Wohlfhartia is also known as the cuterebra sp. The common name is “wolf worm”. Flies lay maggots directly on the skin of kits. The larvae penetrates the skin and produces chronic inflammation and lesions that resemble abscesses. Affected kits become restless, and lose condition, and may die.
Whipworms are intestinal parasites seen in dogs. Whipworms cause diarrhea and blood in feces as well as weight loss, lethargy, and even death in severe cases. Diagnosis is made by performing regular micro-scopic fecal examinations. Treatment consists of oral medications. Some heartworm preventatives assist in prevention. Re-infestation may occur due to contact with areas contaminated with feces (dirt, runs, cages, etc).
WARFARIN TOXICOSIS (RAT POISONING)
When pets are exposed to and ingest the modern rat poisons (warfarin, coumarin and derivatives), they lose the ability to clot blood for 4-6 weeks. The coagulopathy (clotting disorder) and resultant blood loss requires close monitoring and vitamin K capsule administered daily for 6 weeks to be absolutely safe. Any signs of bleeding, petechiations (small purple spots) of oral mucosa, purpuric hemorrhage of abdomen (big purple blotches), epistaxis (nose bleed), hematuria (bleeding in urine), or melena (bloody stool) or dyspnea (difficulty breathing) should be attended to by a veterinarian immediately. Periodic blood checks (PCV and hematocrit) are recommended to confirm that the Vitamin K antidote is working effectively at counteracting the poison.
VIRAL ENTERITIS OF DOGS
Viral enteritis is an inflammation of the intestinal track caused by a virus. Viruses that cause enteritis include parvovirus, coronavirus, herpes virus, astrovirus, enterovirus and reovirus. Some of these viruses cause severe life-threatening illness, while others cause only amild digestive upset. The herpes virus of dogs does not affect people.
Viral enteritis is easily transmitted to susceptible dogs. Puppies, aged dogs and those weakened by illness are most susceptible. Dogs become infected by swallowing the virus particles or by direct contact with infected feces, saliva or vomit. Viruses may be carried on clothing, shoes, feeding utensils, and some insects and burs. Some of these viruses can survive several months in the environment.
Common signs of viral enteritis include depression, fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and blood in the stools. Heart muscle damage may occur with some of these viral infections.
Yearly vaccination for prevention of parvovirus and coronavirus is recommended.
The most important thing to remember is that vaccines are given based on age. Puppies should be vaccinated every 3-4 weeks until they are 18-20 weeks old. Kittens should be vaccinated every 3-4 weeks until they are 14-16 weeks old. The reason pets have to be vaccinated monthly is due to an immature immune system. The immune system is what is responsible for protecting the animal from viral disease. Imagine the immune system as an army that protects the body from the invading enemy army of virus. The army is strong a week after the vaccine is given, but after two weeks the army begins to weaken and many soldiers are not available. Four weeks after the vaccine is given, the army is gone and the animal is no longer protected. Once the pet is of the proper age, the immunity (army) remains strong and only needs to be boosted yearly with the exception of kennel cough, which is a six month vaccine. Lyme vaccine is an optional vaccine that should be given if the dog goes outside and could be bitten by ticks. Initially, the dog gets two boosters one month apart, then once yearly. All kittens and cats that have NOT been tested for Feline Leukemia/Feline Aids and have no previous vaccines are given a:
Kit 1 for kittens approximately 8 weeks old. Kit 1 includes a Leukemia/FIV test.
Kit 2 PLUS a leukemia test for kittens approximately 12 weeks old
Any kitten or cat approximatley 4 months or over would get a feline annual PLUS Leukemia/FIV test (FACT)
A combo test is a good idea for any kitten or cat that is a stray, has been in a cat fight, or spends a great deal of time outside as it tests for both Feline Leukemia and Feline Aids (FIV).
Puppies that are younger than 6 months of age do not need to be tested for heartworms. This is because the heartworms grow within the dog for 6 months before they mature and can be found by the present test. If a dog has been on heartworm prevention, especially Heartgard (Ivermectin), and the dog has missed some months of medication, an occult heartworm test should be done. The medication kills the baby heartworms (microfilaria) before they mature in the dog. The occult test tells if there are any antibodies present in the dog, which means the immune system is trying to fight off the heartworms that are present. When adult pets come in (from 7 months and older), all vaccines but the rabies should be boostered in 1 month. For example:
a canine would get a CA1 followed by a DAPPA, CVA, and KC
a feline would get a FALT or FACT (feline annual, combo test) followed by a FELVA and FVRA
Ferret vaccines are given on the same schedule as kittens, and then yearly. Baby ferrets are called kits.
Signs of urethral obstruction include attempting to urinate frequently, straining to urinate, and passing bloody urine. The disorder can be life threatening. Therapy is geared toward removing the obstruction and treating its cause. Most common urethral obstruction develops when your dog has bladder stones, and one or more of these stones lodges in the urethra. Other conditions that narrow or completely obstruct the urethra include inflammation due to bacterial infection or crystals (the building blocks of bladder stones), trauma, tumors, and diseases of the prostate gland. Sometimes urethral obstructions can be treated with medication and diet, but surgery is often times needed.
An umbilical hernia is the protrusion of abdominal contents beneath the skin at the navel (umbilicus). The umbilicus is the healed scar (“belly button”) in the mid-abdominal area. It marks the opening through which the prenatal blood vessels and other fetal structures pass before birth. After the umbilical cord is cut at birth, the opening rapidly closes. Occasionally, however, it does not close completely, and an opening in the abdominal wall remains.
The danger of a hernia is the potential entrapment of intestines through this opening. If the hernia interferes with the blood supply to the trapped bowel, passage of food through the bowel is blocked. The strangulated tissue dies and releases toxins that may kill the animal.
TUMORS OF THE MAMMARY GLAND
These are tumors found in the mammary glands (milk-secreting organs). They are the most common tumors found in female dogs. Usually appearing in middle-aged or older dogs, these tumors are sometimes cancerous. Hormonal influences are suspected causes.
The first sign noticed is usually the appearance of small lumps in mammary gland tissue. Female dogs, especially unspayed pets should have their mammary glands checked frequently by owners.
Treatment: Because mammary tumors are usually malignant, it is recommended that all mammary tumors and associated glandular tissues be removed surgically. Before surgery, a radiograph (x-ray) of the chest is taken to screen for metastasis (spreading) or malignant tumors to the lungs. An ovario-hysterectomy (spay) is often recommended to prevent development of uterine disease.
Ticks are ecto-parasites that carry Lymes disease, Ehrilicia, Rocky Mountain Spotted fever, Babesiosis, Tick paralysis, zoonotic diseases and provide a vector for human diseases. Ticks can be effectively prevented by applying Frontline every month over the back between the shoulder blades. There is a very effective Lymes vaccine available on the market to protect pets from this deadly disease.
Tapeworms are long, segmented worms found in the intestinal tracts of dogs and cats. Diagnosis is made when tiny, rice sized, white segments are seen in the feces or on the hair around the anus of affected animals. Because the segments seen are actually the egg casings, tapeworms are not easily detected during a routine fecal or intestinal parasite exam. Treatment includes oral medication and/or an injection. Flea control is very important in preventing re-infestation because the primary mode of infection is by the ingestion of fleas. Your pet chews at the flea, often times ingesting the flea as well as the tapeworm egg being carried by the flea.
Staph dermatitis is caused by staphylococcus aureus. This bacteria is ubiquitous (everywhere) in our environment and is the common cause of human Hospital “nosocomial” Staph infections. Some pets, especially purebreds, have a genetic immuno-incompetence, (lacking adequate immune system) to fight off the bacteria allowing occasional skin infections. Most pets benefit from Staph Lysate injections.
The “Staph Lysate” vaccine is comprised of chopped up Staph bacteria which when injected weekly for 4-6 weeks helps to boost the immune system to fight off the bacteria. Some pets require lifelong monthly maintenance staph injections to remain free of staph skin infection. Alternatively, certain low dose, low frequency antibiotics can keep the skin healthy and free of infection.
Staph dermatitis is symptomized by yellow circular flakes and scabs call “staph collarettes”. Every other week soaks in a Tar/ Sulfur shampoo also helps, along with skin and coat vitamins such as Pet Tabs Fatty Acids (FA).
When pets experience seizure it is very upsetting to the humans that love them. Epilepsy is a term to describe repetitive inappropriate brain stimulation causing seizure activity. A “Gran Mal” seizure indicates full tremor, usually including defecation and urination. “Petit Mal” describes a briefer, lesser, tremor without defecation or urination. The first medical step is to run a general blood profile to rule out the possible causes of abnormal blood glucose or blood calcium levels, or kidney disease. Traumatic incident or head injury can also cause seizures and in rare instances, seizure is triggered by a growing brain tumor. If cancer is causing the seizures they increase in frequency despite medical therapy. Cat scans are sometimes used to diagnose brain tumors in dogs.
If chemistry values prove normal, it is often advisable to wait for another seizure before we beginning anti-epilepsy medication Phenobarbitol. Phenobarbitol is a lifelong therapy and high doses over long periods can cause liver disease. Therefore the blood levels of phenobarbitol need to be checked regularly to confirm effective but non-toxic blood phenobarb levels exist.
Epilepsy is not considered a “curable” disease, but rather “controllable”. Successful control is when the seizures are reduced from 2 or more monthly 2-4 X yearly. If a pet is seizures less than 4-6 X yearly it is debatable whether the anti-epileptic medication is indicated. Once seizures become more frequent than once monthly, medications are very helpful.
Sebum is a normal product of certain skin glands. In seborrhea, excessive sebum is produced and appears as dry, light-colored flakes in the hair coat or as greasy, waxy scales on the skin and hair. Because sebum is a fatty material, it becomes rancid and causes a strong coat odor.
Seborrhea may occur as a disease by itself (primary seborrhea) or result from an underlying disease (secondary seborrhea). While secondary seborrhea often clears up when the underlying disease is cured, primary seborrhea is a chronic disease that may be controlled but not cured. The cause of primary seborrhea is unknown.
Treatment: Anti-seborrheic shampoos must be used on a regular basis to remove accumulated sebum, prevent skin irritation and control odor. Treatment must be tailored to the individual patient.
SARCOPTIC MANGE (“SCABIES”)
Sarcoptic mange is a contagious skin disease caused by tiny mites.
Symptoms include severe itching (pruritis), hair loss, and sores. It is seen in dogs of all ages and breeds. The common name for Sarcoptic mange is Scabies. It is highly contagious to pets, as well as humans.
Treatment includes medicated shampoos and dips in Paramite. Oral doses of Ivermectin has been proven effective in helping to clear the mites. Antibiotics and topical ointments are sometimes recommended if the secondary skin infection is severe. Proper cleaning and disinfecting of pets’ bedding helps prevent reinfestation.
