining steadily each year. A 2007 industry survey revealed that compared with dogs, almost three times as many cats

Though there are many myths about cat health, the truth is, cats need regular veterinary care, including annual exams and vaccinations, just like dogs do. More importantly, because they are naturally adept at hiding signs of illness, annual exams can result in early diagnosis of health problems. Early diagnosis often results in longer quality life at less cost.

Boehringer Ingelheim is trying to help cat health by teaching about the 10 subtle signs of sickness in cats:

1. INAPPROPRIATE URINATION – At least 80% of the time this is a medical problem often associated with conditions ranging from kidney disease to arthritis. Behavior is the least likely cause.

2. CHANGES IN INTERACTION – Cats are social animals. Changes in their interaction often signal pain or anxiety.

3. CHANGES IN ACTIVITY – Medical conditions such as arthritis can produce a decrease in activity while an increase can signal a condition such as hyperthyroidism.

4. CHANGES IN SLEEPING HABITS – While cats sleep 16 to 18 hours a day, they usually should be quick to respond to someone walking into a room. Difficulty lying or rising is also a problem.

5. CHANGES IN FOOD AND WATER CONSUMPTION – Eating or drinking more or less can be signs of a range of underlying medical conditions.

6. WEIGHT LOSS OR GAIN – Weight changes in cats often go unnoticed because of their thick coats. It is not an expected part of aging, but rather a medical problem.

7. CHANGES IN GROOMING – A poor hair coat is a common sign of many medical conditions in cats.

8. SIGNS OF STRESS – Sudden lifestyle changes can cause stress in cats, resulting in symptoms such as decreased grooming to eating more frequently. These are also signs of illness, so sickness should be ruled out before stress issues are addressed.

9. CHANGES IN VOCALIZATION – An increase in crying or howling is common with older cats and can be caused by high blood pressure (leading cause of blindness), kidney problems, thyroid issues, stress or pain.

10. BAD BREATH– 70 percent of cats have gum disease as early as age 3. Pets are not supposed to have bad breath as it usually means infection. Since 2/3 of the tooth is under the gum-line, many cats have problems that can’t be seen without x rays. Dental problems cause kidney problems.

“Have we seen your cat lately?” If not, an exam may be just what your cat needs to help live a longer quality life! For more information, please check with your veterinarian!”


Davenport, Iowa veterinarian Reaches Out to Cat Owners

Have We Seen Your Cat Lately?

We love our cats in the United States.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t always translate into appropriate veterinary care. Yes, there are plenty of owners who do everything for their cats – exams, vaccines, spay/neuter, and dental care – whatever they need.  However, they may not be in the majority. Too many neglect health issues until their cat becomes seriously ill.

One scenario may be for a feline patient to come in for kitten vaccines, spay or neuter surgery, and then not be seen again until they are sick. Other owners will keep up on rabies vaccines but little else.  Too many of us don’t provide our cats with the same level of care that we do their canine counterparts.

Cats can be difficult to transport.  They don’t like their carriers. They don’t like the clinic. Then again, many think because their cat is indoors, no vaccines are required. We tell ourselves cats are hardy survivors. They don’t need as much veterinary care.

Wrong.  Cats need all the same care that other animals do.  According to Scott Bernick at Animal Family, “This has been a disturbing trend in veterinary medicine.  Unfortunately, we are seeing more cats come in with severe illness, leaving the owners with fewer options and increased expenses.”

Cats need to be vaccinated just as much as other pets.  Core vaccines are recommended for all cats. These are diseases that are commonly found in the environment. That means there is a realistic risk of exposure, infection, and the development of a disease.  This is particularly the case with kittens.  In the case of Rabies, it is mandated by law for the protection of the public as well as animal health.

The following vaccines are considered core:

  • Feline Panleukopenia:      All kittens should receive this vaccine as early as 6 weeks and then at 3-4 week intervals until 16 weeks of age.  All kittens should receive a 1-year booster.  Non vaccinated adults should receive 2 doses 3-4 weeks apart.  Annual vaccination is not recommended in all adult cats.  At Animal Family we vaccinate every 2 years.
  • Feline Rhinotracheitis:     All kittens should receive this vaccine as early as 6 weeks of age and then in 3-4 week intervals until 16 weeks of age.  All kittens should receive a 1-year booster.  Non vaccinated adults should receive 2 doses 3- weeks apart.  Annual vaccination is not recommended in all adult cats.  At Animal Family we vaccinate every 2 years
  • Feline Calicivirus:  All kittens should receive this vaccine as early as 6 weeks of age and then in 3-4 week intervals until 16 weeks of age.  All kittens should receive a 1-year booster.  Non vaccinated adults should receive 2 doses 3-4 weeks apart.  Annual vaccination is not recommended in adult cats.  At Animal Family we vaccinate every 2 years
  • Rabies:         State statutes determine how often Rabies vaccines are administered. In Iowa, a single dose is required as early as 12 weeks of age. All kittens should receive a 1-year booster.  Non vaccinated adults receive 1 vaccine and a booster 12 months later.  Thereafter adults can receive Rabies vaccination in 3-year intervals provided it is given on schedule.  Otherwise, another 1-year booster will be required.

