Tag: dogs

“Mite”-y Creepy Ear Mites

ear_mite
The “mite”-y Ear Mite!

Otodectes Cynotis is actually the very fancy name for Ear Mites. What exactly are Ear Mites? They are part of the arachnid family (just like ticks and spiders). Their food of choice? Wax and oils from your beloved pet’s ear canals. They’re particularly fond of cats, but can also be found in dogs and ferrets. Yikes!

Ear Mites are more common in outdoor animals, but that doesn’t mean your indoor pets can’t get them. These mites, just like fleas, can travel on clothing and shoes. It only takes one mite to make it to your pet’s ear canal to start causing problems. These little buggers can also spread very quickly in multi-pet homes. Especially if your pets like to sleep next to each other, groom each other, or play together.

How Do I Know if My Pet Has Ear Mites?
The most notable symptom you may see is your pet constantly scratching at their ears. You may notice a brown, slightly reddish discharge coming from your pet’s ears as well. Sometimes the discharge will look like ground coffee beans. Their ears may also become red, swollen, and painful. If you notice these symptoms, don’t wait too long to address them. Heavy scratching can lead to open wounds which can cause secondary infection of the skin. If a severe infestation is left untreated, it can eventually lead to hearing loss. Oi ve!ear-mites-in-dogs-01

I Think My Pet Has Ear Mites! What Do I Do Now?
Fret not! If you think your pet has Ear Mites, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to get things checked out! Ear Mites are easily seen with a microscope, so a cytology will be performed to confirm the presence of Ear Mites. This cytology can also show if there is any secondary infection present in your pet’s ears, such as bacteria or yeast.

If there are wounds present from all of that scratching, your veterinarian may want to do a skin cytology as well to make sure that there isn’t any kind of skin infection going on.

Ugh, Ear Mites Sound Like the Worst! Are They Hard to Treat?
Fortunately with a little ear cleaning and medication, Ear Mites are typically a simple problem to resolve. So ensure that all of the ear mites have been taken care of, treatment lasts anywhere from 3-4 weeks. Depending on the results of your pet’s exam, you may be given additional medications for pain and inflammation, or antibiotics if there are secondary infections present.

imagesBecause Ear Mites are easily spread, if you have more than one pet in your home you’ll most likely be asked to treat all of them at the same time.

Prevention is possible as well! Most monthly parasite preventatives (like Revolution Plus) have medication in them to help treat Ear Mites. Using these products every month as directed can help keep your pet’s ears mite free!

By: Tiana Bell

 

COVID-19 Update

We are living through some very uncertain times right now and new information regarding COVID-19 is being released daily. Over the last several weeks we have heard all kinds of information and recommendations- some of which conflict with each other. We want to assure you that we are constantly keeping up with news from the CDC, Whitehouse and American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA) – especially in regards to your pets.

As most of you have probably already heard, a tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York has demonstrated symptoms and has tested positive for COVID-19. What does this mean for you and your pets? The following statement was issued by Texas A&M COVM yesterday and it provides excellent insight into the situation:Coronavirus-CDC-768x432

04/08/20: Statement from Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine on Animals and COVID-19

SARS CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19, is a novel, or new, virus, and there is much yet to be discovered.

There have been recent news reports of a tiger that contracted the disease from a handler who was an asymptomatic carrier and other reports where experimentally exposed animals have developed clinical signs consistent with coronavirus infection that was then passed on to other animals. These studies were performed on very small numbers, have not gone through the normal review process, and have focused on human-to-animal and animal-to-animal transmission.

However, there have been no studies to date demonstrating that domestic animals and pets can transmit COVID-19 to their owners.

The Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) and its Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH) are continuing to monitor research and news regarding the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the COVID-19 outbreak as it relates to companion animals.

Based on the information that is currently available, the CVM and VMTH recommend pet owners continue to follow United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) guidelines for proper hygiene and social distancing.

Specifically, the CVM and VMTH recommend:

  • Pet owners should continue taking basic precautions such as frequent and thorough hand-washing and limit “face-to-face contact” interactions with your pet.
  • Owners who are not sick do not need to isolate from pets, nor is there any recommendation to discontinue routine activities such as walking or playing with your pets if you are well.
  • If you have tested positive or are presumptively positive for COVID-19, separate yourself not only from other people but also from your animals. This may include having someone who is healthy feed your pets and not allowing your pets to sleep with you.
  • If an animal has to be removed from a household with someone who is ill, the pet should be bathed or their coat should be wiped to prevent transmission of the virus from the animal’s fur.

The COVID-19-Positive Household

If you or a family member have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and your pet becomes ill and shows signs of upper respiratory disease, we encourage you to contact your veterinarian. They may elect to test your pet for COVID-19. Testing requires approval from public health and animal health authorities and is only recommended for those animals exhibiting respiratory signs and that come from a household with someone who has been diagnosed presumptive or positive for COVID-19.

