Preparing your Home for your new Puppy

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While excitement and anticipation may perhaps be in the top of the list when bringing home a brand new puppy, getting ready for him need to rate very on the list. Just as you would want to get ready a house once you have a infant, puppy owners equally have to have to consider particular precautions when “puppy-proofing.”

Before you start getting ready your home for a new puppy, you must be aware of the backyard and garden. To begin with, examine fences and gates to be positive there are no holes big enough for the pup to get his head trapped in or to slip out and get lost. Search for litter and/or trash cans, which can be tipped over, giving your new puppy the opportunity to devour garbage that he shouldn’t. And finally, know exactly where you might be treating your lawn or garden with harmful pesticides and herbicides, then forbid your puppy from going there. Also, ensure that that all chemical compounds and other dangerous products are put away out of your new friend’s reach.

Next, you will need to pretend that a little toddler is going to dwell with you! Like small children, young puppies will find everything new and thrilling. They do not recognize when some thing is dangerous or cannot tell if that “interesting” wii controller can get them into trouble. Anything left on the floor is fair game to a puppy.

Also, when preparing your home for the new puppy, you ought to keep these tips in mind:

• Be sure all electrical and cable wires are either inside an area your pup is not going to be or hide them under rugs or carpets.There are also cable covers that work to protect your cords. Don’t keep electrical wires where your puppy could chew and gnaw on them.

• Just like a young child, your puppy will probably investigate each and every element, such as low cabinets. Just when you imagined having a puppy was easier when compared to a kid, he will learn to push those kitchen cabinet doors open! Think about adding locks or sort through the cabinets and only keep harmless things in low places.

So far, so good, right? Well, that is only in the event you remember that in reality your puppy has the intellect of a small kid. Quickly you will be getting ready for afternoon walks to the playground, 3 a.m. journeys to the potty, (more officially, outdoors) and a lot of cuddling. So, even though making ready your home for the new puppy, think about him as being a member of your family. Get him a bed made from plastic, which is more resistant to chewing. Line it with comfortable bedding-washable of course-and then place it inside a special place just for him, such as an airline crate. Make sure it truly is someplace he will be protected and comfy.

Getting ready your house for the new puppy is a lot of work, which means you may well consider purchasing a puppy pen or kennel till everything is taken care of. Just like a baby’s playpen, a puppy pen will give an spot for him to play without wandering the house. By carrying out this, you are also protecting your furniture as well as other items from getting chewed on. (Really don’t worry-he’ll eventually grow out of this!)

An additional vital thing to consider when preparing your home for the young puppy is any stairs which you may have in the home. Should you have an open basement or second floor, use child gates to confine his run area to prevent harm. Babies and puppies alike aren’t aware of peril and do not know that they could fall down steps and hurt themselves.

Before you take your puppy to your house, you may want to schedule an exam and parasite check with your veterinarian. Most puppies are infected with worms through the placenta while still in their mother’s womb. Your veterinarian will test for parasites and give a dewormer to treat your pet. Your pet’s feces contains thousands of parasite eggs that can re-infect your pup and may infect your family, so frequent de-worming and stool pick-up is neccessary to lower the worm burden in your backyard.

One of the most crucial points to consider while preparing your home for the new puppy is that your puppy is just like a kid, they may want snuggling, attention and there will unquestionably be lots of wet kisses!

Holiday Foods May Land your Pet in the ER

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The Christmas holiday is one of great joy, family reunions and a lot of celebration.  But, for some pet loving families, this happy time of year quickly turns to sadness and distress because of a medical emergency.  Here are some very real stories of holiday emergencies and some tips on how to avoid a trip to the animal ER!

By:  Dr. Debra Garrison, Veterinary News Network

Ginger is a feisty Dachshund.  Her family enjoys her intelligence, her attitude and her zest for life.  It also seems that Ginger enjoys turkey and will go to great lengths to satisfy her cravings!

Dr. Lori Teller of Houston relates how little 15 lb Ginger was able to wrangle a 20 lb turkey off of the counter and consume the entire thing, including the plastic wrapper and strings.  “The diarrhea she had was FOUL…no pun intended,” says Dr. Teller, “we had to open the windows and every door of the clinic to handle the smell!”  Thankfully, Ginger survived her ordeal without missing a beat, but her story does point out the importance of monitoring what your pet has access to during holiday activities.

Ginger was very lucky.  Emergency veterinarians from across the country can all recount cases where pets eat too much of the wrong type of food and develop a severe condition called pancreatitis.  Dr. Jennifer Hennessey, an emergency veterinarian at Sugar Land Veterinary Specialists, says that she treats more pancreatitis cases during this time of year than any other season.

Ham are often a cause of pancreatitis in petsPancreatitis means inflammation of the pancreas.  When pets consume foods that are extremely fatty (like the skin of turkey or chicken), this can lead to inflammation.  Enzymes normally released by the pancreas can cause both local and systemic effects.  Although some cases are mild, Dr. Hennessey recalls far too many situations where the pet died from this condition.  “The sad thing is, many of these deaths could be prevented by taking simple precautions,” says Hennessey.  This includes immediate examination by a veterinarian!

Pets with pancreatitis can quickly become painful in their abdomen and often have persistent vomiting. Certain breeds of dogs, dogs on specific medications and pets with immune problems are more prone to this condition.  This is especially true with cats. Veterinarians will recommend blood work and several days of hospitalization and treatments for pets with pancreatitis.



But, it’s not only the skin of the turkey or any excessively fatty foods that can cause problems.  Obstructions and perforations of the intestines from eating the bones of the bird are very common. Emergency technician, Sonya King of Indianapolis remarks that even veterinary personnel are not immune to this situation.  Her own Bull Mastiff, Capone, got into the trash and ate a turkey carcass.  X-rays revealed many bones in his GI tract but, thankfully, Capone recovered without major problems.

Of course, the holiday bird is not the only food issue at this time of year.  With an abundance of chocolates and even sweet foods containing Xylitol, these wonderful holiday treats can cause serious problems.  Chocolates can cause heart issues or seizures and xylitol treats can set off potentially fatal blood sugar crashes or liver failure in dogs.

Other holiday favorites, like rum balls, eggnog or even fruitcakes might contain alcohol.  Intoxicated pets can experience seizures and respiratory failure.

Onions, garlic and spices can be bad for petsGrapes, raisins, currents, macadamia nuts, extremely salty foods or foods prepared with a lot of onions and/or garlic are all potentially dangerous as well.

Use pet friendly treats like green beans, carrots or even a handful of dog kibble if you want to share your holiday feast.  Let your guests know the family rules about sharing from the table so that friends don’t unknowingly cause a problem.