The following vaccines are considered noncore:

  • Feline Leukemia:    Feline Leukemia testing and vaccination is strongly recommended for all kittens and for individuals whose health is compromised.  Kittens test negative for the virus prior to vaccination.  Two doses are administered as early as 8 weeks of age and 3-4 weeks later.  Only cats that are at risk (such as those who go outdoors) should be vaccinated at yearly intervals thereafter.
  • Feline Immunodeficiency Virus:            This vaccine is only recommended for only for cats with a high risk of exposure.  Because the vaccination  itself can cause a positive result on antibody testing, there is some controversy surrounding its use

 

  • FIP:    Generally not recommended due to concern about whether the vaccine is effective or not.
  • Feline Chlamydophila and Bordatella are only recommended when the diseases are present in multi-cat environments.

We are participating in a nationwide National awareness program aimed at reminding people of the importance of regular veterinary care for their cats.  During the months of April, May and June   Animal Family will provide dental exams, weight checks, and body assessment scores free of charge.  It would be a great time to update vaccines and get a wellness checkup for your cat as well.

Davenport, Iowa Veterinarian Provides a Guide to Vaccinations

Vaccinations are one of the most common procedures a pet receives at the veterinarian’s office   Vaccines help enhance your pet’s  immune response as a way to prevent infectious disease.  Most species including humans receive vaccines at some point in their life.

We begin the process in young animals as maternal antibodies (received in the womb and while nursing) decrease. Once an animal becomes an adult, vaccinations are continued at regular intervals based on manufacturer’s recommendations and those of agencies such as the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) and AHHA (American Animal Hospital Association) and AAFP (American Association of Feline Practitioners).  Your vet may increase frequency or even discontinue specific vaccines on a given animal if there is concern regarding immune response.

Vaccines are divided into two groups – either core or noncore. Core vaccines are recommended for every animal of a given species. An example of a core vaccine would be Parvovirus. It is endemic to the United States and can cause death or severe illness in affected dogs.

 Noncore vaccines are recommended for those individuals who are at risk for exposure to certain infectious agents. An example would be recommending Lyme vaccine for a pet that has had tick (which are known to transmit Lyme disease) infestation in the past or frequents areas that are known tick habitats.

AAHA vaccine guidelines consider the following vaccines core:

:

  • Canine Parvovirus: All puppies should receive 3 doses between the ages of 6 to 16 weeks administered 3 – 4 weeks apart. All puppies should also receive a one year booster. Unvaccinated adults require 2 doses at 3 – 4 week intervals. Annual vaccination is not recommended in adults.  This is why we use a 2 year vaccination interval at Animal Family.
  • Canine Distemper Virus: All puppies should receive 3 doses between the ages of 6 to 16 weeks administered 3 – 4 weeks apart. All puppies should also receive a one year booster. Unvaccinated adults require 2 doses at 3 – 4 weeks apart.  . Annual vaccination is not recommended in adults this is why we use a 2 year vaccination interval at Animal Family.
  • Canine Adenovirus (Hepatitis):  All puppies should receive 3 doses between the ages of 6 to 16 weeks administered 3 – 4 weeks apart. All puppies should receive a one year booster. Unvaccinated adults require 2 doses at 3 – 4 weeks apart.  Annual vaccination is not recommended in adults. This is why we use a 2 year vaccination interval at Animal Family.
  • Rabies: State statutes dictate rabies vaccine protocolsIn Iowa, puppies should receive one dose as early as 4 months.  All puppies receive a 1 year booster. Thereafter a dog may go to 3 year vaccination intervals.  Unvaccinated adults receive a single dose, a booster at 1 year and boosters every 3 years thereafter. Boosters must be done close to the original administration date or the animal will require a 1 year booster.

