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Spring 2017

Boatsies Boxes:  For those of you who make up stockings for the military personal overseas,  I will need the stockings in the office by October 21st so I can ship to West Virginia in time to make their shipment. They ask that you to include $2 to help cover their cost of their shipping. If you are interested and never done this before, you can check them out at Boatsie.com or on their Facebook page of Boatsie’s Boxes.

 

Zika Virus and Pets:  This comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC). First discovered in 1947 in Uganda, Zika is spread from human to human through primarily the Aedes species mosquito. Common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain, and red eye; and are generally mild and last 2 to 7 days. Many people when affected do not even realize they have a bug. Once infected, the person may have some lasting immunity. At this time, unless you own a nonhuman primate, pets do not appear to be able to spread Zika virus.

 

New Recommendations by the American Heartworm Society:  Currently the Society is recommending, since they are seeing more cases of heartworm nationwide, that in addition to heartworm prevention, owners should also include mosquito control. This is not the more recently released oral flea and tick controls like Comfortis and Nexgard, but rather topicals like Vectra. Sarasota County, although having some cases of heartworm, is not a hot zone for heartworm unlike the middle of the state. So I’ll leave the decision to you guys for now as to how far you want to go to prevent heartworm disease. Minimum is using a heartworm preventative monthly.

 

What do you think when you hear the word opossums?  Well I bet it is not research animal for rattlesnake anti-venom. Yep, because these little guys eat rattlesnakes, they are immune to the snake’s venom. The toxin-neutralizing factor made by opossums is being studied by researchers to see if can be adapted for human usage. There is also another good thing that opossums can do. They are at the top of the class as tick exterminators removing 96.5% of the ticks that land on them by grooming and chewing them up. Based on a recent study, that can add up 4000 tick per week. Opossums appear to be resistant to Lyme Disease and some other tick born diseases so they do not transmit the diseases to humans. The only American marsupial, these often misunderstood mammals are not such a bad thing to have around.

 

Had Stones and don’t want them back:  Bladder stones show up for multiple reasons. Chronic bladder infections, abnormal metabolism, and liver disease are some of the more common causes. Sometimes no reasonable explanation can be determined. No two pets will metabolize food the same way and when it comes to feeding a pet a standardized diet there is no guarantee it may not end up with stone formation. What works for one pet may not work for another.

 

We always try to dissolve the stone if we can to avoid surgery. Sometimes it works and responds to the diet chosen. But there are different diets for different types of stones. The vet can make an educated guess based on x-ray, urinalysis, breed of pet and shape of stone.  Some stones dissolve and then obstruct the urethra necessitating emergency surgery. Other stones just don’t dissolve, are too large to wait, or the animal is too uncomfortable and/or incontinent to wait resulting in an elective surgery to remove them.

 

So your pet had stones removed and you don’t want them back. First identify the stones and this may requires them to be sent out to a stone ID lab. If the vet is not sure what they are, spend the money and get them analyzed.

 

Feed a prescription diet based on the stone ID.  These diets are formulated to keep the pH at the correct spot and to reduce nutrients that are used to form your pet’s type of stone. It is helpful to feed multiple small meals to keep a more level urine pH throughout the day. Avoid treats because the can really screw up the treatment plan. Also, watch the supplements especially calcium, vitamin D and C.

 

Get your pet to drink more. Some prescription diets already do this. You can also add additional water or chicken broth. The more your pet drinks the more it will need to urinate flushing out sitting sediment. More potty breaks even if small will help reduce sediment build up.

 

If affordable more frequent urinalysis may catch reoccurrence problems early in the game. X-rays and ultrasound may be indicated too.

 

Rabies:  Recently in Missouri 32 people had to go through post-exposure treatment for rabies exposure. Why? A mother dog had killed a rabid skunk and then transferred the disease to her pups by licking. This dog, her pups and several other unvaccinated dogs had to be euthanized. All exposed people had to receive shots as a precaution.  Please vaccinate your dogs, cats, horses, goats, cows and llamas to avoid your exposure to rabies. The rabies virus can incubate in your pet for up to two years before your pet becomes symptomatic. Protect your pet and you and vaccinate.

 

Service Dog Project:   SDP is a program accredited by Assistance Dogs International located  ink Ipswich, Massachusetts and furnishes dogs for the mobility impaired. Preferring the Great Dane as their breed of choice because they are sturdy and tall, SDP trains these dogs to provide balance and support for those who need aid in walking. SDP selectively breeds Danes with good temperaments. At 6 months the pups are monitored for food aggression and start training in dog obedience first on lead and then off. Dogs must be unflappable and quiet when needed in public. Next the dogs learn to work in a harness acclimating to the speed of their handler moving smoothly at turns and assisting through a multitude of passageways, elevators, noises, and distractions like food and children. Training finishes once the Dane learns the specialized tasks for its new owner. One of their start pairings is Bella Burton and George who you can learn more about at http://youtube.com/watch?v=nC6tP4Oh1oU.

 

Creeping Indigo:  Belonging to the legume family (peas and alfalfa), this plant was brought to Gainsville Florida in 1925 to serve multiple purposes:  a cover crop to smother weeds, green manure providing nitrogen for fertilizing soils, forage for livestock, erosion control, and indigo dye (blue). Now this plant is considered a weed due to it being poisonous to grazing animals like: sheep, cattle, horses, birds, sheep/goats and rabbits. Dogs can be affected if they eat the poisoned animal. To date I cannot find a case with a dog ingesting the plant but I think they are out there.  Creeping indigo (Indigofera spicata) over the last 90 years has spread such that it is a very common weed in lawns, grass parking lots, over grazed pastures and parkways. Of the 750 species of Indigofera most flowers are red with a few white and yellow species out there.  Creeping appears to be a salmon to coral color with multiple flower sprig that bloom from a perennial woody plant that has a central tap root and produces runners that grow 3-6 feet long. Plants are 6” to 18” tall. Pictures are available at < Click Here to See > . The plant prefers clay soils but can grow anywhere even swamped, arid, or salty.

 

 Creeping indigo produces two toxins- indospicine and3-nitropropionate(3-NPA). Indospicine poisons the liver and causes abortions, weight loss, increased heart and respiration rate, foaming mouths, pale mucous membranes, drippy eyes, squinting and ulceration of the tongue, gums and cornea. Horses are relatively resistant to the liver damaging affects and recover from these symptoms completely when the creeping is removed. Feeding peanut or cottonseed meal speeds up the process. However, 3-NPA induces neurologic symptoms where the muzzle and lips go limp, their walk is uncoordinated and weak with buckling of the legs, they may circle, some horses may goose step, and worse they can seizure or become unconscious. If the creeping indigo is removed the horse may still have a degree of abnormal gait. Levels of each toxin varies from plant to plant with the 3-NPA increasing when the plant is stressed with cold weather.

 

The seeds are spread pretty easily via shoes, hooves and manure of grazers, hay, mowing machinery, sod, dirt loads, and plants and trees from nurseries.

 

Hand weeding, mowing before the plant goes to seed, and herbicides are all useful in controlling creeping indigo. Areas need to be monitored for regrowth; and this, also, is true for any dirt movement or delivered dirt, sod, and plants/trees. Lastly try not to overgraze your pastures by supplementation of hays for this will reduce open areas for seedlings to grow.

