Tag: Pets

It’s been a bad flu season… for dogs!

By: Tara Sansing

As you have most likely already seen via the news there have been recent outbreaks of the flu in dogs across the country. At least two positive cases have been confirmed in the Houston area in the last couple of weeks.

Please be aware that this is the second strain of dog-flu-symptomsinfluenza that has been known to affect dogs. In the past, we have seen outbreaks of the Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) otherwise known as the H3N8 strain. The current flu virus, H3N2, emerged in Asia in 2005 and spread to the United States in 2015. Since then, there have been scattered positive cases in dogs across the country and more recently large outbreaks in several states.

Just like the H3N8 flu virus, H3N2 is an upper respiratory virus. The most common symptoms are coughing, fever, nasal discharge, lethargy and lack of appetite. Dogs are contagious for 5-7 days prior to showing the first symptoms and it is for this reason that H3N2 has spread very quickly. Because the virus is relatively new, dogs have no natural immunity against the virus—if unvaccinated and exposed, the chances of being infected is close to 100%.

The significance of an influenza infection is that it compromises the normal defense mechanisms of the canine respiratory tract so that secondary bacterial infections, including pneumonia, are common. The mortality rate for the virus and resulting infections is 8%. The dogs most at risk of dying are very old, young or are immune compromised because of another condition. Breeds such as Bulldogs, Boston terriers, German shepherds, etc. are more susceptible to secondary lung infection.

Who should be vaccinated?

Any dogs that walk in the neighborhood, visit with neighbor dogs through the fence, get dogs-playing-dog_parkbathed/groomed, board, go to training classes or play at the dog park are at high risk.  It is important to understand, however, that a dog does not have to come in direct contact with a dog that has the virus. The virus can live in the environment for several days and so any dogs that are in the same area later are also at risk.  The H3N2 virus can also be brought home by any person that has come into contact with the virus.

Please note that much like the flu vaccine in humans, the vaccine does not guarantee that a dog will not contract the virus but the symptoms will be much less severe and the dog should recover more quickly.  Any dog that has not received the vaccine in the past will need an initial vaccine followed by a booster in 2-4 weeks. The H3N2 vaccine should continue to be administered annually along with the H3N8 vaccine.

Starting July 1st, all dogs that drop off for baths and boarding at our clinic will need be vaccinated for both strains of influenza. This is for the safety of all patients in our care.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule a time for your pup(s) to come in for the vaccine, please contact the clinic at 281-282-9944.

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MDR… What?!..

Congratulations! You’ve just adopted a new family member! They are cute, furry and already an important part of your life! Naturally you want them to be as healthy as possible. You’ve been to the vet and you’ve talked about vaccines, microchips and spaying / neutering. But what about the MDR1 gene? Has your dog been tested? If not, you will definitely want to discuss this with the Doctor—especially if your dog is one of the affected herding or hound breeds, as it can cause life-threatening complications.

What is MDR1?

Many herding breed dogs have a genetic predisposition to adverse drug reactions involving over a dozen different drugs. Scientists discovered that these dogs lack a protein (P-Glycoprotein), which is responsible for pumping out many drugs and toxins from the brain, and that affected dogs show signs of toxicity because they are unable to stop drugs from permeating their brains. Researchers have identified that this condition is due to a mutation in the multi-drug resistance gene [MDR1].

In the grand scheme of things, the mutation wouldn’t be a problem at all except for the use of certain therapeutic drugs in veterinary medicine. While these drugs are very beneficial for most dogs, they can be dangerous and even lethal to those with the MDR1 mutation. Affected dogs, when treated with certain common drugs such as Ivermectin and loperamide (Imodium), are unable to pump out these drugs from the brain resulting in poisoning and neurologic symptoms ranging from tremors, anorexia and excess salivation to blindness, coma and even death.

How do I test my dog for the MDR1 Mutation?

Testing for the MDR1 Mutation is simple and non-invasive! All it takes is scheduling time for a technician to draw a blood sample from your dog. The blood can either be sent to Washing State University for testing for the MDR1 Gene or sent to the lab for a full Genetic Health Analysis which identifies both ancestry information and scans for multiple genetic disorders including the MDR1 mutation.

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During January, all Genetic Health Analysis tests are 10% OFF

If you have any questions or would like schedule a time for your dog to come in for testing, contact the clinic at 281-282-9944.

