In a world of dog lovers, some canines face serious threat of extinction

Domesticated dogs are some of the most popular animals on the planet, but their cousins in the wild aren’t always as beloved. For thousands of years …

Read More…

Dog & Cat Tips : Causes of Cat Hair Loss

Common causes for hair loss in cats include allergies, poor nutrition, kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, ringworm and stress. Discover why fleas may be causing a cat to lose its hair with help from aveterinarian in this free video on cat health. Expert: James Talbott Bio: Dr. James R. Talbott is a staff veterinarian at Belle Forest Animal Hospital and Kennel in Nashville, Tenn. Filmmaker: Dimitri LaBarge

Canine Diseases & Treatment : Home Remedies for Dog Itching

Home remedies for dog itching include switching the animal’s food to a higher-quality diet, using an oatmeal-based shampoo, adding omega-3 fatty acids or fish oils to a dog’s diet and brushing the dog’s coat regularly. Encourage natural oil production on a dog’s fur to reduce itching withhelpful information from an experienced veterinarian in this free video on pet care. Expert: Dr. James Talbott Bio: Dr. James R. Talbott is a staff veterinarian at Belle Forest Animal Hospital and Kennel in Nashville, Tenn. Filmmaker: Dimitri LaBarge

Dog Health Problems : Dog Paw Health Problems

Dog paws can be affected by foreign materials, trauma, chronic wetness or allergies. Find out how to treat a dog’s paws if they’ve been cut or lacerated with help from a veterinarian in this free video on dog paw health problems. Expert: Robert T. Pane Contact: www.southkendall.com Bio: Robert T. Pane, DVM is a veterinarian in Miami, Fla. Filmmaker: Paul Muller

Heartworms in Pets

With over 250,000 known cases across the United States, canine heartworm disease continues to plague our pets, causing emotional distress to the owners and financial worries to their pocketbooks. The saddest part of all: this disease is completely preventable.
heartworm_disease
We know what causes heartworm disease, we know how to treat it, and we even have safe, effective medications to prevent the disease. So, why are more than a quarter of a million dogs and cats still getting this terrible disease?

According to a survey recently released by the American Heartworm Society over 250,000 dogs and cats tested positive for heartworm infection nationwide in 2004. Since these cases only included dogs that routinely see the veterinarian, some estimates of the true incidence of heartworms in dogs range as high as 11 million canines infected with the parasite. Throw in coyotes and foxes and one can easily see the huge reservoir of potential cases.

Heartworms are a parasite that reside in the vessels leading from the heart to the lungs of many different mammals, but are primarily suited for life in a canine. The immature larva of the adult heartworms are taken in during feeding by mosquitoes and then spread from mosquito back to dogs after a short, 2 week maturation period in the mosquito’s stomach and salivary glands. After returning to their natural host, the heartworm larva migrate through the dog’s body over the next four to six months, growing in length until they reach the heart. Upon reaching the heart, the foot long parasite becomes sexually active, producing large numbers of larva, which, in turn, wait to be picked up by a feeding mosquito, continuing the disease cycle. Infected dogs might have as few as 5 or 6 adult worms or as many as 250!

Adult heartworms absorb nutrients from the blood stream of the dog. In an attempt to rid the body of the parasite, the dog’s immune system fights the invader, often causing collateral damage to the blood vessels and lungs. In severe cases, large numbers of heartworms can block the major vessels entering and leaving the right side of the heart, causing high blood pressure, bleeding into the lungs, kidney and liver problems, and even death. Treatment of the disease itself involves the use of an arsenic compound. Although deadly side effects with the medication have been extremely rare, many dogs succumb to blood clots in the lungs as the adult heartworms die. And the cost of treatment is also a concern. Appropriate diagnostics, medications, and re-testing of the heartworm positive dog might run as high as $500 to $1,000, depending on the size of the pet.

“Many people are just not aware of how deadly heartworms can be, especially to active pets.” says Dr. Tom Nelson, President of the American Heartworm Society. “Heartworms can live 5-7 years and the owner may not see of any of the symptoms. Many of our pets might be considered less active and these pets will not show the signs of heartworm disease until it becomes severe.”

Keeping your pet indoors will not insure that your pet will not get exposed. It only takes one mosquito getting into your house or one potty trip outside to be bitten by an infected mosquito. Even a few worms can cause severe damage to the heart, lungs and kidneys. Now even cats are presenting with heartworms and we are recommending both dogs and cats use a heartworm prevention all year round.

On a more positive note, veterinary medicine has a wide variety of options available to the pet owner for prevention of this disease. Easy to give monthly chewables are the most convenient way to prevent infection. The most commonly prescribed monthly chewable is called Heartgard. Administration of these preventives at the appropriate time intervals can virtually guarantee protection for your pet. In fact, manufacturers of heartworm preventive will stand behind their product and reimburse any medical treatments necessary should a dog develop heartworms while on their product.

Newer products, such as Revolution and Advantage-Multi, are applied on the skin and also help protect against fleas and internal parasites. New Trifexis is a chewable tablet that covers heartworms, fleas and intestinal parasites.

It is vitally important to test your dog prior to starting heartworm preventive or extreme allergic reactions could develop. Your veterinarian will draw a small amount of blood from your pet and, in many instances, you might know the test results prior to leaving the veterinarian’s office. Due to the extreme prevalence of this disease, the American Heartworm Society strongly encourages annual re-testing of all dogs.

