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May is National Chip Your Pet Month, and no, we don’t mean feed your pet chips and dip!!
FOR THE MONTH OF MAY OUR CLINIC IS OFFERING $5 OFF THE COST OF MICROCHIPS!
Despite your best efforts, accidents can happen. Someone leaves a door ajar, an intrepid pooch digs under a fence, and your best intentions go awry: Your pet escapes and gets lost. If he’s wearing a collar and identification tag, chances are good that you’ll get him back.
But what if the collar comes off?
To protect their pets, many owners turn to technology, in the form of identification microchips implanted in their pets. Microchips are tiny transponders, about the size of a grain of rice, that can be implanted in your pet’s skin by many veterinarians and animal shelters; some shelters implant one in all pets they place.
Microchips are a good back-up option for pet identification, but should never be the main one. Reading a microchip takes a special scanner, one that an animal control officer or shelter will have, but your neighbor down the street will not. And if Fido wanders off, it’s likely to be a private citizen who encounters him first. That’s why, in the event of accidental separation, identification tags are your pet’s first ticket home.
Microchipping your pet helps your pet find his way home to you if he ever becomes lost or separated from his family. Most veterinarians offer the procedure and it’s completed in just a few minutes. The chip is places just under the skin and can be read by a special scanner (kind of like the handheld one the grocery store clerk uses).
What Kinds of Dogs are Candidates for Microchipping?
All pets are candidates for microchipping, but talk to your veterinarian if you have concerns or believe your pet has a medical condition that could contraindicate a microchip.
New puppies, dogs who like to run as soon as the door is open,and dogs who’s families have recently moved or who are planning on moving should be microchipped for safety. These dogs may have a hard time finding their way back home. Also, dogs with hearing or vision problems and those who are older with memory problems can benefit greatly from a microchip.
How and where are microchips placed?
Microchips are implanted just under the skin, usually right between the shoulder blades. This is done with a large-bore needle and doesn’t require anesthesia.
How they work
Each microchip contains a registration number and the phone number of the registry for the particular brand of chip. A handheld scanner reads the radio frequency of the chip and displays this information. An animal shelter or vet clinic that finds your pet can contact the registry to get your name and phone number.
Can a microchip get lost inside my pet?
Your pet’s subcutaneous tissue usually bonds to the chip within 24 hours, preventing it from moving. There’s a small chance that the chip could migrate to another part of the body, but it can’t actually get lost.
How long do microchips last?
Microchips are designed to work for 25 years.
National Hairball Awareness Day: Help Your Cat Celebrate
How do you celebrate hairballs? Start by working to help your cat reduce or eliminate them.
Hairballs can cause life-threatening blockages
Hairballs form naturally during a cat’s normal grooming routine. Most of the fur that a cat swallows while grooming passes naturally through the digestive tract, but when it gets caught in the stomach, a hairball forms. While long-haired cats are most prone to developing hairballs — especially in the spring and summer when warming temperatures equate to more shedding — short-haired cats are not immune.
It makes perfect sense that cats get hairballs. They spend a lot of time grooming and they swallow hair in the process. Typically the hair goes in one end and comes out the other. But sometimes hair remains and collects in the stomach or small intestine and can cause a potentially life-threatening blockage in the digestive system. Don’t wait to contact your veterinarian if your cat continues to gag, retch or vomit without producing a hairball, loses his appetite, has diarrhea or constipation, or is lethargic.
Tips to reducing or eliminating hairballs
Brush your cat regularly so he swallows less hair when he grooms and ask your veterinarian about giving a hairball lubricant or switching to a food formulated to reduce hairballs. If your cat grooms to the point of causing bald areas and irritation to his skin, schedule a veterinary exam. Your cat could have a skin problem, allergies, or parasites that require treatment.
Your cat could also be stressed if he’s bored or the household routine has changed. Learn more about making your cat’s world less stressful. Maybe he’ll reciprocate with fewer hairballs.
Showing you how a child’s love for a pet
will have them all set!
National Kids and Pets Day
26 April annually
There are lots of great reasons for a child to have a pet companion – the biggest reason being that a child who is shown how to be compassionate towards pets as a child is very likely to carry that compassion on into adulthood, in both their behavior towards animals and people.