Roundworms are 2-6 inch long intestinal parasites that are seen in dogs and cats of all ages. Pups are infected through the soil and mother’s womb or through mother’s milk. Weight loss, diarrhea, vomiting, and “pot belly” are common symptoms. Diagnosis is made with fecal examination/flotation. Treatment consists of oral medications, pyrantel pamoate. Most heartworm preventatives prevent re-infection once treated. Yards and kennel areas should be kept clean of feces.
RINGWORM (MICROSPORUM CANIS)
Microsporum Canis is the cause of “Ringworm.” Mild to moderate cases are treated by applying antifungal cream to the affected areas two to three times daily for two weeks. Antifungal shampoos should be soaked for 10 minutes weekly. In systemic or severe cases oral medications such as Itraconozol can be indicated. Ringworm is contagious between pets and from pet to humans. Some cats can be asymptomatic carriers, transmitting the skin problem to others without suffering symptoms themselves.
Signs are hair loss, inflamed circular lesions, broken hair shafts. Ringworm is sometimes, but not always itchy.
REVERSE SNEEZE SYNDROME –
Reverse sneeze syndrome is characterized by a series of rapid, loud, forced inhalations through the nostrils, lasting anywhere from 10 seconds to 2 minutes. Attacks occur on a sporadic, unpredictable basis. Dogs usually have the head extended forward and stand still during the episode. Affected dogs appear completely normal before and after the attack. There is no loss of consciousness or collapse, though sometimes the appearance of the dog is upsetting to owners. Many dogs have these attacks throughout their lives.
The exact cause of reverse sneezing is unknown, but it may be associated with sinusitis and other upper respiratory disorders such as foreign bodies or allergies. Many believe affected dogs are consciously removing mucus from the nasal passages. In fact, many dogs swallow at the end of the attack. Whatever the cause, the condition is not usually serious.
If the condition appears suddenly in an older dog or if episodes become more severe or frequent, the nasal passages and throat should be examined.
Retained testicle is also known as “crypt orchid”. The testicles normally descend from their embryonic location near the kidneys through the abdominal cavity out the inguinal canal to the scrotal sac within weeks of birth. If both testicles are not descended by the age of 5-7months the neuter procedure is postponed for a few months to allow the testicles to “drop.” If by one year of age, the retained testicle is still in the abnormal environment of the abdomen, abdominal surgery is necessary to remove the retained, disease prone testicle. Retained testicles are at higher risk of testicular cancer. The condition is inherited and retained testicle males should not be bred, as many offspring will suffer the same dangerous condition.
RENAL/ KIDNEY FAILURE
Renal failure describes a decline in kidney function whereby the kidneys are no longer capable of filtering nitrogenous waste from the bloodstream. Nitrogenous waste is the toxic bi-product that results from normal daily metabolism. Many diverse processes and diseases can cause renal failure. Among the many causes of renal failure are old age, poisons like anti-freeze, rapid blood loss, shock, trauma, severe dehydration, and diseases that obstruct the free flow of urine like feline urological syndrome.
Physical examinations can sometimes diagnosis bladder stones that can obstruct urine flow. Blood tests and urinalysis can reveal how seriously the kidneys are failing to filter and remove waste from the blood. Radiographs of the abdomen can sometimes show causes of renal failure, helping to establish a prognosis. Fluid therapy along with antibiotics and special diets can help increase *Animal*’s quality of life and prolong the life span in renal failure patients.
Pyometra is an accumulation of pus in the uterus. It is a serious, often fatal infection commonly seen in older un-spayed female dogs and less frequently in cats. Common clinical signs include excessive water consumption and urination, depression, and appetite loss. Ovarian hysterectomy (spay) is the recommended therapy.
Most cases of pyometra develop spontaneously from the combined effects of estrogen and progesterone (hormones produced by an animal’s ovaries) on the lining of the uterus. The hormones stimulate an increase in the number of glands in the uterus and suppress the natural defense system allowing an infection to ensue.
PRURITIS – ITCHY DOG – ALLERGIC DERMATITIS
Allergic dermatitis results in skin infections caused by excessive scratching. Allergic pets should be offered daily food supplementation of a Fatty Acid skin and coat conditioner. Fatty acid supplementation (Linoleic, Arachidonic and Eicosopentanoic Acids) are extremely helpful in controlling allergic symptoms. Antihistamines, such as Benedryl (25 mg) capsules or 5mg liquid 2 X daily often offers great relief (the only occasional side effect is drowsiness).
Topical Sprays such as Allerspray, Histacalm, or Gentocin Topical can offer great relief if sprayed 2-3 times daily, as can tar-sulfur soaks for 20 minutes which offer 48-72 hours relief. Steroidal anti-inflammatory injections provide 6-8 weeks of relief from itching but have side effects of increased thirst, increased urination (occasional accidents in the house), increased appetite, with unfortunate weight gain, and adrenal problems. Therefore, steroid injections cannot be given more frequently than once every other month (every 8 weeks).
Full proof flea control (ADVANTAGE or TOP SPOT) is required for every allergic pet. Lamb Rice diet or Science Diet DD / ZD will improve symptoms only if the allergy is based on some food ingredient. Most allergies are due to inhalant allergens such as pollens, ragweed, grass seed, dust, mold and to fleas.
Prostatic hyperplasia is an enlargement of the prostate gland that occurs most often in middle-aged and old dogs. Benign prostatic hyperplasia may cause constipation, painful urination, and weight loss. The best treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia is castration (neutering).
The prostate gland produces fluid that helps transport and nourish sperm. In older males the prostate gland tends to enlarge and become painful. This enlargement tends to press against the rectum and urethra , impairing bowel function and causing urinary tract problems.
Breeding dogs and cats requires knowledge, proper facilities, and the financial capability ($500-800) savings account in case of dystocia (difficult delivery due to a pup stuck in the birth canal). Dystocias usually require expensive emergency Caesarian section surgery.
Over 20,000,000 pets, including healthy pups and kittens are killed each year in the United States because of overpopulation. There are simply not enough homes. Many of these pets are purebreds that are being overbred.
Intact females are in heat (estrus) for approx 3 wks. Female dogs experience 7-10 days of “pre-estrus” when the vulva swells and bleeds. “Estrus” follows starting on the day the bleeding stops, and lasts another 7-10 days. Females are receptive and can be impregnated during estrus.
To register a litter, owners must legally sign that the female was exposed to only one purebred male during estrus. “Post-Estrus” lasts another 7-10 days, during which time the males are still interested, but the female is no longer receptive to being bred.
Pregnancy (gestation) is 60-66 days. Breeders must keep accurate records and mark calendars to know when the pups are coming. At approximately 60 days of pregnancy, owners should start taking the mother’s temperature daily (N=101-102.5). On the day the temperature drops significantly labor usually begins within 24 hrs.
Pregnant and nursing females should be fed growth formula (Purina or Pedigree Puppy Chow or Science Diet Growth) with vitamin supplementation.
Once labor begins, puppies can come quickly (every 5-15 minutes) or take up to an hour or two between pups. Mother should be given the dignity of a clean private quiet whelping (birthing) box in which to feel secure and cuddle the pups as they arrive. No flashbulbs, strangers, or onlookers, please. This is a private moment for mother and immediate family only.
Mother will chew off the sack, and clean the pups. She will begin actively nursing them when the last one arrives. Mother should be examined by a veterinarian within the 1st 24 hrs after delivery to have the birth canal checked and to give her the “clean-up” oxytocin injection. Oxytocin reduces the length of time the green mucous discharge drips from the vulva from 3 – 4 weeks to hopefully 7-10 days. Oxytocin causes the uterus to contract (involute) and clean itself, reducing the risk of pyometra (uterine infection).
Pups should have supplemental softened pup chow (mush) at approximately 3 weeks of age to help minimize mother’s weight loss. Mother’s coat will look rough and ragged while nursing due to the drain on her system. Many breeders pictures of her at her best to show prospective puppy buyers how pretty she is.
Pups can be picked out and deposits left as early as 5 or 6 wks of age. However, pups should not be purchased and taken from the family unit until they are at least 8 or 9 weeks of age. This allows for proper socialization.
Pups should be de-wormed at 3 wks of age, and have their first immunizationsat 7-8wks of age. Be sure the buyers of your puppies understand the importance of Heartworm Protection/ Annual Immunizations/ and neuter or ovariohysterectomy to prevent accidental births if they are not intent on being serious breeders.
Pneumonia is a general term for inflammation/infection of the lungs. Causes include bacterial, viral and fungal infections, allergies, parasites and inhaled irritants or foreign materials.
Many upper respiratory diseases can spread to the lungs and cause pneumonia, especially if the pet is weakened from the upper respiratory condition. Pets immobilized for long periods from illness or injury are also likely to develop pneumonia.
Kennel Cough (tracheobronchitis) vaccination 2 – 4 times annually helps prevent pets from contracting pneumonia. Treatment is usually accomplished through hospitalization, antibiotics, fluids and rest.
PARVOVIRAL ENTERITIS (PARVO)
Parvoviral enteritis is a severe, sometimes fatal viral infection of the intestinal tract in dogs and cats. Common clinical signs include vomiting, diarrhea, appetite loss, dehydration, and depression. Treatment include fluid hydration, antibiotics, anti-vomiting medication and nursing care until the infection runs its course.
The Parvo virus can live 7-10 years in a yard where an infected pet defecated. Puppies with parvo usually die if left untreated. New vaccinations are up to 98% protective from this common disease. Vaccinations should be boosted every 3-4 weeks from age 8 weeks till 16 weeks.
Acute pancreatitis is a serious, sometimes life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas.
Common clinical signs include anorexia, pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Treatment: Acute pancreatitis is treated with a three-day fast, fluid therapy, and antibiotics. When the pet returns to solid food, special foods that decrease the workload of the pancreas and further medications may be indicated.
Diagnosis of pancreatitis is accomplished by blood chemistry analysis.
Breed predispositions: Certain small breeds are highly predisposed to pancreatitis. Once the problem occurs it is likely to recurr, indicating special low fat, high fiber diets for the rest of the pet’s life.
Table scraps or human food should never be offered to a pet who has suffered pancreatitis.
We recommend that all female pets that are not being used for the specific purpose of breeding and selling pets have ovariohysterectomy performed as soon as it is safely possible, (around 5 months – before first heat or possible accidental pregnancy). Females who have ovariohysterectomy (spay) before their first heat are virtually protected from contracting or dying from ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, mammary cancer, pyometra, dystocia, etc.
Onychectomy (declaw) describes the surgical removal of the toenails of a cat. The tiny bones associated with cat’s claws (third phalanges) and the bony processes (ungual crests) from which the nails grow are severed and removed. No sutures are typically placed because tissue glue holds the skin together. Gravel litter should be avoided for 10 days post-op. Shredded newspaper or “Yesterday’s news” is safe litter material during the healing process. Usually only the front feet are de-clawed.