 

AAHA vaccine guidelines consider the following vaccines as non-core:

  • Parainfluenza: All puppies should receive 3 doses between the ages of 6 to 16 weeks administered 3 – 4 weeks apart.  All puppies should receive a one year booster. Unvaccinated adults require a single dose. 
  • Bordatella (Kennel Cough): Both puppies and unvaccinated adults should receive 2 doses 3 – 4 weeks apart.  Thereafter annual boosters are recommended for high-risk animals.  We consider this to be a core vaccine at Animal Family because all dogs have exposure to other canines
  • Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease):  Puppies should receive 2 doses.  The first at 9 – 12 weeks and the second 3 – 4 weeks later. Unvaccinated adults should receive 2 doses at 3 – 4 week intervals.  Annual boosters are recommended thereafter. Vaccination is recommended for those animals who live in or visit areas where exposure to tick vectors is high or animals who live in an area where the disease is considered to be endemic.
  • Canine Coronavirus:  AAHA does not recommend this vaccine since clinical cases rarely occur.
  • Leptospira:  Puppies should receive 2 doses between the ages of 12 to 16 weeks administered 3 – 4 weeks apart. All puppies should receive a one year booster. Unvaccinated adults should receive 2 doses 3 – 4 weeks apart. Annual vaccinations are recommended thereafter.  We consider Leptospira a core vaccine at Animal Family because we see clinical cases every year.

This covers the vaccines recommended for dogs.  Next week we will cover feline vaccination recommendations.

Animal Family’s Guide to Pilling Your Pet

A while back there was a particularly funny e-mail circulating about pilling a cat.  What made us laugh was the large kernel of truth within the wit.  Many of us have experienced the frustrations of trying to get a pill inside our cat first hand…  It  can  be a daunting task.

The easiest and most time honored way to give a pill remains hiding it in something else.  If you can get your pet to take a pill this way and he/she is not on any food restriction this is still the best method.  One of our favorites at Animal Family is Pill Pockets made by Greenies.  They are a meat flavored soft treat that molds around the pill.  A large number of both dogs and cats will happily take their medications in a Pill Pocket.  Other choices are peanut butter, cheese, yogurt and canned food.  Just make sure your pet doesn’t spit the medication out.

If your pet either won’t eat a hidden pill or eats around it, you may have to do it the old fashioned way.  Even then, it is possible to make the process easier.

  • Make sure your pet is in a safe area.  For bigger dogs we recommend having their butt in a corner where they can’t back away.  Small dogs and cats should be placed on a counter or other raised surface.
  • Stand to the side of your pet.  Cats and small dogs should be placed in the crook of your elbow.  Don’t approach your pet from the front. 
  • Coating the pill with butter will give it a slippery and yummy tasting coating.
  • Tilt your pets head back.  For large dogs you may just place your fingers behind the canines and pull upward.  A gentle squeeze at the corner of the jaws works best for smaller pets.
  • Once their mouth is open you will need to get the pill far back in the mouth.  This is the scary part for most owners so we recommend that you use a pet piller.  This can literally take the bite out of pilling.
  • In one smooth motion, place the piller so the tip is at the back of the mouth and depress the plunger to release the medication.  Please be careful of your pet’s mouth.  This is a sensitive area and you don’t want to cause injury.
  • Leaving the head tilted backwards, immediately close your pet’s mouth and blow into their nose.  Return the head to a normal position and gently rub the throat until you see swallowing…  Be careful not to get in your pet’s face.  Make sure you are above and to the side or back of the pet’s mouth when you blow.  If your pet is aggressive…don’t get close to his/her face.
  • Make sure your pet has swallowed before releasing him/her.  Look for swallowing or licking of the lips.

What happens if your pet is like the cat in the funny e-mail?  If you absolutely can’t get pills down your pet there is another option…Compounding.  Most medications can be compounded into taste tabs, liquid suspensions or topical gels.  It may involve some additional cost but can be a life saver with a non-cooperative animal.  Be sure to ask your veterinarian especially is your pet is on maintenance medications

Remember, if you don’t feel confident, please don’t attempt this without help from your veterinarian.