It is also claimed that children with learning disabilities can improve their skills by reading to an animal – and that pets can help shyer children grow more confident.
The main point of this day is to encourage you to adopt a pet. There are millions of extremely cute and loving animals out there, just waiting to be part of your family unit! As long as you and your family are ready, you could be safe in the knowledge that you are giving an animal in need a great home.
We celebrate penguins around the world twice a year.
January 20th is Penguin Awareness Day.
April 25th is World Penguin Day.
Origin of Penguin Days:
World Penguin Day coincides with the annual northward migration of penguins. This happens each year on or around April 25th. Penguins do not fly. Rather, they walk, or waddle their way to and from.
Our research did not uncover any information about the origin of Penguin Awareness Day. And, we found no consensus on the date. Rather, we found several conflicting dates in January. If anyone can provide information about this day, please contact us.
Did you know? Penguins are found in Antarctica, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, the Falkland Islands, and the Galapagos Islands. Elsewhere, they are only found in zoos.
- Penguins are good listeners. They can find a family member in a crowd of 80,000.
- Penguins spend 75% of their life at sea.
MONDAY APRIL 18TH – FRIDAY APRIL 22ND OUR CLINIC WILL BE CLOSED FROM 12 PM – 1:15 PM. PLEASE PLAN YOUR VISITS ACCORDINGLY. THANK YOU!
NATIONAL DOLPHIN DAY
Each year on April 14th, people across the nation participate in National Dolphin Day.
Dolphins are cetacean mammals that are related to whales and porpoises.
Ranging is size from 4 ft to up to 30 feet; dolphins are among almost forty species in 17 genera.
Found worldwide, they prefer the shallower seas of the continental shelves.
As carnivores, their diet consists of mostly fish and squid.
- Male dolphin – bull
- Female dolphin – cow
- Young dolphin – calf
- Group of dolphins – school or pod
Dolphins are known to have acute eyesight both in and out of the water along with having a well-developed sense of touch, with free nerve endings densely packed in the skin. They can hear frequencies ten times or more above the upper limit of what adult humans can and are capable of making a broad range of sounds using nasal air sacs located just below the blowhole.
Living in pods of up to a dozen dolphins, they are highly social animals. Pods do merge in areas where there is an abundance of food, forming superpods, which may exceed 1,000 dolphins. Dolphins can, and do, establish strong bonds within their pods and will stay with injured or ill individuals, even helping them to breathe by bringing them to the surface if needed.
You will see the dolphins frequently leaping above the waters surface. They do this for various reasons; when traveling, jumping saves them energy as there is less friction while in the air, this is known as porpoising. Some other explanations for leaping include orientation, social display, fighting, non-verbal communication, entertainment and attempting to dislodge parasites.
The United States National Marine Mammal Foundation conducted a study that revealed that dolphins, like humans, develop a natural form of type 2 diabetes which may lead to a better understanding of the disease and new treatments for both humans and dolphins.
Protecting Your Pet from Lyme Disease
When it comes to keeping your pets healthy, the best preventative is their routine vaccinations. Covering a wide array of diseases and conditions, routine vaccinations prevent the contraction and spread of many uncomfortable, harmful and even fatal conditions.
This time of year, ticks carrying bacteria that cause Lyme disease are a concern. North Shore Animal League America cares for your pets’ well-being and would like to share some information on Lyme disease with you. Hopefully this is one bug we can nip in the bud.
What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is an infectious tick-borne disease caused by the bacteria “Borrelia burgdorferi.”
Which ticks carry Lyme disease?
As far as we know, there are several ticks that carry Lyme disease. The most common culprit is the deer tick, also known as the black-legged tick (shown right). This is a very small tick about the size of a grain of pepper and often goes unnoticed even when engorged. Other ticks that carry Lyme include the brown dog tick, the rocky mountain wood tick and the American dog tick.
Where is Lyme disease found?
Though Lyme disease can surface throughout much of the United States, it is only prevalent in certain areas. Naturally the disease is found in areas where there is a high concentration of ticks, such as wooded and rural areas.
How is Lyme disease transmitted?
