Spring has finally sprung! The sun is out, the flowers are blooming, and Peter Cottontail is on his way! Easter is right around the corner and this year is extra special because we get two holidays in one as Easter falls on April 1st this year allowing us to celebrate tricks and treats in one day but wait isn’t that another holiday? Well we get two rounds of it in 2018 which also means we get double the toil & trouble with our pets this year, wait…. Back to Spring, we often get so caught up in our excitement for Easter and warm weather that we forget about the hazards some objects bring to our cats and dogs during these celebrations. So, here’s just a quick reminder of things that could cause potential harm to your beloved fur-family!
The most common thing that people are aware of when it comes to holidays and…
Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal condition in dog. It is transmitted through infected mosquito bites. Dogs of all ages are susceptible to infection. Different signs range from no sign at all to persistent cough, fatigue, fainting, and weight loss.
After a bite from an infected mosquito, heartworm larvae migrate through the tissue. once in the tissue, the heartworm life cycle begins with the presence of infected larvae. Left untreated, larvae can grow into adult worms in just over 6 months. Once larvae arrive in the heart and lungs, they can cause damage as early as 70 days. Heartworm disease is usually detected with a blood test at your Veterinarian office. Treatment is expensive for the owner, and a painful, prolonged ordeal for the dog.
Heartworm prevention is exponentially cheaper than treatment. As we’ve talked about before, cats are also at risk for heartworm disease and there is no treatment available for cats. It is just at important for our feline friends to be a on a monthly heartworm preventative as it is for dogs.
There are several different products available to prevent heartworms on the market. Here at TLC Animal Hospital, we carry ProHeart6, Trifexis, and MilbeGuard for dogs. We carry Revolution Plus for cats. We also offer Heartgard Plus and Revolution through our online pharmacy.
Before starting any preventative, talk with your veterinarian about your pet’s past and current health, including: general health, any issues with vaccines or medications, changes in behavior, allergies, current medications, supplements, or special diets. This information is crucial to picking out the right preventative for your pet.
ProHeart 6 (moxidectin) is the only preventative that can prevent heartworm disease for a full 6 months with just 1 injection given by your veterinarian. This can be used in dog 6 months of age and older. This is for heartworm prevention only and does not do anything for fleas or ticks.
ProHeart is convenient for owners because it is done just twice a year instead of every month. Worried about forgetting when it’s time to come back in? We call you a month ahead of time as well as two weeks before the due date if you don’t already have an appointment scheduled. If you’re signed up for email reminders, you’ll receive an email as well. No email? No problem – you’ll receive a postcard reminder instead.
When first starting your dog on ProHeart 6, a heartworm test will need to be performed with the first two injections. This is to ensure that there is no underlying heartworm infection that could have happened before using Proheart 6. After that, the heartworm test is performed just once a year like usual.
MilbeGuard (milbemycin oxime) is a once-a-month flavored chewable tablet for dogs, puppies, cats and kittens. While this can be given to cats, our doctors would rather have our feline patients on Revolution or Revolution Plus because of the added protection against fleas and other parasites that those products offer for them.
For dogs, MilbeGuard prevents heartworm disease, controls adult hookworm infection, removes and controls both adult roundworms and whipworms. MilbeGuard can be given to dogs and puppies four weeks of age or greater and weighing at least 2 pounds.
Heartgard Plus (ivermectin and pyrantel) is a beef chew that kills heartworm larvae and helps to treat and control roundworms and hookworms. It kills the heartworm larvae before they have the chance to mature.
Heartgard Plus can be given to puppies as young as 6 weeks of age. This tasty chew is given once every 30 days. It can be given just as a treat as well. However, if your dog has the MDR1 gene they should not take certain medications, including Ivermectin. (You can learn more about MDR1 and DNA testing here). Because of this, we have decided to only carry MilbeGuard in clinic. Heartgard Plus is still available through our online pharmacy.
