Myakka River Animal Clinic for Spring 2017 Newsletter

Stuff on the market:  Yes they have done it. A company in Kentucky is now making stuffed replicas of your furry pet from guinea pigs up to horses called cuddle clones. With your provided pictures of your pet they recreate your pets color marking in a stuffed version. Interested, visit     According to R.K Anderson, DVM, cats need to seek out their food, hunt for it and then they need to kill it repeatedly. Not being able to act on their instincts may actually be stressful to the cat. In addition cats are not built to eat one to two meals a day rather several small meals about the size of a mole cricket. Dr. Elizabeth Bales, VMD has created a solution. Feeling that we are nutritionally overfeeding our cats yet psychologically starving them, she has created the Nobowl Feeding System. The feeding device has a soft exterior and a tail like a mouse; enticing the cat to pick up and then pounce on it. The gadget is made to roll and wobble dropping premeasured food out as the cat manipulates it. The system is set up so that the cat’s daily intake is divided into five devices which are hidden in different spots throughout the home.  Although not perfect for all cat homes, some very positives things have happened. Cats are losing weight because they are moving around and hunting. Multiple cat homes are seeing less intercat aggression. The amount of furballs hacked up decrease because the cats are doing less stress grooming due to their not being bored. The same is true for idiopathic cystitis, a cat’s version of stomach stress ulcers but in the bladder of the cat. Inappropriate urination decreases in the home. The only bad thing is the price of the system- about $12.00 per device. Their website is     

NYC carriage horses: A recent study measured the stress levels of working New York City carriage horses and their counterpart out to pasture. What they found was the two groups did not show a difference in stress levels indicating no perceived discontent of the working horses.   Even when one would think possible the stress values would increase when the horses were hooked up to the carriages in the morning anticipating the trials of the day, this was not the case. They came to the conclusion that the lifestyle of the NYC carriage horses did not produce a negative well-being.     

Cytopoint or canine atopic dermatitis immunotherapeutic is a new vaccine against interleukin-31 which causes itchiness in the dog. The vaccine binds to the IL-31 preventing its symptoms. After vaccination the dog becomes noticeably less itchy in 24 hours. Effects last 4 to 8 weeks whereupon a new vaccination will need to take place. If interested, call and make an appointment to find out if this new product may help your pet.        

Rice is not as safe as you think it is:  Did you know that 90% of arsenic ingestion in the US comes from the ingestion of seafood. In the past apple juice and US chicken had been a risk but this has been reduced. Still wine and rice may have more than acceptable amounts of arsenic especially when there is increased ingestion. In humans this is a problem in the gluten free diets which use rice. The same is true in dog food with owners avoiding wheat and corn in their pet’s diets and feeding more rice based diets. The suggestion made is to feed a varied diet to decrease rice ingestion or to feed better grades of dog food where the arsenic level is monitored.      

Canine Influenza:  Currently we have the new updated influenza vaccine for dogs. Both strains – H3N2 and H3N8 are included in the vaccine. Symptoms are from nothing to high fever, loss of appetite, coughing, lack of energy, and nasal discharge. H3N2 can also infect cats with respiratory signs. Vaccination is a two shot series and then yearly there afterwards.     

Wild Hog Hunting:  Wild hogs are present in approximately 35 states and number somewhere around 4 million.  There are over 24 diseases a human can get from pigs most of which are only a risk if the meat is undercooked. Diseases where this is not true are leptospirosis, brucellosis, and psuedorabies. So how does a hunter avoid contact with diseased body fluids? Do not shoot visibly sick animals and bypass already dead ones. Wear goggles, muck boots, and disposable gloves when handling carcasses. After butchering, burn or bury left over parts from the carcass. Then wash your hands in disinfectant soap for 20 seconds or LONGER. Clean all equipment, surfaces and gloves/boots in diluted bleach. Remember do not mix raw pork with other foods to be eaten and all pork should be cooked to 160 using a food thermometer.     