If you can’t trust your pet, or maybe your dinner guests, it might be best to let your pet have his own room during mealtime.  When dinner is over, be sure to remove all temptations from tables or counters and place all trash behind a secure door. Far too many pets are drawn to the smell and raid the trash can when the owner is not watching.

Ticks and your Pets

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Ticks are eight legged parasites related to spiders and scorpions. Ticks feed on the blood of their host, injecting a numbing agent into the bite wound so their presence can go unnoticed for days while they are feeding. During their feeding, ticks can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease and Ehrlichia to their host through the saliva.


The tick’s life cycle is different than insects. The female engorges on blood from her host, mates with a male tick and then detaches, dropping off her host to fall to the ground and seek a place to lay her eggs. The female can deposit 1,000 to 18,000 eggs, depending on the species of the tick, and then dies shortly after laying her eggs. The eggs will hatch anywhere between 2 months to 2 years depending on the species and climate conditions. The eggs hatch as larvae and seek a host to get a blood meal. Larvae ticks are very small and are often overlooked while they are on the host. Once they have engorged on their blood meal, they will drop off the host where they will molt and become a nymph. Again the nymph seeks out a blood meal, feed and then drop to the ground where they once more will molt and become an adult tick.


Species of Ticks


Amblyomma americanum

lone star tick


Amblyomma maculatum

Gulf Coast Tick

Dermacentor variabilis

American dog tick

Dermacentor andersoni

Rocky Mountain wood tick


Ixodes pacificus

western black-legged tick

Ixodes scapularis

black-legged tick


Otobius megnini

(spinose ear tick)

Rhipicephalus sanguineus

(Brown Dog Tick)

Diseases transmitted by ticks

  1. Anemia – The female tick can ingest more than 100 times her weight in blood. In severe infestations with thousands of ticks on a dog, it can cause severe blood loss resulting in anemia and may actually require blood transfusions to replenish the lost blood.
  2. Skin irritation and itching – The attached tick secrets chemical through her mouth parts in order to anchor herself to the skin and anti-coagulants to make it easier to suck the blood. These chemicals can cause irritation and allergic reactions resulting in more itching, swelling redness around the bite area.
  3. Tick Paralysis – Some species of ticks can produce a neurotoxin that can produce a sudden, progressive, flaccid (limp) paralysis of the muscles similar to that seen in Guillain-Barre syndrome. Once the offending tick is discovered and removed, the patient can quickly recover. Ticks discovered to produce the neurotoxin are D. andersoni, D. variabilis, A. americanum, A. maculatum, I. scapularis, and I. pacificus.
  4. Ehrlichia chaffeensis (human monocytic ehrlichiosis)
  5. Ehrlichia ewingii
  6. Borrelia lonestari
  7. Francella tularensis (tularemia)
  8. Hepatozoon americanum (American canine hepatozoonosis)
  9. Rickettsia rickettsii (Rocky Mountain spotted fever)
  10. Cytauxzoon felis (cytauxzoonosis)
  11. Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease)
  12. Anaplasma phagocytophlium (human granulocytic ehrlichiosis)
  13. Ehrlichia canis (canine monocytic ehrlichiosis)
  14. Babesia canis (canine babesiosis)
  15. Anaplasma platys
  16. Babesia gibsoni

Tick control Products

  • Amitraz – is available as a dip, (mitaban), a collar (Preventic). Amitraz helps prevent tick attachment and can make the tick detach within 24 hours. The collar can last for several months, but do not allow your dog to chew on it because it can cause toxicity.
  • Fipronil – available in spray and spot on formulations (Merial Frontline).
  • The only product approved for tick control on cats is fipronil (frontline).
  • Permethrin – acts as a repellent and kills ticks within 24 hours. Products containing permethrin include Vectra 3D and K9 Advantix.
  • Selamectin – the active ingredient in Revolution is only effective against Dermacentor ticks and has a slower kill rate and may not be the best choice in heavy tick infestations.
  • Deltamethrin Scalibor- An impregnated dog band (collar) that kills fleas and ticks for 6 months
  • Bravecto – Bravecto kills adult fleas and is indicated for the treatment and prevention of flea infestations (Ctenocephalides felis) and the treatment and control of tick infestations [Ixodes scapularis (black-legged tick), Dermacentor variabilis (American dog tick), and Rhipicephalus sanguineus (brown dog tick)] for 12 weeks in dogs and puppies 6 months of age and older, and weighing 4.4 pounds or greater.
    Bravecto is also indicated for the treatment and control of Amblyomma americanum (lone star tick) infestations for 8 weeks in dogs and puppies 6 months of age and older, and weighing 4.4 pounds or greater.


Most ticks infest dogs with an ambush technique called questing. When the ticks hatch, they climb up on to the tips of weeds, grasses and other vegetation. The ticks have a special sensory apparatus known as Haller’s organ that is located on their forelegs. With their forelegs extended, they can sense animals approaching. When the host brushes up against the vegetation, the ticks release in mass and crawl onto their new host to feed. Hundreds of ticks can release onto your pet at one time. The ticks also have seasonal cycles depending on the climate and geographic region.

Removing the tick

In cases where there are just a few ticks, can be done with tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and then with slow, gentle pressure, remove the tick from the skin. You should not crush the tick with your bare fingers because disease transmission to humans can be possible. Sometime, the tick can cause a mild infection at the site, especially if removed improperly and the head remained attached to the skin. In the event there are hundreds of ticks attached, you may want to take your dog to the veterinarian where special dips can be applied to facilitate removal.

Controlling ticks

If you live in an area that tick infestation is prevalent, then year round tick control is advised. If you are going camping with your dog then there are products that you can use prior to camping that will repel, kill or prevent infestation or quick release, depending on the product you use. As always, if your dog is having a tick problem, avoid over the counter medications, they are not as effective and can cause toxicity, especially if a product containing permethrin is accidentally applied to a cat. Your veterinarian will help you choose a product that will help with your flea, tick, and intestinal parasite control as well as heartworm prevention. It may be accomplished with one product or the combination of a few products. Care must be taken when mixing products because potential toxicity may occur.


Treating the yard

The prescription tick control products when applied according to the label directions should control your tick population. In some cases, additional yard treatment may be necessary to control ticks.

