Today we had a lunch and learn where Hill's came to talk to us about the benefits of all the veterinary diets they carry. It's always super interesting to hear all the research that goes into each diet and case studies of how the prescription diets have helped animals. We also love hearing pet food myths busted and better learning how to read and explain pet food labels to clients. Nutrition is important!!!!! Make sure you're feeding your pet a premium diet.
Fleas and Ticks
Summer fun comes with some uninvited guests. Flea and tick transmission increase in the warmer weather. It’s important to keep these pests under control for many reasons. They transmit diseases such as Hemobartonella and Ehrlichia. They can cause anemia in very small pets. Some dogs and cats are allergic to flea bites and develop severe dermatitis from relatively few fleas, usually around the tail- head area. Fleas and ticks on pets can be a source of bites for humans as well. Nearly all flea infestations are caused by one species of flea. Ticks are a little trickier to get rid of because there are multiple species of ticks that may have different susceptibilities to tick products. So, a broad spectrum tick killer is recommended.
Fortunately, there are some excellent products available to help take care of fleas and ticks. If your pet is on Trifexis or Advantage Multi for heartworm prevention then he or she is already on an excellent flea killer. Unfortunately, there are no heartworm preventions for dogs that take care of intestinal parasites, fleas and ticks, so another product must be used for tick prevention. Revolution is available for cats and will take care of intestinal parasites, fleas, and ticks but only one species of tick. Fleas are very mobile, and all pets tend to be at risk for flea infestation. Ticks are not as mobile. You tend to have to go where they are to pick up a tick infestation. So, the need for tick prevention is a personal decision based on where you travel with your pet and whether you’ve ever had a tick problem near your residence in the past.
There are some newer oral products for fleas and ticks such as Bravecto, Nexguard, or Simparica. We carry Bravecto because it lasts for 3 months for fleas and most ticks. Nexguard and Simparica are taken monthly. Bravecto for cats is a topical spot-on instead of oral. These are prescription products.
There are some tick and flea collars that work well. Seresto is a flea and tick collar that lasts for 8 months. There is a version for dogs and cats. Seresto does not require a prescription. Some dogs and cats are sensitive to flea and tick collars and can develop dermatitis under the collar, so always watch closely for signs of irritation such as redness, hair loss, or scratching at the collar.
For families with both dogs and cats, we recommend that you avoid products toxic to cats, such as most pyrethrin products like Parastar Plus or Vectra 3D. Cats can be poisoned by grooming or contact with dogs who’ve had these products applied.
One of the most important parts of the veterinary visit actually starts at home. This is the “art” of getting your cat into the carrier, then into the car, then into the clinic – without raising their “FAS” or Fear/Anxiety/Stress scale. The more fearful, anxious and stressed they are, the less we are able to handle them and ensure they have a pleasant visit at the vet.
Among cat owners, 44.9 percent did not take their cat or cats to a veterinarian during 2011, up from 36.3 percent in 2006. People don’t take their cat to the vet because it is stressful to their cat – therefore making it stressful for the client!
One of the ways you can begin to ensure your cat has a fear free visit is to get them used to their carriers. That means, don’t get the big scary box that only transports them to the big scary vet the day of the visit! Cats should be trained to love their crates and find them a safe, happy place to sit. Leave the carrier out all the time – or at least several days/weeks prior to the visit. Put their bed in it. Give them yummy food and treats in it. Cats love boxes…make them love their crate!
One of our awesome kitty clients, the Thomas family, leave their crates out before visits and look how relaxed their cats are! They didn’t drag them from under a bed and shove them into the carrier and toss the carrier in the hot car and bring them to the scary vet. They slept in their crates willingly because it is a safe place to them.
Hair ties not so fun for some cats
Hair ties can be very entertaining for a lot of cats and provide hours of fun. But these are not good toys! Many cats actually eat them and have to undergo surgery to remove them. Here’s and x-ray of a kitty who had eaten multiple hair ties and got very sick from them.
It’s that time of year again for the snakes to come about.
