Lyme Disease: What you need to know

dog on lawnIt is no coincidence that April is National Lyme Disease Prevention Month.  Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks, and the nasty little parasites are at their height during the spring months.  Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by the organism Borrelia burgdorferi that is transmitted by the bite of an infected tick.  The disease is most common in the northeastern, upper Midwestern, and West Coast states, however the area of concern appears to be spreading in recent years.

Infected animals may not develop any symptoms at all.  Some will develop fever, lameness, swollen joints, depression, and/or loss of appetite.  If the infection persists kidney failure and permanent lameness can ensue.  If Lyme disease is suspected, we may suggest running a blood test to confirm infection.  Luckily most pets with Lyme disease respond well to antibiotic therapy.

In endemic areas (like ours), vaccination of dogs for Lyme disease is recommended.  Disease can also be prevented by using tick preventative products recommended by your veterinarian and by removing ticks promptly before disease transmission can occur.  Avoiding tick infested areas and keeping shrubbery and grass closely trimmed can also lessen the likelihood of exposure.  If your dog is at risk for contracting Lyme disease, so are you!  Use care in areas with a heavy tick population.

Call us if you have any questions, or if your dog is showing symptoms.

 

Heartworm Disease: How Much Do You Know

Dog and CatHeartworm disease is no joke.  It is a very serious problem for pets that, with a little effort, is almost completely preventable.  Here are a few facts regarding heartworm disease so that you can better understand how to protect your pet:

  • Heartworms grow inside the heart, lungs, and associated vessels.
  • Heartworm disease is transmitted by female mosquitoes.
  • Both dogs and cats can become infected.
  • Heartworm disease has been found in ALL 50 states.
  • Pets that are infected may not exhibit any signs until serious problems and even death occur.
  • There is a treatment for heartworm disease in dogs, although the treatment is expensive and can have a high risk of complications.  No treatment is currently available for cats.

Contact us and we can help you to decide what the best preventative plan is for your pet.  By educating yourself you can protect your dog or cat from this scary disease.

 

Arm Yourself for Flea and Tick Season!

With flea and tick season on the horizon, don’t forget that the best defense is a good offense!  Advances in parasite prevention options and a little knowledge can go a long way towards defeating these nasty little buggers.  Don’t forget the following important aspects of protecting your pet:

  • Choose your weapons wisely:  Use safe, effective, high quality preventative products.  Some products work better than others.  Don’t waste your money on something that isn’t going to work.  We can help you analyze your specific needs and pinpoint the best product for your situation.
  • Be punctual: Treat your pet every 30 days or as directed.  Many products loose efficacy toward the end of the treatment cycle.
  • Bathe with caution: When using spot-on products, be sure to avoid bathing your pet 48 hours before AND after application.
  • Every pet, every month: All pets in the household should be treated with flea prevention.  Should the rogue flea get into the house, even that old indoor kitty can become a virtual breeding ground for the little varmints. Be sure to consult with us before using spot treatments on your cat, though — some of them are canine only.
  • Don’t give up hope: If you have a bad infestation, things may look worse before it looks better.  Continue utilizing the products recommended as instructed.

If you need refills on any of your flea & tick prevention or would like to talk to us about some options, give us a call or just stop in!

 

(Scoot, scoot, scoot) Scoot Your Booty

Ah, the dreaded butt-drag.  Every pet owner has experienced it.  But what does it mean? Don’t ignore it!  If your dog is carpet surfing, there is a reason.  Here are the most common causes:

  • Anal sacs Booty-ScooterAll dogs and cat have little sacs right inside the rectum that contain a stinky fluid.  Normally this fluid is expressed when your pet has a bowel movement.  Sometimes the glands can become clogged or infected, however, resulting in a very irritating pressure that can be painful. You can help avoid this by bringing your pet in for grooming, which can include anal gland expression.
  • Parasites – Intestinal parasites such as tapeworms can cause irritation around the rectum, resulting in scooting.
  • Allergies – Allergies, in particular food allergies, can cause an itchy behind.  Give us a call if you suspect this may be the case for your pet.
  • Irritation – Anything irritating such as debris stuck in the hair around the rectum or inflammation secondary to diarrhea can result in your pet dragging or licking at its bottom excessively.
  • Fleas – Fleas love to hang out around the back half of the animal, which can sometimes result in scooting.  Fleas can also carry tapeworms, another culprit!

So next time you catch your pet dragging its rear end on your white rug, don’t yell at him or her-  Make an appointment to get it checked out!  Your dog or cat is trying to tell you something!

Fleas and Ticks, Oh My!

Lions and tigers and bears aren’t the scariest things lurking outdoors for your pets!  Did you know that flea allergies are the number one cause of skin disease in dogs and cats?  And that they can transmit blood parasites and tapeworms?   Have you heard that ticks carry nasty diseases such as Lyme disease?  Have no fear, though!  A little education goes a long way in protecting Fido and Fluffy from these creepy crawly parasites.  For instance, while fleas and ticks are most common during the warmer months of the year, they are a risk throughout.  Also, did you realize that even dogs and cats that stay indoors can be a breeding ground for fleas?  Keeping your pet on year-round preventative can stop an infestation before it starts.  There are a variety of products on the market to protect your pet, which can make it difficult to know which to use.  Your veterinarian can help you to sort through the vast options and select the best product to meet your individual needs.  So follow the yellow brick road to see the wizard, er, your veterinarian to get your pet protected today!