  • Clean up your yard to eliminate refuge areas for ticks and their wildlife hosts. This can be done by cutting back or burning tall grass, brush piles and weeds growing along fences, between runs and other structures. Sunlight penetration helps to dry out ticks and clearing the brush will reduce places for wildlife tick hosts to hide.
  • If you have a brown dog tick infestation in kennels, you can spray acaricides into cracks and crevices, under and behind cages and along the ceiling boards because ticks like to climb up.
  • Products that are effective against ticks in a kennel include cyfluthrin, premethrin, and s-fenvalarate.
  • These same products also work outside. Broadcast application of acaracide products is rarely necessary for tick control in yards. Rather spot treatment along fences, kennels and shady areas is preferred.
  • In the event of unusually heavy tick populations, you may find it necessary to restrict your pet’s access to the tick infested environments.

Effective yard flea and tick products

  • Bayer Advanced Lawn™ Complete Insect Killer – Active ingredients include Imidacloprid 0.72% and Beta-cyfluthrin 0.36%
  • Bayer Advanced Garden™ PowerForce® Multi-Insect Killer Ready-To-Spay Cyfluthrin 0.75%

Both products come in 32 oz ready to use bottles that can cover approximately 5,000 square feet

  • Do not allow the spray to get into fish ponds, streams or lakes.
  • Remove your pet’s food dishes before you spray
  • Keep your pets and children away from the treated area until the spray has dried completely.
  • Shake well before using to evenly distribute the product.
  • In heavy infestations, you may need to repeat the spraying every 7 to 14 days.
  • These products are ready to spray. Simply attach the bottle to your hose and be sure to follow the label directions precisely. The water from your hose will automatically mix with the concentrate to provide the correct mixture to your yard.
  • Also available is Bayer Advanced™ PowerForce® Multi-Insect Killer Ready to spread Granules.

Other products that are available

  • Conquer: Esfenvalerate 3.48%
  • Tempo Ultra WP Cyfluthrin 10.00%

Learn more about ticks from the CDC The Tick Handbook (click link to download pdf report)

Tips on Caring for your Pet’s Teeth

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All of us know about the benefits of routine dental care for ourselves. Daily brushing and flossing and regular visits to the dentist, keep our teeth and gums healthy and comfortable. Unfortunately, routine dental care remains an often overlooked aspect of dog and cat’s overall health. Your pets, like yourself, deserve regular dental care.
As your pet ages, tartar starts to build at the junction of his gums and teeth. If this plaque is not removed, it will continue to accumulate and will start to work it’s way beneath  the gums. The tartar is made by a mixture of  bacteria and and saliva which in time can cause an infection. The infected gums cause bad breath and a constant bad  taste and breath for pets. If the tartar is not removed, it will result in more severe gum infection, loosening of teeth, pain when chewing, exposed nerves, abscessed teeth and eventually tooth loss.

Chronic infections of the teeth and gums can lead to problems elsewhere in the body too. Bacteria can enter the bloodstream from the infected teeth and gums causing infections in other organs like the liver, kidneys, heart and joints. Damage to these organs can substantially reduce your pet’s life with early development of kidney failure or heart disease. Good dental care can extend your pets live an average of 2 to 3 years by prevention of such problems.

Miniature and toy breeds exhibit dental problems more frequently and much earlier in life than the larger breeds. Cats are especially prone to gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and cervical line lesions, a type of cavity or erosion of enamel that occurs on the tooth at the junction of the gums which eventually expose the nerves and destroys the tooth. As a result of the constant mouth pain, the cats stop eating and can loose weight .
You can help prevent dental problems in your pet by feeding a dry pet food or a pet food specifically for dental care. Daily brushing your dog or cat’s teeth with a pet toothpaste is the best way to prevent the formation of tartar. It is best to start teaching your pet to get used to the toothbrush when they are puppies or kittens. There are newer products available that can help you with your home dental care. Water additives, such Clenzadent, Enzadent, breathalyzer, Biotene and others have the ingredients to keep plaque from sticking to the teeth. The New CLENZ-a-dent PlaqueOff is a seaweed extract, which if ingested, is excreted through saliva and helps break down the biofilm on the teeth of the pet. I particularly recommend the use Clenz-a-Dent PlaqueOff with Clenz-a-dent water additive if daily brushing is impossible. (you can get these products in the clinic)
As with humans, your pet still needs regular dental exams, cleaning and extractions as needed. Under anesthesia teeth cleaned with an ultrasonic dental scaler is very similar to what your dentist uses, and then polished. Polishing smooths the surface of teeth to prevent future tartar formation. Your pet will also receive a fluoride treatment to strengthen teeth.

Other more advanced procedures such as root canal work, restorations and even braces are also available should your pet ever need them. We recommend you to be concerned about oral health of your pet, and keep in mind that there are effective treatments for dental problems in your dog or cat. Dentistry beyond your pet’s overall health care plan for a longer and happier life.
February is dental month, schedule your pet’s dentistry and receive 10% off.

Clenz-a-dent is a complete line of dental care products for dogs and cats that is easy to use to increase pet owner compliance and offers enhanced efficacy driven by new molecules and delivery systems The active ingredients are RF2 (a member of the polygonaceae family of flowering plants) and PlaqueOff™ (purified seaweed extract, Ascophyllum sp.). Bacteria in the mouth produce a matrix called a bio-film in which they hide and multiply. The bio-film grows to form dental plaque which in turn gets mineralized into calculus. RF2 fights plaque and calculus where they originate by breaking down and destroying the bio-film.

Clenz-a-dent PlaqueOff™ is a highly palatable food additive that is top dressed daily on the pet’s food. Reduces plaque and calculus.

Clenz A Dent Mouth Rinse / Water Additive (250 ml)

Clenz-a-dent RF2 Mouth Rinse or Water Additive comes in a bottle that has a special nozzle that allows it to be applied directly to the animal’s mouth as a rinse or added to drinking water daily. Provides immediate relief of bad mouth odor.

Clenz A Dent Toothpaste w/ Finger Brush – Poultry (70 gm)

Clenz A Dent RF2 Toothpaste is a palatable for the reduction of plaque and bad breath in dogs and cats. Clenz A Dent RF2 contains a unique patented ingredient. RF2 breaks down the biofilm made by bacteria present in the mouth. Biofilm is the first step to plaque and tartar build-up. Therefore Clenz A Dent RF2 disrupts the formation of biofilm and thus prevents plaque build-up and tartar. RF2 also restores the mouth’s natural bacterial balance. The combined actions of RF2 on tartar build-up and bacterial balance help fight bad breath

Clenz A Dent  Dental Chew Sticks Small (4 bags x 6 chews)
Clenz A Dent Dental Chew Sticks Small (4 bags x 6 chews)

CLENZ-A-DENT S RF2 DENTAL STICK Sogeval TASTY DENTAL STICK FOR ORAL HYGIENE – Plaque and Biofilm control – Tartar control – Prevents bad breath – Advanced design RF2 – dental biofilm control 0 – 10 KILOS Composition: Cereals – Polyols – RF2

Clenz A Dent  Dental Chew Sticks Small (6 chews)
Clenz A Dent Dental Chew Sticks Small (6 chews)

CLENZ-A-DENT S RF2 DENTAL STICK Sogeval TASTY DENTAL STICK FOR ORAL HYGIENE – Plaque and Biofilm control – Tartar control – Prevents bad breath – Advanced design RF2 – dental biofilm control 0 – 10 KILOS Composition: Cereals – Polyols – RF2.

