Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What do I do about all of these fleas???

Of all client questions answered during the course of the day. The most common, by far, this time of year is..."Doc, What do I do about all of these fleas? Is there an answer? Does anything really work? The products recommended by your office are not working! What do I do now?".

So, here is the skinny on fleas...

First it is imperative that one understands the life cycle of the flea. The complete life cycle consists of the flea eggs, larvae, pupae and the adult.

Only 5% of the flea population consists of adult fleas. Adult fleas live their entire life cycle on the pet. They may bite humans but will quickly jump off as humans are not a natural host. The adults eat, breed, LAY EGGS and die on the body of the pet.

Population check: Adults 5% and survive 50 days, Eggs 45% and survive 10 days, Larvae 35% and survive 12 days, Pupae 10% survive 8-9 days or upto 4-5 months.

While most of the focus ends up being on the fact that there are live fleas crawling everywhere, the true problem is in the egg population.

To accomplish flea control pet owners must attack three areas:
1.) Treat the pet
2.) Treat the house
3.) Treat the yard

Flea preventatives like Frontline, Advantage, Advantix, etc. that are sold by veterinarians and over the counter are PREVENTATIVES and work very well but all of the above areas MUST be addressed appropriately.

Treat the pet:
See your veterinarian immediately for advice. Often times there are other conditions that go along with flea infestation such as Flea Allergy Dermatitis and Tapeworms just to name two. Your veterinarian is equipped to get the fleas off your pet very quickly and easily without toxic dips and baths. If underlying conditions with the pet are not addressed flea preventatives may not work properly and the prevention will fail. If the listed areas above are not addressed properly the preventative plan will fail.

Treat the house:
Forget messy bombs and foggers. What a mess! Instead focus on getting the eggs out of the house! See your veterinarian for recommendations for in-house area treatments and focus on the baseboards. Vacuum or dry mop like you have never before. Get the eggs out! Get the eggs out! If you have a disposable vacuum bag throw it out each time. If you have a canister clean the canister each time. Throw away or launder dry mop heads immediately. Treat the baseboards with a high quality, veterinary recommended area treatment. Don't neglect the high traffic areas but don't focus heavily on them either. Think of the eggs as hair. On a hardwood floor where does the hair end up at the end of the day? Around the edges of the rooms and piled in corners. Retreat monthly until the problem has resolved. Keep up on the pet's prevention. The fleas will not magically disappear in days or weeks. Often severe flea infestations take months to recover and maintain.

Treat the yard:
Either have an exterminator treat the yard for you or treat it yourself but make sure it gets treated! I usually recommend treatment at the beginning of the summer, again mid summer and again in the fall. Keep the grass trimmed short, collect grass clippings and rake any leaves and debris.

Once all three areas have been tackled and the flea problem has resolved it is important to continue flea prevention monthly all year around to avoid future outbreaks. Do not stop when winter comes. Flea eggs can stay dormant in your nice comfortable 68 degree home for up to 2 years. Never take them for granted. They will return and re-infest if you are not careful. If you know you have had problems treat the pet year around, treat the yard through the summer and treat the house when problems arise.

There is not one flea regime that works for all pets and all geographic areas. It is important to speak with your veterinarian to get advice on the best flea program for you and your area. It will save you hundreds of dollars and long time frustration. We have a multitude of wonderful flea products on the market today. There is no reason to have flea infestations today.

Feel free to contact me anytime with questions or concerns regarding your worst nightmare: FLEAS!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Tularemia in Urbana

There was recently a report on the news about 3 cats that were diagnosed with Tularemia in Eastern Savoy. These cats were found in 2 separate households near each other. Although it is good to be diligent about monitoring serious diseases, I do not think that this is something to be overly worried about.

For a little background on the disease. The disease is caused by a bacteria named Francisella tularensis. The main animal that carries this disease is the domestic rabbit, but it can be spread to other animals including cats via tick and fly bites or through direct contact while hunting. As it is spread by rabbits, only cats who are outdoors and hunt are particularly at risk for the disease. It is a fairly uncommon disease to see Tularemia in cats, which is why having 3 cats come down with it in such a short period is a concern; however, it tends to have a higher presence in hot weather (so with this summer, I can see why we had a few more cases).