 

Feline pancreatitis is a difficult disease to diagnose since the cat often shows non-specific signs other than not eating or drinking well, losing weight, dehydrating, and becoming weak. The physical exam and regular blood work are not diagnostic. Feline pancreas specific lipase test helps identify the disease but this is a add on test.  Fluid treatment either under the skin or through a vein when the pancreatitis is severe,  is hallmark to the treatment régime. Cats do not get better if they are dehydrated. Pancreatitis can be uncomfortable necessitating pain medications, anti-vomiting medications, and sometimes antacids. Food is not with held if the cat can keep it down. For those cats that will not stop vomiting a feeding tube may need to be placed. If the cat will eat I prefer feeding Royal Canin’s low fat diet. If the cat is picky Hill’s AD can be force fed. Additional medication can be given but it depends on how much the cat is willing to take orally or be handled: appetite stimulants, antibiotics, steroids, B12, antioxidants like milk thistle and SAMe, and Duralactin.  I prefer the latter two. Some cats may become diabetics and will need Insulin.

  



Summer 2106

Myakka River Animal Clinic for Summer 2016 Newsletter


Boatsies Boxes:  For those of you who make up stockings for the military personal overseas,  I will need the stockings in the office by October 21st so I can ship to West Virginia in time to make their shipment. They ask that you to include $2 to help cover their cost of their shipping. If you are interested and never done this before, you can check them out at Boatsie.com or on their Facebook page of Boatsie’s Boxes.

 

Zika Virus and Pets:  This comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC). First discovered in 1947 in Uganda, Zika is spread from human to human through primarily the Aedes species mosquito. Common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain, and red eye; and are generally mild and last 2 to 7 days. Many people when affected do not even realize they have a bug. Once infected, the person may have some lasting immunity. At this time, unless you own a nonhuman primate, pets do not appear to be able to spread Zika virus.

 

New Recommendations by the American Heartworm Society:  Currently the Society is recommending, since they are seeing more cases of heartworm nationwide, that in addition to heartworm prevention, owners should also include mosquito control. This is not the more recently released oral flea and tick controls like Comfortis and Nexgard, but rather topicals like Vectra. Sarasota County, although having some cases of heartworm, is not a hot zone for heartworm unlike the middle of the state. So I’ll leave the decision to you guys for now as to how far you want to go to prevent heartworm disease. Minimum is using a heartworm preventative monthly.

 

What do you think when you hear the word opossums?  Well I bet it is not research animal for rattlesnake anti-venom. Yep, because these little guys eat rattlesnakes, they are immune to the snake’s venom. The toxin-neutralizing factor made by opossums is being studied by researchers to see if can be adapted for human usage. There is also another good thing that opossums can do. They are at the top of the class as tick exterminators removing 96.5% of the ticks that land on them by grooming and chewing them up. Based on a recent study, that can add up 4000 tick per week. Opossums appear to be resistant to Lyme Disease and some other tick born diseases so they do not transmit the diseases to humans. The only American marsupial, these often misunderstood mammals are not such a bad thing to have around.

 

Had Stones and don’t want them back:  Bladder stones show up for multiple reasons. Chronic bladder infections, abnormal metabolism, and liver disease are some of the more common causes. Sometimes no reasonable explanation can be determined. No two pets will metabolize food the same way and when it comes to feeding a pet a standardized diet there is no guarantee it may not end up with stone formation. What works for one pet may not work for another.

 

We always try to dissolve the stone if we can to avoid surgery. Sometimes it works and responds to the diet chosen. But there are different diets for different types of stones. The vet can make an educated guess based on x-ray, urinalysis, breed of pet and shape of stone.  Some stones dissolve and then obstruct the urethra necessitating emergency surgery. Other stones just don’t dissolve, are too large to wait, or the animal is too uncomfortable and/or incontinent to wait resulting in an elective surgery to remove them.

 

So your pet had stones removed and you don’t want them back. First identify the stones and this may requires them to be sent out to a stone ID lab. If the vet is not sure what they are, spend the money and get them analyzed.

 

Feed a prescription diet based on the stone ID.  These diets are formulated to keep the pH at the correct spot and to reduce nutrients that are used to form your pet’s type of stone. It is helpful to feed multiple small meals to keep a more level urine pH throughout the day. Avoid treats because the can really screw up the treatment plan. Also, watch the supplements especially calcium, vitamin D and C.

 

Get your pet to drink more. Some prescription diets already do this. You can also add additional water or chicken broth. The more your pet drinks the more it will need to urinate flushing out sitting sediment. More potty breaks even if small will help reduce sediment build up.

 

If affordable more frequent urinalysis may catch reoccurrence problems early in the game. X-rays and ultrasound may be indicated too.

 

Rabies:  Recently in Missouri 32 people had to go through post-exposure treatment for rabies exposure. Why? A mother dog had killed a rabid skunk and then transferred the disease to her pups by licking. This dog, her pups and several other unvaccinated dogs had to be euthanized. All exposed people had to receive shots as a precaution.  Please vaccinate your dogs, cats, horses, goats, cows and llamas to avoid your exposure to rabies. The rabies virus can incubate in your pet for up to two years before your pet becomes symptomatic. Protect your pet and you and vaccinate.

 

Service Dog Project:   SDP is a program accredited by Assistance Dogs International located  ink Ipswich, Massachusetts and furnishes dogs for the mobility impaired. Preferring the Great Dane as their breed of choice because they are sturdy and tall, SDP trains these dogs to provide balance and support for those who need aid in walking. SDP selectively breeds Danes with good temperaments. At 6 months the pups are monitored for food aggression and start training in dog obedience first on lead and then off. Dogs must be unflappable and quiet when needed in public. Next the dogs learn to work in a harness acclimating to the speed of their handler moving smoothly at turns and assisting through a multitude of passageways, elevators, noises, and distractions like food and children. Training finishes once the Dane learns the specialized tasks for its new owner. One of their start pairings is Bella Burton and George who you can learn more about at http://youtube.com/watch?v=nC6tP4Oh1oU.

 

Creeping Indigo:  Belonging to the legume family (peas and alfalfa), this plant was brought to Gainsville Florida in 1925 to serve multiple purposes:  a cover crop to smother weeds, green manure providing nitrogen for fertilizing soils, forage for livestock, erosion control, and indigo dye (blue). Now this plant is considered a weed due to it being poisonous to grazing animals like: sheep, cattle, horses, birds, sheep/goats and rabbits. Dogs can be affected if they eat the poisoned animal. To date I cannot find a case with a dog ingesting the plant but I think they are out there.  Creeping indigo (Indigofera spicata) over the last 90 years has spread such that it is a very common weed in lawns, grass parking lots, over grazed pastures and parkways. Of the 750 species of Indigofera most flowers are red with a few white and yellow species out there.  Creeping appears to be a salmon to coral color with multiple flower sprig that bloom from a perennial woody plant that has a central tap root and produces runners that grow 3-6 feet long. Plants are 6” to 18” tall. Pictures are available at < Click Here to See > . The plant prefers clay soils but can grow anywhere even swamped, arid, or salty.

 

 Creeping indigo produces two toxins- indospicine and3-nitropropionate(3-NPA). Indospicine poisons the liver and causes abortions, weight loss, increased heart and respiration rate, foaming mouths, pale mucous membranes, drippy eyes, squinting and ulceration of the tongue, gums and cornea. Horses are relatively resistant to the liver damaging affects and recover from these symptoms completely when the creeping is removed. Feeding peanut or cottonseed meal speeds up the process. However, 3-NPA induces neurologic symptoms where the muzzle and lips go limp, their walk is uncoordinated and weak with buckling of the legs, they may circle, some horses may goose step, and worse they can seizure or become unconscious. If the creeping indigo is removed the horse may still have a degree of abnormal gait. Levels of each toxin varies from plant to plant with the 3-NPA increasing when the plant is stressed with cold weather.

 

The seeds are spread pretty easily via shoes, hooves and manure of grazers, hay, mowing machinery, sod, dirt loads, and plants and trees from nurseries.