Clenz A Dent  Dental Chew Sticks Medium (4 bags x 6 chews)
Clenz A Dent Dental Chew Sticks Medium (4 bags x 6 chews)
Clenz A Dent  Dental Chew Sticks Medium (6 chews)
Clenz A Dent Dental Chew Sticks Medium (6 chews)
Clenz A Dent  Dental Chew Sticks Large (4 bags x 6 chews)
Clenz A Dent Dental Chew Sticks Large (4 bags x 6 chews)
Clenz A Dent  Dental Protection  Wax (40 gm)
Clenz A Dent Dental Protection Wax (40 gm)

Clenz-a-dent RF2 Wax can then start acting immediately and prevent biofilm and plaque from appearing. If your pet undergoes a professional dental cleaning procedure,your vet can apply a wax containing RF2 at the end of the procedure.

Vet Solutions Enzadent Oral Care Chews for Cats Fish Flavor (24 count)
Vet Solutions Enzadent Oral Care Chews for Cats Fish Flavor (24 count)

Enzadent Oral Care Chews combines enzymes found naturally in your cat’s saliva with the natural abrading action of freeze-dried fish to help remove food debris before it becomes a problem. Remember: your cat depends on you and your veterinarian for all its health care. Ask your veterinarian about the many different home oral care options available to you.

Enzadent Poultry Flavor Toothbrush Kit
Enzadent Poultry Flavor Toothbrush Kit

The Enzadent Toothbrush kit for Dogs & Cats by Vet Solutions contains: 90g (3.2 oz) tube Enzadent Toothpaste, one Enzadent Fingerbrush and one Enzadent Dual-Ended Toothbrush. This is a great starter kit for your dog or cat.

Dentahex Oral Rinse by Vet Solutions (8 oz)
Dentahex Oral Rinse by Vet Solutions (8 oz)

Dentahex Oral Rinse by Vet Solutions (8 oz) with Chlorhexidine 0.12% and Zince, is an antimicrobial oral rinse for reducing plaque and freshening breath in dogs and cats. The unique formulation provides anti-plaque and anti-calculus properties thus aiding in the prevention of tooth and gum disease. Contains: Water, Glycerin, Sorbitol, SD Alcohol 38B, Flavor, Chlorhexidine gluconate, Poloxamer 407, Zinc gluconate, FD&C yellow #5, FD&C blue #1. Directions: Shake well before each use. Rinse daily following each meal or as directed by your veterinarian. Gently lift the upper lip to expose the teeth and gums. Point and squeeze to apply a gentle stream along the gum line. Oral Rinse disperses rapidly and completely covers the entire oral cavity, even difficult to reach areas. Avoid touching the gums with the applicator tip to avoid any injury in case of movement of your pet.

C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Kit for Cats
C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Kit for Cats

The C.E.T Oral Hygiene Kit by Virbac for Cats includes toothpaste and a soft fingerbrush. Brushing your cats teeth is essential to help keep their teeth healthy and clean.

C.E.T. AquaDent (16.9 fl.oz)
C.E.T. AquaDent (16.9 fl.oz)

C.E.T AquaDent is formulated by veterinary dental specialists to help freshen your pet’s breath and prevent plaque accumulation when used in conjunction with a regular home dental care program. simply add C.E.T. AquaDent to your pet’s drinking water to provide clinically tested dental care every time your pet drinks.

Heartworm Disease Continues to Plague our Pets

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Every year, veterinarians brace for a disease that has plagued our pets for decades. Yet this disease is easily preventable with affordable and safe medications. Cases of  Heartworms in both dogs and cats continue to increase and the cost to treat (if detected early enough) is far greater that the cost to prevent. So, how can you protect your pet from the deadly consequences of this now common parasite?

Flash back to 150 years ago when a scientist first discovered the heartworm parasite in a dog. Then the parasite evolved and was then detected in our cats 80 years ago. With heartworm prevention available for both cats and dogs you would think that we would see a reduction in the number of cases, yet each year hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats are diagnosed and often die too soon from this dreaded parasite. Some experts estimate that in North America alone, cases of heartworms in our pets may actually be in the millions.

The disease caused by this heartworm living inside your pet’s heart is devastating. Your pet can be infected by the single bite of  just one mosquito. The worm can then migrate through your pet’s body finally taking up residence in your pet’s heart chamber and the blood vessels leading to the lungs. This results in your pet’s heart having to pump harder to circulate the blood through his tiny body. The effects on the lungs is even more severe with some pet’s gasping for breath as the lungs fill with fluid and tiny blood clots. Early signs include coughing and exercise intolerance that some owners just attribute to the dog being lazy. Oftentimes, signs do not appear until the disease is well advanced and the dog is suffering from heart failure, fluid accumulation in the lungs and belly which can eventually lead to death.

In cats, it only takes one heartworm to cause damage. The early signs are asthma like symptoms and sometimes vomiting that the owners will attribute to hairballs. When that heartworm lodges in the lungs, it can result in a sudden death of the cat.

Treatment for heartworms is expensive ranging from $500 for the smaller dogs, to upwards of $1500 for the larger breeds. Complicated heartworm disease with cardiac failure is even more expensive and oftentimes there is only a 10% chance of recovery in the severely afflicted pets. As of yet, there is no treatment for cat heartworm disease, just supportive care.

Amazingly, veterinarians do have an answer to this problem. Safe, effective heartworm preventatives are available in a variety of easy to use applications. What is even more incredible is that the cost of a lifetime of prevention for most pets is significantly less that a single treatment for the disease. So, why do pets continue to suffer and die from such a preventable disease?

With all internet myths, two radical theories suggest that either the heartworm medications are failing or that the parasites are developing a resistance to the drugs. While conspiracy theorists love these ideas, scientific evidence for either theory is lacking. Heartworm preventives have a failure rate of less than 1 in 1 million doses. Likewise, the complex life cycle of the heartworm does not lend itself to developing a natural resistance to the medications. The truth probably lies in the memory of the owner to administer the dose in a timely fashion and the climate.