Lyme disease is transmitted from the bacteria-carrying tick to the animal through saliva. The tick will bite its host and the saliva will infect the animal. The tick must be attached to its host for 48 hours for it to transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. However, not all animals will contract Lyme disease even if the tick is attached for 48 hours or more. It has been reported that only a small percentage of dogs will actually contract the disease (cats very rarely, if ever, contract the infection). Lyme disease is transmitted only by the tick vector, not dog to dog, or dog to people. The tick needs to bite the host to infect it. Once ticks feed, they detach themselves from their hosts and leave. It is the unfed ticks that look for hosts, which can also include people.
What are the symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs?
Symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs can vary. What’s interesting is that symptoms don’t start to appear until 2-5 months after the initial infectious bite. Symptoms to look for include: fever (103-105°), lameness (especially shifting leg lameness), lethargy, loss of appetite, swelling in the joints and swollen lymph nodes.
*In some cases, Lyme disease can be deadly to your dog. If you suspect that your dog may have been infected, it’s best to contact your veterinarian immediately – even if he is not exhibiting symptoms.
How is Lyme disease in dogs diagnosed?
Veterinarians use blood testing to help diagnose Lyme disease; however, testing positive does not necessarily mean that your pet has the disease. Testing positive can also mean that your pet was exposed to the bacteria that causes Lyme disease but did not actually contract it. Often, a dog’s system can fight off the disease naturally. Your veterinarian will use the blood tests along with other symptoms and the animal’s medical history to make a diagnosis.
How is Lyme disease in dogs treated?
Lyme disease in dogs will be treated with antibiotics for up to one month.
How can I protect my pet against Lyme disease?
The best protection against Lyme disease is prevention. Giving your pet a flea and tick preventative can help ensure that an infected tick that attaches itself dies before reaching the 48-hour mark, which is necessary to transmit the disease. Keeping your pets away from tall grass and wooded areas decreases their exposure to ticks, thus decreasing the odds of getting bit. Be sure to discuss preventatives with your vet so they can recommend one that is suitable according to the dog’s risk.
There are also vaccinations that help protect against Lyme disease. This is something you should discuss with your veterinarian to decide whether this method of prevention is right for you.
How do I remove a tick from my pet?
Ticks that cause Lyme disease are extremely small, and often go unnoticed, even when engorged. However, the best way to check for ticks is to brush your pet daily. All ticks are irritating to your dog and can be anywhere on their bodies. Ticks are most commonly found on the ears and in the ear canals, at the base of the ears, on the feet, and in between the toes. Ticks can be removed from your dog or cat by grasping the head of the tick where it attaches to the skin with tick-removing tweezers and gently but firmly pulling back. Use caution when doing this and do not burn the tick or apply irritants to the tick such as rubbing alcohol, as both of these maneuvers can cause further problems for your pet.
Where do I get my pet vaccinated for Lyme disease?
Talk to your veterinarian about whether the Lyme disease vaccination is right for your pet. Lyme disease is regional, and vaccinating your pet may or may not be the best method of prevention for you. North Shore Animal League America’s Pet Health Center offers the Lyme disease vaccination.
Did you know…April is National Frog Month
Yep, I’m not making it up. And really, it makes sense since we’re right in the thick of amphibian breeding season. Wood frogs that came out of the forests in late February and early March laid their eggs and tadpoles are now being seen.
Spring peepers are heard throughout our area and are starting to lay their eggs in both temporary and permanent wetlands. Pictured here is one of our Spring Peepers peeping. Keep in mind, these little guys are small – one could sit on a quarter or silver dollar pretty comfortably, but wow what a sound they can put out, especially when a bunch of them get together!
As all this is going on, Pickerel frogs (with their funny snoring call) are jumping into the mix as are our American Toads, which we’re just starting to hear trill; and Cricket Frogs, which make a call that sounds like two stones being tapped together.
It’s a really neat time to not only watch amphibians but also gain a first hand look at their life cycles from egg to tadpole to adult and to learn about their habitat needs for both the breeding season (vernal pools, ponds, swamps) and the non-breeding season (forests, marshes).
What is heartworm disease?
Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets in the United States and many other parts of the world. It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs in the body. Heartworm disease affects dogs, cats and ferrets, but heartworms also live in other mammal species, including wolves, coyotes, foxes, sea lions and—in rare instances—humans. Because wild species such as foxes and coyotes live in proximity to many urban areas, they are considered important carriers of the disease.