Symptoms to look for in cats include inappetence, fever, mouth ulcers, enlarged lymph nodes and lethargy. Again, if your cat is indoors only, you shouldn't worry too much about this. If Tularemia is suspected, there are ways to test for it including blood tests or culturing the oral ulcers. It can be a fairly aggressive disease and can be fatal, so early detection and treatment is needed.

Now, the reason that finding Tularemia in these cats is a concern is that it can also be spread to humans and can be fatal. Although there have been reports of cats transmitting it to people, the vast majority of the cases where humans contract the disease is due to transmission while a person is trapping rabbits or through tick bites. A few tips to prevent contracting the disease is to use insect repellent when camping, wearing gloves if handling dead animals (particularly rabbits), and avoid mowing over dead animals.

Again, I don't think Tularemia is something to be overly worried about, but I have received a few calls about the disease, so wanted to write a little about it.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to comment.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What goes in must come out....

Here we are today waiting, with the utmost anxiety, for our poor fellow to poop! Mug of warm coffee in hand, I am happily greeted by a wide eyed technician, smiling from ear to ear and holding a cardboard collection container. He anxiously points out several small plastic pieces, remnants of a metal blade and a bar code.

Where did the bar code come from?!? Yes, I like organization but, No, we do not bar code and organize our stool samples...yet.

With wonderful joy we anxiously get him on the x-ray table for another picture of his stomach to evaluate where the remainder of the pieces have ended. Joy! Joy! Joy! Some have passed and the remainder have dislodged from the bottom pits of the stomach and are encased in food.

I spoke to the owner and he was overjoyed. What do we do now? Well...we wait. We wait for the rest to pass and monitor him carefully. We agreed to discharge this patient after 2:00PM when the owner is off work. We will send the remainder of the high fiber diet for consumption over the weekend. The owner will monitor for the remainder of the pieces in his stool and return at the beginning of the week for another x-ray to evaluate our progression. All set. Since we have been holding his food this morning for the x-ray we give the green light for him to have his breakfast.

Just around 12:45PM the ward attendant reports that our patient has vomited his breakfast and voila...the remainder of the razor blade pieces. Around 1:00PM the owner arrived to pick up his Labrador and they happily went home. No more razor blade.

Where did the bar code come from? Well.....remember...he's a lab. It could have come from anywhere.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Success but still waiting!

So we are here waiting for the poor dog to pass razor blade pieces and he has! Lots of small plastic pieces and two pieces of blade that were nicely enveloped in the remnants of what used to be his food. Yes...we had to dig them out!

Unfortunately there are still two or three small metallic pieces still in his stomach. After a long discussion with the owner we have decided to wait another day since the dog is not affected to this point. If it does not pass or at least move we'll have to go in and get them. We'll see what happens.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Why do Labradors' eat things????

First call right after lunch..."I need to talk to a veterinarian dog at a disposable razor at 8am this morning".

Calmly speaking to this poor, distraught client we deduce that there are two Labradors in the house and we are not certain which one ate the razor. It is most likely the one that ate the bottle of Advil last month. In addition, just like all good labs, he ate everything BUT the handle...we think!?

Within the hour we have a beautiful radiograph. Several small pieces of plastic razor present and one or two small slivers of what is believed to be blade material in his stomach.

Two choices: immediate gastrotomy (open the stomach) and remove the pieces or feed him a large quantity of fiber that will form around the pieces and help them move through.

After a bit of discussion and carefully weighing the options we opt to feed him a bulk of fiber and re-shoot the radiograph in the morning. If it does not move through or is causing issues surgery will be the only option.

So here we are picking through poo and waiting patiently in beautiful Peoria!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hello from the river city!

Hello! I am Dr. Johnson from Peoria's Mt. Hawley Animal Clinic! I'm really excited about this Blog! What an excellent vehicle to bring a lot of people together and share interests, laughs, concerns and discuss my favorite topic...Veterinary medicine!

I am a native of Metamora and graduated from Metamora High School. After High School I obtained my Bachelor's Degree in Animal Science at the University of Illionois at Champaign-Urbana. It was here that the concept of the Human-Animal bond was first introduced in a class instructed by Linda Case.