De-clawing is a controversial procedure. Many cat lovers object to having cats de-clawed for humane reasons. Undeniably, it should be a last resort. Cat owners should first try scratching posts to train their cat to sharpen claws appropriately rather than destroying furniture. If the cat persists in clawing furniture, our corporate policy is that the declaw surgery is more humane than euthanasia or giving the pet for adoption, which often results in euthanasia. Declawing can allow a cat who is loved by a family to live with them safely and without destroying home furnishings.
Usually kittens are declawed at the time of neuter or spay, around 5 to 9 months of age. Older cats may be declawed, but the heavier they are, the longer they will experience discomfort and limping after surgery, sometimes as long as 2 or 3 months.
Declawed cats should be 100% indoor cats as they have lost an important mechanism of defense and escape, becoming extremely vulnerable to predator dogs.
Obesity is the most common nutritional disease of pets. Experts estimate that 25% or more of all pets are overweight, and over half of those owners are in denial. Obesity prevention and weight reduction lessen the risks of health problems, improve your pet’s appearance, decrease future health-care costs, and prolong life. Obesity exists when a pet is more than 15% over its optimal body weight. Predisposing risk factors are:
Overfeeding pups and kittens (increases the number of fat cells)
Aging (Obesity increases with age due to reduced physical activity and more efficient metabolism.)
Gender, (Unfortunately, obesity is more common in females.)
Neutering, (Obesity is more common in spayed or neutered pets.)
Client feeding habits, (Owners can actually love their pets to death with food.)
Reduced physical activity (Modern life can be too comfortable with central air and heat, wall to wall carpeting, too plentiful food and nothing to do but watch TV. Anybody want to go for a walk?)
Table food (Salty, greasy, spicy human table tastes so good it over-rides the satiation or fullness feedback mechanism signalling people and pets that its time to stop eating.)
Free choice feeding (Providing pets with unlimited access to food does not work for some pets who tend to overeat. They must be rationed to save them from themselves.)
Some of the problems overweight pets face include
Musculoskeletal problems such as arthritis and IV disc disease
Respiratory difficulties like asthma, COPD,
High blood pressure
Congestive heart failure
Decreased heat tolerance
Increased incidence of skin disease
Increased incidence of tumors like lipomas and certain cancers
Castration is the surgical removal of testicles in order to inhibit undesirable behaviors. It makes a pet more trainable and eliminates marking behavior. All male dogs not being used for breeding should be neutered for their health.
The neutering procedure eliminates sexual frustration, and makes
pets healthier, happier, and calmer. Other advantages to neutering pets include:
preventing roaming, (males can smell a female in heat (estrus) for up to 3 miles away),
deterring them from fighting ( Neutered males still defend themselves, but they are less likely to aggressively start a fight),
preventing them from marking (lifting their leg; hiking and urinating).
Neutering does not inhibit a pet’s desire to guard your property, or protect the family. Neutering does not change a pet’s underlying personality or attitude. It should not make a pet lazy or fat, but restricted calorie diets are often indicated after the surgery. If you intend to breed your dog, it is advisable to do so in the first 5 –7 years of life (his prime). In the senior years (7-12) prostate and testicular cancers are commonly seen in male dogs requiring castration. Before breeding your pet, please research the extent of pet overpopulation in the U.S.
Every hour more than 2,000 dogs and 3,550 cats are born in the U.S., adding up to annual birthrates of more than 17 million dogs and 30 million cats. More than 15 million healthy dogs and cats will be killed this year because of pet overpopulation. Approximately 100,000 unwanted pets will be killed in the metro-Atlanta area this year. 9,000 in Cobb, 14,000 in Fulton, 11,000 in DeKalb, etc. Pet lovers should breed pets should be done conservatively and responsibly.
NAILS TOO LONG
Under sedation the nails can be trimmed to proper length. Sometimes bandages are used to control bleeding after toenail cutting. If so, bandages should be left on for 2-3 hours before being removed. Re-trimming the nails in 2 or 3 months allows the nails to be gradually cut back to the proper length. Frequent lengthy walks on concrete or asphalt naturally file nails back to their proper length with no stress, pain or bleeding. Long nails indicate inactivity, and an exercise program is indicated.
Mitral murmur is a sign of chronic valvular heart disease, and is the most common heart disease of dogs. Mitral murmurs occur when the valve between the right atrium and right ventricle leaks, allowing “back-flow” of oxygenated blood back up into the lungs instead of out to the peripheral body. This bi-directional flow can eventually lead to congestive heart failure, but sometimes has no significant effect on the pets life span. No medications are needed unless the pet shows signs of congestive heart failure. These signs include night coughs, exercise intolerance, and bluish gums (cyanosis)
Mastitis is an inflammation of the mammary glands, usually with bacterial infection. It results from incomplete emptying of the milk glands. The mammary glands become swollen, tender and hot, and may develop dark-red or purple soft spots. The milk may be blood-tinged or off-color.
Systemic signs include fever, restlessness, reduced appetite and discomfort of the mammary glands. The mother will often neglect the young. Pups weaken if not bottle fed. Mother’s infected milk can be harmful. Pups should be weaned immediately and antibiotic therapy initiated. Occasionally mastectomy is required to surgically remove a necrotic mammary gland.
Many pet owners have the mother “spayed” to prevent further complications of nursing pups.
Luxating Patella is an orthopedic condition describing the knee cap dislocating (popping out of joint or luxating). Disclocated kneecaps cause condition so painful pets often refuse to use the affected leg and carry it high, running on three legs.
The recommended remedy is reparative surgery. The surgical repair involves deepening the groove in which the patella normally slides, as well as plicating (folding) the stifle (knee) joint capsule to give the patella more restraint and stability. Weight loss, exercise restriction and antibiotics are indicated post operatively, as well as a food supplement to help regenerate healthy joint fluid.
When a pet’s blood test shows elevated liver enzymes it indicates liver dysfunction. High liver enzymes such as ALT (Alanine Transferase) or ALP (Alkaline Phosphatase) can be caused by viral or bacterial infections such as viral or bacterial hepatitis. High liver enzymes can also signal more serious health problems such as Cushing’s disease, drug toxicity such as extended administration of Phenobarbital or even cancer. Further blood tests are indicated to determine whether the liver condition is acute and temporary (responsive to antibiotics and anti-inflammatories) or sustained and chronic. A repeat blood test is needed in two weeks and ultrasound is the next diagnostic step if the liver enzymes remain elevated over time.
“Acral lick dermatitis” is commonly known as “lick granuloma”. This condition affect any size dog. Dogs exhibit excessive licking and chewing of the affected area. Occasionally, there is a history of trauma or arthritis of the affected area.
Physical exam findings include alopecia (hair loss), ulceration, or thickened raised firm skin. Many vets suspect the cause of lick granuloma to be psychological, including boredom. Experts suggest that providing plenty of exercise and attention can decrease the incidence of lick granulomas.
Various therapies exist for this condition. Intralesional injections, and topical sprays are often recommended. Surgical excision of the lesion is far too risky, and often makes the matter worse. Many pets persist in re-creating the lesion throughout the rest of their lives. Certain sprays that discourage licking can sometimes help. The most effective curative therapy involves surgical laser ablation.
Chronic renal failure is a long-term decline in kidney function. Treatment goals are to reduce the workload of the kidneys, treat secondary problems, and improve the quality of life for the pet.
Renal failure is an inability of the kidneys to perform their functions sufficiently to prevent the development of clinical signs. Chronic renal failure is one of the most common medical problems in older dogs and cats and is a leading cause of death in these pets.
Chronic renal failure has many different causes, including inherited defects, infections, toxic substances, nutritional factors, and immune system defects. Once chronic renal failure develops, it cannot be reversed and often progresses. Therefore, any measure that helps prevent the disease, delays the age of occurrence, or slows the progression of the disease will help a pet live longer. The disease develops over several months or years, so the changes you see may be subtle. Generally the syndrome begins with a pet gradually drinking more water and urinating more.
Blood tests, urinalysis, radiographs, ultrasounds, and blood pressure measurements will help to detect the disease. Fluid therapy and medications are the recommended treatment, along with diet change.
Kidney disease is any destructive process within the kidney. It is not limited to any particular age or breed, but it is one of the most common medical problems of older dogs and cats and is a leading cause of death. Kidneys filter and remove “waste materials” from the blood stream. The kidneys also regulate the volume and composition of body fluids. Signs of decreased kidney function are not evident until more than two thirds of the total kidney function is lost. Signs include increased thirst and drinking, frequent urination, depression and finally vomiting. The majority of adult dogs and cats have some kidney damage present.
Kidney disease can be caused by bacterial infection, old age, genetic defects, and toxic substances. Blood testing allows diagnosis and prognosis. Clinical evaluation includes blood tests and urinalysis to determine how well the kidney is filtering the toxic substances from the blood. Other diagnostic evaluations can include abdominal radiographs and kidney biopsies.
Fluid administration is often prescribed to provide diuresis for pets. Home administration 2 or 3 X weekly can prolong a pet’s life for years. Special diets are recommended such as Science Diet K/D.
Normal kidneys filter the blood, removing wastes and excreting them in the urine. Kidneys damaged by infection or inflammation lose some of this filtering ability, and waste products accumulate in the bloodstream. Continued re-circulation of this material results in illness. About three-fourths of kidney tissue must be damaged before signs of illness appear. For this reason, kidney disease is often considered chronic (present a long time) even though the affected pet may not have signs of disease for very long.
Signs of chronic kidney disease include vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, increased urination, decreased appetite, and depression and bad breath. Continued illness results in collapse, seizures, coma and death.
Though chronic kidney disease is not curable, it is often controllable. Many pets can live reasonably normal lives managed in a cooperative effort between owner and veterinarian
KERATO-CONJUNCTIVITIS SICCA (DRY EYE)
“Dry Eye” or Kerato-conjunctivitis Sicca is a disease characterized by abnormal insufficient functioning of the tear gland. The “dry eye” condition allows dust, debris and bacteria to linger and persist on the cornea. The disease is considered to have a genetic component and is seen more commonly is small bracheocephalic (short nosed) breeds. Normally dust particles are washed off the surface of the eye by the flushing action of tears that being secreted and drained away from the eyes constantly.
“Dry eye” can be controlled by a drug called “cyclosporin.” Cyclosporin eye drops are administered once or twice daily. Alternative, artificial tears can be administered 4-6 X daily. Cyclosporin treatment allows the tear gland to begin functioning normally again, keeping the eye clean and uninfected. The artificial tears (ointment or liquid drop) is much less expensive, but also less convenient and effective, requiring treatment every 6 hrs instead of every 24 hrs.
Left untreated “dry” eyes can cause corneal disease, blindness, and sometimes require eye removal (enucleation.)