Dogs. The dog is a natural host for heartworms, which means that heartworms that live inside the dog mature into adults, mate and produce offspring. If untreated, their numbers can increase, and dogs have been known to harbor several hundred worms in their bodies. Heartworm disease causes lasting damage to the heart, lungs and arteries, and can affect the dog’s health and quality of life long after the parasites are gone. For this reason, prevention is by far the best option, and treatment—when needed—should be administered as early in the course of the disease as possible.
Cats. Heartworm disease in cats is very different from heartworm disease in dogs. The cat is an atypical host for heartworms, and most worms in cats do not survive to the adult stage. Cats with adult heartworms typically have just one to three worms, and many cats affected by heartworms have no adult worms. While this means heartworm disease often goes undiagnosed in cats, it’s important to understand that even immature worms cause real damage in the form of a condition known as heartworm associated respiratory disease (HARD). Moreover, the medication used to treat heartworm infections in dogs cannot be used in cats, so prevention is the only means of protecting cats from the effects of heartworm disease.
How is heartworm disease transmitted from one pet to another?
The mosquito plays an essential role in the heartworm life cycle. Adult female heartworms living in an infected dog, fox, coyote, or wolf produce microscopic baby worms called microfilaria that circulate in the bloodstream. When a mosquito bites and takes a blood meal from an infected animal, it picks up these baby worms, which develop and mature into “infective stage” larvae over a period of 10 to 14 days. Then, when the infected mosquito bites another dog, cat, or susceptible wild animal, the infective larvae are deposited onto the surface of the animal’s skin and enter the new host through the mosquito’s bite wound. Once inside a new host, it takes approximately 6 months for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms. Once mature, heartworms can live for 5 to 7 years in dogs and up to 2 or 3 years in cats. Because of the longevity of these worms, each mosquito season can lead to an increasing number of worms in an infected pet.
What are the signs of heartworm disease in dogs?
In the early stages of the disease, many dogs show few symptoms or no symptoms at all. The longer the infection persists, the more likely symptoms will develop. Active dogs, dogs heavily infected with heartworms, or those with other health problems often show pronounced clinical signs.
Signs of heartworm disease may include a mild persistent cough, reluctance to exercise, fatigue after moderate activity, decreased appetite, and weight loss. As heartworm disease progresses, pets may develop heart failure and the appearance of a swollen belly due to excess fluid in the abdomen. Dogs with large numbers of heartworms can develop a sudden blockages of blood flow within the heart leading to a life-threatening form of cardiovascular collapse. This is called caval syndrome, and is marked by a sudden onset of labored breathing, pale gums, and dark bloody or coffee-colored urine. Without prompt surgical removal of the heartworm blockage, few dogs survive.
What are the signs of heartworm disease in cats?
Signs of heartworm disease in cats can be very subtle or very dramatic. Symptoms may include coughing, asthma-like attacks, periodic vomiting, lack of appetite, or weight loss. Occasionally an affected cat may have difficulty walking, experience fainting or seizures, or suffer from fluid accumulation in the abdomen. Unfortunately, the first sign in some cases is sudden collapse of the cat, or sudden death.
How significant is my pet’s risk for heartworm infection?
Many factors must be considered, even if heartworms do not seem to be a problem in your local area. Your community may have a greater incidence of heartworm disease than you realize—or you may unknowingly travel with your pet to an area where heartworms are more common. Heartworm disease is also spreading to new regions of the country each year. Stray and neglected dogs and certain wildlife such as coyotes, wolves, and foxes can be carriers of heartworms. Mosquitoes blown great distances by the wind and the relocation of infected pets to previously uninfected areas also contribute to the spread of heartworm disease (this happened following Hurricane Katrina when 250,000 pets, many of them infected with heartworms, were “adopted” and shipped throughout the country).
The fact is that heartworm disease has been diagnosed in all 50 states, and risk factors are impossible to predict. Multiple variables, from climate variations to the presence of wildlife carriers, cause rates of infections to vary dramatically from year to year—even within communities. And because infected mosquitoes can come inside, both outdoor and indoor pets are at risk.