Some people will use moth balls as a snake repellent, but these are actually toxic to dogs, cats and other animals. Plus, they don’t work well at repelling the snakes.
Dogs like to eat anything smelly so moth balls may be yummy to dogs even though they smell horrible to us. If a toxic amount is ingested it can cause a severe hemolytic anemia. This disease often needs blood transfusions to treat it.
So, keep your pets safe and avoid the moth balls.
In one recent study 90% of cats over 12 years of age had radiographic evidence of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative, progressive and irreversible condition. It’s also PAINFUL! The elbows and hips are the most affected joints in cats but all joints are at risk. Our kitties are very good at hiding the signs of pain. Here is a video of a kitty with arthritis in her hips. Note how she bunny hops down the stairs instead of having a separate stride for each back leg.
Parasites, Pets, and Kids
Authored by: Tiffany J. Rule, DVM
Know the facts: Don’t expose your children!
- Hookworms and roundworms can be harbored by your dog or cat and transmitted to children who are living in homes with pets. In some cases these parasites can cause blindness in humans. It is thought that 30% to 50% of dogs and cats carry gastrointestinal (GI) parasites and that 1 to 3 million people in the U.S. have infections from the same parasites carried by pets. Children, the elderly and immunocompromised people are at high risk.
- Dogs get infected with hookworms and roundworms by walking places where other dogs have defecated. The microscopic roundworm eggs and hookworm larvae end up on your dog’s feet. Your dog then licks his feet and infects him or herself with these GI parasites. Three weeks later, your dog is shedding hookworm eggs and larvae from his GI tract. If your dog licks his anus and then licks your child, or if your child pets your dog, he or she can become infected with these parasites.
- Dogs can get ticks that spread Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, and tularemia, which can affect people if the ticks detach from the dog and attach themselves to your child. This could be a risk factor for your children if the family dog or cat sleeps in their bed.
- Cats get infected with hookworms and tapeworms by hunting prey. Even if your cat lives indoors, the ingestion of one house mouse can expose your cat to GI parasites. Cats with a flea infestation can spread cat scratch fever to children, elderly people, or immunocompromised (AIDS, cancer patients, organ transplant recipients) people.
- Keep your dog on monthly heartworm preventative all year. This medication helps to prevent hookworms and roundworms in your dog. Keep your dog on topical flea and tick control all year.
- Scoop the yard where your dog defecates at least weekly, ideally daily, as worm eggs and larvae are found in stool and can contaminate the environment.
- Bring your pet’s stool sample to your veterinarian at least twice per year and ideally four times per year. You do not have to bring your pet into the veterinary hospital for this service. The stool should be fresh. Many veterinarians will provide a special cup that allows specimen collection without touching the stool.
- Keep your cat on heartworm prevention once per month all year. This medication eliminates hookworms that could be potentially spread to humans in the household. It also kills fleas, which can be culprits in spreading cat scratch disease (cat scratch fever).
- Teach your children to wash their hands before eating, especially if they have recently handled their pet.
Rabies is a deadly virus for animals and humans. It’s state law to make sure your dogs and cats are up to date on their rabies vaccines and are registered within the city you live in.
Outbreak-alert.com is a website that records animals that tested positive for rabies by location. Take a look and see how close Rabies is to your house.
Lilies and cats are a bad combo
As Mother’s Day is fast approaching, please remember lilies are highly toxic and potentially deadly for our cats. There are many varieties of lilies. The genera Lilium and Hemerocallis are the genera that have been associated with renal failure in cats. All parts of the lily (flower, stem, leaves) are toxic and cause kidney damage and or failure. Most of the time symptoms do not arise for 12-36 hrs post ingestion and death occurring 3-5 days after exposure. If your kitty happens to eat a lily please bring them in ASAP to start treatment and also bring the remaining part of the lily with you so we can try and identify it. Many cats can survive the toxicity with prompt medical care.
So, if you’re ordering flowers for a loved one with cats, make sure the florist puts a hold on the lilies!
Love, Dr. Carter