Trifexis (spinosad and milbemycin oxime) is a monthly, beef-flavored chewable tablet that kills fleas and prevents heartworm disease. It also treats and controls adult hookworm, roundworm and whipworm infections. It does not protect against ticks.
It is best to give Trifexis after your dog has had a full meal. This helps prevent any stomach upset as well as helps the medication to be better absorbed. This can be used in dogs and puppies 8 weeks and older and weighing at least 5 pounds.
Feline Heartworm Preventatives
The majority of cats are described as “indoor-only”, yet 2 out of 5 indoor cats are NOT getting the protection that they need. Parasites are NOT “outdoor-only”! Fleas, ticks, ear mites, intestinal worms, and mosquitoes can get into any home. Parasites hitchhike indoors on other pets or creatures, on shoes and clothes, or get inside through doors and windows.
Revolution Plus (selamectin and sarolaner) is the only 6-in-1 preventative with broad-spectrum action against parasites. It is a simple-to-apply, quick-drying, monthly topical solution that protects against fleas, ticks, ear mites, roundworms, hookworms, and heartworms. It can be used on cats and kittens as young as eight weeks of age and weighing 2.8 pounds or greater.
Revolution (selamectin) is just like Revolution Plus, but it does not protect against ticks. Because of this, we’ve decided to carry only Revolution Plus in clinic. But don’t worry – Revolution is still available through our online pharmacy! Regardless of which one you choose to use for your cat, they are still going to be protected against heartworms.
In conclusion, heartworm disease is everywhere and it is extremely important to keep your pet on a year-round preventive.
Ringworm is a fairly common and highly contagious skin, nail, and hair or fur infection that despite its name does not always manifest as a ring and is NOT caused by a worm! Ringworm is actually caused by a fungus! There are several different types of fungi that are responsible for ringworm infections and many of them are zoonotic, meaning the infection can be transmitted to and from both humans and pets. The infection is easily spread by skin to skin contact and from objects or surfaces that have been touched by an infected person or pet such as clothing, towels or bedding, and brushes or combs. The fungi also occur in soil.
So what does a ringworm infection look like?
Symptoms of Ringworm in Pets
Ringworm is not a life-threatening disease, but it is very contagious and does require the intervention of a veterinarian. Knowing the symptoms of ringworm can help you catch the disease before it passes to humans or other pets.
Ringworm usually presents as circular areas of hair loss throughout the body. These lesions may start to heal in the center as they enlarge, creating a patchy appearance, and may become inflamed or scabbed.
Ringworm usually does not itch. The affected hair follicles are brittle and break easily, which helps spread the disease throughout your home. In some cases the fungus infects the claws, making them brittle and rough.
Contact your veterinarian if your dog or cat experiences any or all of these symptoms:
Circular areas of hair loss
Dry, brittle hair
Scabby, inflamed skin
Rough, brittle claws
How is Ringworm diagnosed?
Often your veterinarian can determine from the symptoms your pets has that it is a ringworm infection. There is also a special type of ultraviolet lamp called a Woods Lamp that can be used. Some types of ringworm fungi will fluoresce when exposed to this light.
Unfortunately, not all ringworm infections will fluoresce. Your veterinarian may need to set up a culture to determine the best course of treatment.
How is ringworm treated?
Your veterinarian will determine the best course of treatment. The most common way to treat ringworm is to use a combination of topical therapy (application of creams, ointments or shampoos) and systemic oral therapy (administration of anti-fungal drugs by mouth). In order for treatment to be successful, all environmental contamination must be eliminated. All surfaces must be cleaned and all bedding should be washed. Humans should be diligent about washing hands frequently and thoroughly. If you suspect you have ringworm you should see your doctor. The earlier the infection can be diagnosed the more the chance of spreading the infection decreases.
Hyperadrenocorticism (more commonly known as Cushing’s disease) is an overproduction of cortisol hormone. At normal levels, cortisol helps in response to stress and regulate the immune system. Cushing’s disease is one of the most common endocrine diseases in dogs.
