Deerfield Blog

Petly is here!

Dr. Denise and I are excited to announce the launch of Petly – your personalized pet health page! We have decided to upgrade our current pet portals to a new Pet Health Network called Petly.  We hope you will find this interactive system more user friendly. You should have recently received an email invitation to connect to your pet’s vital health information.

petly

What exactly is Petly?  We like to describe it as a secure, single place for everything concerning your pet. With your free upgrade, you’ll have access to many great features, including:

Centralized Pet Health – Keeping your pet healthy has never been so easy! Your new system allow us to share more of your pet’s health records than every before. Request an appointment or order a prescription online. Petly is designed to let you access your pet’s health resources when you need them at your convenience.

Your Pet’s Appointment Information – View up-to-the-hour information on future appointments. Know when to arrive, how to prepare for and what to expect at each appointment. Petly will even send you appointment reminder emails.

Your Pet’s Vaccine Records – View and Print Vaccine Records with one easy click.  Take this printout with you wherever you need proof of your pet’s vaccination status.

The Latest in Pet Health – You can also access informative articles about the latest in pet health from the Pet Health Network. Information ranges from medical articles to behavior tips, breed information to breaking current pet news and food recalls.  The Pet Health Network has it all to help you keep your pet as healthy and happy as possible.

Get Social! – With a live Facebook feed, see the latest in pet-related news, learn about deals and offers, and stay in touch.

How Do I Join Petly?  If you and your pet have visited us in the last two years, you would have received an email that provides you with login information to join! During your first login, you’ll be asked to create a password. Be sure to write it down since the hospital will not have access to it.  Your previous pet portal program will be deactivated December 1st, 2014.

Rest assured, your email address is used only for communications between you and our veterinary hospital.  Please don’t forget to review and personalize your communication preferences before you log out of your account in manage my account.

If you have any questions concerning Petly, please do not hesitate to contact our office 417-889-2727.  We hope you find the transition to Petly simple and an improvement over our current pet portal.

Sincerely,

Dr. Ned

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Ebola in Dogs: What Do We Know?

 

Excalibur, a beloved family dog, was euthanized on Weds, Oct 8th in Madrid, Spain.  He was sedated beforehand as many pets are prior to euthanasia.   Following the procedure, his body was sealed in a biosecurity device and transferred to a disposal facility for incineration.  Excalibur was incinerated because he belonged to Theresa Romero – a Spanish nursing assistant infected with Ebola. Madrid’s regional government obtained a court order to destroy the dog as a necessary precaution in containing the Ebola virus.  This action has raised discussion within the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and within the animal loving community worldwide.  What do we know?

As it stands now, exposure to the Ebola virus in the U.S. is extremely low. The likelihood of a canine patient of Deerfield Veterinary Hospital being exposed to Ebola virus is highly unlikely.  There are no known animal cases of Ebola in the U.S.  In order for a canine to contract Ebola, the dog would have to make direct contact with bodily secretions of a human symptomatic with Ebola.   While this could more easily happen in those stricken areas of West Africa, it is doubtful to occur elsewhere.

A large serologic study of dogs was conducted during the 2001-2002 Ebola outbreak in Gabon, Africa. Although the dogs in the study lived closely with humans and were deemed pets by villagers, the dogs were not treated as pets as we know it in the U.S.  These dogs were not fed regularly and had to scavenge for their food.  The dogs ate small dead animals and internal organs of wild animals hunted and slaughtered by the African villagers. Some dogs were observed to have eaten fresh remains of Ebola virus-infected dead animals brought back to the villages.  Some dogs licked vomit from Ebola virus-infected patients.  Obviously, this situations would not occur in the U.S. or in much of the world.  At the conclusion of the study, 25% of the dogs in the affected area in Gabon were found to have antibodies against the Ebola virus.   However, none of the dogs had circulating Ebola viral antigens or Ebola viral DNA in their serum samples.  None of the dogs showed clinical signs or died of Ebola Viral Disease during the study.  The study only concluded that the animals had been exposed to the disease. 1