Discover the Secrets of Your Dog’s DNA

mixed-breeds

Have you ever looked at your pup and wondered where they really came from? Are they really part Lab like the shelter predicted? Or are they a German Shepherd mix?

We can help you answer those questions with Royal Canin’s DNA & Genetic Health Analysis!

What makes this test better than a standard breed test?

The test not only identifies your dog’s ancestry information (going back to great-grandparents) but also tests for several inheritable genetic diseases based on their breed composition.

Why is this important?

Genetic testing in dogs enables diagnosis of a disease before the development of its first symptoms. Results of genetic tests are accurate and more reliable than conventional methods for disease detection, especially in case of late onset diseases. DNA tests also enable diagnosis of the disease before reaching mating age, thus allowing prevention of the disease-causing mutation from being transmitted to offspring.

Genetic testing in dogs is the only way of revealing carriers for a disease with an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance. This is the factor that makes DNA tests a valuable weapon in the fight against inherited diseases in dogs, especially since autosomal recessive diseases are the most common.

The Royal Canin DNA Genetic Health Analysis tests for more than 130 genetic mutations including the MDR1 Drug Sensitivity Gene and Cardiac Diseases. Knowing this information about your dog is invaluable and allows us to create a customized health plan that reflects your dog’s individual genetic code and needs.

Dogs can be genetically tested at any age and there is no need for repeated testing which makes genetic tests economically valuable. It should be noted that the test is non-invasive; a simple technician appointment for a blood draw is sufficient for performing a DNA test.

 During December and January, All Genetic Health Tests are 10% OFF!

 For more information or to schedule a time for your pet to come in, please contact the clinic at 281-282-9944.

 

Evacuating Safely With Pets

By: Tara Sansing

Hurricane Season is here!  Are you prepared?! Evacuating in an emergency situation can be both chaotic and stressful.With experts anticipating this to be one of the most active storm seasons we have seen in several years, we want to encourage all of our clients to take a few minutes to make sure that they are prepared to travel safely with their pets.

Evacuation Checklist:

Make sure that you have the following items on hand in the event of a mandatory evacuation:

  1. Food and water- Make sure you have a large supply of food and water for you pet, preferably a whole month’s worth.
  2. Two forms of ID for your pet- Tags with current information, displayed on either a halter or collar, along with a microchip are highly recommended. It is also recommended that there is contact information on file at your microchip company for a friend who lives outside the affected area, so if your pet is found, contact can be made quickly even if your cell is out of power or other local disruptions exist.
  3. Pet carrier- Each pet needs his own carrier to keep him safe and secure, especially when traveling in closed quarters with other pets. Crates large enough to fit a litter box and bed are ideal for cats
  4. Medication- Don’t forget your pet’s prescription meds. Medications can sometime be critical to your pet’s health and can be hard to replace. We recommend at least a two-week supply. This includes all anxiety medications or sedatives that your pet might need while traveling.
  5. Vaccination records- In case you need to board your pet or use public transportation during the course of your evacuation, these may come in handy. It would be ideal to scan a basic health certificate and keep it online for easy access.
  6. Pet care basics– This includes the everyday items you’re likely to overlook, like food and water dishes, leashes, litterboxes, chew toys, etc.

Finding a Safe Place to Go

Evacuating with pets can be stressful & chaotic. Make sure you have everything you need!
Evacuating with pets can be stressful & chaotic. Make sure you are prepared!

Make sure that you have a safe place in mind for both you and your pets in the event of a storm. During a crisis, public disaster shelters and hotels may (or may not) allow pets. If possible, call ahead so you know if you must make other arrangements to avoid you and your pet being stranded in the face of an emergency. Please note that the clinic will not be open in the event of a mandatory evacuation and we will not have staff here to care for your pets.

Plan Ahead

Do not wait until the last minute to make sure that you have the supplies that you need for your pets in the event of evacuation. Local stores may run out of carriers or other essential items. Check your medicine cabinets and make sure that you have a reasonable supply of your pets medications so that you are not scrambling to get refills at the last minute. We want to make sure that all of our patients have what they need to evacuate safely.

As disaster approaches, bring all pets into the house so you won’t have to search for them if you need to leave quickly.

If you need any refills of medications, sedatives for travel or a copy of your pet’s vaccination records, contact the clinic at 281-282-9944.