We want to repeat that there have been no studies to date demonstrating that domestic animals and pets can transmit COVID-19 to their owners. CVM veterinarians will continue to monitor news and scientific journals regarding COVID-19 transmission for animals and humans and with time and as new information becomes available, the CVM will continue to update its recommendations on COVID-19.

For more information about COVID-19 and pets, please see the USDA question-and-answer page here:
https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/newsroom/news/sa_by_date/sa-2020/ny-zoo-covid-19

You may also visit the Texas Animal Health Commission’s (TAHC) webpage on companion animal coronavirus testing here:
https://www.tahc.texas.gov/covid19/TAHCVeterinaryGuidance_COVID_CompanionAnimalTesting.pdf

By: Tara Sansing

The Effects of Diets on Neurological Health in our Canine & Feline Friends

Diets can have a huge effect on your pet’s body and long term health. They rely primarily on the amount of vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and proteins present in their diets. Not only are these key ingredients important, but they can significantly increase your pet’s overall neurological health and, in theory, help prolong their life.

C18A5373Neurological health is vital to dogs and cats of all breeds and ages. A few symptoms to be aware of that typically come with age are problems with balance, loss of muscle mass, head tilt, difficulties walking, seizures, and weaker reflexes. These are all signs of possible underlying neurological issues and should be addressed sooner rather than later. We always want to be proactive instead of reactive (read more about our services and recommendations for senior pets here). An easy place to start is with a nutritiously balanced brain healthy diet.

Vitamins
The first key ingredients to look for when talking about your pet’s neurological health are vitamins. Lots and lots of vitamins! Most pet foods will already contain some vitamins, so be sure to check the label on your pet’s food so see what is included. But if you’re looking to use a separate supplement in addition to what is already in the food, be sure to check with your veterinarian about the concentrations beforehand.

Some Key Vitamins and Their Functions:
Vitamin A: Aids in optimal retinol function and skin improvement
Vitamin D: Used to help regulate phosphorus and calcium levels for optimal growth
Vitamin E: Used to help fight oxidation in cells, protect against heart disease, cataracts, and other various neurological diseases
Vitamin B1: Helps regulate thiamine levels
Vitamin B2: Responsible for metabolizing fats and carbs into energy
Vitamin B5: Also used in metabolizing energy
Vitamin B6: Responsible for glucose generation, healthy nervous system function, and hormone regulation
Vitamin B12: Helps aid in a healthy nervous system function, brain functions, and new cell growth

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Another key ingredient that is linked to neurological health in cats and dogs are Omega-3 Fatty Acids (aka “Lipids”). Fatty acids can be found primarily in marine sources such as phytoplankton or fish oil. Similar to vitamins, fatty acids have numerous health benefits.

sleeping old catThese benefits include: Modulating inflammation, aiding in fat soluble vitamin absorption, providing energy, promoting growth, promoting healthy skin and a healthy coat, and supporting joint and cartilage health.

Our beloved pets cannot provide the appropriate amount of fatty acids that their bodies require on their own. Omega-3 Fatty Acids are essential in overall health regardless of the neurological benefits.

Protein
The last key ingredient is protein. Proteins play several important roles in your pet’s body such as building and repairing muscles and tissues, along with growing new cells. The most common proteins are found in various meats, dairy products, some grains, legumes, and eggs. Our pets can store protein just like fat, so it is vital to supply it in their daily diets. Pets that are larger in size, or tend to be more active, may require a higher protein diet due to energy being used more frequently. The amount of protein needed varies depending on your pet’s lifestyle, breed, size, and activity levels.

That’s a lot of things to consider, we know. What happened to just picking up a bag of food? But feeding the correct diet is very important, especially when it comes to our older pets! Always be sure to read the labels and understand what your pet’s food contains. When in doubt, ask your veterinarian for their recommendations. There are several prescription and over the counter diets available for both dogs and cats that are formulated with neurological health in mind.

Canine Diets:
Purina Pro Plan Neurocare – Contains EPA, DHA, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and high protein levels. Can help treat idiopathic epilepsy along with medications, can also help treat Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome. For puppies, adults, and senior dogs. Dry formula only. Requires prescription. dvsdsv
Hill’s b/d Brain Aging Care – Contains antioxidants to help protect brain cells as well has support a healthy immune system. Has high levels of L-Carnitine to help preserve muscle mass. Also contains Omega-3 Fatty Acids for cell membrane health. Low sodium to help the heart as well. Dry formula only. Requires prescription. 
Royal Canin Mature Consult –
Powerful antioxidants neutralize free radicals, support brain function, and protect against cell aging. Also contains specialized amino acids to help maintain muscle mass. Available in both dry and canned formulas. Requires prescription.
Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind – Contains enhanced botanical oils to promote alertness and mental sharpness. EPA, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and Glucosamine for joint care. Available for adults and seniors. Dry and canned formulas in various flavors available.
Purina Pro Plan Focus – High in protein and fiber. Contains Omega-3, Omega-6, as well as DHA for healthy brain development. Available for both puppies and adults. Dry and canned formulas in various flavors available.