Infectious tracheo-bronchitis (“kennel cough”) is a highly contagious respiratory disease of dogs (and sometimes cats.) Most cases are mild, but some progress to severe pneumonia. Tracheitis is caused by as many as twenty-two viruses, often in combination with certain bacteria. Bordatella bronchiseptica bacteria, a parainfluenza-type virus, and two types of adenovirus are the most common disease causing agents.
Kennel cough is transmitted in the same way colds spread between humans. The airborne agents that cause kennel cough spread especially easily from one dog to another in conditions of close confinement, such as those existing at dog shows or in kennels. But dogs can catch tracheitis while in their back yard.
A persistent, dry, hacking cough is the most common complaint. Sometimes discharge from the eyes and nose is present and more severe cases demonstrate inappetance and depression.
Therapy can include antibiotics to control the bacterial component of the infection, anti-tussive medications to relieve the persistent cough, and sometimes steroids to decrease inflammation of the upper respiratory tract. Expectorants are sometimes administered to promote discharge of mucus from the pharynx and bronchioles. If left untreated the mild upper respiratory infection of the throat and upper airways can descend and complicate into fulminating pneumonia.
Even with timely and proper treatment the cough can persist for 3 or 4 weeks before the viral component is fully eradicated. Patience is required to wait for the pet’s immune system to combat and eliminate all the viral particles. Antibiotics are helpless against viral infections.
Several effective vaccines are available to prevent this very common respiratory disease. Both the injectable formula and an intra-nasal nose drop provide good protection for up to 90 days. Therefore, the vaccine should technically be boosted four times annually, but most pet owners get the booster every 6 months.
Almost all pets contract tracheitis at least once or twice in their lifetimes.
IV DISC DISEASE
Disc Disease describes a bulging or ruptured Inter-vertebral (I.V.) Disc. The spine is made up of bony segments (vertebra) which are connected by ligaments. In between the vertebra are shock absorbing cushion-like structures called intervertebral discs. IV discs are comprised of a fibrous outer ring (nucleus fibrosis) and an inner jelly like substance (nucleus pulposis) much like a jelly donut. The outer ring can rupture, extruding the inner jelly dorsally up into the spinal cord causing serious problems. Symptoms include pain in the mildest cases, demonstrating a drunken staggering gait or paresis (partial paralysis), in more severe conditions. In most severe situations full paralysis is seen demonstrated by dragging of the rear limbs with no deep pain (cannot feel a toe pinch). If deep pain is lost, emergency neurosurgery at a specialist facility is required.
In other words symptoms can range from pain, shivering, reluctance to jump to total paralysis of the rear limbs.
In mild or moderate cases, treatment includes rest, pain medication, anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy. However, in the case of paralysis, emergency neuro-surgery is required.
Weight control is essential to reduce chances of initial back disease, or recurrence of the problem. Strict cage rest is absolutely necessary for 2-3 weeks to increase chances of successful recovery. (No jumping on or off furniture, no steps, no rapid starts or turns, no standing on hind legs are allowed; leash walks only)
Anti-inflammatory injections are sometimes administered reduce swelling in the spinal cord and minimize or prevent further neurological damage. If the condition staggering worsens, (stumbling, or loss of function of rear limbs) immediate surgical attention is required, usually costing several thousand dollars. Emergency spinal surgery can bring about complete and total recovery of normal motor function in a paralyzed animal if caught in time.
Hyperthyroidism describes the disease of having an overactive thyroid gland. It is seen mostly in middle-aged cats. Symptoms include weight loss in the face of a voracious appetite, nervousness, restlessness. Hyperthyroidism causes the body’s metabolism to race at a rapid rate, causing multiple organ dysfunctions. Rapid heart rate (tachycardia) as high as 220 or 250 beats per minute (normal 90-110) is a key symptom. Sustained elevated heart rate possibly leads to heart failure if untreated. Three common treatment protocols include:
radiation treatment of the thyroid gland performed at a licenced radiation treatment center such as UGA Veterinary Clinic in Athens
medical (conservative drug) treatment “Tapazole” (methimazole)
The medical approach is least expensive and least risky to the pet’s health. However, even generic methimazole is not inexpensive. A common symptom of methimazole treatment is vomiting, but the side-effect is usually temporary. Methimazole is often dosed once daily, but some cats need twice daily dosing (every 12 hrs). Although hyperthyroidism is a potentially deadly disease, many cats can lead high quality lives for years after diagnosing if treated properly.
Annual thyroid testing is recommended to confirm that the proper dose is being administered.
Hypothyroidism is seen commonly in middle aged dogs, females more often than males. It describes a diseased thyroid gland that has ceased to produced and secrete sufficient thyroxin. The metabolism slows and multiple organ systems are adversely effected.
Symptoms include weight gain, skin problems, ear infections and in long term untreated severe cases lameness and other musculoskeletal disorders.
The disease is diagnosed through a blood test. Treatment consists of oral thyroid gland supplementation. Drug names include Thyroxin, Soloxin, Levothyroxin, and several generic formulations that work very well. Dosing is usually once daily. Annual blood tests are needed to confirm proper blood levels of thyroid hormone. Once regulated many dogs are able to lose the extra weight and return to their normal activity level
Hot Spots are a skin lesion described as purulent or moist bacterial dermatitis. Hot spots are areas of skin that become irritated, often under heavy coat or mats, where the skin is deprived of air and cannot “breathe. The skin itches causing the pet to chew aggressively making the skin raw and infected.
The sooner treatment is effected, the better. Caught early the hot spot can be controlled before it becomes large and severe. Effective treatment includes shaving the hair off the area and applying a topical antibiotic such as Neopredef. Oral (systemic) antibiotics are administered to control the infection, and anti-inflammatories are prescribed to alleviate the itching (pruritis). Flea control is a necessity to prevent future hotspots. (Frontline Top Spot, Advantage, or Revolution).
Hookworms are a common intestinal parasite in dogs and cats. Hookworm eggs pass from dog to dog in feces. Additionally, the larvae can be ingested, as well as pass intradermally (through the skin) or transmit through the mother’s milk to newborn pups. Hookworms (Ancylostoma Caninum) can penetrate the skin of children’s bare feet and can cause blindness.
Hookworm eggs live in the dirt in back yards, along sidewalks, public parks; anywhere dog’s have defecated. Hookworms cause illness and anemia by sucking blood from the intestines of dogs & cats. They tear out pieces of the intestinal wall for nourishment leaving bleeding wounds or suck blood directly from the wall of the intestine. Symptoms of hookworm infestation include dark stool, bloody diarrhea, weight loss, dry coat, lack of energy, and pale gums in an anemic patient.
Hookworms are easily prevented by administering a dose of Pyrantel Pamoate on the first of every month. Pyrantel Pamoate is typically administered along with Ivermectin Heartworm protection in the form of Heartgard Plus, Iverheart Plus or Revolution. Treatment is accomplished by a three day protocol of Pyrantel Pamoate and all pets in the house should be treated simultaneously. Because of the wide prevalence of Hookworms twice yearly fecal testing is the safest course.
Hip dysplasia describes very early onset arthritis in young or growing dogs. It is a developmental disease of the hip joint seen in most breeds of dogs and even in some cats. Lameness and exercise intolerance are the most common clinical signs. Hip dysplasia is treated with rest, restricted activity, pain medication, and, in severe cases, surgery. Causes of hip dysplasia are complex, mostly involving heredity factors from parents, but recent research indicates environmental factors such as overeating and too weight gain may be involved.
Radiographs are required to diagnose the disease. Safe and effective analgesics and anti-inflammatories offer dysplastic pets considerable relief from pain. Drugs such as Rimadyl, Etogesic, and Zubrin are powerful pain relievers available for pets with arthritic joint pain.
HEPATITIS – LIVER DISEASE
Hepatitis describes liver disease, including liver insufficiency, liver infection (bacterial or viral hepatitis) or liver inflammation. The disease can effect pets of all breeds, ages and any sex. Liver disease causes abnormal hepatic function and is diagnosed through blood chemistry analysis revealing elevated hepatic enzymes and bile acids. Causes: Hepatitis can be caused by
congenital developmental abnormalities
Signs: Hepatitis causes jaundice (icterus) which is a yellowing of the skin and mucus membranes. Other clinical signs may include, vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, lethargy, liver enlargement, weight loss, melena(black, tarry stool).
Diagnostics: Diagnostic procedures include serum blood chemistry analysis, abdominal radiographs, or, in severe situations, ultrasound guided or surgical liver biopsy.
Treatment: Early veterinary intervention is the best course of action. Therapy is necessary and may be life-saving, including:
Fluid therapy: fluids may be administered subcutaneously at home or intravenously in the hospital
Antibiotics: Liver penetrating antibiotics are routinely prescribed in to remedy bacterial hepatitis
Dietary Prescription: Hills Prescription Diet L/D is recommended to reduce the Liver’s workload by providing short chain proteins, which are more digestable and can improve the liver’s efficiency
Although bacterial liver disease can often be cured through appropriate antibiotic therapy, resolution of viral hepatitis depends on the pet’s immune competence. As with all viral diseases, antibiotics are ineffective. Supportive therapy is all that can be offered. With Liver inflammation, anti-inflammatory therapy and dietary changes can often resolve or control the problem. Liver damage caused by toxin exposure can sometimes be cured by administering large volumes of fluids to reduce harmful liver biproducts. Although some liver tumors can be surgically removed, liver cancer spreads (metastasizes) so rapidly that long term survival is not anticipated.
HGE, Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis is a sudden onset of severe bloody diarrhea which is often explosive. The diarrhea is often seen along with symptoms of vomiting (emesis), hypovolemia, and dehydration which can cause dangerous electrolyte imbalance or anemia.
Many problems can cause HGE. The direct cause is loss of the intestinal lining called the intestinal mucosa. Movement of bacteria and toxins from the lumen through the wall into the bloodstream can cause sepsis or shock. Aggressive therapy is required.
Treatments may include bloodwork, fluid administration, withholding food, and controlling vomiting with anti-emetic drugs. Medical therapy involving antibiotics, diet change and fluid therapy is often effective if the condition is detected early and treated rapidly.
Hematoma looks like a swollen ear and results from vigorous flopping of long ears back and forth as a dog shakes its head. Hematoma describes a condition of accumulated blood between the cartilage and skin of the earflap. Hematoma is caused by excessive, severe head shaking or scratching at the ears with the back feet.
The most common underlying causes of hematoma are ear infection, ear mites, fleas, or trauma. The head shaking caused blood vessels in the ear to rupture and bleed, causing the swelling. Surgery is required to drain the hematoma and re-attach the cartilage to the skin. Treating the underlying infection is required to allow healing and prevent reoccurrence.
HEART DISEASE – HEART FAILURE One of the most common medical problems in dogs and cats is heart disease. Heart disease is broad term used to describe any destructive process within the heart. It occurs more often in senior and geriatric dogs than cats.
