Thursday, July 31, 2014

Doodle Days #10

Did you know that I like bandannas? I've showcased a few for you but I had a flare for this accessory at a young age (even when I lived with a different family)
Aren't I adorable?

 They come in all colors and can help me express myself.
I'm a great model...or so I'm told

Here I'm showing my American spirit! 
Red,white and blue
How do you all like to accessorize? 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Vaccine Spotlight: Feline Distemper

Feline distemper infections tend to be quite different from canine distemper. In fact they are caused by a completely separate virus. Feline Distemper, also called panluekopenia, is caused by a parvo virus. (This is a different parvo virus then the one found in dogs). It is one of the most common conditions we vaccinate kittens and adult cats against.
The Distemper or panleukopenia virus can be found anywhere. Almost all cats will become exposed to this virus at some point in their lives. As with many illnesses the very young, immuno-compromised and the old are most susceptible. It is highly contagious so large populations of cats may also be more likely to contract this virus.
Being particularly tough, this virus can be difficult to kill. It actually takes bleach to rid an infected area. (1 part bleach, 32 parts water) Typically a cat will pick it up from the secretions of another cat. It will first contact the mucous membranes of their nose and mouth then continue throughout the body.
Cats affected with this virus can become quite sick. It tends to attack rapidly dividing cells which includes intestines, bone marrow and in growing kittens their brain. Symptoms can range from diarrhea, to lower (almost nothing) white blood cell count on bloodwork OR if they are infected when they have not even been born they can show completely different symptoms. If a mother cat contracts the virus and is not vaccinated depending on where she is in her gestation she could abort the fetuses or they can be born with neurologic deficits. This is known as cerebellum hypolasia.
Treatment as with parvo virus in puppies is supportive care. They need to be kept warm, and control any secondary conditions and ensure they do not become dehydrated. Usually there is no lasting side effects. It is important to remember that even if the patient is acting normally they could still be shedding the virus for awhile after symptoms stop.
Again the good news is there is a vaccine that helps prevent this infection from getting out of hand. The FVRCP vaccine is boostered in kittens regularly and also protects against certain upper respiratory viruses that cause sneezing and coughing, but more importantly helps protect them from panleukopenia. Once they are done with their kitten booster series, depending on the clinic protocol and cat’s risk factors it may be that your vet switches to the three year protocol where this vaccine is given every three years. For more information you can visit Veterinary Partner here

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Coccidia in Pets

Coccidia is an organism that not all pet owners may be familiar with. It is found in the stool of affected patients. Interestingly it can also be found in the stool of patients that are not currently symptomatic as well. Another great reason to screen stool samples every 6-12 months in pets.
The most commonly affected are young puppies and kittens. Infections can range from mild to very serious. Symptoms can range from loose stool, mild vomiting, not eating all the way to severe dehydration. Most animals will pick them up from contaminated soil, but coccidia can also be obtained from eating another animals stool that is currently shedding the organism. That being said, the most common coccidia infections are species specific. So your dog cannot affect your cat and vice versa. As for people it is always a good idea to wash your hands, there are some forms of these organisms that can affect humans but we will cover those in another post!
There is good news, there is treatment for pets that have Coccidia. Most of the time the medication will stop the replication of the organism and the immune system will wipe out the rest. To help prevent re-infestation practicing good hygiene and keeping the yard and litter box picked up regularly are definitely important! The cysts stage of Coccidia can be difficult to kill and may actually require steam and washing. Breeding facilities and high pet traffic areas may need to consider treating all in contact animals. Caution will need to be used with several medication if treating a pregnant dog.

A couple of great websites can be found here and here for more information! 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Breed Focus: Yorkshire Terrier

Another extremely recognizable breed of dog is the Yorkshire terrier. In 2013 they were ranked 6 in AKC most common breeds. Some of their popularity comes from their small size. Most yorkies fall between 4-7 pounds. Although with an abundance of breeders they can sometimes be slightly larger, depending on the breeding stock that is used. Still they will never be a large dog so they can adapt to most living situations large or small.

