The leptospira organisms enter the body through mucous membranes or through abrasions on the skin. People and animals can become infected from direct exposure to infected urine, but also through contaminated environment, such as water or damp soil.
People and pets are also exposed to Lepto while camping or participating in outdoor recreational activities. Drinking or swimming in water that is infected with Lepto is the most common exposure, but wet soil can be contaminated as well. A city environment will not always provide protection against this serious disease.
The signs of Leptospirosis can mimic many other diseases and illnesses. The first signs in dogs are often depression, loss of appetite, vomiting, weakness, and generalized pain. Affected dogs may also drink water and urinate excessively and have swollen, red, and painful eyes. Because these signs are common to other diseases and non-specific, owners may try to treat their pets at home for such problems as an upset stomach or arthritis.
This “wait and see” response delays proper diagnosis and treatment for the dog, as well as increasing the owner’s exposure to the disease. If caught early, treatment is usually effective and the survival rate is good. However, time is of the essence. A mere three or four day delay can lead to irreversible kidney failure.
Vaccines are available but many pet owners have either experienced or heard about adverse reactions associated with these vaccines. In the past, Leptospirosis vaccines were generally created using the whole bacterial organism. In many cases, when a whole bacterium is used, the likelihood of a “vaccine reaction” increases. Thankfully, newer vaccines have been developed that reduce this possibility by using specific Leptospirosis proteins instead of the whole organism.
A study reviewing vaccine reactions in more than one million dogs vaccinated found that reactions occur about 13 times for every 10,000 vaccines given. More importantly, the lepto vaccine was no more likely to cause a reaction than any other vaccine.
So, if the vaccine appears to be safe and the disease deadly, shouldn’t all dog owners vaccinate their pets?
Unfortunately, that question is difficult to fully answer. Because there are so many Leptospirosis strains, no one vaccine will cover every possible exposure a pet might have. At present, vaccines are available that protect against four of the common strains infecting dogs. In addition, the vaccine will prevent clinical disease, but may not stop the pet from shedding bacteria in his urine. This makes the pet a threat to other animals, especially those who are not vaccinated. And, as mentioned above, humans are at risk as well.
Worldwide, Leptospirosis is the most widespread zoonotic disease. Cases occur routinely in tropical countries, but increases have been seen in Europe and North America as well. Floods and hurricanes are instrumental in spreading this illness and coordinated efforts to rescue and re-home pets from these disasters might actually transplant lepto into new areas.
Protecting your pet from Leptospirosis is a complex situation. Use your veterinarian as a resource to help assess your pet’s risk factors as well as the benefits and hazards of vaccination. Other important steps that might minimize your pet’s exposure to this disease include removing animal pests, such as rodents and draining areas of standing water. More
Everyone loves the fun of family and festivities of the July 4th celebrations. However, your four legged family members may not have the same appreciation of these patriotic displays. The fear of noises and sounds like fireworks and thunderstorms are known as “noise phobias” and a great number of pets suffer from this condition during the holiday.
Dogs, cats, horses, and even livestock can react to fireworks in ways that could potentially cause injury or even death. Our clients regularly share stories of their pets shaking uncontrollably and hiding in closets at the first sound of thunder and fireworks. Some pets may become “fearfully aggressive” due to the loud noises. Protect your pets from children who may not realize the consequences of waving sparklers or setting off home fireworks. If you are planning on attending a fireworks celebration, leave your pet at home.
During the upcoming celebrations, keep small pets indoors. A good idea is to keep the pet in an interior room without windows. Consider turning on the TV or radio to provide a familiar and comforting distraction. Avoid leaving pets alone outdoors, even if tethered or in a fenced yard. It is not uncommon for dogs to escape or injure themselves in a frenzied attempt to escape.
Many animal shelters report increases of “stray” animal intakes after the 4th of July holiday due to the number of pets running away in an attempt to avoid the noise and excitement. Be sure that your pet has a current ID tag and/or microchip so that you and your pet can be easily reunited in the case he or she runs off.
Desensitization methods are also an option for many pet owners. By playing a CD that contains noises of thunderstorms, fireworks, and gunshots, many pets can be counter conditioned and may actually begin to remain calm during these events. Be sure to check out www.soundtherapy4pets.com for examples of desensitization CDs.
Always remember never to punish your pet for his fearful behavior, but don’t reinforce the behavior by trying to sooth your pet with “It’s ok” or similar words. Paying attention to your pet may positively reinforce the fearful behavior.