All mammals have a four-chambered heart consisting of a right atrium and ventricle and a left atrium and ventricle. Blood carries deoxygenated (metabolized) blood back to the heart to be pumped by the right ventricle to the lungs for oxygenation. The oxygen rich blood is then pumped by the left ventricle (the large heart muscle) via the aorta to the organs and muscles. When a valve leaks between the chambers blood back-flows from where it came, resulting in a heart murmur. When the heart muscle weakens it causing back-up of blood and is generally termed heart disease.
Congestive heart disease is a condition where the heart fails to effectively pump sufficient oxygenated blood from the heart to the peripheral tissues. Heart disease can cause fluid to accumulate in the lungs or abdomen. Left sided heart failure causes congestion and fluid buildup in the lungs, whereas right-sided heart failure causes edema and ascites, fluid accumulation in the subcutaneous tissues and abdomen. Heart disease also results in the inadequate flow of blood to vital organs such as the kidneys, liver, lungs, etc.
Congestive heart disease is symptomized by night coughs, inactivity, and apparent shortness of breath, and sometimes cyanosis (blue or muddy gums). Coughing, typically low-pitched night coughs, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, reduced exercise tolerance, noticeable weight gain or loss and abdominal distention can all be caused by heart disease.
Radiographs (x-rays) are required to visualize the condition of the lungs and the shape and size of the heart. The most important things to do to help reduce the burden on a heart patient’s heart are to remove excess weight by dieting if needed. All salt should be removed from the diet (Science Diet H/D is salt free). Lasix (furosemide) is needed as a diuretic to control blood pressure. Unlimited fresh water must be accessible at all times. Enalapril is often indicated to help the ventricle (heart muscle) pump harder and more effectively.
Because Lasix wastes potassium, animals receiving Lasix may require potassium supplements like bananas or unsalted nuts. It is important that heart patients have periodic blood tests to evaluate vital organ function and electrolyte balance.
With proper treatment and diet many dogs with heart disease or even heart failure (multiple systemic symptoms apparent) can survive for years and enjoy a good quality of life.
Hairballs are extremely common digestive disorders in cats, expecially long haired cats. Symptoms range from anorexia, gorging, vomiting and diarrhea. Vomitus can be just food, digested or undigested, or may have hair in it. As cats continually groom themselves (especially in spring and fall as they are changing their wardrobe) they ingest huge quantities of their own hair. The hair can wad into a ball too large to pass through the pyloric valve (passage from stomach into intestines). Instead it rolls around sometimes blocking digestion, causing nausia and sometimes vomiting. Treatment is simple and inexpensive.
Elimination treatment involves administering 1 tbs Laxatone 3 X daily for 3 days to “gunk” up the hairball in the petroleum based substance and pass it down the intestinal tubes in the form of feces.
Preventative maintenance is recommended throughout spring and fall, involving a mouthful of Laxatone 2 X weekly for months at a time. Laxatone is available in tuna a chicken flavor and most cats find it delectable. No cat should suffer unnecessarily from the nauseous discomfort of a hairball and Before expensive diagnostic or surgical remedies are attempted on vomiting cats, hairball should be considered and treated.
Glaucoma is an increase in pressure within the eyeball. The problem results from blockage of the gland that drains intraocular fluids (vitreous humor and aqueous humor) and overproduction of the glands that secrete the fluids. The condition is painful and symptoms include a bulging reddened eye with prominent blood vessels. A tonometer is a special instrument capable of measuring intra-ocular pressure. Left untreated, glaucoma can cause blindness. Glaucoma is treated with drugs and or surgery.
Giardia are microscopic parasites that live in the small intestines of dogs and cats. Giardiasis is characterized by weight loss and chronic diarrhea. Giardiasis is treated with drugs such as Metronidazol that rid the body of the parasite and with medications to treat diarrhea.
Gastroenteritis is inflammation of the stomach and the intestinal lining. A 3 day protocol of fasting and prescribed medications, along with increased drinking to replenish body fluids and maintain normal hydration. Hydration status can be evaluated by rubbing the gums. Mucus membranes in the mouth should be slimy and slobbery (normal), not sticky or dry (dehydrated). The skin turgor test is also an effective method of evaluating hydration status. Simply pinch and raise the skin over the back of the neck. It should snap back into place within 1-2 seconds. If the skin remains elevated, it means lack of skin fluid & dehydration. A pet’s normal temp = 102.
Gastroenteritis is best treated by fasting for 24-48hours (absolutely nothing solid by mouth). A full fast is followed by a rice diet (long grain, minute rice, no butter) for 24-48 hrs. Then a mixture of rice with regular dog food is give for 24-48 hours and the upset should be resolved.
Bismuth Subsalycilate (Pepto Bismol) is very helpful. Remember to give lots of water, gatorade or pedialyte to drink. If improvement is not rapid and complete within 72 hours, a recheck exam, bloodwork, and radiographs (x-rays), may be necessary.
FLEA ALLERGY DERMATITIS
Flea-allergy dermatitis is a skin disease caused by a pet’s unusual sensitivity to flea bites. It is the most preventable of allergies by controlling the flea population in the pet’s environment. The most effective method of accomplishing this goal is with Frontline Topspot or Advantage (Over the counter flea topicals are often deadly to your pet). Symptomatic therapeutic measure include anti-inflammatory medications, antibiotics, and special shampoos, but the cure for pets is death to fleas. Although Frontline is labeled for monthly use, it often kills fleas for 8 or even 12 weeks. Although less expensive over-the-counter topicals like Hartz Mountain Control claim 3 weeks protection, barely three days are often accomplished and many pets suffer seizures, liver damage, coma and death.
Fractures of the femur (the upper bone of the rear leg) are the most frequent fractures in veterinary medicine. They are almost always caused by trauma, such as hit by car. Femoral fractures are usually repaired through Intra-medullary pin placement surgery.
Slight cracks in the bone may be treated with stabilization and enforced rest. Most animals with this type fracture should be strictly confined for the 4-6 weeks. Splints and casts should be rechecked weekly.
FUS (FELINE UROLOGICAL SYNDROME) = FLUTD (FELINE LOWER URINARY TRACT DISEASE) = “BLOCKED CAT”
FUS is a disease of the urinary bladder and urethra in cats. Female cats develop signs of cystitis (bladder infection). They will urinate frequently, often passing small amounts of bloody urine at the end of the stream. Cats with cystitis (bladder infection) often urinate outside the litterbox.
Male cats also show the same signs of cystitis, but males have a deadly component to their bladder infections. They may develop a total urethral obstruction preventing elimination of urine.
Urethral obstruction is caused by a mucus plug lodged in the urethra (the passage through which urine is eliminated from the body). The urethra in male cats is longer and narrower than in female cats, making obstruction more likely in males.
Total obstruction leads to retention of urine containing body wastes, imbalance of the electrolytes (potassium, sodium, etc.) of the body, and kidney damage. Loss of appetite, depression, and vomiting are common signs of urethral obstruction. If the mucus plug is not removed, coma follows and death results.
The specific cause of FUS is not well understood and is being extensively studied. The presence of mineral crystals in the urine and the acidity of the urine are also considered important factors. Struvite crystals are present in the mucus plugs that cause urethral obstruction. The crystals dissolve harmlessly in acidic urine but crystalize dangerously in alkaline urine.
Feline Urological Syndrome (FUS) is characterized by frequent urination, often outside of the litter box, and/or blood in the urine, and finally straining to urinate (staying in the box for long periods, often confused with constipation).
Diagnosis is made by palpating a baseball sized hard round bladder in the abdomen accompanied by cries of pain. Radiographs may be recommended to determine the presence of bladder stones. This “syndrome” is seen in all age cats, however, obese cats and cats fed high magnesium diets are at a greater risk. Male cats are at a higher risk to become obstructed, or blocked (unable to pass urine) due to crystals or stones in the urethra. Any cat that strains to urinate without actually passing urine, is depressed, starts vomiting, or appears to have a painful abdomen is considered a life threatening emergency. Seek veterinary care immediately.
Treatment of FUS includes antibiotic therapy and possible diet change. Surgery is necessary if bladder stones are present and catheterization is required if obstruction is present. Catheterization should be provided at least 3-4 days before being removed.
The Feline Leukemia virus (FELV) is very contagious to other pets. Feline Leukemia is a highly contagious virus seen in cats and kittens of all ages. The new Feline Leukemia Vaccination is extremely protective from this deadly disease.
FELV affects the immune system resulting in: diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, poor hair coat, anorexia, respiratory infections, oral (mouth) ulcers, tumors, enlarged lymph nodes, and eventually death.
There is presently no cure available. Several experimental drugs are available which may result in temporary remission the clinical signs. Antibiotics are indicated as the inevitable infections occur for the duration of the pet’s life.
Cats may be carriers of the disease, meaning, they are contagious without demonstrating any symptoms. We strongly recommend that Feline Leukemia positive cats be kept strictly indoors to decrease the spread of this high-ly contagious, deadly feline disease.
Because the Feline Leukemia is devastatingly fatal, humane euthanasia is often the kindest option.
FELINE AIDS – FIV (FELINE IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS)
Feline Aids is a retrovirus of the subfamily of lentivirus, very similar to the human “Aids” virus HIV. FIV is not transmittable to any species other than feline. FIV disrupts the host’s immune system, rendering the host less capable of fighting off bacterial and fungal infections. The virus targets feline lymphocytes and macrophages. Aids positive cats can live for many years, but should be kept indoors to prevent spread of the disease.
Unneutered males are more likely to become Aids infected due to roaming, fighting and breeding. Clinical signs vary widely. Recurrent illness and minor respiratory infections and gastrointestinal infections are common.
Common physical examination findings include: Upper respiratory infection, rhinitis, conjunctivitis, lymph node enlargement. Often concomitant herpes virus infection and calicivirus infection exist. Other symptoms include persistent diarrhea, bacterial overgrowth, parasite-induced inflammation. Chronic responsive infections of external ear and skin, dermatophytosis are also seen. Wasting away (chronic weight loss) and fever often occur with FIV. Neurological signs include aggression and peripheral neuropathies.
Transmission usually occurs by cat-to-cat bite wounds. Diagnosis is made by Cites testing by a Veterinarian.
There is no cure for FIV. The disease is fatal and progressive. Therapies may include hospitalization, intravenous fluid therapy, injectable or oral antibiotics, and anti-viral medications such as Interferon. There is concern of transmission of secondary infectiouse agents such toxoplasmosis that can be transmitted to humans, especially the elderly and pregnant women.
Although long term prognosis is poor, cats that test positive for the virus can survive years without exhibiting any clinical sign. Therefore, feline positive cats should be housed indoors to protect other cats. There is now a very effective vaccination available to protect cats from FIV.
EXOCRINE PANCREATIC INSUFFICIENCY
Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency is an inadequate production of enzymes necessary for the digestion of food. Common clinical signs include diarrhea and weight loss. It is treated with a highly digestible diet and medications to improve digestion. The most commonly prescribed medication is Pancreazyme.