Just because they are small in stature do not discount their strong personality! They have a voice and they will be heard! They were originally bred, like most terriers, to hunt rodents. In this case they were used mostly in factories. This type of job helped give them their tenacious attitude. For more information about their history you can visit the AKC website here. It is still recommended to pursue basic obedience courses and socialize them well as puppies. Another key element to consider about this breed is that they will require regular brushing at home and regular appointments with a groomer. Their long coat can be beautiful, but if not taken care of can be a nightmare full of mats. This can also be quite painful to them! Getting them used to this routine of brushing and grooming at a young age can be very helpful.
As far as health concerns there are several things to remember, many of which will hold true for most toy breeds. First they are very prone to dental disease. Another good routine to start when they are young is brushing their teeth. Dental cleanings will likely be necessary later in life but hopefully with regular care at home they will be required less often. They are also prone to luxating patellas. This means that their knee caps can move back and forth. If severe surgery may be needed to correct this. Another condition to be conscious of especially when puppies is that sometimes smaller dogs have trouble regulating their glucose. This could be due to a liver shunt which may need to be screened for by your Veterinarian or it can just be their metabolism. Familiarizing yourself with signs of hypoglycemia can be very helpful. Also when puppies feeding frequent meals throughout the day may help as well.

Overall Yorkshire Terriers are a very lovable and versatile dog. They crave human interaction so they make excellent companions! 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Doodle Days #9

In my house we have 'Ear Washing Wednesdays'. These are not my favorite days...

I am not excited about ear washing Wednesdays.
You see I get ear infections easily so my people have found that regular flushing of my ears keeps them under control. 
Soaking the cotton ball with flush. I don't like to look at it.
I'm usually scared if they put the flush right in my ear, so they first soak a cotton ball. Then they put the cotton ball in my ear and massage the fluid in. Then dry it with a cotton ball. 

Then they check with a cotton swab to make sure there isn't any debris left! 

Then comes my favorite thing! My marshmallow treat! That is the only part I like about this process. Well I guess I like not having ear infections too!

Have a great week! 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Vaccine Spotlight: Canine Distemper

Distemper is a virus that is typically vaccinated against starting as puppies. Many people know the puppy booster series as ‘distemper vaccines’. Since the vaccines are so wide spread it is uncommon to see a dog affected with distemper, however it is still extremely important to know what to look for as the symptoms are not very distinct.
Puppies with their weaker immune systems are generally the most likely to be affected. However older dogs that have questionable vaccine histories or have high exposure risks can also contract this virus. Typically it is spread from coughing or contact with the discharge from another dog. The virus will attack any mucous membrane surface. Which can account for the variety of different clinical signs. There are phases to the disease that produce different symptoms.
The first phase is mostly mild with some sneezing, nasal discharge, maybe a decreased appetite, and coughing. In severe cases the coughing can progress to pneumonia.

The next phase is more of GI issues which includes vomiting or diarrhea. It is possible that they will also develop a thickening of the pads. A long time ago distemper infections were called ‘hard pad disease’ due to this development (source).

The final phase is when the virus makes its way into the nervous system. These symptoms will include seizures, weakness, or wobbly walking.
Being a virus, there is not a good, solid treatment regimen. Typically treatment is considered supportive care, which means ensuring that patients are adequately hydrated, and treated for any secondary infections. If seizures are occurring those need to be treated as well. Even if animals make it through the initial onset of symptoms, it is possible they will have lasting effects such as on going seizures, that may need to be managed.
The good news is we do not seem to hear about distemper infections all to often anymore. This is because most people are aware about the vaccinations that can help prevent infections. Starting puppies on boosters at appropriate ages and following up with the regimen recommended by your vet is crucial to helping prevent this easily spread disease. It is also important if you adopt a dog with unknown vaccine history to go ahead and start vaccinations. Over-vaccinating in those cases is generally safer than under-vaccinating and them becoming potentially infected.
For more information on Distemper you can visit the ASPCA website here or veterinary partner website listed above.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Microchips and Our Pets

It’s many pet owners worst nightmare. They turn their back for a second and their beloved friend slips out the door or fence before they can get it closed. This is a very real scenario for many pet owners. You can do everything right and sometimes our pets just have a mind of their own and get away or a leash breaks and they take off.
Certainly having your pets wear collars with ID tags is one way to help ensure that they can be returned to you. However it is possible for collars or tags to fall off, especially if your pet is frightened and running through more rough terrain.