Feline Diets:
Royal Canin Mature Consult –
Reduced phosphorus content to help with kidney function, L-Carnitine to help preserve muscle mass. ETA, DHA, EPA, and antioxidants. For sgsdgmature cats only. Available in both dry and canned formulas. Requires prescription.
Purina Pro Plan Focus Kitten – DHA for brain and vision development, rich in antioxidants for a healthy immune system. For kittens under one year old. Available in dry and canned formulas.
Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult – Omega-6, vitamins, linoleic acids for skin health. Antioxidants and natural fibers to help prevent hairballs. For cats one year and older. Dry and canned formulas in various flavors available.
Pruina Pro Plan Prime Plus – Formulated with vitamins and Omega-3s to help improve digestive health, support a healthy immune system, and to help maintain lean body mass. For cats 7 years and older. Dry and canned formulas in various flavors available.

old-boyAlways consult with your veterinarian first before switching your pet’s diet or adding on a supplement, especially if your pet has other health issues to consider. For example, pets that are having kidney issues or are in renal failure should not be on a high protein diet.

No one likes to see their pets get older, but there are things that you can do to help! Who would’ve thought something as simple as a diet change could make all the difference?

By: Cecilia Cardenas

Don’t Give Them the Cold Shoulder… Or Paws… Or Nose… Or Tail…

Living where we do we are accustomed to protecting our pets from the intense heat that come with our Texas summers. It isn’t as common for us to see severe cold conditions that would cause us to take more precautions regarding our pets and being outside during the winter. When we think of a frigid winter, we usually think of images on the news of snowed in towns, 18 car pileups, and that sense of thankfulness that we do not live there! But, even with our mild winters, there are still hazards that can affect the health of our pets.

Capture-3
I’m not going outside right now. I’m busy being a warm, cozy puppy burrito!

Cold weather can worsen conditions that a good majority of our older pets have such as arthritis. Have you ever woken up on a chilly morning and needed extra time to get moving? Do you ever joke that “it’s a cold one outside – my knees are the best weathermen I know!” Well, our older pets feel the changes in their joints just as we do, they might move slower on cold days or might not want to be outside as long as they usually would have. If we were to have any freezing episodes, older pets could also have a hard time walking in slippery conditions – like they do on our slippery floors inside. If you feel like your pet is having arthritic changes (slowing down, not jumping on things like before, weakness or shaking of limbs, loss of muscle mass over their hind end, etc.) – come talk with us about how we can help relieve their discomfort!

gray-cat-wrapped-in-blanket-SW
Sorry but this super soft, warm, comfortable blanket is occupied.

Just like people, pets have their limits as to how much cold they can handle. A young husky is more likely to enjoy a crisp day, than an old chihuahua – who probably wouldn’t step foot outside on a cold day (and you’d most likely get the “you expect me to go out there” look as they run back to their place on the couch). Coat type, body fat stores, activity level, and overall health and age are all factors that can affect just how much cold a pet can tolerate. Long-haired breeds will be able to stay outside longer than short-haired breeds, but they are still at risk to cold weather. Both very young and elderly pets should be limited on their outside time during very cold times.

UntitledHealth conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and hormonal imbalances (such as Cushing’s disease) already limit a pet’s ability to regulate their body temperature and this makes them more susceptible to problems from very hot or very cold temperatures. If your daily routine involves time outside, consider buying a jacket or sweater for your pet to wear. Do not overfeed your pets during cold months. It’s commonly thought that more fat = more body heat, but the health risks associated with increased weight greatly outweigh the myth of more warmth. Keep your pet at a healthy, ideal weight all year long to limit any effects on their joints or general body functions.

Vehicles can provide hazardous concerns as well. Leaking antifreeze can lead to poisoning in our dogs and our cats. It has a sweet smell and taste so our furry friends are attracted to it – ingestion of the chemical has rapid absorption and even a small amount can lead to permanent damage to the kidneys. Larger ingestion amounts have a narrow margin of safety and could lead to death. Be sure to keep these chemicals securely put away and clean up any leaks or spills that you see.

cars-750x500Vehicles also act as a “shelter” for stray cats. They will seek out the warmth from the engine after a car has parked for the night, hiding in the fender wells or under the hood in the engine compartment. Before starting your vehicle after a cold night, honk the horn multiple times or bang on the hood or sides to wake up and scare off any animals that might be hunkered down in there.

Cold weather can also lead to dry, itchy skin. Keeping your home humidified can help relieve this. Do not shave your pets down to their skin in the winter. Pet’s fur is specially designed to help them regulate their body temperature.

Remember – if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for them!

By: Kaitie Barczak

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