Intestinal parasites--most of us don't even want to think about "worms" and "eggs" all over our house much less talk about it. But we need to do a reality check here--our relationship with our pets have shifted, and they are much more likely to be part of the family and sharing our couches, chairs, and beds-which means intestinal parasites are a concern for our health as well as theirs.
Many parasites are zoonotic-which simply means that they can be passed onto humans and cause disease in humans as well as cats and dogs. We recommend parasite protection year round because parasites are not readily killed, and prevention is less expensive and safer for all of us than treatment.
What are the typical parasites our dogs and cats may have?
Roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, coccidia, tapeworms, and giardia are what we typically see in practice. We recommend that you bring a fecal sample for your pet's preventive care visit because that is what allows us to diagnose these parasites and provide treatment if necessary. You may also see evidence of parasite infection in your home--if you spot small flat white rice size segments around the litter box, in your carpeting, or on your furniture--Tapeworms have invaded your home. Roundworms look more like small spaghetti strands, and you might spot these as well. Other parasites are not so easy to see but they all have the potential to cause disease.
Year round flea prevention, regular fecal exams, and parasite prevention can go a long way towards keeping your home environment safe for all of your family members--please talk with us about any questions that you may have.
Its summer time, and respiratory infections in our pups are on the rise. Many folks are worried that their pet may be infected with Covid-19 (which is possible in very rare circumstances) but the true answer is usually our more typical problems--bordatella (kennel cough) and canine influenza. You may assume that your dog is not vulnerable to these illnesses if you do not board them-but if they come in contact with other dogs in your neighborhood or at the dog park, infection is a real possibility. According to the AVMA, western Massachusetts is in the middle of a respiratory illness outbreak (original source article-Berkshire Eagle), and this is rather close to home for many of us. While kennel cough or bordatella is not typically a severe illness, canine influenza can be deadly.
What can you do? Vaccines are available for both of these illnesses. Although they are not 100% effective due the presence of multiple strains, they provide a significant measure of safety. If you board your dog, make sure that the kennel requires all animals to be vaccinated so that your dog is less likely to be exposed. If you spot a coughing dog at the park, steer clear. And if you are exposed to a dog that coughs on you, wash your hands and change clothes before playing with your pup when you get home.
If your pet develops symptoms, please call us. There are bacterial infections that can also cause coughing and your pet may benefit from antibiotics or antitussives to help them get back to their typical behavior faster.
Road tripping with our furry family members can be fun-But if you can’t take them with you when you hit your destination, please leave them at home. This summer of rain can be deceiving- it's still warm. It is dangerous to leave your pets in an enclosed vehicle. Cracking the windows does not provide enough air flow to keep your pet cool, and they can overheat rapidly. The temperature inside your car rises much faster than the outside and heat can quickly overwhelm your pet. If you see a pet in distress in a locked car, call for help. Heat stroke kills pets on an all too regular basis in the summer.
While we often think first of heat concerns, unrestricted movement of your pet in the car is also a serious concern. A frightened or anxious dog or cat may interfere with your driving and put you and others at risk as well as themselves--without seat belts, our pets are much more likely to be seriously injured in an accident. Confine smaller pets to carriers and use seatbelts to restrain the carriers. Work to socialize your pup early to sit in one location with a harness attached to a seat belt. Consider using a safety grille that will prevent them from jumping in the driver's seat while the car is in motion. Even the best trained pets can panic in a difficult situation--and if you are in an accident, it will help the emergency responders if your pet is properly restrained so they can't get loose and run off in a panic. Travel with your pet can be a joy--but take precautions and training time to make it a safe experience for all of you.
Ticks are running rampant in our area this year--and doing their usual job of spreading disease to our pets and us. They are all around us--in the woods, on the beaches, visiting your garden, and hanging out in the yard. Tick borne diseases appear to be on the upswing, and none of us want these little creatures on us or our pets or in our homes. What are some of the ways you can help your pets (and your family) stay protected?
First-be sure to use year round flea and tick prevention. Even though it may be colder in our winters, ticks and fleas are not taking a holiday. Consistent prevention will provide the best coverage for your pet. There are many different options out there from collars to topicals to oral medications. Please talk to us to find the best choice for your situation. Make sure you purchase your flea and tick prevention from us or from an authorized veterinary pharmacy. There have been many reports of counterfeit items being sold on line through non certified retailers--these counterfeit items may be harmful to your pets.
Second-Check yourself and your pets daily after outdoor activities. if you see a tick on your pet, remove it immediately with tweezers so that it does not have an opportunity to transmit disease to your pet. It is important to use tweezers so you make sure that you are able to grasp the head and detach it fully from your pet.
Finally, make sure that your dog receives annual testing for tick borne diseases (and heartworm). Early detection of these diseases can help prevent long term problems-tick borne diseases left untreated can cause serious illness and death for dogs. Please ask us if you have any concerns about your pet's health or if you have seen many ticks on your pets.
If you want to understand more about the life cycle of these critters, click the button:
The firework holiday is here and while it may delight many of us, our pets usually don't agree. Between the loud noises, commotion due to people visiting, and eating too much picnic food-the Fourth can be a tough time. What can you do to help your pet get through the weekend?
First, keep your pet safely confined at home. They will often do best in a familiar environment and a crowded fireworks display is not a good idea even for a pet who doesn't mind loud noises. If you are having visitors, make sure they know not to let your pet out of the house or yard--the number of lost pets skyrockets on the Fourth holiday and you don't want your furry family member to be one of those statistics.
Leaving a radio or television on may help some pets weather the fireworks noise better. If your pet is truly phobic about fireworks or thunderstorms, please visit your veterinarian to see if anti-anxiety medications may be appropriate.
If you are having fireworks or sparklers at your home, also be sure to keep them safely locked away from your pets. They contain elements that can be poisonous when licked or ingested. If your pet gets into your fireworks, call your emergency hospital or animal poison control immediately. It is a good idea to have these phone numbers already available and accessible so you do not spend valuable time searching in an emergency. Another risk to pets occurs with getting burned from fireworks--they do not understand what is going on, and may get into the path of danger when they are trying to flee.
We also often see pets with gastric distress after picnics--please remember that overindulging in hot dogs, hamburgers, and all the feast is not good for your buddy no matter how cute they are when they beg. Corn cobs can also be dangerous for your pets--if ingested, they can cause obstructions which require surgery. A buttered ear of corn can be a real temptation for your pet.
Although you may want your pet to participate in all of the holiday fun, its often best for them to have a chill day confined to home. Happy Fourth of July!