 

Hand weeding, mowing before the plant goes to seed, and herbicides are all useful in controlling creeping indigo. Areas need to be monitored for regrowth; and this, also, is true for any dirt movement or delivered dirt, sod, and plants/trees. Lastly try not to overgraze your pastures by supplementation of hays for this will reduce open areas for seedlings to grow.

 

Feline pancreatitis is a difficult disease to diagnose since the cat often shows non-specific signs other than not eating or drinking well, losing weight, dehydrating, and becoming weak. The physical exam and regular blood work are not diagnostic. Feline pancreas specific lipase test helps identify the disease but this is a add on test.  Fluid treatment either under the skin or through a vein when the pancreatitis is severe,  is hallmark to the treatment régime. Cats do not get better if they are dehydrated. Pancreatitis can be uncomfortable necessitating pain medications, anti-vomiting medications, and sometimes antacids. Food is not with held if the cat can keep it down. For those cats that will not stop vomiting a feeding tube may need to be placed. If the cat will eat I prefer feeding Royal Canin’s low fat diet. If the cat is picky Hill’s AD can be force fed. Additional medication can be given but it depends on how much the cat is willing to take orally or be handled: appetite stimulants, antibiotics, steroids, B12, antioxidants like milk thistle and SAMe, and Duralactin.  I prefer the latter two. Some cats may become diabetics and will need Insulin.

Winter 2015-16

Myakka River Animal Clinic Newsletter For Winter 2015-6
 
               

FDA Warning:  The FDA has received several reports of pets getting sick and dying from exposure to a human topical pain medication containing flurbiprofen.  Pet owners had applied the product to their own feet or neck.  Several cats absorbed the product and showed signs of NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) toxicity with kidney and intestinal involvement. Some pets responded to the treatment and others died. The FDA warns that only a very small amount can be toxic.

 

Grain overload in goats:  A golden rule with our ruminants and equines is to always make sure there are two barriers (gates or doors) between the pet and the feed room.  Accidents do happen and when you find your goat currently happily eating the bag of goat chow, bird seed, fowl feed, or like; it is time to pull out the baking soda. Early intervention is the best route, for waiting may result in more money spent and a negative result. Treatment involves mixing ¼ cup baking soda with enough water to create a thick paste. Using a dosing syringe or just a spoon, place the paste in the back of the mouth. The goat will probably hate it. To thin a paste will may result in aspiration, so make it thick. Let your veterinarian know what’s going on.

 

What I was taught in school was wrong: The opossum, we were taught, was resistant to the rabies virus. Not so, while the number of recorded cases is extremely low compared to bats, raccoons, cattle, horses, dogs, cats, coyote, bobcats, and like; cases of rabies have been identified in opossums. Symptoms are generally an abnormal neurologic presentation. Given that rabies is a deadly disease and can not 100% of the time be recognized by an animal’s behavior, human exposure protocol should be followed. We can no longer just dismiss the incident of a possum bite as nothing to worry about.

 

Meow the Jewels:  On page 38 in the magazine Catster Christmas issue, there is a short article on a rap group called EL-P that has rapped to cat sounds. Not knowing the group performing the music, I down loaded the rap thinking it would be a tamed version of there repertoire. Wrong! Tammy and I lasted 35 seconds before turning it off and deleting it. The foul language was way to offensive to recommend to anyone. I really wonder whether the editor had a clue as to what there magazine was suggesting.

 

Looking to donate to a worthy cause involving dogs?  Here are two: Pharm Dog USA and K9s for Warriors. PharmDog trains mix-breed dogs, Labradors, Border collies or like obtained from rescues and shelters as service or cattle dogs for disable farmers. These dogs are used to help herd cattle, operate farm equipment, feed livestock and more. You can learn more at pharmdog.org.  K9s for Warriors joins appropriate rescued dogs with warriors suffering from post- traumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries and physical disabilities. For more info you can go to K9sforwarriors.org.

 

Tennis balls or like. Many dogs like tennis balls, the fuzzy chewy chemically soaked toy balls. I had my first case in a dog this year where I can say the dog’s chronically carrying of the ball in its mouth probable contributed to the pet’s oral cancer. Most likely it is the glue used to hold the balls together; maybe the dye. They are supposed to be dog friendly balls that use safer adhesives but I cannot find any strong supporting research to prove this either way. Using a less toxic ball will not reduce the possibility of the dog choking on the chewed off parts however.   If your dog picks up the ball here and there your pet is probable ok; but, if he carries the ball all the time or destroys them I would suggest removing it from your dog’s life.

 

Rabbits and Frontline are no longer a good match. In the past when rabbits picked up fleas, fipronil was considered a safe treatment and preventative. Fipronil comes in a variety of products, most notable being Frontline or copy cats. Initially it was thought that the product was safe to use but time has proven otherwise.  Toxicity may present with just weight loss due to decreased food consumption or more serious symptoms of hypersalivation, tremors, seizures, diarrhea and death.  If the product is accidentally applied the rabbit can be washed in dish soap like Dawn. Advantage, not plus or multi, can be used on rabbits but they need to be separated from each other to avoid licking the product off of each other for 12 hours. 

 

Acromegaly, Acromegawhat? This is a disease of cats where there is an excessive level of growth hormone due to overproduction by the pituitary gland of the brain. Typically older male cats, they often present with diabetes that is resistant to insulin treatment. These cats usually have a lower jaw that sticks out more than it used to. Although not 100 percent accurate a positive diagnosis is made when there is an increase level of insulin-like growth factor. Cushing’s disease is also ruled out. Incidences of acromegaly according to recent reports are suggesting a higher prevalence among pet cats as high as 32 percent. Consistent successful treatments are still being researched.

 

Avian Influenza:  I don’t know if you have noticed but the chicken/ turkey meat as well as eggs have gone up in price and part of the reason is loss of US poultry to the HPAI virus, highly pathogenic avian influenza virus. This virus infects chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, ducks, geese, and guinea fowl. Migratory water fowl do not get sick but can act as carriers of the virus and spread the disease in this country. This disease spreads quickly and the birds can be normal one day and dead the next with no noticed symptoms. More than one bird in the flock is generally affected in the flock. Symptoms can look like other bird diseases with lack of energy and appetite, decreased egg production, malformed eggs, swelling of the head and comb, purple discoloration of non-feathered areas, difficulty of breathing, coughing, runny nose, wobbly, and diarrhea. The USDA wants you to call them if you are seeing multiple sick or dying birds in your flock. Call toll free at 1-866-566-7593.

 

What can you do to help protect your backyard flock? Keep your birds away from migratory birds- food and water. Only permit essential laborers and vehicles on your property. Do not loan or borrow equipment to other bird farms. If you introduce new birds to your farm quarantine them away from your stock for at least 3 weeks.  This virus can be spread through poop, equipment, vehicles, crates, and peoples clothing and shoes.  

 

Dogs are not Wolves. Dogs developed on the outskirts of human civilization eating disposed leftover food and they adapted by changing 10 key genes altering their digestive system making them better at utilizing grains. Grains are the seeds of plants: millet, barley, corn, oats, soybean, quinoa, rice and wheat. Wolves also do not eat the plant materials added to grain free diets like potato, winter squash, carrots, and leafy vegetables. When you think about it peas are a legume seed like soybeans. Dogs are omnivores and can eat anything like us as long as the dog is not intolerant of an ingredient. Is a non-grained diet better than a grain diet? No not really as long as it labeled for a dog, meets USDA standards and made by a reputable manufacturer like Hills, Purina, Royal Canin and Iams. So if your dog was/is ok eating a grain based diet, save your money and keep on feeding this food.