Increasing temperatures in our climate has resulted in a longer mosquito season and a larger potential for transmission to our pets. Here in Houston, our mosquito season is all year round. We are now seeing more mosquitoes in previously mosquito-free areas. Irrigation of dry areas and increased plantings of trees in certain areas can actually increase mosquito population. With a larger number of mosquitoes, there is a greater chance of transmission of heartworm disease.

Once all the facts are reviewed, the simplest reason for our failure to control this deadly parasite falls on the humans themselves. We simply do not give the preventive as we should. It may be due to forgetfulness, or perhaps one spouse thought the other one gave it or it may be due to the economy and the financial constraints imposed on the family. Whatever the reason may be, it can result in dire consequences for the health of our pets.

Thankfully, as pet owners, you do have powerful allies to help combat the war against heartworms. With the help of your veterinarian, you can pick the best heartworm medication for your pet and your budget. Oral medications, such as Heartgard, Sentinel, and Iverhart are available. There are also topical medications such as Advantage-Multi and Revolution that are formulated to also protect your pet from both heartworms and fleas. Proheart 6 is also available as a long lasting injection. The prevention of this disease rests solely on the pet’s owners to make sure the pet receives the prevention before the pet is exposed to the parasite. That means that the prevention must begin in puppy-hood and be given every month, all year long.

Do not waste time searching for “natural” or organic ways to prevent heartworms; they simply do not exist. Many people think they can formulate ivermectin to give to their pets, but improper dilution and storage can lead to overdosing or underdosing. Follow recommendations by your veterinarian and the American Heartworm Society ( Your pet is counting on you and prevention is far better and cheaper than the treatment.

Flea Control

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fleaFleas are pesky parasites and have adapted very well to living in our houses. In fact, houses are at the perfect temperature and humidity to become hatching factories for fleas. I no longer recommend flea control just in the spring and summer, but prefer to use flea control on pets all year round. It is better to prevent a flea infestation that try to eradicate one. One flea can hitch a ride on your pants leg from visiting a friends house, and if this flea is a female, chances are she already laden with thousands of eggs. Fortunately, fleas prefer to feast on the smaller critters rather than humans, because our pet’s body temperature is a few degrees higher than ours. But if the dog, cat or ferret are not present, then fleas will indeed bite a human.

To control fleas, you must have an understanding of the flea life cycle and the points in that life cycle where they are vulnerable to eradication. You also need to know what products that will kill the fleas and which ones are safe for your pets. Because some people may have more than one species of pets in the household, you do not want to use a product on a dog that may be potentially toxic to a cat or a ferret.

We will start with the life cycle of the flea.

  • A female flea begins to feed on her host as soon as she hops a ride. Her blood meal nourishes the eggs and egg production begins within 20 to 24 hours after her first feeding.
  • Female fleas can lay 20 to 50 eggs a day and 2000 in her lifetime.
  • The female flea consumes 15 times her weight in blood a day.
  • A flea bites your pet 400 times a day.
  • The “flea dirt” found on your pet is the flea feces made of your pet’s blood. You can tell it is flea dirt if you put a small amount on a white paper towel and apply a small amount of water. As the dirt dissolves it will turn the paper towel red.
  • The eggs are pearly white, oval and about 0.5 mm in length. flea eggs
  • The term “salt and pepper” refers to the flea eggs that are about the size of a grain of salt and the flea dirt that falls off of the pet. It is most notable on the bedding of the pet or where ever the pet lays.
  • The eggs are laid on the pet and roll off the pet into the environment.
  • Depending on the temperature and humidity, fleas can go from eggs to adults in as little as 13 days to as long as 8 months.
  • The flea eggs hatch into flea larvae which look similar to small maggots covered with tiny hairs.flea larvae
  • The flea larvae do not like light and will crawl through the carpet to seek darkness under the furniture, in cracks and crevices of cushions and in other out of the way areas.
  • This is one reason why traditional “flea bombs” are sometimes ineffective. The spray goes up and comes back down, and does not reach where the larvae are hiding and feeding.
  • Flea larvae feed on the adult flea blood feces dropped off your pet and other organic matter in your carpet.
  • The length of the larval stage of the flea is dependent on the temperature and humidity of the house.
  • The next stage of development is the pupae or cocoon.flea pupae
  • The larvae builds the cocoon and uses some of the debris in the environment such as carpet fibers into the shell of the cocoon.
  • The shell of the cocoon is now “glued” into the carpet and impossible to vacuum up.
  • The shell also provides protection from the elements and also insecticides.
  • Fleas will emerge from the cocoon when the temperature is around 24° (75.2° F) and a relative humidity of 78%.
  • The flea can remain in the cocoon for up to 30 weeks.
  • The flea will emerge from the cocoon when stimulated by:
  1. Mechanical pressure or vibrations- such as someone or a pet walking by.
  2. CO2 – Carbon dioxide from the pet or person breathing.
  3. Increased temperature.
  • Homeowners away for a vacation can sometimes experience the sudden hatch out of thousands of fleas that were in the cocoon state ready to emerge. The vibrations of the owners returning and the exhaled carbon dioxide coupled with the air conditioner turning back on will stimulate the fleas to emerge and start to bite anything that is near. This sudden hatch out can also occur in vacant houses that have just been moved into.

Now that you understand the life cycle of the flea, let us find the points that the flea can be killed.

  • The first point is on the pet. There are newer products available that are safe to use and will kill the flea with in the first 24 hours of the flea jumping on the pet. Why is this important? Remember that the flea does not start laying eggs until 20 to 24 hours after her first blood meal. If you can kill the female flea before she begins to lay eggs, you are a giant leap ahead of controlling your flea population.
  • Point number two. Intermittently applying flea control products will result in gaps in your flea control that will result in female fleas laying eggs that can hatch out a year later. I recommend that you use the flea preventative products once a month all year round. Consider the flea not as a seasonal critter, but an indoor monster waiting to hatch out of your carpet and suck your pet’s blood.
  • Point number three. The eggs and cocoons have a protective shell that make them resistant to the insecticides. The larvae and the adult fleas are the only stages that can be killed by insecticides.
  • Point number four. Insect growth regulators are effective to keep flea eggs from hatching, but are difficult to apply in the areas that the flea eggs are hiding.
  • Point number five – Frequent use of insecticides in your house and yard can build up and may cause toxicity to you and your family.For these reasons, I do not like insecticide foggers or bombs in the house. They do not get in the areas that hide the fleas and they contain insecticides that can build up in your house.

So, what products are safe to use on my pet?