Obviously what occurred with dogs in the Gabon, Africa study and what is happening now in West Africa are extremely different situations than what could occur in a household in Springfield Missouri. The CDC recommends that if a pet is in the home of an Ebola patient, veterinarians in a collaborative effort with public health officials should carefully determine the pet’s risk of exposure to bodily fluids of the Ebola patient.  Appropriate measures and necessary precautions should be taken based on the risk assessment.  A coordinated effort by the AVMA has begun compiling and disseminating information for United Stated Department of Agriculture (USDA) certified veterinarians including Dr. Denise Roche, Dr. Laura Hilton, Dr. Craig Bendickson and Dr. Ned Caldwell. Deerfield Veterinary Hospital is committed to providing pertinent information of how pets will be treated and cared for during infectious disease outbreaks.

A key point to remember is that there is currently no evidence that infected dogs can shed the Ebola virus.  Again the study conducted in Gabon did not find any viral antigens in the dog blood samples.  The study only detected antibodies in the dog’s serum samples. While questions do remain and deficits in our knowledge are apparent, there is limited concern about dogs naturally transmitting the Ebola virus at this time.

If you have any questions about infectious disease prevention, we would love to meet your pet and recommend the option that’s right for his or her needs: Get in touch with a Deerfield Veterinary Hospital staff member.

 

References

1. “Ebola Virus Antibody Prevalence in Dogs and Human Risk” Loïs Allela, Olivier Bourry, Régis Pouillot, André Délicat, Philippe Yaba, Brice Kumulungui,
Pierre Rouquet, Jean-Paul Gonzalez, and Eric M. Leroy. Emerging Infectious Diseases • www.cdc.gov/eid • Vol. 11, No. 3, March 2005.

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What Fall Flea Freeze Out? Busting a Myth That Leaves Pets at Risk

As we head deeper into fall and the temperature starts to chill a bit, it’s easy to worry less about our pets suffering through flea infestations. After all, fleas and other blood-thirsty parasites don’t thrive in the freezing cold, right? That’s true for the most part, but it only paints part of the picture. Many great pet owners who love and provide dedicated care for their dogs and cats simply don’t realize the risk of fleas doesn’t fade with the summer heat. In fact, a quick Google search for winter flea protection prompts far too many results pointing to the common misconception that fleas won’t attack pets during the fall and winter. It’s time to review the facts, so we can help put that myth out to pasture.

The Fall Flea Surge

As a trusted veterinarian in Springfield, MO, where it gets awfully hot in the summer and bitterly cold in the dead of winter, I field all kinds of questions about why our patient families would need to treat their pets for fleas all year round. The answer is that the cooler temperatures and increased precipitation September tends to bring leads to the fall flea surge—as Dr. Michael Dryden, widely trusted Professor of Veterinary Parasitology at Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Manhattan, has deemed it.1 In fact, Dr. Dryden has found that wild animals carry 70 percent more fleas in the fall than in the summer! How did he discover that? He and his team actually sedated wild animals and then counted their fleas. One poor opossum played the unwilling host to over 1,000 fleas at the time of the research.1

A veterinarian in Springfield MO, Dr. Denise fights fleas from initial kitten shots to elderly dog care checkups.

It’s time to fight the fall flea surge.

The increased flea population during cooler months makes sense when one considers that thicker winter coats hide fleas when wildlife attempts to groom the pests away.2 Fleas find warm places to survive as long as possible, and there’s no host quite as a warm and cozy as a furry animal—including any dog or cat who enjoys free run of the house. When fleas attack pets and then make their way inside, they quickly make themselves at home. Fleas nest and lay 40 to 50 eggs every day, wherever they please. Carpets, clothing, and beds make it particularly easy for fleas to thrive throughout the winter.

Compounding the issue, fleas adapt to extreme cold with varying degrees of success during the different stages of life. For example, both adult fleas and flea eggs struggle when temperatures remain at 37°F or below, and they die if it remains that cold for more than 10 days. Flea pupae, on the other hand, are bundled up in a protective layer that can keep them alive in the frigid weather throughout the winter and beyond—for up to a full year.