EPILEPSY / SEIZURE (also see Seizure)
Epilepsy or seizures can be caused by trauma, brain tumor, or chemical imbalance. The most common cause of Epilepsy is termed “idiopathic” meaning unknown.
When a pet experiences a seizure it is due to repetitive inappropriate brain stimulation. A “Gran Mal” seizure describes full sustained tremor including defecation and urination. “Petit Mal” describes a briefer, lesser, tremor without defecation or urination. The first medical step is to run a general blood chemistry profile to rule out the possibility of abnormal blood glucose, insufficient blood calcium levels, or kidney disease which can all cause seizures. Seizures can also be caused by traumatic incident or head injury. In rare instances, seizure is triggered by a growing brain tumor, in which case the seizures increase in frequency rapidly and do not respond to medical therapy.
If chemistry values prove normal, it is best to wait and see if another seizure occurs before we prescribe lifelong administration of the anti-epilepsy medication Phenobarbitol. Phenobarbitol in high doses for long periods can cause liver disease. Therefore the blood levels of the phenobarbitol medication must to be checked regularly by the Vet Laboratory to confirm effective but non-toxic blood levels.
Epilepsy is not considered a “curable” disease, but rather “controllable”. Successful control is when the seizures are reduced from 2 or more monthly 2-4 X yearly. If a pet seizures less than 4-6 X yearly it is debatable whether the anti-epileptic medication is indicated.
ENVIRONMENTAL/ INHALANT ALLERGIES
Atopy is an intensely itchy skin condition. It is a hypersensitivity to inhaled environmental allergens such as pollens(grass, weed, and tree), mold spores, and house dust mites. Symptoms may include itchy skin, red, inflamed or infected ears, gastrointestinal disorders, reproductive and eye problems. Atopy can be inherited and is the cause of up to 30% of canine skin disease in our area. Warm, humid environments, with lush flora as in the South increase the problem. Seasonal allergies may become non seasonal (year round). Symptoms of atopy usually present at 1-2 years of age, but can be seen as early as 6 months or as late as 7 yrs. The condition worsens with age. Treatment initially involves antihistamine therapy or desensititization with “Allergy Shots.” Only as a last resort is steroid therapy used. Mange, fleas, food allergy and fungal diseases must be ruled out prior to diagnosing Atopy. Through skin and blood tests, Dermatologists can compound a desensitizing “allergy shot” (anti antigen serum) that can actually cure the disease. Skin testing is the most effective means of cure, steroids only control the symptoms and can cause undesirable side effects.
ENTERITIS (PARVO VIRUS) (see Parvoviral Enteritis)
Parvo virus is a very serious often deadly disease of pups and young dogs. This virus affects the lining of the intestinal tract causing lethargy, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, anorexia and dehydration. Parvo is potentially fatal and must be treated aggressively to save the pet. Treatment includes hospitalization, I.V. fluids, antibiotics, vitamins, electrolytes, glucose, and other medications. Approximately 80-90% of animals can be cured if treated early in the course of the disease. Parvo virus is extremely contagious to young dogs, especially unvaccinated puppies. Clean the contaminated areas of your home and yard with a diluted solution of clorox (30:1 dilution). Please inform friends or neighbors with puppies monitor their pets for symptoms and to keep vaccines up-to-date.
What is the average life span of a pet?
About 12 yrs for dogs, but medium breeds live longer than the giant or very tiny breeds. Cats average 12-14 years.
What determines the life span of the animal?
Barring a traumatic incident, the care of the pet has an effect on longevity, but so does genetics. Some animals have stronger immune systems than others.
How does the aging process affect the pet?
Aging can be thought of as the opposite of growth. Essentially the aging body has a diminished capacity to fight disease, recover from injury, and rejuvenate in response to daily wear and tear.
What are the signs of aging?
As a pet ages, the senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell and even cognitive function can diminish. Aging pets may drink less and have reduced appetite. A build up of dental tartar and gum disease may make eating uncomfortable. Up to 30% of aged dogs have some level of heart disease. Signs of advanced heart problems include night coughs, exercise intolerance. Old pets with arthritis may have difficulty rising and walking. Obesity, a frequent problem in older pets complicates many diseases related to aging, including heart disease and arthritis. Urinary or fecal incontinence, which is the inability to control urination or defecation sometimes occurs in older pets. Older pets may seem moody or disoriented at times.
Can anything be done to alleviate these problems?
Your older pet should have frequent examinations, and changes in behavior or appetite should be reported in detail to your veterinarian. Although many of the problems of old age cannot be cured, they can be relieved to a great degree. The purpose of such treatment is to improve the quality of life as well as prolong it.
Urinary leakage: If not due to urinary tract infection, the problem can often be improved or resolved through the use of phenylpropanolamine – a drug that strengthens the smooth muscle receptors in the urinary sphincter allowing your dog to pinch the sphincter tight.
Arthritic pain: Bayer aspirin along with glucosamine daily can offer significant relief from arthritic pain. It is essential to exert weight control in obese elderly arthritic pets. Obese pets need to lose the extra pounds because pounds are painful for the elderly arthritic pet.
Cognitive Dysfunction: Senility in our pets often manifests itself by a seemingly confused pet, a house trained pet who begins urinating or defecating indiscriminately, and changes in personality. A drug called Selegeline Hydrochloride, although expensive, has offered tremendous relief for many senile pets, restoring them to their more youthful psychological self.
What can be done to prevent severe health problems as my pet ages?
Regular veterinary exams and vaccinations are crucial. Because aging pets have a decreased ability to fight off disease, regular immunizations are important. Routine dental care, x-rays, and periodic blood analysis to detect other problems may be recommended. A balanced senior diet and regular exercise to control muscle conditioning and control weight are vital. Exercise improves circulation, which helps prevent senile changes in the brain. Because of increased thirst, older pets should have a constant supply of fresh water. Avoid making abrupt changes in your older pets lifestyles. Older pets are less tolerant of new places or people, loud noises, drastic temperature changes, different foods.
Older pets require increased amounts of well-deserved attention and affection. In summary, there is much that modern Veterinary Medicine can offer to make your pet’s golden years more pleasant.
How do I know when it is time to let my pet go?
Pets seem to have no fear of passing when their time comes. They seem to know when their old body is worn out and can no longer carry on. They simply quit eating, intending to starve themselves out. In the very last weeks or months, special tempting foods are allowed to encourage them to eat, but when your elderly pet refuses even the most favorite morsels, it may be time to bravely say good-bye and let them go. Surprisingly, when the time comes, although they cannot speak, owners somehow know.
ECZEMA (DRY SKIN)
Dry skin can cause dandruff and possibly increased scratching. Central heat and/or air conditioning, and dry cold winter weather can cause dry skin. Poor diet and/or a vitamin/mineral deficiency can also contribute to the condition. The most effective remedy for dry skin is nutritional supplementation. Feeding vitamin supplements with vitamin E and Omega fatty acids will take 2-3 weeks for results, but will result in a shiny vibrant coat and healthy hydrated skin. Using a moisturizing shampoo can also help. A room humidifier can also help eliminate dry skin.
Earmites are microscopic parasites causing an accumulation of black debris in the ears, as well as extreme discomfort. Head shaking and ear scratching are common symptoms. If untreated, these mites may cause secondary bacterial or yeast infection and vestibular disease symptomized by dizziness. Ear-mites are found in the soil and are spread among dogs & cats alike, but thankfully decline to reside in human ears. They are extremely contagious. Apply the recommended drops or ointment into your pet’s ears as directed. All pets in the household should be treated to prevent recurrence. Revolution is a monthly topical application that prevents heartworms, hookworms, roundworms, mange and earmites.
EAR INFECTION (OTITIS)
Otitis (ear infection) is symptomized by head shaking, scratching at, or odor from the ears. The ears should be cleaned 1-2 times daily for a week to 10 days and the otic ointment or drop applied twice daily for 10 days.
Otitis is caused by either yeast and/or bacteria. Pets with heavy, long or hairy ears are more prone to infection. Also, dogs which swim frequently, have weak immune systems, allergies, or excessive hair in the ear canals are susceptible. Treatment involves using ear drops, regular ear flushes, removal of excessive hair, and possibly systemic (oral) antibiotics. In chronic long-term cases, we recommend that a culture be performed to determine if a highly resistant bacteria is present thus requiring “stronger” antibiotics.
Chronic cases may require life long maintenance antibiotics and Staph Lysate injections to keep the infection under control through preventative maintenance.
Diabetes mellitus is a chronic endocrine (glandular) disorder that occurs in dogs and cats characterized by persistent high blood sugar (hyperglycemia). Diabetes results when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to adequately signal red blood cells to take glucose out of the serum and use (metabolize) it for energy and growth. Without insulin in the cells, the cells starve for energy and far too much glucose circulates in the blood stream causing a variety of life threatening problems.
The major predisposing factor for Diabetes is obesity. Female dogs are affected twice as often as males, and male cats twice as often. Weight loss is key.
An animal with diabetes mellitus will exhibit some or all of the following symptoms:
Frequent urination (PU/PD)
Depression and Weakness
Pets may also show either increased hunger or lack of appetite. In some, the sudden development of blindness due to cataract formation indicates diabetes.
Periodontal disease occurs when your pet shows signs of severe dental tartar accumulation and gum disease. This can cause bad breath, decay, root infection and abscess and tooth loss as well as generalized spread of bacteria, poisoning your pet’s bloodstream and immune system.
Untreated, this problem can cause deadly complications of heart disease, myocarditis, liver disease and kidney problems as well as sepsis (blood infection). Regular dental examinations and cleaning insures your pet’s health, as well as improving breath and making your pet feel years younger! In addition special diets and home therapy are recommended to insure proper maintenance and cleaning.
Brushing your pet’s teeth at least twice weekly, daily if you can manage it. It’s not as difficult as you might imagine. What are the benefits? Brushing removes the daily accumulation of plaque from the teeth. Even though pets do not commonly get cavities, they do suffer from periodontal disease. If untreated the gum disease can lead to pain and loss of teeth.
How to Brush Teeth
Step one is to pick up an appropriate pet toothbrush. Do not buy a child’s toothbrush because it is too hard for pets. The ideal pet toothbrush will have a long handle, an angled head to better fit the mouth and extra soft bristles. Another option is the finger toothbrush that fits over the top of your finger.
Step two is to select appropriate toothpaste. The best pet toothpaste contains enzymes that help control plaque. Avoid toothpaste with baking soda, detergents, or salt sometimes found in human pastes. Fluoride may be incorporated to help control bacteria. Rather than placing the paste on tops of the brush, try to place it between the bristles. This allows the paste to spend the most time next to the teeth.
