Tag: canine

Parvovirus – Deadly, but Preventable!

First things first – What is Parvo?

Almost every mammal species has its own parvovirus. The canine parvovirus was discovered in 1967. At first the strain present CPV-1 did not represent much of a threat except to newborn puppies. In 1978 a new variant appeared called CPV-2. At this time the virus was still new and no dog had any kind of immunity against the virus. With no resistance and no natural immunity to the virus, the resulting epidemic was disastrous.

canine-parvovirus-parvo-in-dogs-1In 1979, the virus mutated again creating the CPV-2a. This strain was even more aggressive that the first two. Vaccine manufacturers were unable to keep up with the demand. The virus is able to rapidly spread and infect dogs because it is shed in large numbers by infected dogs and is especially hardy once in the environment.

At this point in time, the virus is considered to be in every environment. Simply trying to keep a puppy from exposure to the virus is a futile task. Luckily, most dogs have some level of natural immunity to the virus and vaccination against it is common practice now.

How is it spread?

Parvo is spread through the feces of infected dogs. Very little fecal material is needed to transmit the virus. Parvovirus can remain in the environment for six months to a year. It is especially tough and it can survive both extreme heat and subzero temperatures. The virus enters the body through the mouth as the puppy or dog cleans itself or eats food off the ground. There is a three to seven day incubation period. First, the virus hangs out in the lymph nodes in the throat and begins to multiply. Once the virus has reached sufficient numbers, it then begins to attack the bone marrow and begins to kill the young cells of the immune system. 

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Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of parvovirus include severe, bloody diarrhea, lethargy, vomiting, weight loss, lack of appetite, and fever. Parvo should be considered as a possible diagnosis for any young dog presenting with vomiting and diarrhea.

The GI tract is where the most damage is done by the virus. The lining of the intestinal tract is covered in finger like projections called villi. The villi are covered in even smaller finger like projections called microvilli. These projections increase the surface area of the intestine allowing for absorption of nutrients. The cells that make the the microvilli are short lived and are replaced by cells deeper in the tissue that rapidly multiply. The parvovirus strikes these cells. The villi then become blunted and the dog is not able to absorb nutrients. The lining between the digestive bacteria and the blood stream is broken down. This is what causes the characteristic bloody diarrhea of parvo. Bacteria can now enter the bloodstream causing widespread infection.

The virus kills in one of two ways. The first is dehydration and fluid loss brought on by diarrhea and vomiting. The second is bacterial infection from the loss of the intestinal barrier.

parvotestHow is it Diagnosed?

A diagnosis is made by Parvo ELISA test. This is performed in clinic and takes about 15 minutes to run. The biggest drawback to the ELISA test is that recent vaccination with a live virus vaccine can cause a false positive. In this case, doing a complete blood count to look for a drop in white blood cells may also be done.

Treatment

With proper treatment and hospitalization, the survival rate is 75-80%. Treatment of parvovirus centers around supportive care. Supportive care includes keeping the dog hydrated, comfortable, and as strong as possible. There is no way to kill the virus inside the dog. The only way to cure parvo is to keep the dog strong enough that eventually the immune system is able to make enough antibodies to the virus to fight it on its own. When treating parvo, be prepared for a 5-7 day hospital stay and intensive care. Unfortunately, treatment can be expensive. 

puppy-diarrhea-vetThe first step in treating parvo is keeping the dog hydrated. IV fluids are needed to replace the fluids lost by the extreme vomiting and diarrhea. Antibiotics are also needed to help prevent septicemia. The loss of the intestinal barrier allows bacteria from the GI tract into the bloodstream. Since the virus destroys the the immune system, the dog has no way to fight on its own. Keeping the patient comfortable is a key part in treating any disease.

Tests are done to monitor the progress of the disease and effectiveness of the treatment throughout the puppy’s time in hospitalization. These tests include white blood cell counts, complete blood count, electrolyte and glucose levels, urine specific gravity, lactate levels, and total blood protein.

There are some additional treatments that can be done to help the puppy (such as plasma transfusions and certain kinds of cold medicine). However, these options are not a substitute for hospitalization and need to be discussed in detail with your veterinarian before starting them. 

Aftercare

Once the puppy has recovered from the worst of the infection, they can then be sent home. They will most likely be sent home with antibiotics, anti-nausea, and anti-diarrhea medications. It is important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions for the medications and home care.

puppyeatingYour puppy will probably be very hungry after going so long without solid food. He should be fed in small portions every 1-2 hours. If he is allowed to gorge himself, this can upset his already delicate tummy.

Your puppy should be considered contagious to other puppies for at least a month after infection. It is important to keep him confined from any dogs that have not had the full vaccine series. Your veterinarian will let you know when it’s ok to resume vaccines. It is possible that your puppy has developed a life long immunity from the parvovirus since the infection. You should still continue vaccinating him for parvo along with all other recommend vaccines. There should be no permanent ramifications from the parvovirus. After the 2-3 week recovery period your dog should go on to lead a happy, healthy life.