Something weird is growing on the bottom of my horse’s foot.  Doc it looks like flattened cauliflower with cottage cheese oozing out on my horse’s frog. What this owner is describing is canker, a type of foot dermatitis caused by a bacterium that likes to live in a no to low oxygen environment. As of yet, the organism has not been identified. The bacteria infects the part of the hoof where the hard hoof grows out of the bottom of the foot usually starting in the sulci and spreads to the frog and other parts of the foot. The infection is rare and most frequently identified in the southeastern United States. It is believed that the area in the affected foot is somehow traumatized and the organism passes into the horny growth layer making the cells grow abnormally, producing too much keratin appearing as a white or grey, moist, and spongy overgrowth of tissue. This is not thrush which spreads differently.      Treatment is three fold. First the area is superficially debrided. Deep aggressive debridement has been found to be counterproductive. Next the area is treated with a topical antibiotic. Metronidazole, chlorophenical, and tetracycline with penicillin have all been found to be affective.  The area is then wrapped and kept dry. The bandage is changed daily. The above antibiotics are also given internally to provide a two prong treatment.     

Small “Turds” (Feces): So easy to clean up and that’s why manufacturers make dog food with less fillers. Problem is those nice little small turds do not put pressure on the anal glands when your dog poops. This lack of expression will cause some dog’s anal glands to fill up and possibly insipsiate (get thicker). Next thing you know the gland is plugged and your dog is dragging it’s butt on the ground and you need a visit to me.  To help resolve the problem more fiber can be added to your dog’s diet to make the turds circumference larger. This is easiest done with pumpkin which most dogs love. Depending on the size of the dog a teaspoon to a tablespoon added to the dog’s food will help.  Too much may give your pet the runs, so feed less if this is the case. By the way pudgy dogs have a similar problem in that the fat prevents the turd from pinning the gland to express it. The pumpkin may help but weight loss is more effective.      

A State of Emergency:  This was declared by the Florida Commissioner of Agriculture after confirmed cases of new world screwworm were found in the Florida Keys this fall. Eradicated from the US in 1966, the disease has popped up in 2007 and 2010 in dogs traveling from areas having the disease present like South America and the Caribbean.     Screwworm is actually the larvae of a fly that is about the same size as a house fly. The head is orange and the body a metallic dark blue to greenish blue. The adult fly lays eggs near open wounds( even a bug bite), and the mouth, nose, and ears. After hatching the larvae penetrate the skin eating the lower tissues of the warm blooded animal. The larvae feed for five to seven days, maturing, and then tunneling out. They pupate, fall to the ground and re-emerge as flies to repeat the cycle.      What makes screwworms different from other fly larvae?  Non-screwworm larvae that live under the skin, feed on dead tissue while screwworms eat healthy tissue migrating deep into tissues. Unlike usual maggot infections which when disturbed crawl on the surface, screwworms will burrow deeper into the tissues. Truthfully a maggot infection that is not screwworm is not necessarily a bad thing. The larvae clean the wound eating the dead tissue sometimes helping the area heal. Sterile medical maggots are available for this purpose in veterinary medicine.      Initially the infestation is not noticeable, but as tissue is destroyed it starts to ooze which attracts more flies that lay eggs and the wound increases in size and deeper. Even if the opening looks small the degree of infection underneath can be quite extensive. The infected animal if left untreated after 7-14 days may die.     Although usually flying a distance of no more than 1-2 miles, flies have been recorded to fly as far as 180 miles. However, the majority of transmission is usually through infected animals being moved into non-diseased areas. The state of Florida is taking the outbreak very seriously, not wanting the disease to spread into agriculture areas in other parts of the state. To survey the extent of the infestation, fly traps have been put out all over the area. Over 45 million sterile male screwworms have been released into the area to breed with the females producing unfertilized eggs. An animal check zone has been established south of mile marker 91 for all pets and livestock traveling north to be inspected. Residents are to call 1-800-HELP-FLA if they find anything suspicious on their pets. Non-residents should call (850) 410-3800. The Florida Key deer, which have been hit hard by the screwworm, have been treated with a larvicide called doramectin both orally and topically. Lastly the state asks that all visitors leaving the Keys to please inspect their vehicles for flies and not carry them north.      Commissioner Adam Putnam’s has said” The screwworm is a potentially devastating animal disease that sends shivers down every rancher’s spine. It’s been more than five decades since the screwworm last infested Florida, and I’ve grown up hearing the horror stories from the last occurrence. This foreign animal disease poses a grave threat to wildlife, livestock, and domestic pets in Florida. Though rare, is can even infect humans. We’ve eradicated this from Florida before, and we’ll do it again.”

Myakka River Animal Clinic * 3146 East Venice Avenue * Venice * FL * 34292
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