Animal Family’s Guide To Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth

      

  • Start with a yummy flavored tooth paste.  Vanilla mint, poultry, beef or malt are some of the favorites. Any flavor your dog enjoys is alright but make sure it is safe for pets. DO NOT use human tooth paste! It is not good for your pet.  I always open the tooth paste container in front of the puppy.  Remember to keep it in a safe place Continue…

Animal Family’s Easy Guide to House Training Your Puppy

  1. When it comes to puppy training consistency is the key. Always use the same door to take your puppy outside to eliminate.
  2. Take him or her to the same area. Hopefully once that area smells like urine and stool their sense of smell will help stimulate them to eliminate.
  3. Go out with them, so you can praise while they are going and give a treat right afterwards. Don’t give them their treat once they are in the house.  If you do,  you praised them for is coming back in, not going potty outdoors.
  4. Always use the same word for elimination, Start talking as soon as you take them out of the kennel and continue until you get to the designated place outside.  Choose a word.  It can be “go potty”, “do your business” or any other phrase that works for both you and your puppy.
  5. If your puppy starts going to the door on his or her own, ask them to let you know it’s time to go out. An easy way to do this is to hang a bell by your door. You can teach the pup to touch the bell or simply reward them when they do it inadvertently.
  6. If your puppy goes outside and doesn’t get down to business (within 5 minutes or so) bring them back indoors and put them in their kennel (yes I do recommend crates or kennels).  Wait about 15-20 minutes and try again.
  7. Make a big deal about it when they go outside (“YEH!!! GOOD PUPPY, GOOD JOB….LOOK HOW SMART YOU ARE!!!!!”) Go ahead and give a treat as well. (Remember,  give the treat while they are outside.)
  8. Anytime your puppy has been playing for more the 30 minutes go outside again…… Puppies can’t engage in more than  30-50  minutes of active play without needing to eliminate!
  9. Puppy stays in the kennel when you can’t give them 100 % of your attention!!!! That way they can’t sneak off into another  room.  Use it like a play pen or crib for babies .  As they get better, try using the kennel less and less.
  10. If your puppy makes a mistake in the house, clean it up thoroughly and be more vigilant. The fewer mistakes your puppy makes indoors the faster he or she will learn.  No corrections unless you catch them in the act. If you see your pup going potty in the house, startle and redirect.  Yell, shake a penny can or throw a toy towards them and then quickly take them to their designated area outdoors.  Spankings just scare and confuse the puppy.
  11. Repeat as needed for good house breaking…. If you put all of your work in at the beginning you and Rover WILL SUCCEED!
  12. I love house breaking in the winter!!! I find that you and your dog spend very little time outside, so the puppy really learns what you want.  Whereas in the summer, when both people and pets want to spend a lot of time outside,  puppy can potty any time and may have a much harder time understanding the actual mission.

Animal Family’s 10 Good reasons to Adopt From A Shelter

  1. You know what you are getting. Unlike a puppy, if you adopt an adult animal, he/she will already have a fully developed personality.  In addition, most shelters temperament test their animals before putting them up for adoption so there is little chance of bringing home an unstable animal.
  2. Some animals receive extra training and socialization. How great is it to get a pet that is already house trained!  Even better, if you adopt through an agency that utilizes foster care, your pet may have received some basic obedience training as well.  Shelters will generally be willing to help you should problems develop post adoption.
  3. Your new companion wants and appreciates the chance to bond with you. Ending up in a shelter is a scary process.  Pets may arrive there due to the death of a previous owner, financial difficulties, or simply because they got lost.  These are usually great animals who just need a second chance and will be forever grateful to their new owner.
  4. Shelters are a better option than a puppy mill. You have no idea about the breeding, or socialization of animals that come from a puppy mill. You may pay a large amount of money for a pet that has spent its entire life in a small kennel with little human contact.  When profit is the main motivator, you can be sure that little attention is paid to preventing inherited disorders either.
  5. You are saving lives. When you adopt a pet from a shelter you are not only saving the pet you bring home but making room for another animal in that facility or foster program as well.  It feels pretty good to save one life but it’s even better when it’s two.
  6. You are helping your community. When you adopt from your local humane society the fees you pay help to fund all of their programs. Most shelters also provide community education, patrol for strays and lost pets and ensure animals they adopt out are spayed or neutered.
  7. You will have help finding the right animal for your family. Shelters want their placements to work and they will work hard to help you find the right animal for your home environment.  Unlike buying from a pet store, you get to know ahead of time if your dog or cat prefers children or other pets.
  8. Yes, you can find a purebred animal. A surprising number of purebred dogs and cats can be found at your local humane society.  Being a purebred does not make them immune from circumstances that can land them in a shelter.
  9. Shelters also have puppies and kittens. If you really love having a baby in the house, shelters usually have young animals up for adoption too. They can also be a great place to find your next rabbit, guinea pig or ferret.

10. Your pet may already be spayed or neutered. Because all shelters are concerned about pet overpopulation, your pet will most likely already be altered. If you adopt an animal that is too young most provide vouchers for later spaying and neutering.  That’s one less thing for you to worry about.

Humane Society of Scott County