Your veterinarian may prescribe tranquilizers or mild sedatives for your pets during this time, but these drugs do have limitations and should not be used on a daily basis. In addition natural methods, such as pheromone therapy or melatonin are also available.
If you believe any of your pets have a noise phobia, talk with your veterinarian and staff about the best ways to keep your pet safe this holiday. More
With record numbers of families enjoying the benefits of pet ownership and online shopping, it should come as no surprise that the amount of money spent on our pets is huge. Experts are forecasting that pet owners will spend more than $50 billion dollars annually. A significant percentage of those expenses include veterinary care and prescription medications. So, is it any wonder that buying your prescription medications online may also look like a good deal?
At first glance, online pet pharmacies would seem to be a great option. The promise of lower prices and having the medication shipped to your door is a big selling point for busy, budget conscious people. But, there are some pitfalls when relying on Internet based sources for your pet’s medication needs.
First, they all say you can “save a trip to the vet”. Unfortunately, this is only partially true. In order to prescribe and dispense medication to your pet, most states require that there is a valid veterinarian-client-pet relationship or VCPR. This is usually defined as a veterinarian having examined your pet within the last 12 months. If the VCPR does not exist, medication cannot be dispensed.
Some websites will offer to sell the drugs without a prescription. This is not only illegal but not in the best interest of your pet! Websites that sell without needing prescriptions are most often based outside of North America, where pharmacy and drug laws may not be as strict.
The requirement for this professional relationship insures that you and your veterinarian have good, up to date facts about your pet’s health. Plus the medical records and history for your pet are all in one place. The veterinary staff also knows your whole pet family and can help prevent problems when there are multiple pets present in the household.
Since pets are unique individuals, some may have unexpected reactions to certain drugs and some medications can even be deadly if given incorrectly. Others may need a special formulation for ease of administration. The online pharmacies will not know this information and this could be a problem if your pet is on several medications or has secondary conditions.
If a life-threatening emergency happens with a medication, your veterinarian is only a phone call away. Some online pharmacies only allow contact through email and this will not help you if your pet needs assistance immediately!
Finally, despite many good businesses online, there will always be a few who are looking for a quick buck at your expense. Avoid sites that offer dramatically lower prices than competing sites or your veterinarian. Likewise, if you have ordered medication online, check the drug to make sure it looks similar to what you have given before. If it looks different in any way, do not give it to your pet.
Illegal "Bootleg" product manufactured for Australia was purchased by a client from major online retailer.
The FDA is so concerned about this, it is now warning pet owners to be aware of shady online companies. The National Board of Pharmacies has instituted the e-Advertiser Approval Program to help you find properly licensed and compliant online pet pharmacies. Only Eighteen companies nationwide have earned the right to display the e-Advertiser seal of approval, including Deerfield Veterinary Hospital.
Check with your veterinarian about online pharmacies. Many veterinary hospitals now offer their very own store on their websites. Often prices are competitive, and they are the same medications you purchase at the hospital. Orders can ship directly from the hospital to your door, or you can choose to pick them up at the hospital without the hassle of waiting in line.
In addition, you will know who you are talking to in case of any problems or concerns. Honest and open communication with your veterinarian about cost concerns will prevent misunderstandings about money and help you do what’s best for your pet. More
The most common type of flea in the U.S. is the Ctenocephalides felis…or the Cat Flea. Despite its name, this species will feed from cats, dogs and even humans. These wingless insects attack both people and pets and feed by drawing blood from their host.
While most people relate to the irritation of flea bites, fleas can transmit more serious diseases. Flea allergy dermatitis is certainly the most common problem associated with fleas, but they can also transmit Bubonic Plague, tapeworms and Feline Infectious Anemia.
The challenge of winning the flea battle lies in understanding the flea’s life stages, then attacking all levels of the life cycle.
A single female flea can lay 20-50 eggs at a time, creating over 2000 fleas in her life span of three months. With just 25 adult female fleas that equates to more than a quarter of a million fleas in only 30 days!
The non-sticky eggs fall off the pet, ending up in your carpeting, pet bedding or furniture upholstery. Outdoor environments such as leaf litter, lawn or mulch in moist and shady areas are also ideal environments for egg incubation.
Flea eggs hatch after 1-10 days (depending on the temperature and level of humidity) into larvae. These larvae feed off flea feces and debris, then molts three times in a 5-25 day period before spinning a cocoon (pupae). The flea pupae then hatch in as few as 5-9 days to the fully formed adult….OR they can remain dormant for up to five months.