– The advantage product by Bayer (Imidacloprid) is an excellent product for the control of fleas on dogs, cats and ferrets. (not officially labeled for use on ferret see post on

Advantage has unique crystals that are not harmful to mammals, but totally incapacitate the fleas. There is a 99% kill rate within 12 hours after applying the advantage. The obvious advantage is it kills the female flea before she begins to lay her eggs, thus breaking the life cycle. The other advantage is the imidacloprid crystals that are attached to the hairs of the pet fall off the animal into the environment, i.e. the carpet, etc. as the pet sheds hair. When the larvae emerge from the safe confines of their egg shell and come in contact with the crystals in the carpet, the result is another dead flea larvae within 2o minutes.

So by applying the advantage product to your pet once a month,  all year round, you are also effectively treating the environment as the fleas are hatching out.

Check out how it works at



Advantage – multi contains the imidacloprid like the Advantage but also contains moxidectin. By adding moxidectin  advantage- multi  prevents heartworm disease, kills adult fleas and controls flea infestations, and treats and controls intestinal worms (hookworms and roundworms). Advantage-multi is applied once a month for both cats and dogs.  We have also used it to control ear mites and other mites. Advantage -multi is only available with a prescription but is well worth it for what it covers.



Revolution is the first-ever FDA-approved, topically applied medication for dogs and cats that kills adult fleas and prevents flea eggs from hatching out, treats and controls earmites, treats and controls sarcoptic mange, and also helps control the brown dog tick. Revolution contains selamectin and is topically applied. Revolution then enters the bloodstream through the skin. Concentrations of Revolution in the blood and tissues prevent heartworm disease and treats the intestinal parasites (hookworms and roundworms). Revolution selectively redistributes from the blood to the skin, where it provides protection against fleas, flea eggs, American dog tick, and mites. I recommend the Revolution be applied once a month to both dogs and cats all year round. Revolution is also only available with a prescription.


Vectra 3D

Vectra 3D for dogs contains 3 ingredients dinotefuran, pyriproxyfen, permethrin. Because cats are sensitive to permethrins, you cannot use the Vectra 3D dog product on cats. The combination of Vectra’s ingredients help to protect dogs from 4 species of ticks, 3 species of mosquitoes and all stages of fleas.

Dinotefuran is a quick-kill insecticide discovered by researchers at Mitsui Chemicals. A third generation neonicotinoid, dinotefuran was synthesized with acetycholine as the lead compound, making it different from other flea control products currently in use which are based on nicotine.

Over the last 10 years, fleas have developed tolerance to older products, making them less effective in protecting pets from infestation and infection.

In addition, dinotefuran does not bind to the same insect receptor sites in the nerve synapse as imidacloprid and other neonicotinoids. The binding is permanent causing continuous nerve stimulation and death of the insect. Ingestion is not necessary. Dinotefuran kills by contact.

In numerous studies and clinics across the U.S., Vectra® vectoricides – which are based on the compound dinotefuran – have killed fleas quickly and safely for a full 30 days between applications.

The permethrin helps repel mosquitoes and ticks is not adequate enough to totally protect from heartworms. If you are using Vectra 3D for fleas, you should also use a heartworm preventative to protect from heartworms and intestinal parasites. Vectra 3D is also applied topically once a month and should also be used year round.

Vectra for Cats

The Vectra for cats does not contain permethrin.

Vectra® for Cats & Kittens and Vectra for Cats® contains a unique dual-action formulation that’s proven highly effective against fleas:

  • Dinotefuran: quick-kill contact neonicotinoid that causes continuous nervous stimulation in insects resulting intremors and death.
  • Pyriproxyfen: potent IGR prevents development of all immature flea stages; stable in sunlight.

In numerous studies and clinics across the country, Vectra for Cats & Kittens and Vectra for Cats have provided fast, safe, long-lasting protection against fleas and flea-borne diseases.

  • Kills fleas within 6 hours.
  • Kills on contact; fleas do not have to bite to die.
  • Prevents development of all immature flea stages: eggs, larvae and pupae.
  • Protects against flea-borne diseases including tularemia, rickettsiosis, bartonellosis and tapeworm.
  • One application protects cats for 1 month.
  • Safe for kittens as young as 8 weeks of age.
  • Patented applicator makes administration fast, easy and accurate.

Vectra does not cover intestinal parasites, heartworms, or earmites.



Comfortis® is the first FDA-approved, chewable, beef-flavored tablet that kills fleas and prevents flea infestations on dogs for a full month.

Only Comfortis® offers you all of these benefits in a single product:

  • Fast, month-long flea protection
    • Starts killing fleas within 30 minutes
    • Lasts a full month
  • Kills fleas before they can lay eggs
  • The convenience of a chewable, beef-flavored tablet

COMFORTIS chewable tablets  contain (spinosad) . Spinosad is a member of the spinosyns class of insecticides, which are non-antibacterial tetracyclic macrolides. Because it is ingested, the flea must bite the dog to receive the deadly dose. Comfortis also does not treat the environment so you will continue to find fleas for several months until all the eggs, larvae and pupae have completed their life cycle.

Comfortis does not protect your pet from heartworms, intestinal parasites, ticks or mites and is only effective against the fleas. You must use other products in conjunction with Comfortis to protect from the other parasites.

Go to for more information


Capstar contains nitenpyran and is also given orally. It is effective at killing fleas in 30 minutes and the flea must bite the dog to get the lethal dose. Capstar is only effective for one day so I seldom use it especially when other products that last the full month are available. Capstar is only used to kill fleas and does not protect your pet from heatworms, intestinal parasites, mites or ticks.

A few words about OTC (over the counter) flea medications. It has been my experience that the OTC flea spot-ons sprays and flea collars are NOT effective flea control products and I do not recommend them.

As you can see, there is a variety of products available for flea control. Each one has it’s own merits and covers different parasites. If you seem at all confused, get with your veterinarian and discuss with him or her what products they recommend. Since I live in a mosquito, flea, tick, and intestinal parasite hot bed in Houston, TX, my preference has been Revolution because it covers almost everything and because it is absorbed through the skin, bathing does not remove the product. Also cats are now getting heartworms so I am also recommending the Revolution be applied to cats year round to help prevent heartworm disease. I also like the Revolution for the earmite and sarcoptic mange control as well as the intestinal parasite control.