 

Something to think about: if you think your pet is allergic to grains, this may not be the case as the pet may actually be allergic to grain mites that often end up in grain based diets. The best protection against mites is to store food in a clean, dry (low humidity) container with a lock tight lid. If all food is not used in a month, one should store part of the food in the freezer. I like the 5 gallon paint buckets with the screw on lids available at Lowes or Home Depot.

 

Multiple lessons to teach children and yes some adults.

1.       Never teach young children to reach out to a dog or cat but rather to wave.  Prevent them from running up to cats or dogs because the animal may take this as a threat. Children do not read the warning signs a pet may be giving to say do not approach. We do not need another Bradenton incident.

2.       Start teaching them how to read a pet’s behavior for a wagging tail does not always mean I’m a happy dog. Everyone should recognize the signs of a dog being fearful: dropped or tucked tail, ears laid back, hair standing up on back, head and neck lowered, sideways gaze, retreats to corner or under something, eye brow is raised, drools, lifts one front paw up ,lip licking, yawning, tight jaw and lips pulled back, pooping, peeing, and expressing the anal glands. If a dog is pushed it can take on a more defensive posture with a raised tail, ears forward, head raised, weight shifted forward, staring with potential lunging. Problem is dogs can shift from first to second gear slowly or quickly. One has to get to know an animal’s personality prior to getting to close.

 

3.       It is important to show children how to pet new dogs and cats. Teach them to pet, not to hug or cuddle and definitely do not put one’s face in front of the pets. There are those who feel that all children should be monitored into their mid teens when around the pets, especially if friends are over.  Sometimes children and some adults do not recognize that the pet is done and is backing away. An adult needs to be present.

 

4.       Lastly all family members need to recognize a safe zone for pets where they are left alone. For dogs this is their crate/pen or a gated off area. Cats are pretty good at finding secluded spots.

 

What is swamp cancer? Well it is not cancer. This disease is also known as Florida leeches, but there are no living leeches attached. So what is it- a fungal infection currently called Pythiosis. All my cases have been in horses; however, this disease can infect cattle, dogs, cats and humans. The disease usually affects the skin and under layer preferable at the ventral abdomen, extremities/ legs and face/head. The disease can spread to the bones, lungs and intestines.

 

Pythiosis live in plants, fish, algae and crustaceans like crayfish in the tropical and subtropical parts of the world. The fungus releases spores that move through the water looking for new host’s accidentally penetrating broken skin while the animal stands in stagnant water. Those affected are dead end hosts meaning that the fungus is unable to reproduce, just infect. So there is no animal to animal transmission nor can the infected animal contaminate the environment for another to pick up. This disease overall is uncommon with my seeing 5-10 cases over the last 20 years.

 

 Pan American labs use to see about 10 cases a year in dogs. Now they test out 20 positives per month. Why the increase? Some say global warming or it can be we are testing more or we are just moving into the soggy parts of the country. What is known is that cases increase if there is a prolonged dry spell followed by standing water.  Florida, also, leads in number of cases of recorded cases with Texas second.

 

The fungal infection typically presents as a small irritated area and in a few days it grows into a progressively enlarging circular red ulcerated mass that is very itchy. The mass oozes a reddish puss discharge with pea-sized, yellowish grey staghorn coral shaped grit from draining tracts in the wound. The sores can get as big as 20 inches wide. The whole nasty response is a result of the animal’s body having a severe allergic reaction to the fungal growth.

 

About 5% of horses are able to clear the infection on their own without the massive oozy mess. Serologic testing on hunting and retriever dogs that work in the wet areas shows that 15-20 percent carry antibodies to pythiosis having  shown no symptoms of the disease.

 

 Biopsy is recommended to try and differentiate it from other disease processes that look similar: skin cancer (squamous cell cancer), sarcoids (an equine viral tumor), other fungal infections, summer sores (habronemiasis-worm larvae), foreign body festering wound, and a bacterial infected mass. If the biopsy staining is inconclusive or hard to tell it from other fungal infections, a blood sample can be pulled to confirm the pythiosis.

 

Pan American also produces an excellent vaccine which causes the wound to shrink back to normal. In their experience the vaccine is close to 100% effective when the disease is treated early. Effectiveness decreases the longer the disease has been present.  Prior to the vaccination, debulking of the growth was recommended but this is no longer suggested to improve the cosmetic healed appearance. Other treatments include oral potassium bromide and a topical treatment made of ketoconazole, rifampin and dimethyl sulfoxide. Xrays should be taken if the sore sits over a bone and has been there greater than 2 months to check for bony involvement which has a poor prognosis. 


1015

Myakka River Animal Clinic Newsletter Fall 2015



Operation Christmas Stockings 2015 - Boatsie’s Boxes  Supporting our deployed troops at Christmas. What are needed are large Christmas stockings (16-19’) filled with personal items like:   Xmas candy, chocolates, Slim Jims, Jerky, Trail mix, all nuts, chewing gum, dried fruit, life savers, healthy snacks, cookies, DVDs, CDs, playing cards, wet wipes, travel dental kits, small shave cream, razors, lip balm, tissues, ITunes cards, batteries, crew socks, wash cloths, energy powdered drink mix, phone cards, coffee and creamer, body wash, deodorant, sun block SPF 40, anti fungus foot cream, eye drops, liquid soaps, and dental products. Boatsie is asking that you include a personal note to the service personnel in the stocking and $2.00 on the outside of the stocking for shipping overseas. Stocking is to be sewed shut or closed with a rubber band. All stockings need to be at the clinic by October 21st so I can forward them to Boatsie for oversea delivery. If you need a stocking to stuff the clinic will have extra. For more information on Boatsie’s boxes you can go to www.Boatsie.com  .

 

Myths and Facts:

1.       Myth:   A dog wagging its tail is happy and friendly. Fact:   Not always for some dogs might actually be nervous, frightened, or aggressive. So always approach with caution and judge the whole dog’s body. If the animal or owner is reluctant in any way to be touched or in close proximity stay away.

2.       Myth:   Dog food should be grain free. Fact:   Dogs are omnivores just like us and bears. We can eat meat, grains, vegetables and fruit. We need a varied diet to provide the necessary proteins and carbohydrates to be healthy. Dogs are not carnivores like wolves, nor are they vegetarians. Through adaption the dog developed a communal life style with humans modifying their dietary needs to that of their human companions.

3.       Myth:   If a cat jumps off something, it always lands on its feet.  Fact:   Most of the time yes if there is enough distance for the pet to right itself. Also, how old the pet is, how well the vestibular system is working, the cat’s weight, prior injuries, and eye sight can all factor in. Some cats are just not athletes and will not land properly. I have x-rays to prove it.

4.       Myth:   Commercial pet foods may have in them road kill, infected body parts, and rendered dogs and cats. Fact:  No, No, No, not in this country. The USDA, to lay this rumor to rest, randomly tested pet food at retail stores throughout the country for canine and feline DNA and found none. USDA meat inspectors are not going to allow diseased meat or road kill into the processing plant.

5.       Myth:  A warm dry or wet nose is an indicator of a sick dog. Fact:  The nose is not reliable. If it was we humans would have our own temperatures taken via the nose. Arm pits are not reliable and ear thermometers are even in question as far as being accurate. The best way to take a temperature is up the butt with a thermometer.

6.       Myth:  Dogs and cats are not able to digest soy. Fact:  This is true if it is raw, not so if cooked.  Highly digestible and loaded with 9 essential amino acids, soy is used as complementary source of proteins for dogs and cats. Tofu (soy) is a common type of food eaten by vegetarians to help provide proteins since they do not eat meat.