For that reason, the American Heartworm Society recommends that you “think 12:” (1) get your pet tested every 12 months for heartworm and (2) give your pet heartworm preventive 12 months a year.
What do I need to know about heartworm testing?
Heartworm disease is a serious, progressive disease. The earlier it is detected, the better the chances the pet will recover. There are few, if any, early signs of disease when a dog or cat is infected with heartworms, so detecting their presence with a heartworm test administered by a veterinarian is important. The test requires just a small blood sample from your pet, and it works by detecting the presence of heartworm proteins. Some veterinarians process heartworm tests right in their hospitals while others send the samples to a diagnostic laboratory. In either case, results are obtained quickly. If your pet tests positive, further tests may be ordered.
When should my pet be tested?
Testing procedures and timing differ somewhat between dogs and cats.
Dogs. All dogs should be tested annually for heartworm infection, and this can usually be done during a routine visit for preventive care. Following are guidelines on testing and timing:
- Puppies under 7 months of age can be started on heartworm prevention without a heartworm test (it takes at least 6 months for a dog to test positive after it has been infected), but should be tested 6 months after your initial visit, tested again 6 months later and yearly after that to ensure they are heartworm-free.
- Adult dogs over 7 months of age and previously not on a preventive need to be tested prior to starting heartworm prevention. They, too, need to be tested 6 months and 12 months later and annually after that.
- You need to consult your veterinarian, and immediately re-start your dog on monthly preventive—then retest your dog 6 months later. The reason for re-testing is that heartworms must be approximately 7 months old before the infection can be diagnosed.
Annual testing is necessary, even when dogs are on heartworm prevention year-round, to ensure that the prevention program is working. Heartworm medications are highly effective, but dogs can still become infected. If you miss just one dose of a monthly medication—or give it late—it can leave your dog unprotected. Even if you give the medication as recommended, your dog may spit out or vomit a heartworm pill—or rub off a topical medication. Heartworm preventives are highly effective, but not 100 percent effective. If you don’t get your dog test, you won’t know your dog needs treatment.
Cats. Heartworm infection in cats is harder to detect than in dogs, because cats are much less likely than dogs to have adult heartworms. The preferred method for screening cats includes the use of both an antigen and an antibody test (the “antibody” test detects exposure to heartworm larvae). Your veterinarian may also use x-rays or ultrasound to look for heartworm infection. Cats should be tested before being put on prevention and re-tested as the veterinarian deems appropriate to document continued exposure and risk. Because there is no approved treatment for heartworm infection in cats, prevention is critical.
What happens if my dog tests positive for heartworms?
No one wants to hear that their dog has heartworm, but the good news is that most infected dogs can be successfully treated. The goal is to first stabilize your dog if he is showing signs of disease, then kill all adult and immature worms while keeping the side effects of treatment to a minimum.
Here’s what you should expect if your dog tests positive:
- Confirm the diagnosis. Once a dog tests positive on an antigen test, the diagnosis should be confirmed with an additional—and different—test. Because the treatment regimen for heartworm is both expensive and complex, your veterinarian will want to be absolutely sure that treatment is necessary.
- Restrict exercise. This requirement might be difficult to adhere to, especially if your dog is accustomed to being active. But your dog’s normal physical activities must be restricted as soon as the diagnosis is confirmed, because physical exertion increases the rate at which the heartworms cause damage in the heart and lungs. The more severe the symptoms, the less activity your dog should have.
- Stabilize your dog’s disease. Before actual heartworm treatment can begin, your dog’s condition may need to be stabilized with appropriate therapy. In severe cases of heartworm disease, or when a dog has another serious condition, the process can take several months.
- Administer treatment. Once your veterinarian has determined your dog is stable and ready for heartworm treatment, he or she will recommend a treatment protocol involving several steps. The American Heartworm Society has guidelines for developing this plan of attack. Dogs with no signs or mild signs of heartworm disease, such as cough or exercise intolerance, have a high success rate with treatment. More severe disease can also be successfully treated, but the possibility of complications is greater. The severity of heartworm disease does not always correlate with the severity of symptoms, and dogs with many worms may have few or no symptoms early in the course of the disease.
