Tag: dogs

There’s a Fungus Among Us!

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?

ringwormCAringwormKid

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.

ringworm3aRingworm 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:ringworm3

  • 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.

By: Kathy Berrier

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.

cushings3

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

By: Jamie McAfee

Where’s Fido?

raising-a-happy-dog-7Searching games may be fun in books looking for a happy stripe shirt guy with glasses, but when it comes to your pet it’s no longer a game but a full on panic attack. Our furry family members are naturally curious and can be excellent escape artists. That’s why it is so important to make sure your pet can find its way back to you. Even if you have indoor pets that don’t wander outside, we never know what life will throw at us. Things like natural disasters and house fires, are just a few unfortunate events that might land our precious fur babies outside. Collars and tags are great but often times they can come off during our pets’ unexpected adventure. It’s time for a more permanent solution.

Microchips may sound scary or like something out of a sci-fi movie, but in reality think of it more as food. That’s right – I said food your, pet loves food! The microchip looks like a microchip-ricegrain of rice (but it does not go in your pets’ mouth – that would be a less permanent solution!) and is inserted into the muscle between your pets’ shoulder blades. By inserting it into the muscle instead of just under the skin, the chip stays in that location. Placing chips under the skin is perfectly fine, but then it migrate to different places all over the body. It can still be read, but it may take more time for a vet clinic or shelter to find it. I know inserting something into the muscle sounds painful but not to worry – we have that covered! Though the injection should only sting a little, we want to make sure your fur babies are 100% comfortable so we administer a light sedative to make sure they don’t feel anything.

Are microchips really helpful?
Yes! The Humane Society of the United States did a study and found that the number of lost dogs reunited with their families increased 250% with microchips & cat reunions increased to 20%! Doesn’t that just make you feel all warm and furry to think of how many families got a second chance when they may have lost hope on finding their missing pet? We all want to hope for the best, but we should always prepare for the worse by making sure our much loved four legged friends can always find their way home.

So you got your pet micro-chipped, what’s next?
A peace of mind for one, but don’t forget the register those chips! Every chip has a unique number that you need to register to you with your information so vet clinics or shelters know how to find you. We cannot stress enough the importance of keeping this information updated. We’ve had countless animals brought to us with out-of-date contact information and while the chips can be traced back to the clinic or shelter that purchased it, out-of-date information makes it incredibly difficult to get pets back home.

a-gray-kitten-asleep-in-a-bedThere are numerous brands of microchips available, such as AVID, 24PetWatch, and HomeAgain (just to name a few). At TLC Animal Hospital, we use PetLink microchips. The great thing about PetLink is that they offer a lifetime registration with no monthly fees. Other benefits that are included with PetLink chips are access by web or phone 24/7 365 days a year, free tips, and free posters that include your pet’s photo if they do wonder off.

Your pets are family and life is unpredictable. Give yourself the peace of mind that no matter the situation, your pet has the best tools to find their way back home.

For more information check out petlink.net

 

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!

kisses

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

By: Tara Sansing

“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.

700-00091532

By: Kathy Berrier