7.       Myth:  Catnip is safe to give to cats. Facts:  Not always, some cats are very sensitive to the oil in catnip. Sensitivity to catnip is genetically wired and thus not all cats are sensitive. Scientists do not know how the oil affects the brain. For some cats it is an attractant and some cats get a little silly on it. Other cats will be less anxious, and this why I recommend its use prior to a cat coming into the clinic. Then there are a few cats who get so doped up on it that it is not safe for them to move about a room or a yard. So if you use catnip on your cat for the first time, watch the cat. I have seen in some cats that if the catnip is available all the time they can become addicted to it. So pick it up and put away if not in use.                                                                                                              Overdose of catnip in my experience presents with a cat with open dilated eyes. The eyes appear glassy, sometimes teary, with an empty look. The cat may stagger and walk into things. OK he looks stoned. Stop use and allow the drug to wear off. If the pet is vomiting, has diarrhea, has difficulty breathing, unconscious, or just not doing right; the cat needs to go to the vet.

8.       Myth:  Spaying and neutering causes the pet to gain weight. Fact:  Most pets are altered during their teens so the weight gain seen is actually the lack of reduction in food when the pet reaches adulthood. Also, a large portion of pets unfortunately do not receive enough exercise and once the pounds start to pack on, the pet exercises less and it gets harder to remove the weight. Lastly, since the pet has one less thing to preoccupy their thoughts, especially males, they need to be kept busy doing other things. They need some form of environmental enrichment other than their food bowl.

9.       Myth:   Raw foods are better for my pet, they being more natural. Fact:  Wrong. These diets are loaded with parasites, protozoa, and bacteria like E coli, Listeria, and Salmonella which can be contagious to family members especially the young, elderly and immune-compromised. Some diets are low in important nutrients like calcium, vitamin A and E.   Dogs and wolves are not the same with there being 36 genetic regions behaving differently including ten areas playing a role in digestion and metabolism. There are those who believe cooking the food destroys the enzymes in the food which are needed to digest the food fed. Healthy dogs and cats do not need these enzymes. Your pet has its own enzymes produced by the liver, pancreas and intestines. Lastly freezing and freeze dried does not kill all bacteria with tests showing growth of organisms in 20-48 percent of these foods. Unless you feel comfortable eating raw foods that have gone through a US food processing plant, don’t feed raw diets to your pet that you would not eat yourself. Eat or feed food that is cooked.

10.    Myth:  Dogs and cats can only see in black and white. Fact:  Although having a lot less definition and variability than humans they can see in color.

 

How to Handle a Really Mad Cat:  Leave it alone for you really are not able to console them like a human or dog. These cats need space and sometimes it takes a few days or even a couple of weeks to calm down. Do not try to make friends; let the cat pick its time or you may get bit. Now to make things worse cats have a behavior called redirect aggression where a cat can get mad/ aroused at something or another cat and is interrupted resulting in the anger being redirected onto a third party. Unfortunately this can be a well intentioned owner or another cat in the home. Sadly the cat, after calming down, does not kitty apologize by meowing,  ”oops I was mad at the wrong cat or person.” Again it may take days or weeks for the cat to forgive/ forget this third party accusation while acting normal around everyone else. Pheromones and mood modifying drugs may help.

 

Some Cases of Schizophrenia May be caused by a Parasite:  According to Gary Smith, BA Honors, DPhil, Cert Ed, professor of population biology and epidemiology at University of Pennsylvania’s school of Veterinary Medicine, about 1/5th of the cases of schizophrenia may be caused by Toxoplasmosis gondii. Other studies have shown that drugs used to treat schizophrenia may actually stop reproduction of the parasite.

 

Laundry and Dish Washer Detergent pods:  Potentially dangerous to children and pets, these pods when bitten into can cause vomiting, cough, lethargy, wheezing and respiratory distress after ingested or aspirated concentrated soap. If exposure happens rinse all visible areas until the areas feels no longer soapy. There is no antidote for exposure, there being only symptomatic and supportive care. Severe cases may need a specialty veterinary practice.

 

Bad news:  Manufacturers are putting xylitol in peanut butter. It’s looking like owners are going to have to start reading labels on human food products prior to feeding to pets. Good news. Pill pockets are manufacturing a peanut butter capsule holder.

 

Summer Sores:  Recently our area has been seeing for the last three or more years, an outbreak of an old problem called summer sores in the warmer, wet months. Why? Well it is believed that with the change in deworming protocol where horses are dewormed based on fecal checks, has resulted in a decreased frequency of anthelmentics being used to treat horse greater than a six week interval. This indirectly has allowed the parasite that causes summer sores to fall out of control. Other reasons are people slipping on using a dewormer or resistances.

 

Habranema and Draschia are the larvae that inadvertently end up in an affected horse’s skin. Typically this worm’s life cycle is through the GI tract, living inside the wall of a horse’s stomach with eggs passed out in the manure. The worm’s presence for the most part is benign. The worm does not migrate beyond the stomach. Rarely, heavy infestation can lead to perforation and possible rupture of the stomach. The eggs are then ingested by several types of flies. In the fly the larvae hatch from the eggs and mature. In the normal life cycle the infected fly lands near the mouth and release the larvae where they are swallowed to repeat the cycle. A summer sore is where things go wrong. Now the infected fly buzzes all over the horse visiting other moist areas like the bottom of the belly, prepuce, penis and oozy cuts and abrasion from trauma of life. So as the fly visits these areas it also releases the larvae into these locations. This is a dead end spot with the larvae unable to mature into adults. The body responds with a severe local inflammation resulting in swelling, ulceration, redness, and itchiness. How bad depends on the horse’s immune system and the number of larvae.

 

What the owner finds is a non-healing wound that is actually getting bigger with the horse scratching and chewing on it. It can be small one day and a huge mess in just a few days, sometimes. Problem is that there are other growths which can look the same, such as:  sarcoids, skin cancer like squamous cell carcinomas, proud flesh (proliferative granulation tissue), foreign body reactions, onchocercosis (different type of larvae), and fungal infections (usually pythiosis better known as leeches). Biopsy is sometimes the only way of knowing and that is not always a guarantee. Results are better if a run of antibiotics are used prior to biopsy.

 

Treatment includes a larvicidal, usually ivermectin or moxidectin; anti-inflammatory products like bute and Duralactin in fat horses, or steroids orally or topically in slimmer horses; and antibiotics. Some horses may look worse with the sudden die off of the larvae. If you suspect a summer sore on your horse I recommend ivermectin once a week for 6 weeks and a weight loss diet for the fat horses. If the animal does not get better than you need an appointment with a veterinarian for other products which may need to be added or a biopsy taken. Resistant cases may need to be debulked or DEC, diethyl carbamazine, can be added to the feed.

 

Prevention is your horse’s best protection. Fly control, manure clean up, and protection of skin wounds and bites are a must, must, must. Problematic areas and horses will need to be dewormed more frequently during the warmer months, starting before the season hits.

0415

Myakka River Animal Clinic Newsletter for Spring 2015



Retractable leads: I do not like them as well as most vets and dog trainers. A dog should not have more than 6 feet accessible beyond its owner when walked. Should the pet move into a dangerous situation it is easier to collect the pet to one’s side with only six feet to reel in with events like aggressive dogs, elevators, trees, and moving cars/bicycles to name a few. Other problems are rope burns when people try to stop the running line after the locking mechanism fails, the same or other injuries when people or dogs with dogs get tangled up in the line; or a dog is spooked and runs thinking there is something chasing them when the handle is dropped and dragged. I have noticed that owners often do not realize their pet has moved into a different room completely out of site. This is not safe. Some dogs have injured their necks when they run to the end of the lead and snap their body. Lastly, from an owner’s perspective, the paint comes off the walls when the lines wrap around a corner and the dog pulls.

