Category: Medical Conditions

“Two Dogs Walk Into A Kennel…”

kennelcough1Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis, better known as “Kennel Cough”, is a contagious respiratory disease that is commonly transmitted in places like boarding and grooming facilities. Dogs spread this disease via oral transmission such as airborne droplets (from a cough), direct contact, or contaminated surfaces (water bowls, floors). Kennel cough can be treated easily, however in dogs younger than 6 months and immunocompromised dogs, it poses a more serious risk.

Symptoms present as: a strong cough (“honking” sound), runny nose, sneezing, lethargy, loss of appetite and sometimes fever. Mild cases can be treated with a course of antibiotics and a serious prescription for rest and relaxation. Cough suppressants may also be prescribed to ease any throat pain that can occur.

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Image: Bordetella bacterium

The bordetella vaccine is something that your veterinarian will recommend as a part of their “core vaccines” along with rabies and DHPP (distemper/hepatitis/parvovirus/parainfluenza).

The vaccine is available in oral, nasal and injectable forms and is typically given twice – once and then boostered in about 2-4 weeks. Afterwards, the vaccine is re-administered every 6 months. While the bordetella vaccine will not prevent against kennel cough, it will certainly ease the symptoms if your pet is infected.

Because the disease is so highly contagious, most grooming and boarding facilities will require that your pet be vaccinated against this before coming to their facility. Ultimately, you should consult your veterinarian about frequency of administration and if your dog is at risk. This vaccine isn’t just for little Fluffy who gets a haircut every couple weeks, we also recommend it for Fido who just goes outside for walks.

Further information can be found through your veterinarian but also online at:

  1. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/kennel-cough-symptoms-treatment-and-prevention/
  2. https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/common-dog-diseases

By: Madison Cole

“Hear” are the Facts about Ear Infections

Have you ever noticed your dog scratching at their ears or shaking their head a lot? Hair loss or redness around the ears? Have you ever seen a yucky (totally scientific term), waxy debris in the outer ear? Or perhaps noticed an odor that is quite unpleasant coming from the ears? Let’s not forget our feline friends. Have you seen scratching behind the ears, discomfort when the ears are massaged, or a dark, crusty debris in the ear canal that resembles coffee grounds? Unfortunately, these are a few of the symptoms of an ear infection.

There are different causes of ear infections in dogs and cats. Usually they are caused by yeast, bacteria, or parasites such as ear mites. Dogs, like humans, have certain organisms feline_feveroccurring naturally. It is only when these organisms are given an environment to multiply that they can cause problems. Cats are lucky in that they have ear infections much less frequently than dogs but the causes can be more troubling. In cats the cause is usually ear mites (which can be contagious to other cats), allergies, or an abscess from a bite (the bite can lead to other illnesses such as feline leukemia or FIV).

Do their ears hang low, do they wobble to and fro?

Some canine breeds are predisposed to ear infections due to their ear canal characteristics. Dogs with long, 2-2floppy ears such as Basset Hounds, or heavy skin folds like Shar Peis are examples. They are more likely to get an ear infection because debris and microorganisms become trapped, which can lead to an overgrowth. Often water loving breeds such as Labradors and Goldens spend time at lakes, swimming pools, or beaches. Wet ears can create the perfect environment for bacterial or yeast overgrowth. Some breeds like Poodles and Schnauzers often have long hair in their ears which can trap debris and lead to an infection as well. Ear infections are also very common in pets with allergies. Any pets with hot spots due to flea allergy dermatitis are more likely to develop ear infections as are any pets with skin allergies.

As with any type of infection, it is best to treat as soon as possible. Outer ear infections can lead to more serious middle ear infections in which the ear drum may rupture. From there, an inner ear infection and hearing loss is possible. These infections can be quite painful as well. Much better to treat sooner than later!

34881717_228366501285964_8554352003428384768_nOnly your veterinarian can diagnose and treat an ear infection. She or he will first need to obtain a history and examine your pet. A sample (swab) from inside your pet’s ear canal will be collected. A slide with the material (ear cytology) and if necessary, a culture will be prepared so that the doctor can determine if there is an infection. If so, we’ll know what type of organism is present. This will help determine the proper course of treatment.