While attending college i worked as a Veterinary Assistant for Dr. Beaumont at Country View Veterinary Clinic in Champaign. i not only gained invaluable hands-on experience but learned of Ross University from Dr. Beaumont. Thanks Kurt!!!

Upon completion of my Bachelor's Degree I moved to the beautiful island of St. Kitts in the West Indies and began studying Veterinary medicine at Ross University. What an amazing experience! I lived and studied in paradise for three years!

I then returned to reality and completed a year of evaluated clinical study at the University of Missouri at Columbia. It was here that I really began to understand the Human-Animal Bond. I was introduced to many wonderful people and experienced and learned invaluable skills. At Mizzou one concept remained a common thread...Client-Patient care and the idea of the Human-Animal Bond. This is where I realized the impact the Human-Animal Bond can have and the importance of listening to clients.

After a year, which seemed like a week, it was time to return home. I embarked on one year of evaluated practice at Country View Veterinary Clinic in Champaign. It was finally nice to be home. I them moved back to the Peoria area to work for Dr. Beaumont at Mt. Hawley Animal Clinic. After three years I felt the call to leave and serve those who had a difficult or impossible time getting to the clinic and started building a house call clientele. What an amazing, overwhelming experience. Now we're talking Human-Animal Bond! After three years I re-joined forces with Dr. Beaumont at Mt. Hawley Animal Clinic and currently focus on House calls.

In practice I primarily focus on general internal medicine and surgery. I obviously have a special interest in the Human-Animal bond. I also have a passion for Practice Building techniques involving team building and education. My focus is developing and utilizing practice building techniques to build long lasting client relationships that I view as friendships.

My wife, Lara, is my best friend and soul mate. She has put up with me for seven years and we have a six year old son named Brendan who is a wonderful gift that we enjoy on a daily basis. We currently enjoy life with our five year old German Shepherd, Fritz, our ten year old calico cat, Fey, and our nineteen year old lovebird named Bogie.

In my spare time I enjoy working in the yard, cooking and creating healthy, great tasting meals and spending time with my family.

I enjoy learning and sharing knowledge about veterinary medicine. Providing the highest quality of medicine with compassion and convenience is my goal. Our clients are our friends. Feel free to come by or contact me at Mt. Hawley Animal Clinic in Peoria.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Meet Dr. Cappa

As one of the contributors to the blog, I wanted to introduce myself. First, from an educational and job perspective. I graduated veterinary school from the University of Illinois in 2006. I then did a year long small animal rotating internship at Texas A&M University. During this time I rotated between different specialities at the hospital including time in cardiology, surgery, internal medicine, emergency medicine, and ophthalmology. After my year in Texas, I came back to Champaign and spent 1.5 years in the pathology department at the U of I.

Then, starting in January 2009 I started working for Dr. Beaumont at the Village Pet Doctor in Tolono, IL. I currently split my time between Village Pet Doctor and Southside Veterinary Clinic in Savoy, IL. Please click the links on the right to visit the website for both clinics. I am interested in all aspects of small animal medicine, but have a particular interest in surgery and ophthalmology.

On a personal note, I am happily married to a wonderful woman named Jill who is a teacher at one of the local middle schools. We have two wonderful children named Macy (3) and Tyler (1) and a dog named Ellie (8). Between the kids and dog we stay plenty busy, but in the free time I do have I enjoy running, reading, and if time permits sleeping.

I enjoy meeting new people and animals, so if you are in the process of looking for a veterinarian, please don't hesitate to contact either Southside Veterinary Clinic or the Village Pet Doctor.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Welcome to Our Blog

I wanted to welcome you to our new blog. This blog is meant to share pet health information, doctor and staff thoughts, funny animal stories, and much more. Contributors are spread in clinics across the Champaign-Urbana area and Peoria. Please see the links to the right to get more information about our clinics.

Our clinics are full service companion animal hospitals that are committed to providing quality veterinary care throughout the life of your pet. Our services and facilities are designed to assist in routine preventive care for young, healthy pets; early detection and treatment of disease as your pet ages; and complete medical and surgical care as necessary during his or her lifetime.

Please feel free to comment on any of our blogs and we hope to hear from you with any pet health care needs.