 

Miniature Pet Pigs:  How does one make one’s pet pig a happier pig? Well you go out and buy a small pool or a large bin to which the pig can climb into comfortably. You then fill it with large balls or rocks and toss some food in. This helps their need to forage and keeps them busy for a while. Other ways are to buy puzzle toys for dogs and add some pig pellet. Owners can make these devices with empty water containers then cutting holes in them. Outdoor pigs should have their food poured into a pile of hay or spread about the dry ground. Healthy adult pigs do not need to have a food bowl if the ground is clean.

 

Feline Bladder Stones:  New recent research shows that 86% of cats with unidentified bladder stones dissolve these stones with veterinary commercially available Urolith dissolution diets. Those that the diet failed on had less common types of stones that required a different type of diet or surgery. Greater than 75% of the cats in the trial were female so I cannot say that in male cats they may not block or re-block while waiting the up to 27 days for the stones to disappear. The boys need to be watched more carefully and may need additional medication to help reduce the likelihood of obstruction.

 

Neonatal Maladjustment Syndrome:  This is a problem seen in three to five percent of live births of foals where they do not recognize their mothers, seem detached and fail to nurse on their own.

What is suspected to cause the problem is a neurosteriod which does not decrease in levels after the birth of the foal. The chemical keeps the foal quiet and sedate while in the womb. During delivery a biochemical change takes place due to squeezing of the foal’s body as it passes through the birth canal. The pressure triggers the production of the neurosteriod to decrease and thus the foal wakes up. Research shows that foals who are delivered via c-section or a fast delivery are more susceptible to the syndrome. Also, foals that are maladjusted have higher levels of the neurosteriod. A new technique, called the Madigan foal squeeze, is used to treat the problem where several loops of soft rope are placed around the body and pulled tightly for 20 minutes to simulate the birth canal pressure. Additional research is under way.

 

Of interest are the similarities of autism to neonatal maladjustment syndrome. New research is showing that there is some evidence that autistic children have elevated neurosteriod too. Researchers caution that additional further review is needed before forming a link between the two.

 

I currently wonder with my c-section puppies that fail to revive, whether this neurosteriod is factoring into their dullness. It will be interesting to see how the research will progress on these neurosteriods.

 

Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyapathy:  This is a disease of the heart where the left ventricular chamber thickens inward reducing the volume. Largely suspected as hereditable, the heart cells increase in size possible due to a defective binding protein causing the heart wall to increase in size and be misaligned leading to it being noncompliant (won’t stretch) and having faulty electrical conductions. Because the chamber is now smaller the blood ejected is less per heart beat. The body responds by increasing the heart rate which works for a while. Eventually the increased heart rate exceeds the amount of oxygen that can be pumped to the heart cells. Heart cells die and the condition worsens spiraling downhill. An additional side affect is the left atrium enlarges due to the poor blood flow through the left ventricle often resulting in the lungs or chest filling with fluid or blood clots that can lodge in the peripheral circulation, most notably the rear legs. Often the symptoms are not visible progressing to exercise intolerance, decreased appetite, hiding more frequently, open mouth or labored breathing and/or acute painful hind limb paralysis. Diagnosis is best with echocardiography (ultrasound of the heart). EKG, X-ray and Serum BNP are helpful. Prognosis is better if the cat is not symptomatic and they may live for years with medical therapy. In humans the incidence of acute death due to HCM is greatly decreased with prescreening ultrasounds of the heart in juveniles. How much is an ultrasound? It is somewhere around $200 at a specialist.

 

ASPCA Top Five Pet Toxins: Pets get into trouble by coming into contact with or ingesting chemicals/ foods accidentally, or by the owner’s inadvertently providing them; and then the pet gets lucky or needs medical attention. Five types of toxins most frequently seen are: prescription human medications, over the counter human medications, food, insecticides, and household products. Below is a list of what is more frequently called into the ASPCA.

 

Antidepressants:  Elavil, Wellbutrin, Cymaltra, Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor. These drugs when ingested stimulate, presenting with agitation, vocalization, tremors and seizures. Cats for no known reason seem to be attracted to Effexor.

 

Cardiac drugs: quinidine, procainamide, lidocaine, digoxin. The difference between safe to use and toxicosis is sometimes just an increase of only 15%-20 percent greater than therapeutic levels. Excessive dosages pushes or slows the heart too much inducing failure. Digoxin also produces gastrointestinal toxicity too. Cats are overly sensitive to lidocaine as well as goats.

 

Respiratory drugs: Albuterol (Ventolin), metaproterenol. Acute overdose with albuterol presents with increased heart rate, tremors, vomiting, increased respiratory rate and depression. Chronic administration at human dosage causes severe decreased potassium levels with generalized weakness.

 

Nonsteriodal anti-inflamatory drugs:  Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), Aspirin. Ibuprofen is the most common human drug accidentally or intentionally ingested by pets resulting in phone calls to the ASPCA. Aleve is so toxic that the dog and cat dosage is 1/25th that of a human. Tylenol and cats DO Not mix and the same is true for some dogs too. The drug can cause dysfunctional red blood cells and oxygen starvation of the body. Cats do not tolerate the same dose of Aspirin as dogs requiring dosing every three days; thus, they get overdosed frequently. The poor cats also get over medicated with administration of Pepto Bismol (has aspirin) by owners. Accumulated data shows that a lot of poisonings with NSAID’s are through chronic use.  Overdoses with these drugs are also common due to the fact they are often mixed together or with other drugs leading to overdose by good doing owners who unknowingly give too much. Nonsteriodal overdose can cause stomach ulcers, and liver and renal failure. 

 

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drugs:  Adderall, Dexedrine, Concerta, Ritalin. These drugs have a reverse action than that seen in humans where pets are not sedated rather stimulated with elevated heart rate and body temperature along with hyperactivity, tremors, seizures and coma.

 

Opiates: tramadol (Ultram), loperimide (Imodium). Overdose of tramadol can lead to non-responsive pets, acting drunk, vomiting, tremors and seizures. Sometimes the pet may become agitated or hyperactive. Imodium is affected by the MDR1 gene defect most notable in Collies, but also in a bunch of other breeds. This drug is not cleared from the brain effectively causing salivation, tremors, blindness, seizures, and coma. I’ll have more on this defect in the future.

 

Marijuana: The THC in marijuana alters the mental status of the dog or cat with potential agitation, shakes, seizures and coma. Additional side effects are diarrhea, vomiting, and abnormal heart rate,

 

Vitamins/ minerals:  Vitamin D (cholecalciferol), iron, vitamin A. Vitamin D overdose can be vague progressing to renal failure. Over-ingestion of iron can start with vomiting, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal bleeding; and ending with liver failure.

 

Gastrointestinal: Fleet enemas, Kaopectate. Fleet enemas labeled for children have sodium phosphate and biphosphate in them which when given to a dog or cat can cause brain dysfunction when the phosphate is absorbed through the GI in abnormally high levels. Kaopectate use to be safe in cats, but in 2002 the manufacturer added aspirin to it; and we have already talked about the negative aspects of this.  

 

Anti-anxiety/ sleep aid/ anti-convulsant: Alprazolam (Xanax), Ambien, Klonopin, phenobarbital. Too much ingestion can cause a pet to be zoned out or agitated. Xanax and Klonopin may even drop the blood pressure causing the pet to potentially collapse from the weakness. Ambien may make a cat groggy, but this drug can have a reverse effect like Adderall. Too much Phenobarbital, a barbiturate can cause the pet’s temperature, blood pressure, respiration rate, and nervous system to decrease or slow down.