There are many treatment options for ear infections. There are drops that you can administer daily after cleaning the ears or packings that stay in the ear canals for two weeks. Depending on how severe the infection is, we may also send your pet home with pain medications. No matter how you treat, it’s important to follow up to ensure that the infection is completely resolved.

R_aurocinAs the old adage goes: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Prevention is most definitely the way to go! Make sure your furry friend’s ears stay clean and dry. This is especially important for dogs who swim. The clinic offers products for at home care. We are also more than happy to show you how to clean your dog’s ears so you can you feel comfortable and confident doing it at home. If you are concerned that your pet is at risk for an ear infection please call the clinic and talk with a vet tech or doctor. If you suspect your pet has an ear infection, please set up an appointment to see the veterinarian.

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By: Kathy Berrier

A Whole New Meaning to “Take My Breath Away”

Imagine not being able to breathe because your windpipe is falling in on itself!aa

This is a real condition called “Tracheal Collapse” where the trachea (windpipe) collapses during breathing. Typically seen in smaller breeds as they get older, tracheal collapse is an irreversible condition that affects the ability to breathe easily.

The trachea is a like a hose – it’s thin and flexible with small cartilaginous rings to help hold the airway open. In some cases of tracheal collapse, the cartilage in the rings become weak and lose their flexibility, causing the airway to fall flat. This doesn’t allow passage of air into or out of the windpipe, triggering an episode of coughing or gasping.

Who’s Most At Risk?
Smaller breeds such as Yorkshire terriers, Pomeranians, Poodles and Chihuahuas are at a higher risk. Even dogs that are overweight or even live in household with smokers can be at risk for developing this condition.

abWhat Does It Sound/Look Like?
A pet affected by this disorder could develop a harsh cough that sounds like something is stuck in their throat or even a honking sound. This could happen after being picked up, periods of activity or when their collar is pulled. Overall, the pet will have difficulty breathing and their tongue may turn blue/purple when excited or after an episode of tracheal collapse.

How Do I Know If My Dog Has It?
Calling your clinic to set up an appointment with your veterinarian is a great first step. At the appointment, your veterinarian may discuss how long it’s been going on, what the cough/difficulty breathing sounds like. Your veterinarian may recommend diagnostic testing such as a general blood profile and x-rays of the chest. In more severe cases, your vet may recommend a referral to a specialist where they can do more specific diagnostic testing like a an endoscopy, where the inside of the pet’s throat may be clearly viewed with a fiber optic camera or an echocardiogram to evaluate the heart function.

How Do I Treat This Condition?
While the condition is irreversible, your pet can still have a great life! After diagnosis, your veterinarian may recommend weight loss if your pet is overweight, medications to help reduce spasms or irritation of the airway or mild sedatives you can give at home to help reduce coughing fits. Your pet may benefit from a harness as opposed to a collar that can put stress on the neck and trigger a tracheal collapse episode. Dogs should be kept away from smoke or other environmental pollutions. Additionally, your pet could develop a secondary infection that may need to be treated with antibiotics at the discretion of your doctor.ac

Treatment with medication works for most dogs, however the medical management may be life-long. In most severe cases, a specialist can perform surgery by placing plastic rings around the outside of the trachea or a stent, which helps to hold the trachea open.

By: Madison Cole

Sources:
https://www.acvs.org/small-animal/tracheal-collapse
http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/what-you-need-to-know-about-collapsing-tracheas-in-dogs
https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/tracheal-collapse-in-dogs

Don’t let canine flu give your dog the blues!

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Just like people, dogs can be affected by different strains of influenza. There are two strains of the influenza virus known to affect dogs; H3N8 and H3N2. H3N8 broke out around 2004 in Florida and H3N2 was first seen in Chicago in 2015. Since then it has been seen in almost all parts of the United States and several other countries as well.

Unfortunately, Texas has seen confirmed cases of both strains of the canine influenza virus (or CIV). This respiratory infection is relatively new. Because of this, almost all dogs are susceptible to infection when exposed because they have not built up natural immunity to it yet. Most dogs that develop an infection caused by this virus have a mild illness, but some dogs get very sick and require treatment from their veterinarian. Virtually all dogs exposed become infected with the virus, but only 80% develop clinical signs. The other approximate 20% of infected dogs that do not exhibit clinical signs can still shed the virus and spread the infection. Scary, right?