The Winnable Fight Against Fleas

Unlike wildlife that can only rely on grooming to control fleas, your pets have an advocate to help protect them from fleas throughout the year. Whatever the season, a monthly flea preventive is critical to stopping flea infestations, and fall is the absolute worst time of year to cut back on flea control. If we erroneously let fleas off the hook during the cooler weather, those pesky parasites have a far better chance to invade our homes and happily overwinter with our pets.

The proven need for year-round flea control applies to pets of all ages. You already know the importance of scheduling preventive kitten shots and puppy vaccinations, but many people don’t realize even young animals can safely receive flea control medicines. At Deerfield Veterinary Hospital, we urge pet owners to begin a monthly preventive plan during the very first visit for their new kitten or puppy. That lets us protect the pet right from the start and gives our caring staff the opportunity to show new pet owners how to properly administer the medicine.

The year-round approach is equally important for elderly dog care and senior cat care. Although our older pals generally don’t go outside as often, that doesn’t mean they are at less risk of contracting fleas. As older pets slow down, they become easier targets for fleas and other parasites. Older cats typically aren’t as fastidious of groomers, so your elderly cat may not keep up that beautiful coat as well as when she was younger. Thankfully, we can prevent the discomfort and pain fleas cause for older pets. That’s even more crucial when considering any chronic underlying issues your beloved pet may be enduring.

Our Preferred Flea Control Methods

Thanks to the many powerful breakthroughs in parasite prevention in recent years, dealing with fleas and flea bite allergies is something our pets no longer need to do—at any age.

It is, of course, always important to consider the unique needs and living situation for individual pet patients before making a final choice of flea control medicines. So stop by Deerfield Veterinary Hospital or visit your local veterinarian to learn which option is best for your pet. While you’re there, ask about a few of the flea control methods I find to be particularly reliable and effective:

  • Topical Flea Prevention for Dogs: Frontline and Revolution are great choices.
  • Oral Flea Prevention for Dogs: Nexgard and Trifexis are known to work well.
  • Topical Flea Prevention for Cats: Revolution is a reliable option.
  • Oral Flea Prevention for Cats: Currently, there are no approved oral options for cats.

If you have any questions about flea prevention, we would love to meet your pet and recommend the option that’s right for his or her needs: Get in touch with a Deerfield Veterinary Hospital staff member.

References

  1. “No Foolin’ Fall Is Prime Flea Season.” Dale, Steve. Oct. 18, 2011. “Steve Dale’s Pet World” on the ChicagoNow website. Accessed Sept. 15, 2014 at chicagonow.com/steve-dales-pet-world/2011/10/no-foolin-fall-is-prime-flea-season/.
  2. “Why Fleas Surge in the Fall.” Dr. Bramlage, DVM. The Revival Animal Health website. Accessed Sept. 15, 2014 at revivalanimal.com/articles/Why-Fleas-Surge-in-Fall.html.
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Springfield MO Vet Aquires New Digtial X-Ray Technology

vetray

Deerfield Veterinary Hospital in Springfield Mo. purchased a Vet Ray Digital radiography machine. How does this machine differ from our previous veterinary digital radiography machine?

Our new veterinary digital x-ray emits 8 times less radiation than our previous machine.  This makes our machine more environmentally friendly by decreasing its carbon footprint. This also means that your pet and our veterinary team are being exposed to less radiation with each radiograph performed which significantly decreases our chances of obtaining radiation exposure from repeated contact with the x-ray beam.

The Vet Ray produces a clearer, more detailed image which allows us to appreciate the finer details of our patients organ shape, size, and overall organ health. For instance,  we are able to appreciate the thickness of the intestinal bowel loop walls and determine if inflammation, infection, or possible neoplasia may be present; whereas with our previous machine we were only able to see the loops of bowel and not appreciate the wall thickness. This allows us to diagnose abnormalities sooner and provide intervention to hopefully reverse or prevent further progression of diseases and to improve the quality of life for your pet.