Some common symptoms include:
Loss of hair
Muscle weakness and loss
Darkening of skin
Lack of energy
Increased Urine Cortisol:Creatinine Ratios
Not all symptoms are present in every patient and some of these symptoms can also be seen with other diseases. Only your veterinarian can diagnose if your pet has Cushing’s.
There are multiple causes:
Excessive administration of corticosteroid medications.
Pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism (PDH) – the body naturally produces too much hormone.
Your pet’s veterinarian will first take a detailed history and do a complete physical exam. Next step is to perform a full blood chemistry, complete blood count, and urinalysis. These diagnostics will help the veterinarian get a bigger picture of what is happening in the body. Further testing that can help diagnose specific causes include: urine cortisol/creatinine ratio then ACTH stimulation test or Dexamethasone suppression test. The stimulation and suppression tests help determine specifically how much cortisol is being produced and how best it should be treated.
Excessive administration of corticosteroid medications: Treatment is to slowly wean off the medications according to your veterinarian’s instructions.
Benign pituitary tumor and Adrenal gland tumor: First, a metastases check is performed to make sure the tumor has not spread to other organs. Then, a medication is given called trilostane (Vetoryl) to shrink the tumor. Once the tumor has decreased in size, it is removed.
Pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism: The pet is put on trilostane for life. This controls the production of cortisol.
Living with Cushing’s Disease
This is a serious disease, but it can be managed if pet owners and veterinarians work together. This is a lifelong diagnosis and does require medications to be given long term. Periodic monitoring will be required to make sure the treatment is going as it should and to help the veterinarians know if an adjustment needs to be made.
Common Diseases of Companion Animals By Alleice Summers
Osteoarthritis is common as our pups move into their senior years and it’s the number one cause of chronic pain in canines. This condition is the result of wear and tear on a joint, either from overuse, repetitive activity, an injury, or from the natural development of a poorly formed joint. When a dog has arthritis the cartilage starts to break down and the fluid in the capsule dries up. This in turn causes inflammation, pain and deterioration of the joint.
Symptoms of Arthritis
Difficulty Moving – Trouble climbing stairs, sitting, or standing.
Showing Signs of Pain – Limping or favoring one leg, especially in the morning or after lying down for a while.
Decreased Activity – Sleeping more and not wanting to play. Some dogs will also distance themselves from their family.
If your pet is suffering from arthritis, it’s important to give them the best possible care. Arthritis is incurable and can worsen over time. In this case, the best thing you can do for your pet is to speak with their doctor and start treatment plan that slows the progression of the disease and improves their quality of life by relieving painful symptoms. Lets be honest its sad to think about our fur baby not being able to join usual activities but thanks to Adequan, it’s changing that for many.
So first things first, what is Adequan?
Adequan is an injection-based prescription medication that helps prevent the cartilage in your dog’s joints from wearing away. It is a water-based polysulfated glycosaminoglycan. Okay, that probably just sound like gibberish so here what that actually means: It helps to lubricate the joints and relieve pain. Although it helps protect all of your dog’s joints, because arthritic joints have more circulation, more of the drug makes its way to the affected joints. Most importantly. it’s the only arthritis drug available that can actually slow down the loss of cartilage because it treats the underlying cause of arthritis instead of just treating the symptoms of arthritis pain. Adequan can also be used with daily pain medications if necessary.
How is Adequan administered?
Adequan is an intramuscular or subcutaneous injection that is administered in a series. So here is the jist: You would start with one injection twice weekly for four weeks, then monthly injections thereafter. It’s important to note that this is a lifelong medication and it may take up to 4 injections before any improvement is noticed. We understand that giving your dog injections at home can sound scary. We’re more than happy to teach you how to do this when starting your pup on Adequan, so there’s no need to worry!
At the end of the day we all want our pets to live their best life. So think about trying Adequan to ensure “Fido” gets to continue going on those long summer walks and playing fetch well into his senior years!