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So, how is it spread?

Canine Influenza can pass between dogs through virus particles in the air (coughing or sneezing) or by coming into physical contact with other dogs. It can also be transferred indirectly—say if a dog touches or plays with objects that were touched by infected dogs (food bowls or toys). Humans can even transfer the virus between dogs if they do not properly sanitize after touching an infected dog, or if their clothing isn’t properly cleaned. Incubation of the virus is typically 2-5 days from exposure to the onset of clinical signs and it can still be spread during that time.Untitled

We are doing everything we can to help keep this virus contained in our community. Education is the first step to preventing more outbreaks! Vaccines are available for both the H3N8 and H3N2 strains. There is even a combination vaccine (or bivalent vaccine) that covers for both strains in just one vaccine. Just like when your dog was an adorable puppy, if this vaccine is new to their system they would need to get one booster done 2-4 weeks after the initial vaccination was given. After that, the vaccine is done once yearly.

You can do your part by vaccinating your dog for canine influenza. If your pet is not currently vaccinated, you should avoid places where dogs congregate such as dog parks, grooming salons, kennels and daycares. Be sure to check with your groomer and/or boarding facilities about their vaccination policies to make sure you are in compliance with them! We highly recommend that every dog be vaccinated for both strains of the canine influenza, regardless of their lifestyle.

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If you have any questions, concerns, or would like to get your dog vaccinated, please contact us at 281-282-9944 (or your regular veterinarian!). We’re happy to talk about this and help you decide what is best for your dog!

By: Shelly Crosson

 

Itchy Itchy Scratchy Scratchy – Can you get my Backey?

We all hate allergy season sneezing watery eyes and headaches. Luckily there are medications that relieve us from these symptoms, but did you know that your dogs can get allergies too? Dogs can experience skin luhf,allergies due to the pollen and other substances in the air. Dogs can also experience a chronic inflammatory skin condition called atopic dermatitis that could need lifelong management; in fact 10% of dogs have some kind of atopic dermatitis. Whether it is seasonal allergies or a chronic condition, dogs’ instinct will have them licking, scratching, and chewing at their skin to relieve the itch. This can cause hair loss and major irritation to the skin which can result in skin infections. But don’t worry – relief is just a short drive to your neighborhood veterinarian clinic!

There are medications similar to humans’ Claritin and Zyrtec, that are given orally on a daily basis. But what if those don’t help or your dog doesn’t like to take pills? Another option? Cytopoint, an injection that can relieve itch for 4-8 weeks. Cytopoint is a protein based (not chemical) medication that works similar to the cytodog’s immune system. When the “itching” signal is sent by your dog’s body to the brain it causes the reaction to start scratching or chewing. Cytopoint intercepts that signal to prevent your pet from scratching and allowing their skin to heal working similar to antibodies in their immune system. Because Cytopoint is not a chemical medication dogs’ bodies are able to break it down naturally. Meaning it does not get eliminated through the liver and kidney so no harm can be done to your pets’ organs. This makes it safe for dogs of all ages and can be used alongside other medications your pup may be taking.

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If you and your veterinarian decide Cytopoint injections are the best option for your furry friend, they can began feeling relief within 1 day and damaged skin can begin to heal within 7 days. After the first injection your vet may want to see your dog in 4 weeks to see the progress of the Cytopoint after which the two of you can discuss how often your dog may need an injection. The idea is to extend the time between shots and get your dog longer relief.  Your veterinarian will help you recognize signs that it is time for your pup to get their next injection. Another helpful tool is the itch tracker located on the Cytopoint website (https://www.cytopoint4dogs.com/resources.aspx), this chart can help you determine when it is time to bring your pet in for the next injection.

If you think your dog has allergies or an atopic dermatitis, set up an appointment with your veterinarian and ask about using Cytopoint. Start the journey to a longer itch free lifestyle because both you and your dog deserve relief from allergies!

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By: Deanna Smith