Many years ago another option that some people chose was a tattoo in the pet’s ear that was placed while they were under sedation. This has somewhat fallen out of practice but some breeds used for working still use this method. Examples of some of these would be racing greyhounds or police dogs or even some service dogs.
One of the fastest growing and most common ID methods is micro-chipping pets. This is a small chip that is placed under the skin of the pet. The good news is that it can be placed when the patient is awake or sedated. Each chip has a specific number (which may include letters) that can only be found in that pet. While there are many different, companies that make microchips, they all work under the same principles. Most shelters and many veterinary clinics will have a universal chip reader which will allow them to read the majority of microchips placed in the United States. Once a pet is found one of the first things a facility will do is scan for a microchip then look up the corresponding information.
Here is THE MOST important part of using microchips in patients. It is VITAL to keep all your information updated and accurate with the company. If they have an old address or phone number the chip is not much good and they will be less likely to return your pet to you. Typically the chips are registered to the facility that administered it, it is then your job as the owner to register your pet to you and leave as many ways to contact you as possible.

No one wants to loose their pet, and the good news is there are now many great ways to help ensure that your pet has the best chance of being returned to you. If you have any questions about microchips please contact your veterinarian or local shelter. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Breed Focus: Irish Wolfhound

One of the tallest dog breeds you will see is the Irish Wolfhound. They were originally used for hunting large prey. Although their body shape is very similar to a greyhound, they are much sturdier and their skin is much thicker. They also have a more wirey hair that offers some protection. Just because they were bred for larger prey, this will not stop them from pursuing smaller animals as well. For this reason it is recommended they have a fenced in yard so they can be safe while they exercise.
If you are interested in a dog this large (they can range from 90-150 pounds lean), there are several aspects of every day life that need to be considered. First they need space! Even if they aren’t very active in the house they need space to stretch out and relax. You also have to consider your vehicle. They will not fit in most small cars when full grown. It is never recommended to put ANY dog in the bed of a truck even if they are tied in. You may have to consider a larger SUV to transport your Irish Wolfhound. With larger size and weight comes a larger price tag on maintenance such as feeding and medications. Be sure you have a budget in mind before committing to this breed.
There are several health concerns to be aware of in this particular breed. With the longer legs they are more prone to bone cancer (osteosarcoma). Any limping or swelling around joints should be evaluated by a veterinarian sooner rather than later. They are also quite deep chested which pre-disposes them to gastric dilatation with or without volvulus. This means a bloated stomach with or with out it flipping. This is absolutely an emergency. It can become life threatening extremely quickly. Some ways to help prevent this, is to promote slower eating, elevated food bowls and avoid exercise right after eating. Some people consider tacking the stomach when they are spayed or neutered to decrease their risk of a torsion. This is a procedure that should be discussed with your veterinarian if you are considering it. Large breed dogs tend to be more prone to heart condition known as dilated cardiomyopathy. For more information you can visit veterinary partner’s website here Another final consideration relating to their joints again is that larger breed dogs tend to suffer from joint issues and arthritis at younger ages. In working with your veterinarian they may recommend joint supplements or pain medication depending on the severity of the condition. For more information on health concerns visit the Irish wolfhound club of america’s website here  

Although large they can make loyal and wonderful pets. If you are willing to take on the larger size you may find they have even bigger hearts full of love for their family. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Doodle Days # 8

I'm a pretty social guy...I like to be around friends...last week I showed you Sage (AKA mini me) this week I thought I'd show case my friend Barry. He is a labradoodle and his owner is also a vet! We see each other from time to time and always cause a ruckus!

This is when I first met Barry. He was so tiny! He was very scared of me and cried when I am close. He thought his person would protect him but he was wrong! We still played and played!

Poor little Barry he used to be so scared of me!
Now he is much bigger than me and we have a great time together! Usually I get tired first!