Adult fleas comprise only about 5% of the entire flea population. The remaining 95% consists of eggs, larvae and cocoons in the pet’s environment. It’s easy to see how the flea can quickly invade and even overrun your home.
Expert “Flea Guru”, Dr. Michael Dryden recommends a combination of products and procedures. The very important first step is a visit to your veterinarian. “You can beat the fleas, but you have to purchase the right products.” Flea products obtained from a veterinarian have been proven effective through rigorous testing. Topically applied products like Frontline, Advantage & Revolution have worked well in the battle against the flea as has the orally administered pills, Capstar, Comfortis and Trifexis. With the rapid life cycle of the flea, the product must have a kill ratio of 90-95% to be considered effective. Anything less will not do the job completely.
Dr. Dryden continues “That’s not the case for (generally less expensive) over-the- counter products. Natural and organic doesn’t necessarily mean safe. I’m all for green and saving the planet. But I am also all for using a product which is proven safe for my pets.”
Shampoos and collars are less effective and in some cases can even cause harm to your pet. For example, the wrong dose of your dog’s flea product can have devastating and even life-threatening results if given to your cat. It may sound silly, but the EPA estimates that this mistake happens thousands of times every year!
Once the flea does appear, Dr. Dryden promotes a 3-part plan. The first step: eradicate the existing fleas on your pet. Proper product usage is very important and, remember, one dose won’t eliminate all the different stages.
Secondly, it’s necessary to ensure that you have rid the premises of the fleas. Use products that contain Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs) to kill flea eggs and larvae. Your outdoor environment may need to be professionally treated. You need to regularly clean the indoor areas frequented by your pets.
Treat ALL dogs and cats….not just the affected pet. And all pets should be treated for at least three to six months to ensure total elimination. .
Thirdly, prevent new infestations with lifelong flea control. Using a veterinarian recommended flea product will kill all levels of the flea infestation. If the flea can’t reproduce, it will become extinct. However, if even one cycle of flea prevention is missed, the battle will continue.
Knowing how to combat fleas is really more than half the battle. And although they are hardy little critters, we do have safe effective products to fight these bugs. Ask your veterinarian for product recommendations and advice. More
Researchers , from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine studied dogs from 1984 to 2004 in an investigation into age-, size-, and breed-related causes of death(J Vet Intern Med 2011;25(2):187-198). It included 20 years of records from 27 veterinary schools’ and teaching hospitals. Author Dr. Kate E. Creevy, an assistant professor at Georgia’s veterinary college, looked at records of more than 74,556 dogs of 82 breeds.
Results indicated that young dogs (2 years or younger) died most commonly of trauma, congenital (inherited), and infectious diseases. Older dogs, died overwhelmingly of cancer and the frequency of cancer peaked in the group that included 10-year-old dogs and then declined with the oldest age group.
Focusing on conditions by weight, large breed dogs died more commonly of musculoskeletal and gastrointestinal causes, whereas small dogs died more commonly of endocrine causes. Cancer was a cause of death more frequently in large-breed dogs. Dogs of small breeds had an increased risk of death associated with metabolic diseases like diabetes and adrenal disorders.
In analyzing specific breeds, researchers found generally unsurprising results, such as Dachshunds having a high percentage of deaths attributable to neurologic disease and Golden Retrievers having the highest percentage of deaths from cancer. Respiratory disease was the most common cause of death in Bulldogs, and Chihuahuas and Maltese died largely of cardiovascular diseases.
In specific breeds, researchers found Dachshunds having a high percentage of deaths attributable to neurologic disease and Golden Retrievers having the highest percentage of deaths from cancer. Respiratory disease was the most common cause of death in Bulldogs, and Chihuahuas and Maltese died of cardiovascular diseases.
Golden Retrievers and Boxers died of cancer more commonly than any other disease and at rates higher than those of most other breeds and the Bouvier des Flandres was the breed with the second highest rate of cancer-related deaths, ranking ahead of the Boxer.
Finally, although cancer generally was the most common process resulting in death in the study there were a few breeds less likely to die of the disease, including several toy breeds—Chihuahua, Pekingese, Pomeranian, and Toy Poodle—and the Australian Heeler and the Treeing Walker Coonhound.
Summarized by Ned Caldwell from article by Malinda Larkin JAVMA News June 1, 2011 More