- Test (and prevent) for success. Approximately 6 months after treatment is completed, your veterinarian will perform a heartworm test to confirm that all heartworms have been eliminated. To avoid the possibility of your dog contracting heartworm disease again, you will want to administer heartworm prevention year-round for the rest of his life.
What if my cat tests positive for heartworms?
Like dogs, cats can be infected with heartworms. There are differences, however, in the nature of the disease and how it is diagnosed and managed. Because a cat is not an ideal host for heartworms, some infections resolve on their own, although these infections can leave cats with respiratory system damage. Heartworms in the circulatory system also affect the cat’s immune system and cause symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing. Heartworms in cats may even migrate to other parts of the body, such as the brain, eye and spinal cord. Severe complications such as blood clots in the lungs and lung inflammation can result when the adult worms die in the cat’s body.
Here’s what to expect if your cat tests positive for heartworm:
- Diagnosis. While infected dogs may have 30 or more worms in their heart and lungs, cats usually have 6 or fewer—and may have just one or two. But while the severity of heartworm disease in dogs is related to the number of worm, in cats, just one or two worms can make a cat very ill. Diagnosis can be complicated, requiring a physical exam, an X-ray, a complete blood count and several kinds of blood test. An ultrasound may also be performed.
- Treatment. Unfortunately, there is no approved drug therapy for heartworm infection in cats, and the drug used to treat infections in dogs is not safe for cats. Nevertheless, cats with heartworm disease can often be helped with good veterinary care. The goal is to stabilize your cat and determine a long-term management plan.
- Monitor your cat. Heartworm-positive cats may experience spontaneous clearing of heartworms, but the damage they cause may be permanent. If your cat is not showing signs of respiratory distress, but worms have been detected in the lungs, chest X-rays every 6 to 12 months may be recommended. If mild symptoms are noted, small doses of prednisolone may be administered to help reduce inflammation.
- Provide veterinary care. If the disease is severe, additional support may be necessary. Your veterinarian my recommend hospitalization in order to provide therapy, such as intravenous fluids, drugs to treat lung and heart symptoms, antibiotics, and general nursing care. In some cases, surgical removal of heartworms may be possible.
- Maintain prevention. A cat that has developed heartworm disease has demonstrated that it is susceptible to heartworm infection, and both outdoor and indoor cats are at risk. It’s important to give your cat monthly heartworm preventives, which are available in both spot-on and pill form. Preventives keep new infections from developing if an infected mosquito bites your cat again.
Q: Is your pet at risk for any of the following:
D) All of the above
A: All of the above (and they ALL can be tough to spot!)
Schedule your pet’s annual checkup today to be sure
your pet is healthy!
Is your dog very tired? Is your cat eating less than usual? These seemingly minor changes may mean your pet has a flea allergy, an internal parasite infection, or a tick-related disease.
Let’s talk about fleas first. The majority of pets don’t have fleas—but many have been bitten because fleas are everywhere! Yes, fleas live outdoors but they can live indoors too – even in really clean homes – year-round in any climate. Fleas will gladly hitch a ride on your pet into your house. And all it takes is one flea bite (specifically the fleas saliva), to set off a full blown skin allergy. Pets may scratch their sides, neck or even lick their paws until they’re red and painful. What pet wants to move around or eat when feeling this miserable?
Internal parasites (such as worms) can infect your pet in a number of ways. Sometimes, it’s hard to know if your pet has them. But left untreated, worms can be dangerous to your pet’s internal organs. They can even cause your pet to lose blood.
Ticks are tricky. Even when you check your pet for ticks they can be tough to find because they’re small and hide well in dark fur. But it’s crucial to find ticks and remove them quickly. Why? Some ticks carry bacteria that cause disease (such as Lyme disease, but there are many others). And all you need is one undetected tick bite for your pet to become infected. They can become sick and develop kidney problems. At times, these diseases can be fatal.
Ugh! Is there any good news?
We’re experts when it comes to flea allergies, tick and internal parasite checks. Even if your pet is on regular monthly preventive, it is still important for us to make sure your pet is healthy.
Make an appointment for your pet’s annual checkup today – we’ll give them a thorough physical exam from nose to tail. Let’s also confirm the prevention you’re using is right for your pet!
(706) 561 – 1171