 

A lot of poisonings result from dogs enjoying to chew on plastic bottles and weekly/ monthly pill dispensers. It does not help that many medications are sweetened or made into chewables. Accidents also happen because owners leave pills out to reduce the likelihood of them forgetting to take their medication. Sometimes owners mixed up their medications with their pets and give the wrong pill to their pet. This is why I dispense our pills in a blue bottle and not the typical brown or green bottles. Another problem is owners who decide to self medicate without the direction of a veterinarian. I try to remind all my clients that dosages in humans, a lot of times, do not transfer to our pets. Also multiple drugs at the same time do not always interact the same way as in humans. As the ASPCA can testify, many pets do not luck out and owners end up spending lots of money trying to save their pet.

 

Insecticides, human food and household items will be covered in another newsletter.

 

1014

Myakka River Animal Clinic Newsletter for Fall 2014



A reminder to those clients who do not get their rebates- please calls us so that we can call the correct rep. to secure the missing products or money.

 

News Update:  The FDA cannot find any evidence connecting approximately 1000 canine deaths to ingestion of Trifexis. I have been asked many a question about this and at this clinic the only side affect most often seen is vomiting. I do not recommend using the Trifexis if the dog is sick. Give the pill when the pet feels better. Elanco, the manufacturer, has sold over 70 million doses of Trifexis, which would be about 2 million dogs treated since its introduction. At this time the FDA recognizes that an adverse event happened to these dogs; however, they cannot necessarily say the Trifexis caused it for too many other factors may have played into the dogs deaths, such as, concurrent disease, exposure to chemicals, foods, or administered drugs (man made or natural) which may be the cause or contributed to the deaths. All they know is that approx. 1000 dogs (.05%) while on Trifexis died from something.

 

Nasal flow:   Some of you may already use them for sleeping at night. What you ask? -the Breathe Right nasal strips. Can you use them in horses? Yep, just like California Chrome did in the first two legs of the Triple Crown. The product is called the Flair nasal strip and was created to tent the nasal passage above the nostrils protecting the lower respiratory system. Veterinarians Jim Chiapetta, DVM, JD, and Ed Blach, DVM, MS, MBA , developed the nasal strips after hearing that some human athletes were getting positive results keeping their airways open. In a running horse 70- 75 percent of breathing resistance comes from the nasal passageway. In fact, strenuous work or exercise can cause the equine passages to collapse to which is counterproductive to productive breathing. Researchers at Michigan State University found that the peak tracheal inspiratory pressure and inspiratory airway resistance were reduced in horses at speeds equal or greater to maximum heart rates while wearing the Flair nasal strip. They concluded that during intense exercise the breathing muscles did not have to work as hard as when the horse was not wearing the strip. In human athletes, cardiac output first feeds the heart itself and secondly the respiratory muscles. So if less is used by these muscles more can go to the locomotive muscles and improve performance.

 

Some horses may be predisposed to a condition called exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH) where pulmonary vessels can rupture during heavy exercise and bleed into the lungs and even out the nostrils. Researchers at Kansas State found that the Flair strips reduced oxygen consumption by decreasing the large swings in airway pressures. This intern reduces fatigue and improves exercise tolerance. They also did a test comparison to furosemide a diuretic commonly used to prevent EIPH and found the Flair strips to be just as effective.

 

 So if you see what looks like a Breathe Right strip sitting on a horses nose above the nostrils, you’ll know what it is and what it does and maybe think about wearing one when you do sports or etc too. 

 

For the many cat owner clients, here is a list of signs to help you tell when your cat is or is not in pain.

 

Category               No Pain                         In Pain

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Posture            Relaxed                              Tense, stiff, rigid

                          Slightly curled up              Stretched out or tucked up

                          Comfortable                      Crouched and/or hunched

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Behavior          Bright and alert                Licking lips and/or

                          Head up                                 salivating

                          Grooming                           Head down                                            

                          Active and/or playing      Cannot get comfortable

                          Interactive with                Licking at wounds

                          People                                Aggressive                                                

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Vocalization   Purrs when petted            Growl and/or hiss

                         Normal, chirpy meow      Long deep meow

                                                                      Purring

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Palpation of   No response to                  Quick turning, flinching

Wound                 pressure                        Biting, aggression

                                                                      Vocalization

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Demeanor      Interactive with                Avoids people

                               people                          Avoids petting

                         Enjoys being petted        

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Facial               Open and relaxed            Squinting, slanted, or

Expression             eyes                                  closed eyes

                          Head up                            Head down

                                                                     Whiskers pulled back

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

             From Today’s Vet Practices, Jan / Feb 2014 issue.

 

Gee Doc does my dog have cataracts? His eyes are kinda getting cloudyAs a pets ages it is normal for the lens, which sits behind the visible portion of the globe under the pupil, to become denser. The job of the lens in the eye is to adjust light rays as they pass through it onto the retina. The lens is layered much like an onion and as time goes by, more layers are laid on its exterior. The old layers do not disappear but rather are packed progressively tighter into the middle. The lens does not grow in size. This results in the lens looking cloudier and sometimes grey or blue. We humans do the same thing around age 40; dogs somewhere between six and seven years. The common name for this change is nuclear sclerosis. When this takes place your pet as well as you can still see quiet well through the lens clearly. What does happen is the lens due to the density becomes less pliable and it becomes harder to alter its shape reducing near vision. So like us they become more far sited losing their near sited vision. Fortunately for them they never had real good near vision to begin with relying on their other senses.  There is no specific treatment for nuclear sclerosis. Things to do to help your pet is don’t rearrange your home frequently and keep more night lights on for them to see better.

 

Cataracts can be best differentiated from nuclear sclerosis by an ophthalmic exam. A cataract actually is an opacity to the lens were no light can pass through spots or the entire lens. The disease usually starts as small spots which do not affect vision but with time they grow an eventually take over the lens progressing from blurry vision to blindness. Over time the mature cataract can then start to soften and dissolve causing the lens to shrink. This phase can take months to years. The shrinking lens can cause inflammation to the inside of the lens leading to possible glaucoma, retinal detachment, and luxated lens. Signs seen are squinting, redness, and pawing at the eye. 

 

There are three types of cataracts. Hereditary are seen most frequently in Boston Terriers, Malamutes, Poodles, Bichons, and Cocker Spaniels. Diabetic cataracts often develop in affected dogs by 6-12 months after being diagnosed. Senile cataracts develop as a result of the lens fibers degenerating due to aging.

 

Best treatment is removal of the cataract which is 90% successful. For those who cannot afford this, eye drops can be used to control the inflammation. If the cataract is not painful yet, it may not require treatment. Follow the same home care as nuclear sclerosis. 

 

Pinellas Animal Foundation would like you to know that they offer a pet loss support program to help those who are overwhelmed by grief or stressed at the emptiness left by the loss of your beloved pet.  The foundation offers both telephone support and group meetings. You can call (727) 347-7387,www.pinellasanimalfoundation.org.

 

This is provided by the American Veterinary Medical Association

 

Further content of the page is still in development as the AVMA collaborates with authorities and subject matter experts.

Q: What is the risk of exposure to the Ebola virus in the U.S.? 

A:  The relative risk of exposure to the Ebola virus in the U.S. is extremely low, as there have been only a small number of isolated human cases and no known animal cases.

Q: Is there a vaccine for Ebola? 
A: Unfortunately, there are no approved vaccines, drugs, or products specifically for Ebola available for purchase online or in stores.