Step three is to get the brush with paste into your pet’s mouth and all the teeth brushed. Most pets accept brushing if they are approached in a gentle manner. If you start when they are young, it is easy, but even older pets will accept the process. Start slowly; you can use a washcloth or piece of gauze to wipe the teeth, front and back in the same manner, You will eventually be using the toothbrush. Do this twice daily for about two weeks and your dog or cat should be familiar with the approach. Then take the pet toothbrush, soak it in warm water and start brushing daily for several days. When your pet accepts this brushing, add the toothpaste. The toothbrush bristles should be placed at the gum margin where the teeth and gums meet at a 45-degree angle. The movement should be in an oval pattern. Be sure to gently force the bristle ends into the area around the base of the tooth as well as into the space between the teeth. Ten short back-and-forth motions should be competed, then the brush should be moved to a new location. Cover three to four teeth at a time. Attention should be concentrated on the outside of the upper teeth.
In summary, small animal home care should include twice weekly brushing, using an enzymatic pet toothpaste. Taking an active role in the care of your pet’s teeth will help reduce dental disease, bad breath, and potential life threatening heart and kidney disease.
Demodectic Mange is an inherited skin disease caused by tiny mites. Symptoms include areas of alopecia, scaly skin, sores, and redness. These may be localized areas (in several small spots) or generalized over the whole body and feet. The disease may progress, causing secondary pyoderma, depression, and weight loss.
Demodicosis is suspected when a young purebred animal has hairless areas on its face or front legs. A skin scraping can reveal Demodex mites under a microsDemodectic Mange is an inherited skin disease caused by tiny mites. Symptoms include areas of alopecia (scaly skin), sores, and redness. These may be localized areas (in several small spots) or generalized areas (over the whole body and feet). The disease may progress, causing secondary pyoderma (bacterial infection of the skin), depression, weight loss, and death.cope.
Animals with generalized demodicosis warrant full body dips. Generalized demodicois requires aggressive long term therapy. Correlated skin infections are treated with antibiotics, topical ointments and medicated baths.
CYSTITIS (BLADDER INFECTION)
We recommend a procedure called cystocentesis where urine is drawn or aspirated sterilely from the bladder which sometimes requires sedation or anesthesia. The urine sample is submitted to the laboratory for pathologists to perform culture and sensitivity (growing the bacteria and determining what antibiotics are most effective against the microbes.)
Antibiotics should be given for 3 full weeks (21 days) in every case of bladder infection due to the bladder mucosal ruggae (many folds where the bacteria can hide). The antibiotics should be given 2 X daily for the full 3 weeks to be sure the bacteria are completely eliminated, not just diminished in number, even after all clinical symptoms have disappeared. Pets with recurrent bladder infections should be radiographed (x-rayed) for the possibility of bladder stones (uroliths) which harbor bacteria in the stone and cause the infection to come back over and over. Special diets are manufactured and formulated for chronic cystitis cases. Science Diet C/D is one excellent diet for bladder infections.
Cutaneous cysts are saclike structures in the skin that occur in dogs and rarely in cats. Some cysts are congenital and/or inherited in certain breeds. Most cysts contain a white cheesy material and start out as small bumps or nodules but can become large, inflamed, or painful. Surgical removal is the recommended treatment.
CRANIAL CRUCIATE LIGAMENT RUPTURE
The cruciate ligaments connect the femur (thigh bone) to the tibia (shin bone). Cruciate ligaments are an essential part of the stability of the hind leg. Cruciate ligaments can stretch, tear or rupture completely. The injury is common in human athletes, and is caused by fast acceleration, stops, and turns that torque the joint and stress the ligament beyond its expansion capacity.
The injured leg is painful and pet’s often limp severely or carry the rear leg high.
Recommended therapies include:
Weight loss if indicated.
Strictly restricted activity for 3 months
Anti-inflammatories for relief from discomfort
Surgical repair if severe.
A corneal ulcer occurs when the superficial layer of the cornea has been removed by trauma. Fluorescein stain can reveal the size of the ulcer. It is very important to treat the eye immediately and aggressively (every 4-6 hrs) to prevent loss of the eye. Medication must be placed in the eye every 4 to 6 hours. Please be aware that your pet Pets should NOT rub or scratch the eye and may need a protective Elizabethan collar. Your vet should recheck the eye in 2-3 days after the first visit to note the healing progression. Referral to an ophthalmologist is recommended if condition does not respond quickly to treatment because your pet’s eyes are precious.
CONSTIPATION AND COLONIC IMPACTION
Constipation is the difficult passage of dry, hard stools. Colonic impaction is a more severe, chronic form of constipation. Both conditions are managed by fluid therapy, high-fiber dietary products, laxatives, and enemas when necessary.
Constipation and colonic impaction are conditions that can be caused by many factors and diseases. Insufficient dietary fiber and water deprivation can cause constipation. Hair, bones, sand, and foreign materials that are ingested may be a cause, as well as a change in the pet’s normal routine, such as hospitalization, lack of exercise, or a dirty litter box.
Other common causes of constipation and colonic impaction include aging; anal, rectal, or pelvic pain; tumors of the colon and surrounding structures; prostate gland disorders; matting of hair around the anus; certain drugs; metabolic and endocrine disease; and disorders of the nerves and muscles of the colon.
Conjunctivitis is an eye infection and should be treated with the eye medication as prescribed. Minimum treatment requires 1/4 inch strip in lower lid or lids 4 X daily (every 6 hrs) for at least 10 days. (EG: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bedtime.)
It is important to treat the eye as directed or the condition may worsen causing blindness. Your pet’s eye should be rechecked in 1 to 2 days if immediate improvement is not noted. If the eye continues to blepherospam (constant squinting or tearing) call immediately.
Collapsing tracheas occur most often in small dogs. These dogs usually have a chronic “honking” cough. The trachea, or windpipe, is a tube that carries air from the mouth to the lungs. It is composed of rings that normally have a circular shape. A collapsing trachea is a flattening or narrowing of these rings as they pass through the throat or chest. Obesity and enlargements of the heart or liver complicate the disorder.
While the cause of collapsing trachea is unknown, congenital forms have been recognized–a finding that suggests it may be hereditary in some dogs.
Colitis is an inflammation of the large bowel. Colitis can be acute or chronic causing diarrhea and small quantities of blood and mucus. Other signs can include depression, fever, weight loss, dull coat, and abdominal pain. Causes of Colitis include parasites, bacteria, fungus, colon polys and nervousness. Although few cases of colitis can be cured, the goal of therapy is to control the problem and reduce the inflammation helping your pet to enjoy a high quality of life. The best diet is high fiber such as Science Diet R/D.
Coccidiosis is commonly seen in young puppies and kittens, but can be seen in older pets as well. Coccidiosis causes diarrhea, possibly with blood or mucous. If left untreated, pets may become dehydrated, lose weight, stop eating, or fail to grow properly.
Coccidiosis is treatable by oral medications. Please give all medications as prescribed. Keep your pet’s area cleaned of feces and disinfected. If your pet’s diarrhea is severe, give him/her Pedialyte to drink. Feed a bland diet of either Science Diet I/D or boiled rice with chicken broth for 2-3 days until the diarrhea resolves. Call us if your pet’s condition worsens or if there is no improvement in 48 hours.
Cropping or cutting a pet’s ears is a matter of taste, an optional aesthetic decision. The procedure, if decided upon, is best performed between 10 weeks and 14 weeks of age, after at least one or two sets of immunizations have been absorbed by the pet. Many owners opt to have their pet spayed or neutered at the same time to save the pet the risk of dual anesthetic episodes.
The aftercare of ear cropping is considerable. The pet spends the night in the hospital. Sutures are removed at approximately 5-7 days depending on healing progress. The ears are left to heal for 1 full week in the open air, sometimes on oral antibiotics if indicated. Then the 1st wrap is performed approximately 2 weeks after cropping surgery. Normally the wraps stay on for 7 days and are taken down for 4 days (to allow airing). The wraps are repeated as many times as necessary to get the ears to stand. The number of wraps is dependant on the conformation of the dog’s ears in relation to the head and the thickness of cartilage. Good pup nutrition helps in forming strong cartilage, but it is impossible to predict how many wraps will be necessary to achieve erect ears. Schnauzer, Min Pin, and Pit Bull cuts are so short normally no wrap is needed, and if so just one or two. Boxers, Dobermans, and Great Danes can require an unpredictable amount of wraps because the cut is longer.
A prolapsed 3rd eyelid gland is commonly called “cherry eye”. This condition is common in certain breeds, is inherited, and is not painful.
Two surgical options are available
“tacking” by ophthalmologist specialist is the preferred procedure, and sometimes needs to be redone if the gland tack comes loose
gland removal is less expensive and never needs to be redone, but does leave a slightly increased chance of the pet having reduced tear production later in life, a condition called keratoconjunc-tivitis sicca, which requires lifelong topical therapy to control.
NUCLEAR SCLEROSIS: Nuclear sclerosis is a normal aging process of the eye causing a painless partial opacity of both lenses that causes blurred vision. Nuclear sclerosis requires no therapy, as our pets are still visual, although they see better in bright light.
Hyper mature (complete opacity of the lens) cataracts can occur in one eye or the other and are removed surgically if the opacity (blue haze caused by compaction and hardening of the lens fibers) causes total loss of vision in both eyes, rendering the pet completely blind. Cataracts can be developmental or degenerative. The problem can occur in young Poodles, Boston Terriers, Cocker Spaniels, Fox Terriers, Mini Schnauzers, and Afghans. The problem can result from diabetes, corneal punctures and from aging.
Distemper is a contagious viral disease of dogs. It is often fatal. The disease is caused by a virus, more specifically, a paramyxovirus similar to the virus that causes measles in human beings. The virus is shed in the saliva, mucus, urine and other body fluids of infected dogs. Generally, dogs become infected when they inhale the Virus particles. The virus initially spreads from the lungs to the lymph nodes and bone marrow. It then infects and damages the epithelial lining of many organs. Epithelium is the microscopic layer of cells that lines internal and external body surfaces, including the wall of the intestinal tract, the lungs, the conjunctiva (the membrane that covers the eyeball and lines the eyelids), the blood vessels, and the skin.
The infection causes immuno-suppression inhibiting the body’s defenses against Distemper virus, bacteria and other organisms. These organisms can cause complications such as pneumonia and intestinal infections followed by seizure and death. The canine distemper virus vaccination is over 98% effective in protecting our pets from this deadly disease.
BLADDER STONES (UROLITHIASIS)
Urolithiasis means bladder stone. It is not a stone in the kidney, which is likely untreatable by surgery. Stones in the bladder are curable by cystotomy (bladder surgery) in which the bladder is entered and the stones are removed.
Dietary treatment – An alternative method is a dietary treatment S/D diet which dissolves struvite stones (about 60-70% of stones). The dietary treatment has the advantage of being noninvasive, but is not extremely palatable. Although some dogs eat the S/D diet eagerly, many will leave the food sit for a day or so before they give in and eat the diet. The food should not be mixed or flavored with anything else. The considerable advantage to the dietary remedy is that it does work more than half the time and avoids invasive surgery. If after three months of strict S/D diet the radiographs show stones still present the surgery should be performed after all. The diet is a special order item.