This was the closest we could get to a picture together. We are easily distracted!
Barry's person also likes to dress him Halloween he was Barry Potter!
Barry Potter....I'm a little jealous...I've never had a costume that good before.
Friends can add so much to our lives! I hope you all get to spend quality time with your friends this week! I'll see you later!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Vaccine Spotlight: Bordetella

Kennel Cough is a broad name given to a condition typically seen in dogs. It tends to occur in pets that have either been boarding or around a lot of different dogs in a confined space. There are a variety of bacteria and viruses that can lead to kennel cough. One of the most common is bacteria named Bordetella bronchiseptica. The bacteria can be easily spread through secretions such as saliva or nasal discharge and then becomes airborne. When in the air it is very difficult to treat and eliminate with a normal cleaning regimen.
One way to help keep your pet safe is by vaccinating against the bordetella bacteria. There are actually three different types of vaccines and depending on your pet, your veterinarian will choose the best option. There is an injection, a vaccine that is squirted in the nose, and a vaccine that is squirted in the mouth. As with any vaccine, this is not 100% effective. There are many things that can lead to an outbreak of kennel cough and a vaccine does not guarantee that your pet will not come down with kennel cough. However it is possible that after being vaccinated the course of the infection can be shortened. It is similar to when humans get the flu shot. It is not guaranteed you will not get the flu but the hope is that your symptoms will not be as severe or last as long as an un-vaccinated individual.
Most of the time kennel cough is identified by a dry honking cough. Check out this website that has great videos of dogs coughing. In mild cases no treatment may be needed, however you do need to isolate your dog from other animals as it is HIGHLY contagious. If the coughing is severe antibiotics and cough suppressants may be prescribed. Rarely it can become severe and turn into a pneumonia type condition and require hospitalization, however this is not common at all.
If your pet is ever coughing, it is best to have them checked by a veterinarian as there are many things, other than bordetella, that can lead to a persistent cough. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ear Mites

Ear mites may be the best known of all the mites. They are extremely common in cats, especially stray or predominantly outdoor cats. Typically symptoms will consist of very itchy ears! Sometimes the itching is so intense the ears may become bloody and painful. Many times black debris can be seen in the ears of affected pets.  Just because black debris is present in the ear does not mean that it is ear mites. Typically a swab can be taken and assessed under the microscope. Here we can visualize the mites or determine if staining is needed to rule out other causes of itching ears such as yeast or bacterial infections.
Ear mites are very easily transmitted between animals in the same household. If infections are allowed to go untreated or get out of control it may become necessary to treat all animals in the household. Animals that spend a lot of time outside and that are more likely to have contact with other animals are at most risk for developing ear mites. Although they are easily transmitted between animals, ear mites do not seem to pose a huge risk to humans. Some people with sensitive skin may become itchy if they have contact with mite but it seems difficult for the mite to set up home on us. Even though they are named ear mites, in severe situations they can rarely cause issues elsewhere on the body.  
There are many different forms of treatment for the ear mites. These include products that go directly in the ear, topical products on the back of the neck, oral medications, or injectable medications.

The life cycle of these particular mites is actually quite interesting. The male mites actually mate with an immature mite. However once she sheds into full maturity she will already have eggs present. For the full life cycle visit this website. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Breed Focus: Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzers are sturdy little dogs that are very popular. In 2013 the AKC ranked them 17th in popularity. They are generally very happy active dogs. Originally they were bred to keep rodents away from homes and barns. Today you can still see some of that tenacity if tested, but mostly they are pampered pets living inside. There are three different sizes of schnauzers (miniature, standard and giant) and while they may look very similar except for sizes their temperaments can be very different. It seems that the miniature schnauzers tend to have the bossiest and most stubborn attitude of the three. (of course this can vary on a case by cases basis!)
Although small, miniature schnauzer will do well with regular exercise. They may use their extra energy to get into mischief if not otherwise occupied. For this reason it is also a good idea to put them through some basic training courses. This will help focus some of their energy and re-iterate who is actually in charge around the house.
For maintenance it is important to remember that Schnauzers of any size need to be groomed regularly. This will be a procedure that needs to be factored into their cost of up keep. There are also several conditions that they are prone to. This includes diabetes, pancreatitis and high triglycerides. Each comes with their own set of symptoms, so it may be important to talk to your veterinarians in case you have any concerns.

One more thing to keep in mind, is that Schnauzers tend to be very vocal! Whether they are happy, excited or frustrated they tend to express this through their vocal cords. While cute at times, there is typically not an off button so it can sometimes grow frustrating. Sometimes working with a trainer and teaching quiet or settle can be extremely helpful in these situations. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Doodle Days #7

I had a birthday last week! I am now 3 years old!

I got to celebrate with a birthday hair cut! Last year I just got a hat and this year I guess my people thought I deserved a little more!

I got a puppuccino from Starbucks! That was one of the best days of my life!

I hope you all had a great weekend and are getting back into the swing of the work week!