Thursday, March 20, 2014

About the size of a sesame seed this is an adult deer tick.

We finally made it through the harshest winter in 35 years. Although it doesn’t seem possible for any creature to survive outside this winter, do not be fouled. The warm moist conditions of spring will revitalize pesky parasites that can plague your pet. That’s right fleas, ticks and mosquitoes will be back along with the potential for the diseases they transmit.

FleasPets differ in their response to flea bites. When fleas bite, they deposit flea saliva into the host's skin that can cause an allergic reaction resulting in flea allergy dermatitis.  Secondary bacterial infections may complicate the underlying flea allergy. Pets with flea-bite dermatitis commonly are itchy and frequently have hair loss. Pets sensitive to flea bites may be very uncomfortable, while less sensitive pets may be unaffected by them. When flea infestations are severe and blood loss is high, serious illness may result, including death due to anemia especially in puppies and kittens.

Ticks –Ticks are common parasites that can be found anywhere from the deep woods to the urban park. Wisconsin is considered a high risk state for tick borne diseases.  Each year, thousands of pets become infected with serious diseases transmitted by a number of different ticks. Diseases like ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, anaplasmosis and others.  The symptoms for these diseases are quiet varied including; lethargy, fever, lameness, inappetence, vomiting, and diarrhea.

 Mosquitoes – Heartworms, a completely preventable but potentially deadly parasite are transmitted through a mosquito bite. The immature worms migrate and mature in the pet and eventually become adult heartworms in the large blood vessels in the lungs or the right side of the heart. Heartworms can damage the blood vessels and lead to secondary damage of the heart, resulting in heart failure. Pets usually are presented to veterinarians for coughing, lethargy, exercise intolerance or loss of appetite. Heartworm is much easier to prevent than to treat because prevention is safe, effective and easy to administer. While treatment can be life threatening.

All of these diseases, generally known as vector-borne disease, can be minimized with preventive measures (vaccines, topical or oral medications, tick collars, etc.) and annual checkups that include a simple blood test for screening. Screening   is especially important, as symptoms of vector-borne disease are often vague and difficult to recognize.  Ask your veterinarian about parasite prevention to keep your pet healthy. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Detecting if your cat is in pain can be challenging. This video features Dr. Margie Scherk , a leading authority in Feline Medicine. She will describe what symptoms to watch for.

Cats can be very sensitive to certain types of pain medication such as non steroidal anti-inflammatory meds. But these drugs can be given cautiously for short periods of time. We also use narcotics such as Buprenex to help relieve pain. Massage, acupuncture and spinal manipulation are very useful to help relieve chronic pain such as arthritis.

So if you suspect your kitty is hurting speak to your veterinarian to see what options are available to help.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

How to tell if your cat is secretly sick

Can you tell which kitty is sick?
 Almost impossible to tell from a photograph but many loving, concerned owner’s miss early or subtle hints that their cat has an illness – especially ongoing conditions like thyroid, kidney and dental disease.
  Domestic cats have been referred to as having "one foot in the wild." Wild animals, as a survival method, have to hide signs of weakness, pain or disease. Cats commonly suffer from a number of very treatable conditions as they age. Early detection is key to maintaining quality of life in older cats This means that you have to be that much more observant of your feline friend’s behavior at all times.
Let’s go over 10 signs of illness in cats – although many of them also apply to dogs.
1. Change in Appetite or Thirst
Eating or drinking more or less than normal can potentially signify disease. If you notice a change either way, you should notify your veterinarian. There are countless diseases that can cause an increased thirst, overeating or losing one’s appetite. You vet’s job will be to investigate why.
2. Stinky Breath
A foul odor coming from your kitty’s mouth can mean gum disease or tooth decay.  Brushing your cat’s teeth is a good way to decrease those risks.  Imagine if you went 5 or 10 or 15 years without brushing your teeth! In addition, breath that smells like ammonia can be a sign of kidney disease.
3. Eliminating Outside of the Litter Box
Causes of this annoying habit can be behavioral or indicate a disease. Discuss your pet’s symptoms with your vet to rule out a bladder infection or urinary blockage before treating this as a behavior issue.
4. Weight Change
Weight loss can be an indication of many diseases and is sometimes the only symptom your kitty will give of not feeling well. Weight gain if it results in obesity is detrimental to your pet’s health. It can lead to diabetes and arthritis.
5. Behavior Change
If your normally social kitty suddenly becomes antisocial, there may be a medical reason. A classic sign of illness is hiding: kitty feels bad, tries to hide from “predators” and hides in a closet or under a bed.
6. Grooming Change
Lack of grooming can cause dull or greasy hair coat, which can indicate skin disease or other problems. Some cats over-groom and end up with bald patches. Skin parasites, like fleas or mange, or even stress can cause this behavior.
7. Activity Change
A sudden increase in activity level in a middle-aged to older kitty can indicate an overactive thyroid. If your kitty seems less than enthusiastic about moving around or playing, it may indicate arthritis or other issues.
8. Sleep Pattern Change
If your cat seems to sleep all day when he used to be active, he may be trying to tell you he doesn't feel well. The opposite is also true. If your kitty is up all night roaming the house, vocalizing, or seems overactive during the day, there might be an underlying cause.
9. Stress-Induced Behavior
A change in your cat’s routine may be a sign of stress. Changes in the environment your pet lives in, like the addition of another pet, remodeling or loud noises can all cause hiding, depression, or a lack of appetite. Be objective and thorough when describing any potential changes to your veterinarian.
10. Vocalization Change
 Normally quiet cats with an increase in vocalizations, or a usually chatty kitty which suddenly becomes quiet, might mean trouble.
Any of the above changes, whether slow or quick, is a reason to see your veterinarian to investigate the cause and find a treatment as soon as possible.

Monday, February 3, 2014

A great winter tip for your best friend

Winter Wipe Off! Be sure to wipe off your dog’s legs and belly when he comes in from the sleet, snow and ice. Dogs can easily ingest salt, antifreeze and other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking their paws, so dry Fido off even after a quick walk around the block!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

February is National Pet Dental Health Month

We need dental care just like you!

Periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition in cats and dogs even though it's completely preventable. Good oral health is an important part of good general health for your pet.
 View this video from the American Veterinary Medical Association with information on what periodontal disease is and how we can prevent our pets from getting it. 
Periodontal Disease

Signs of oral and dental diseases in dogs and cats:

·         Bad breath
·         Tartar build up
·         Red gums
·         Loose teeth or teeth that are discolored
·         Your pet shies away from you when you touch the mouth area
·         Drooling or dropping food from the mouth
·         Bleeding from the mouth
·         Loss of appetite or loss of weight (this combination can result from diseases of many organs, and early veterinary examination is important).