Trifexis is the newest product to be introduced and it is a chewable tablet that controls fleas, prevents heatworms and protects against the intestinal parasites; roundworms, hookworms and whipworms.  Trifexis starts killing fleas in 30 minutes and keeps working to prevent flea infestations all month long. Because fleas, heatworms and intestinal parasites are major problems here in Houston, I routinely recommend for my client to use both the flea and heatworm medication every month all year long, in order to prevent flea infestations in the home and to prevent heartworm disease. Since the Trifexis is a chewable tablet, you don’t have to worry about it being washed off or leaving a dirty streak down the back of your dog.   I have even switched my own dog to this medication.

Information on Trifexis can be found at






INDICATIONS: Bravecto kills adult fleas and is indicated for the treatment and prevention of flea infestations (Ctenocephalides felis) and the treatment and control of tick infestations [Ixodes scapularis (black-legged tick), Dermacentor variabilis (American dog tick), and Rhipicephalus sanguineus (brown dog tick)] for 12 weeks in dogs and puppies 6 months of age and older, and weighing 4.4 pounds or greater.

Bravecto is also indicated for the treatment and control of Amblyomma americanum (lone star tick) infestations for 8 weeks in dogs and puppies 6 months of age and older, and weighing 4.4 pounds or greater.




Debra Garrison, DVM

Seizures in Pets

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Seizures in petsSeizures are a neurological anomaly that may occur in some pets. They are caused by a wide variety of reasons and may manifest differently from animal to animal. Seizures, although frequently frightening for the owners, can often be managed by medication once properly diagnosed. This handout will provide general information on the description, causes and solutions for seizure disorders in pets.

Seizures, often called convulsions or fits, will manifest themselves differently in each animal. It is important to remember, that while frightening for the owner, your pet does not feel any pain during the episode. And contrary to popular belief, your pet will not swallow its tongue during a seizure episode. In fact, you are more likely to be bitten severely if you try to force anything into the animals mouth. The only precaution that you should take is to make sure that your pet is not in danger of falling or striking a limb or its head on anything during the episode. After the seizure is complete, take time to observe and comfort your pet as they may be disoriented.

As seizures appear differently in each animal, it is best to look for some of the common signs:

  1. Sporadic muscle contractions over the entire body
  2. Falling to the side with a drawn back position of the head and neck
  3. Loss or semi-loss of consciousness
  4. Involuntary vomiting, salivation, urination or defecation
  5. Changes in mental awareness from unresponsive staring to hallucinations
  6. Behavioral changes including panting, pacing, odd running patterns, extreme docility, extreme viciousness and not recognizing known individuals

During the seizure, your pet will experience three different stages. The first stage of a seizure is called the pre-ictal or aura phase. During this phase your pet may exhibit a wide range of behavioral changes. These changes may include hiding, whining, nervousness, shaking and many others. This stage may continue for a few seconds to a few hours. It is important to remember, however, that some pets do not experience or manifest any signs of this phase.

The second phase to a seizure is the ictal phase. This phase may last from a few seconds to five minutes and is the period in which the body convulses and displays the typical signs of a seizure described above. If the seizure lasts longer than five minutes, it is known as prolonged seizure or status. Status is a severe and extreme seizure condition and you should seek immediate medical attention.

The third phase of the seizure is known as the post-ictal phase. This phase may include changes in mental awareness, confusion, restlessness and temporary blindness. This phase varies by pet in length, symptoms and severity.

Seizures may be caused by many different factors and they are often indicators of other physical problems. The most common cause of seizures in pets is epilepsy. A common form of epilepsy is caused by the rapid over-stimulation of the neurons in the brain. This over-stimulation may be caused from a head injury or may be genetic and inherited from birth. However, seizures may also be a side effect and indicator of other physical problems. These problems may include brain tumors, poisoning, low blood sugar, nerve or muscle problems and organ disease.

Depending on the frequency and severity of your pets seizures, it may be started on oral medications to help control the seizures. Once started, however, these medications must be given reliably, for the rest of the pets life. Therefore, your veterinarian will do careful screening and testing before placing your pet on these medications. It is important to remember that your pets seizure disorder is a manageable condition and many pets live long, happy and rewarding lives with epilepsy.

Diabetes Mellitus in Pets

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Deabetes MellitusTwo forms of diabetes can be found in dogs. The first, Diabetes Mellitus, is the most common and will be the form discussed in this handout. The rarer form is called Diabetes Inspidus, which will not be covered here. Diabetes mellitus is caused by an excessive amount of sugar in your dog’s blood and a deficiency of insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas. The exact causes of this are unknown, but diet, obesity, genetics, age and complications from other illnesses can all lead to diabetes. Certain breeds, such as Terriers, Cocker Spaniels, Dachshunds, and Poodles are more frequently affected.

So, how do you know whether or not your pet is developing diabetes? There are signs to look out for! If your pet is drinking an excessive amount of water, has an increased appetite, is urinating more often, and seems to be losing weight then your pet may be developing diabetes. Your veterinarian is able to test for this disease, which will be discussed later in this article. Before we discuss the treatment for this condition, let’s discuss some preventive steps that can be taken to avoid it.

Once your dog has diabetes, this disease will be with them for the remainder of their life. Therefore, it is very important that we take steps to avoid this disease. Although diabetes can be acquired through genetics, which is difficult to avoid, the most common cause of the disease is obesity. It is very important that your dog gets regular exercise and is maintained on a well balanced diet. Your veterinarian can recommend a dog food that is right for your pet and make recommendations for an exercise regiment.

Your veterinarian will perform a simple blood test to measure the level of glucose (blood sugar) in your dog’s blood. Multiple blood glucose tests are often necessary to establish a baseline. If your dog’s blood glucose level returns high on the first test, this may have just resulted from a recent meal. If your veterinarian determines that your dog does have diabetes, he or she will want to perform regular blood glucose tests at the veterinary practice to monitor levels. Your veterinarian may also have you monitor your dog’s blood glucose at home by sending you with an easy to use urine test kit.

Some mild cases of diabetes can be treated with a strict diet that is low in carbohydrates and high in protein. However, many cases will require your dog to be on insulin therapy. An oral form of insulin is available for humans, however, this is not effective in pets and an injectable form must be used. Your veterinarian will determine the proper type of insulin for your dog and the specific dose. This dose may be changed several times during the first few weeks of insulin therapy in order to properly regulate your pet’s blood glucose levels.

A member of the veterinary staff will instruct you on how to administer an insulin injection, which is given subcutaneously (beneath the skin). It is very important to follow your veterinarian’s exact dosage as an overdose of insulin can cause dangerously low blood sugars. If you ever feel that your pet has received too much insulin, you should contact your veterinarian or local emergency pet hospital if it is after hours. Corn syrup or honey can be given to quickly increase your dog’s blood sugar levels if an overdose is suspected. Patients that have overdoses on insulin tend to become very lethargic, unsteady, develop shaking and convulsions can occur in severe cases.