Prevention

To prevent parvovirus infection in your puppy, you must follow the recommended vaccine schedule. Starting at six weeks of age your puppy should be vaccinated every 3-4 vxweeks until he is 16 weeks of age. Until your puppy has completed the vaccine series, he should be kept away from other puppies and kept out of dog parks or other social situations. Once your puppy has had all necessary vaccines he is ready to begin exploring the world with you!

Hyperadrenocorticism? Is that even a real word?

What is it?

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:

  • Increased thirstcushings2
  • Increased urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Increased panting
  • Distended abdomen
  • Obesity
  • 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:cushings1

  • Excessive administration of corticosteroid medications.
  • Benign pituitary tumor (rarely can be malignant).
  • Adrenal gland tumor (adrenal-dependent hyperadrenocorticism/ADH).
  • Pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism (PDH) – the body naturally produces too much hormone.

Diagnosis

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.

Treatment

  • 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.

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Sources:
Common Diseases of Companion Animals By Alleice Summers
Google images

By: Jamie McAfee

Help Your Dog’s Old Joints Feel New Again!

adequan1Osteoarthritis 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.

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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?

adequancanine_prodboxAdequan 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.

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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!

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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!

By: Shelly Crosson

Products for a Paws-sitively Radiant Smile!

When was the last time that you took a peek in your pets’ mouth?dog-breath

Did you know that nearly 85% of dogs and cats over the age of 3 are affected by periodontal disease? In fact, dental disease is one of the most common conditions seen by veterinarians. Periodontal disease begins when a combination of plaque, bacteria and food particles collect on the teeth and work their way up under the gum line. If left untreated, it can lead to the destruction of tissue and bone that anchor the teeth in place. Bacteria can also enter the bloodstream, affecting the heart, liver and kidneys.

Prevention is KEY!

Imagine what would happen if you didn’t routinely care for your teeth in between professional dental cleanings. Pretty gross… right? Pets need dental care too!

Just like their owners, all pets should have a regular dental care regimen at home. Having to take care of your furbabies teeth everyday may sound a little overwhelming but luckily, there is a large variety of products on the market today that help prevent plaque and tartar buildup, as well as combat bacteria in the mouth. Using one or a combination of these products on a regular basis will likely greatly reduce the amount of time needed between dental cleanings and will help to prevent periodontal disease.

Some of the many products available that support dental care and that we carry are:

dental dietDental Diets- Most kibble is designed to crumble the second that a dog or cat bites into it.  Dental diets are designed specifically so that your pet has to bite into the kibble 2 to 3 times before it will crumble. This creates a brushing effect. In addition to scraping the teeth, the dental diets are high in sodium tripolyphosphate. This helps to reduce dental tartar (calculus) formation by binding salivary calcium and making it unable to form of calculus. These diets are also high in antioxidants that reduce the formation of plaque while boosting overall health and immunity.

Enzadent Toothpaste- Brushing is always best. Designed to provide natural antibacterial action and to inhibit the formation of plaque. Also acts quickly to help eliminate mouth odors. Comes in poultry flavor.

DentaClenz – a drinking water additive that combats bacteria in the pet’s mouth as well as in the water bowl; freshens breath and creates a barrier that helps to prevent plaque from adhering to the surface of the tooth.

chlorazincChloraZinc Rinse- offers an easier alternative to brushing. It delivers antibacterial action and superior plaque prevention in a soothing, refreshing solution that quickly covers and rinses the entire mouth. Its unique combination of chlorhexidine gluconate and zinc produces a well-known antiseptic activity. Its bent-stem applicator allows you to easily point-and-squeeze directly into the mouth. This should be done after each meal.

Oral Wipes- MAXI/GUARD Oral Wipes are both an effective pet oral product and applicator all in one. Cleansing the oral cavity of pets is much faster and easier since the wipes are infused with a unique zinc formulation. This taste free compound neutralizes offensive mouth odors, helps reduce the deposition of plaque and aids in gingival inflammation.

dentahexDentaHEX Chews– offer a great alternative to brushing. What makes them better than a regular rawhide? Aside from scraping the teeth as your dog chews them, DentaHex Chews are coated with chlorhexidine- an antiseptic solution that fights bacteria in the mouth.

Oravet Chews- Each Oravet dental hygiene chew releases delmopinol, an innovative compound originally developed for human dentistry and exclusively licensed to Merial for veterinary use. Delmopinol creates a barrier that prevents bacterial attachment to teeth, tongue and gingiva, inhibiting the production of biofilms that form plaque and the volatile sulfur compounds of halitosis. During chewing, the malleable, high-density treat also helps scrub away existing plaque and calculus. For dogs 6 months of age or older.

Using one or a combination of these products on a regular basis will likely greatly reduce the amount of time needed between dental cleanings and will help to prevent periodontal disease. Not to mention, make Fluffy much more kissable!

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February is National Pet Dental Health Awareness Month- all dental products and cleanings are 15% OFF!

By: Tara Sansing

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