Additional patient friendly features include a 4 Way Float Top Table! This means that the table glides gently left, right, forward, or backwards as needed to properly position your pet to obtain the best image possible. We no longer have to physically slide the animal on the table to be directly under the beam, but instead move the table while the patient rests comfortably for appropriate positioning. This reduces stress and anxiety for our patients allowing them to spend more time in your arms, and less time on our table.

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Golden Retrievers May Hold the Answers in Cancer Cancer

Golden search and rescue dog

 

How do genetics, diet and environment influence the incidence of cancer and other diseases in our pets? To answer that question, Morris Animal Foundation created the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, the most groundbreaking observational study ever undertaken to improve canine health.

While the results will certainly improve the health of all dogs, the study itself focuses only on Golden Retrievers. This breed was chosen because they develop cancer at a higher rate when compared to other purebred dogs, often approaching 50 percent of the breed. Plus, their popularity offers researchers a large pool for recruitment.

In order to achieve the most accurate results, the 3,000 dogs selected must be evenly distributed across five national regions and should consist of an equal number of intact females, spayed females, intact males and neutered males. Each Golden Retriever enrolled in the study will be examined and evaluated annually by a participating local veterinarian. The study is expected to take roughly 14 years to complete, making it the largest and longest veterinary study ever initiated to date.

In addition, each owner completes a detailed online questionnaire every year about their dog’s diet, travel, reproductive history, living environment, exercise and behavior. During the pet’s annual study physical exam, its veterinarian collects blood, urine and other samples.

The exam results are then entered into an online database. The collected samples are sent to a laboratory for long-term storage where they will be available to researchers for future additional studies. Samples are also submitted for a wide range of tests and panels, such as a complete blood cell count, urinalysis and a heartworm antigen test, to analyze the dog’s internal health. The results of these tests are shared with owners through their veterinarians.

Whenever a Golden Retriever experiences naturally occurring health issues while participating in the study, the veterinarian will notify Morris Animal Foundation of the testing and results. If a dog would develop cancer, the veterinarian will collect samples that are vital for evaluation.

As the results are gathered over the years, certain patterns will likely unfold, enabling scientists to identify risk factors for disease. While there are few known disease-incidence rates for dogs in the United States, research from other countries indicates that cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs living in several other countries. The findings of this study should shed light on the relationship between risk factors and the development of specific cancers, while also identifying genetic variants associated with common cancers in Golden Retrievers.

Although finding the causes and frequencies of cancer is at the forefront of the study, researchers also hope to gain insights into a host of other canine medical problems, such as diabetes, skin disorders and hip dysplasia. Ultimately, the research will establish extensive catalogs of data and biological samples for future analyses.

The many owners of dogs enrolled in the study take great pride in their involvement.

Microscope

“I enrolled my Golden Retriever, Journey, in the study because I have always wanted better health for my dogs,” says Nancy Bishop, a proud owner of a study participant. “I can’t thank Morris Animal Foundation enough for taking on this pioneering study to help my beloved breed and other dogs.”

Other participants chose to enroll their Golden Retrievers because they’ve lost pets to cancers or other diseases.

“It has been heartbreaking in my 40 years as a practicing veterinarian to see young, seemingly healthy Golden Retrievers struck down in what should be the prime of their lives,” says Michael Lappin, DVM, owner of the Animal House in Buzzards Bay, Mass.

Dr. Lappin has four patients in the study and also enrolled his own dog, Isaac. “I have been driven by the need to do as much as I can to help this wonderful breed enjoy a longer, healthier life,” he says.

Those interested in helping to cure canine cancer should visit www.MorrisAnimalFoundation.org/Golden.

MAF_logo_black tfd 2

Eligible dogs must be a healthy purebred, with a verifiable three-generation pedigree, be between 6 and 24 months of age and reside in the contiguous United States. For each dog entered into the study, the owner will receive $75 annually to cover the costs of physical exams. Individuals with friends or family who own Golden Retrievers are encouraged to refer them to the website to get involved.

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