If your dog is insulin-dependent, it is important that he receives a diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates. He should be fed at the same time everyday and insulin should be given at mealtimes as directed by your veterinarian. Maintaining a healthy weight is very important for the diabetic pet, so regular exercise is a must. Dogs that have been diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus can be effectively treated with insulin therapy and can lead healthy, normal lives.

Summer time brings pesky parasites

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Summertime temperatures are often a welcome relief for both people and pets, with cases of cabin fever. Unfortunately, the warm up also brings out those persistent perennial parasites… Fleas!

With an ability to jump 12-18 inches from a standstill, the 1/8″ long common cat flea is one of the hardiest pests that our dogs and cats will encounter. An appetite for blood, an uncanny ability to reproduce, and a short life cycle make this parasite difficult to control or eradicate. What’s worse, the fleas can carry diseases that can affect our pets and us! How can we help protect our dogs and cats from this annual menace?

Several thousand species of fleas exist, but the cat flea is the most common throughout the United States and Canada. Feeding on the blood of dogs and cats, occasionally these fleas may even choose to dine on us! With a preference for warm weather and higher humidity, fleas are most often encountered during the spring and summer months. It may come as no surprise to many that the increasing global temperatures are lengthening the flea season for many pets across the United States. In addition our warm homes in winter create a livable environment so fleas can quickly become a year-round problem!

Once adult fleas attack your pet, you can expect to have flea eggs in the environment within about 36 hours. These small oblong eggs will fall off of the pet into the carpet, bedding, or yard and actually hatch into larval forms of the flea within 1-10 days. The larval forms will spend time munching on organic debris, such as dead skin cells and flea dirt. The larvae then form cocoons from materials it finds in the environment. The adult fleas can actually hatch out of the cocoon within 1 second when stimulated by light, movement, or heat. Given optimal conditions of humidity and temperature, this flea life cycle can be completed in as little as 12 days!

Besides their ability to reproduce quickly, fleas also can reproduce in almost unimaginable numbers. A single female flea has the ability to lay about 2000 eggs during her short 100 day lifetime and a group of 25 female fleas can swell to thousands in just 30 short days! To make matters worse, adult fleas comprise just 5% of the total flea population in the environment; more than 95% are present as eggs, larvae, or the hardy cocoon.

Although itchy pets are the hallmark of a flea infestation, fleas also bring several other concerns to pets and their owners. Severe infestations of fleas can actually cause young kittens or puppies and older pets to become anemic from blood loss. Blood parasites, as well as intestinal parasites, such as tapeworms, are commonly spread through fleas. More serious infectious diseases of humans, such as bubonic plague and cat scratch disease are also connected with these tiny pests.

Fortunately, recent advances in flea control technology have given the pet owner a wide range of products that are not only effective, but very gentle as well. Utilizing differences between mammal and insect physiology, leading veterinary pharmaceutical companies have developed long lasting insecticides for our pets.

Although many flea control products can be found in over the counter outlets, pet owners are urged to see their family veterinarian before choosing a product. Some of the pesticides that can be found in grocery stores, TV ads and mass merchants should not be used on certain pets, such as cats.

The flea control products that are recommended by veterinarians have additional benefits above control of the adult fleas. These products will actually help to break the life cycle of the flea by killing the adult flea before they have time to reproduce. Most flea products sold at veterinarians will actually kill the adult fleas within 24 hours of application and this speed of kill helps prevent the females from laying eggs.

Your veterinarian can help you decide what product is going to be best for you based on several factors: what type of pets you have, what part of the country you live in, and what other parasites your pets are exposed to routinely. As an added bonus, your veterinarian is available to you if you have concerns about the performance of the flea products.


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Rabies is the most infamous disease that can be passed from animals to people. It has been the subject of so many novels and movies that it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. Knowing the truth about rabies can help you protect your dog and your family from this deadly disease.

What is Rabies?
Rabies is caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. It infects all warm-blooded animals, including people and is almost always fatal. In the United States, human cases of rabies are rare, only a few each year. The risk is still present though, since rabid animals are found in most states.

How Is It Spread?
More than 90% of reported cases of rabies today in the U.S. occur in wild animals. The species most likely to carry rabies include raccoons, skunks, foxes, bats, and coyotes. Even though rats have been targeted as a major source of rabies in fictional stories, they are actually very unlikely to harbor the disease. The number of cases in domestic animals is small but still represents a significant risk, since people are more likely to come into physical contact with them.

Rabies is usually transmitted via the saliva as a result of a bite from an infected animal. The virus enters the nerves near the site of infection, and travels through the nervous system to the brain over a period of weeks or months. Symptoms occur once the virus reaches the brain. This is also the time when the saliva becomes infectious.

Rabies in Animals
Animals with rabies often exhibit behavioral changes. Wild animals may act friendly, groggy or unafraid of people. Pets may act fearful or agitated. Other symptoms include excessive salivation, difficulty swallowing, lack of coordination, and paralysis. The only accurate tests for rabies in animals are performed postmortem. Animals suspected of rabies are euthanized rather than treated, because there is no

Rabies in People
The symptoms of rabies in people are similar to those in animals. People with rabies are kept as comfortable as possible in the hospital, but there is no effective treatment for the disease.

Rabies Prevention
Fortunately, this terrible disease can be prevented. Here are some of the ways you, your family, and your dog can stay safe.

  1. Vaccinate your pets regularly, even if they live indoors. Vaccines are available for dogs, cats, ferrets, and horses. Vaccinated pets act as a buffer zone between rabid animals and you. If your unvaccinated pet bites someone or is bitten by a wild animal, he may be subject to a lengthy and costly quarantine.
  2. Help minimize the stray animal problem in your community. Have all of your pets spayed and neutered. Call your local animal control agency to remove strays in your neighborhood.
  3. Avoid contact with wild animals. Do not feed wildlife or allow your dog to chase or hunt wild animals. Keep garbage and pet food inside or in secure containers. Never try to keep a wild animal as a pet, or nurse a sick one back to health. Instead, contact a wildlife rescue agency for assistance.
  4. If your dog is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary care right away.
  5. If you are bitten by a wild animal or an unvaccinated pet, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water. Seek medical attention immediately. Be able to provide your doctor with the location of the incident, the type of animal that bit you, how the bite occurred, and whether the animal has been captured. Treatment immediately after exposure is extremely effective. Dont be scared away by horror stories about countless shots in the stomach the current procedure is much less unpleasant than it used to be, and is certainly preferable to risking the disease.