According to Nelson, pet owners seem to be likely to switch products, with or without the knowledge of their veterinarian. This product and brand switching has the FDA concerned about a perceived lack of protection, or even potential product failure. “We need to make sure we catch this disease as early as possible, thus the strong recommendation for annual testing.” says Nelson.

Also to be considered is how society has changed in the last 20 years. As people and their pets move from the wetter regions of the Midwest and Southeast to the sunshine of southern California and Arizona, they often bring along these unwelcome parasites. Nelson says “If you have mosquitoes where you live, heartworms, even if they aren’t native to the area, will be there as well.”

Hurricane Katrina caused many heartworm positive dogs to move into all parts of the country thus accelerating the spread.

As spring time approaches, we all welcome the return of the bright sunshine, the longer days, and the blooming of nature. Just remember, the return of warmer days will mean the return of mosquitoes and the potential for heartworm disease spreading. Make sure your best friend protected! Call your veterinarian today and schedule a heartworm test. For more information, visit the American Heartworm Society at www.heartwormsociety.org.

Dr. Debra Garrison is a veterinarian at the Treaschwig Veterinary Clinic

Medicating your Dog

Having to give your dog medication is not a task most pet owners look forward to performing. However, in order for your pet to get well it is important that they receive their medication. This handout includes some tips that will, hopefully, make medicine time a more enjoyable experience for both you and your pet.

The easiest way to medicate your pet is usually going to be to hide the pill in food or a pill pocket treat. Simply, place the pill in a small amount of your pets food or in a treat, such as cheese, meat, canned food or peanut butter. It is usually best to hide the pill in a small amount of food, rather in the animals entire dinner bowl, so that you can closely monitor if your pet actually consumed the medication. Some pets are quite adept at eating around their pill or spitting out their medication.

Some pets are not able to take a pill in a tasty treat due to dietary restrictions. Other pets are simply tricksters to maneuvering around the pill and spitting it out. For these pets it may be necessary to manually administer the pill. To give a pill by mouth for your dog, follow these easy steps:

  • Gather the correct dose of the medication and place it in a quick and easily accessible location.
  • Lubricate the medication with a small amount of butter or margarine. This will allow the pill to slide smoothly down your pets throat.
  • Bring your pet to a safe location where you can comfortably control his movements
  • Hold the pill between your thumb and index finger
  • From above, grasp the dogs muzzle with the hand not holding the pill. Your grasp should be placed so that your thumb and fingers are on opposite sides of the mouth behind the canine teeth. Be careful not to get your fingers fully in the mouth.
  • Using a firm, but gentle grip, tilt your pets head toward the ceiling. If the mouth does not drop open, use your ring and pinkie fingers of the hand holding the pill to press down on the lower teeth between the canines.
  • When the mouth is open, quickly place the pill on the back of the tongue. The pill will be swallowed quickest if it is placed behind the arch of the tongue.
  • Close your pets mouth and hold it closed while lowering the head back to a normal position.
  • If your pet does not automatically swallow the pill, then gently rub the underside of its throat, and lightly blow on or rub its nose. These actions will stimulate a swallow reflex in your pet.
  • Closely observe your pet after performing this procedure to make sure that the pill is not regurgitated or spit out.
  • Remember, throughout the entire procedure to offer praise and encouragement. And when the pill is swallowed, lavish your pet with praise and a tasty food reward.
  • Use Pill Yums, a pocketed treat which is designed to hide the pill without any mess. They come in 3 sizes and are available on Amazon.com

 

Medicating Your Cat

Medicating your catHaving to give your cat medication is not a task most pet owners look forward to performing. However, in order for your pet to get well it is important that they receive their medication. This handout includes some tips that will, hopefully, make medicine time a more enjoyable experience for both you and your pet.

The easiest way to medicate your pet is usually going to be to hide the pill in food. However, pets are finicky and this technique may not work.

Some pets are not able to take a pill in a tasty treat due to dietary restrictions. Other pets are simply tricksters to maneuvering around the pill and spitting it out. For these pets it may be necessary to manually administer the pill. To give a pill by mouth for your cat, follow these easy steps:

  • Gather the correct dose of the medication and place it in a quick and easily accessible location.
  • Lubricate the medication with a small amount of butter or margarine. This will allow the pill to slide smoothly down your pets throat.
  • Bring your pet to a safe location where you can comfortably control his movements
  • Hold the pill between your thumb and index finger
  • From above, grasp the cats head and muzzle with the hand not holding the pill. Your grasp should be placed so that your thumb and fingers are on opposite sides of the mouth behind the canine teeth. Be very careful not to get your fingers directly between teeth.
  • Using a firm, but gentle, grip tilt your pets head toward the ceiling. If the mouth does not drop open, use your ring and pinkie fingers of the hand holding the pill to press down on the lower teeth between the canines.
  • When the mouth is open, quickly place the pill on the back of the tongue. The pill will be swallowed quickest if it is placed behind the arch of the tongue. However, avoid putting the pill to far down your pets throat as you may stimulate the gag reflex.
  • Close your pets mouth and hold it closed while lowering the head back to a normal position. If your pet does not automatically swallow the pill, then gently rub the underside of its throat, and lightly blow on or rub its nose. These actions will stimulate a swallow reflex in your pet.
  • Closely observe your pet after performing this procedure to make sure that the pill is not regurgitated or spit out.
  • Remember, throughout the entire procedure to offer praise and encouragement. And when the pill is swallowed, lavish your cat with praise.