A carnassial abscess results in a swelling or draining sore on the side of your pet’s face below the eye. Treatment is removal of the infected tooth causing the abscess. The carnassial tooth is the fourth upper premolar. This tooth has three roots. The carnassial abscess is an infection of the roots of this tooth. Periodontal disease is a risk factor for abscessed tooth roots.
Asthma is a condition caused by constriction of air passages in the lungs. The exact cause is unknown, but likely an allergic reaction. Sometimes asthma results from inhaling dust or cigarette smoke causing difficult breathing and coughing. Asthma attacks sometimes recur and are difficult to predict. Mild asthma is treated medically at home but severe cases may require hospitalization and radiographs. Try to detect patterns of relationship between activities, exposures and attacks to avoid asthma triggering situations.
WEIGHT CONTROL – To treat arthritis the first concern is weight loss, if indicated, to reduce the stress on the joints. Controlling, or reducing weight is so important in alleviating the discomfort of arthritis, simply by reducing stress on the joints.
ANTI-INFLAMMATORIES – The first step in providing relief from arthritic pain is to administer anti-inflammatories. Salicylic acid (Buffered Aspirin) Daily- Bufferin or Bayer, (never Ibuprofen or Tylenol.)
GLUCOSAMINE – When aspirin no longer provides sufficient relief, the next step is to use a glucosamine, a chondroiton sulfate – or “Flex” powder daily – 1/4 tsp per 80 # daily over food in addition to the aspirin. An injectable form of glucosamine(Adequan) is available for immediate relief.
ETODOLAC – When additional help is needed, the new drug Etodolac offers remarkable relief from pain, and can be used along with the Flex powder in place of (not along with) the aspirin. A blood chemistry profile is recommended before starting Etodolac. The results of Etodolac are usually remarkable.
Ethylene Glycol is used as automotive antifreeze, and if left uncovered or drained on the floor presents a deadly threat to pets. Dogs and cats drink it because of its very sweet taste. Antifreeze poisoned pets show symptoms of depression, weakness, a drunken-like staggering (ataxia) along with anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, or convulsions. Severe and fatal poisoning often results. Ethylene Glycol causes permanent fatal kidney damage in an extremely short period of time, just minutes.
Blood testing reveals the level of damage to the kidneys and if mild enough, hospitalization with intra-venous fluids may help if initiated immediately.
Tell all you know that non-toxic safe antifreeze is now on the market. “Sierra” is a brand name of an antifreeze that is nontoxic to our pets.
The Anal Sacs of Dogs and cats are 2 structures located near the anus. They are normally 1/2 inch long and are connected to the anus through narrow ducts. The walls of the anal sacs contain glands that secrete foul smelling yellow fluids. Bowel movements normally empty the anal sacs as the stool moves out the anus.
Anal sac disorders are more common in dogs, but can occur in cats. Signs include a red raised hairless area either side of the anus. Some anal sac abscesses rupture spontaneously producing an ugly open wound with a watery yellow green discharge. The problem can be excruciatingly painful causing pets to cry out when stool is passed.
Causes include bacterial infection of the anal sac. Diagnosis is accomplished by examination. Antibiotics are needed to treat the infection. Treatment may require anesthesia and surgical lancing and draining of the abscess followed by irrigation and possible surgical debridement.
If chronic and repeated anal infections occur, surgical anal saculectomy may be recommended once the tissues have healed. Warm compresses twice daily may be required to alleviate inflammation and pain. Pets benefit from high fiber low calorie diets such as Hills R/D to prevent recurrence of anal sac abscess.
- The very best treatment is to determine the cause of the allergy and avoid it. As this is not always possible, various control measures are taken to relieve the itching and allow for a comfortable life.
- Re-treatment is often necessary and should be offered at the first reappearance of scratching.
- Some pets require continual treatment
- Regular bathing and grooming may be necessary.
Give all medications as directed
Important points of Treatment
- Abscesses may require both surgical and medical treatment, depending on size, location, stage of development, and effect on the animal.
- Apply ointments as directed. Medication must be given as directed until gone. If your pet will allow it, apply warm water compresses to the area for 10 minutes, 2 times daily.
- Site of infection: If the abscess drains, clean thoroughly with warm water and hydrogen peroxide.
Be careful that family members do not come in direct contact with the pus. Wash well if contact occurs.
- Distemper – is spread by contact with bodily secretions of infected animals and by airborne viral particles. A dog that does not die from central nervous system complications may suffer a lifetime of neurological problems.
- Hepatitis – Hepatitis is a highly contagious virus spread by either direct contact with an infected animal or contact with contaminated objects such as food bowls and feces. Hepatitis affects the liver and kidneys causing fever, lethargy, decreased appetite and jaundice. There is no cure for canine hepatitis. Although a dog may recover from the disease, it may be left with serious organ damage.
- Leptospirosis – This disease is caused by an organism called a spirochete. It is transmitted by contact with the urine of an infected host. Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, and joint pain. The organism reproduces in the kidneys of its host, leading to eventual kidney failure. This disease is contagious to humans also, producing the same symptoms seen in canines.
- Parainfluenza – Although usually not life-threatening, this highly contagious disease causes upper-respiratory distress. The parainfluenza virus is contracted by direct contact or airborne transmission. It is frequently contracted at kennels, grooming facilities, and dog shows. When parainfluenza works in combination with the Bordatella bronchisepticum bacteria, a disease commonly known as Kennel cough can develop. Kennel cough is characterized by serious nasal secretion, coughing, and fever.
- Parvo – The parvo virus is transmitted through the feces of infected dogs. It is easily spread by the hair and feet of infected dogs, contaminated cages, and people’s shoes. The parvo virus attacks the intestinal lining, causing it to slough off. Symptoms include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea. The diarrhea is often fluid and bloody. Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance occur quickly in a dog with parvo. Bacteria can also enter the bloodstream through the weakened intestinal lining causing septicemia, or blood infection. Puppies under six months of age are especially susceptible to this fatal disease.
- Corona – The corona virus usually presents as a mild version of parvo. Although most dogs respond to treatment, Corona can cause significant vomiting and diarrhea.
- Rabies – Rabies is a very serious disease transmitted through the saliva of infected animals, usually through a bite wound. Although any mammal can contract rabies, raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes, and bats are the main reservoirs of the disease. Rabies affects the central nervous system, producing symptoms such as erratic behavior, aggression, seizures, inability to swallow, and paralysis of the jaw and throat. Eventually paralysis spreads to other parts of the body and the animal enters a coma and dies. This fatal disease is contagious to humans so it is very important to vaccinate yearly for rabies. It is Georgia law that all dogs, cats, and ferrets receive a yearly rabies vaccine.
- Bordatella – Bordatella, or Kennel Cough, occurs when the parainfluenza virus and the bacteria Bordatella bronchiseptica work together. Your dog does not have to visit a kennel to contract bordatella. It can be transmitted through the air or by any object an infected dog has come in contact with. The vaccine is administered as nasal drops that can protect your dog for a year from the dry cough and nasal discharge that characterizes bordatella.
- Lyme – Lyme disease is spread by deer ticks that attach themselves to a dog. A tick must remain attached to a dog’s skin for two days in order to transmit Lyme disease. Symptoms include swollen lymph glands, lameness, inflamed joints, loss of appetite, heart disease, and kidney disease. The Lyme vaccine is suggested for those dogs that live in areas in which the disease is endemic.
The six vaccines above are commonly combined and given as one. This combination of vaccines is frequently referred to as the Distemper combination. It is also known as DHLPPC for the first letter of each disease it protects against.
- Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis – Feline viral rhinotracheitis is a respiratory disease spread by the coughing and sneezing of infected cats. Symptoms include sneezing, discharge from the eyes and nose, fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite. Kittens and old cats are more susceptible and the disease is usually more severe in these cats. Death is not common from feline viral rhinotracheitis but it can permanently damage the nasal passages causing a lifetime of sneezing.
Calcivirus – is another respiratory disease spread by the coughing and sneezing of other cats. Symptoms include oral ulcers, cold-like symptoms, fever, and loss of appetite. Calcivirus may also lead to pneumonia. This disease is usually not fatal but can be dangerous to kittens.
Panleukopenia – Sometimes known as “feline distemper”, Panleukopenia produces similar symptoms to canine distemper but is not caused by the same virus. Symptoms include loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea which may be bloody. The disease is spread by contact with the urine or feces of an infected cat or by contact with contaminated objects such a food bowls, shoes, and litter boxes. The disease is almost always fatal in kittens and is very dangerous to adults as well.
Chlamydia – Chlamydia is a bacterial upper respiratory disease. The main symptom is conjunctivitis, an abnormal eye discharge. Other symptoms include coughing, sneezing, runny nose, and difficulty breathing. Chlamydia is spread by direct or indirect contact with the upper respiratory secretions of infected cats. Although the disease is not usually severe, complete recovery may not occur.
The five vaccines above are commonly combined and given as one. This combination of vaccines is frequently referred to as the feline distemper combination. It is also known as FVRCPC for the letters in each disease it protects against.
- Rabies – Rabies is a very serious disease transmitted through the saliva of infected animals, usually through a bite wound. Although any mammal can contract rabies, raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes, and bats are the main reservoirs of the disease. Rabies affects the central nervous system, producing symptoms such as erratic behavior, aggression, seizures, inability to swallow, and paralysis of the jaw and throat. Eventually paralysis spreads to other parts of the body and the animal enters a coma and dies. This fatal disease is contagious to humans so it is very important to vaccinate yearly for rabies. It is Georgia law that all dogs, cats, and ferrets receive a yearly rabies vaccine.
- Feline leukemia – This disease is responsible for more feline deaths than any other disease. The virus is transmitted through infected saliva and spreads to the lymph nodes, bone marrow, and intestinal tissue. Feline leukemia inhibits the immune system leaving cats open to secondary diseases and cancers which they will eventually die from. There is no cure for feline leukemia and it is difficult to predict how long an infected cat will live. The life span of a cat with feline leukemia may be weeks or even years. 50% of infected cats remain alive after two years while only 15% of infected cats remain alive after four years. Outside cats are particularly susceptible to feline leukemia.
Why is it important that all pet owners considering ear crop/tail dock make an appointment to discuss the procedure with a Veterinarian?
What are the side effects and treatments if a pet ingests over the prescribed amount of Rimadyl/ Heartgard/Etodolac/Phenobarbital?
Kidney disease is largely due to bacterial infection or old age failing kidneys. A bacterial nephritis or glomerulonephritis requires appropriate antibiotic therapy along with fluid therapy.
Liver disease is harder to recognize. Early liver disease often manifests in loss of appetite and activity level. In advanced cases, jaundice or icterus (yellow ears and mucus membranes) becomes apparent.