Q:  Can dogs or other pets get the Ebola virus from humans, or transmit it to them?

A:  Although EVD is a zoonotic disease, there has not been evidence of its transmission to humans from dogs. Indeed, it is not even known if dogs are capable of contracting and then transmitting the disease. A study analyzing the 2001-2002 Ebola virus outbreak in Gabon found antibodies against the virus in about 25% of dogs in the affected area, but no virus was found in them. Furthermore, none of the animals showed signs or died of the disease during the study period. The study only indicated that the animals had encountered the Ebola virus.

Q:  What if a pet is in contact with an Ebola virus patient? 

A:  The owner or caretaker should contact their local Department of Public Health.

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) calls for quarantine not euthanasia for dogs exposed to Ebola.

The CDC recommends that if a pet is in the home of an EVD patient, veterinarians, in collaboration with public health officials, should evaluate the pet’s risk of exposure (close contact and exposure to blood or body fluids of an EVD patient). Appropriate measures, such as closely monitoring the exposed pet while using necessary precautions, should be taken based on that evaluation.

Q: What happens if public health officials determine that my pet had a risky exposure to a person with Ebola virus? 
A: Public health officials will determine if it is appropriate to place the animal in confinement for 21 days to monitor for signs of illness based on the type of animal and type of contact the pet had with a person sick with Ebola.

If your pet is placed in confinement, testing for Ebola virus will likely be performed to ensure that your pet does not have Ebola virus when it is released from confinement.

In the unlikely event that a pet tests positive for Ebola virus, it would be euthanatized to prevent further spread of the disease.

Q: Can I get my pet tested for Ebola? 
A: Currently, routine testing for Ebola is not available for pets. There would not be any reason to test a pet for Ebola if there was no exposure to a person infected with Ebola.

Q: What about risks of Ebola from other animals? 
A: The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) states that there is no evidence that domestic animals play an active role in the transmission of the disease to humans. Researchers believe that in Africa the spread of Ebola is a result of handling bushmeat (wild animals hunted for food) and contact with infected bats. The human patient can then spread the infectionthrough direct contact (not through air, water, or generally by food).

0814

Myakka River Animal Clinic Newsletter for Summer 2014



Own a Hybrid Pet? Florida Will Not Recognize the Vaccination if Someone is Bitten. This does not mean one should not vaccinate your hybrid. Hybrids are the result of crosses of dogs or cats with a wild species. For dogs this is usually with wolves of coyotes. In cats we see it with crosses with the Asian leopard cats like the Bengal, or with wild jungle cats, servals, and bobcats. The state also requires that any hybrid be permitted through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. What this all means is that owners of hybrids need to be extra vigilant to make sure that their pet never bites someone.


 


Recent research has shown that the well-documented die off of 29 eagles in Utah was the result of West Nile virus. The good news for all the chicken owners in the states is that the birds do not get WNV, nor transmit it to humans. Chickens can develop a titer level should they


contract the disease, but they do not become symptomatic. Thus chickens have been used as sentinels to see if WNV is present locally.


 


Blue Buffalo vs. Science Diet   Hill’s pet food, maker of science diet, recently challenged the Blue Buffalo True Blue Test through the National Advertising Division, the investigating arm of the self-regulating advertising industry. The NAD determined that Blue was misleading future clientele to believe that leading pet food makers are misleading their current clientele as to the quality of their ingredients and pet owners should change to Blue’s food. The NAD asked that Blue Buffalo alter the True Blue Test to make comparison’s truthful and accurate making disclosures clear, conspicuous, uniform, and easy to read.


 


New item added to things to not feed horses:  Box elder seeds.  The seeds contain a toxin, hypoglycin A which when ingested in the autumn and spring causes a fatal form of tying up, a muscle disease.


 


Furballs are not as benign as once thought.  For some cats who are fastidious groomers or cats during the shedding season of the spring and the fall it is not uncommon to see a vomited  furball a couple times a month but it usually goes away with furball laxatives, summer/ winter comes, or the cat is given a lion cut. If the vomiting with or without a furball becomes chronic and there is weight loss and/or diarrhea there can be more underlying problems. Dr. Norsworthy, DVM and cat specialist has hypothesized that cats, due to disease of the intestinal track where the bowel is abnormally thickened, lose the ability to push the hair through the GI tract and thus form hairballs. These cats he believes have chronic small bowel disease. He studied 100 cats with the above symptoms and found only one cat to be normal. Forty nine percent had enteritis, intestinal inflammation from something other than cancer. The other 50 percent had cancer. There is also current research indicating that in some cats chronic inflammatory bowel disease can progress into lymphoma. Although there was overlap, most of the enteritis was in the younger cats and most of the lymphomas were in the older cats. To be able to differentiate the types usually requires ultrasound and biopsies of the intestine. Without this it becomes difficult to treat the disease specifically leaving the only option of treating the signs with diets, laxatives, and anti-vomiting/ anti-diarrhea medications.


 


Cheyletiella, Walking Dandruff:   First diagnosed in 1878, this mite is on the rise again.


The majority of my suspect cases are clients who are not able to budget heartworm prevention into their monthly expenses, people who forgot to give it, those who just don’t see the need for prevention and many who were lacking on their flea and tick control. Most were lucky to not get heartworms, fleas or ticks, but some ended up with the Chyletiella mite. These mites do not burrow in the skin, preferring to live on the surface. The mite affects dogs, cats, rabbits and can infest humans. Once exposure occurs, it takes 3-5 weeks for the mite to increase in numbers for the animal to show symptoms and the female mite can live of the host for 10 days. So, asymptomatic animals can act as carriers to other animals.


 


Dog symptoms are itchy body and face, top line scaling, hair loss around the eyes and sneezing since the mite may hide in the nostrils. Cats present with little sores all over the body with most around the neck, plaque like sores on the body, and dander of the back. Please remember there are other diseases w/ similar symptoms. If lucky one can sometimes see the dander move. This would be the mite.


 


Diagnosis can be tricky, so if I have patients with symptoms and weak control of heartworms, fleas and ticks; I will include the Cheyletiella mite in my possible causes and try to include treatment in the pet’s therapy regime. My favorites are lime sulfur, Advantage-Multi, Sentinel, and Comfortis/Cheristan.


 


Quality of Life Scale:  As I have said in the past, I do not make the decision for the owner as to when to euthanize their pet. Only the owner can make this decision and I and my staff will support the decision. It is Ok if finances prevent the ultimate hospice respite- your mortgage and doctors bills need to be paid first.


 


So when is the right time to euthanize my beloved terminally ill pet? The quality of life scale helps owners in evaluating their pet’s basic needs and desires which are required to live comfortably. How I would score it can be different than you or other family members. This scoring will help you to feel in your heart when it is time or to let family members discuss the situation. This will help you to be not influenced by neighbors, friends, or strangers who do not understand the whole situation and your finances. Maybe this will help those who deal with the guilt of keeping a pet alive longer for what they feel are selfish reasons.


 


The scale is broken into seven areas:  hurt, hunger, hydration, happiness, mobility, and more good days than bad. Each is scored between 0 and 10. It is generally accepted that a score of 5 or greater in each area is adequate for a comfortable life. A score of 70 for any pet is unrealistic.


 


Hurt/pain is the most important one on the scale. It is also necessary to look at the pet’s ability to breathe properly. Do not confuse this with panting. Actually we are evaluating how the animal is able to breathe in and breathe out without struggle and effort. Some animals are stoic and there are those who are wimps and this does hold for owners too. So one person’s 7 may only be a 3 for another with 0 being no pain and 10 being pan caked under a collapsing building. This is why I let pets and their owner’s perception of this, score pain and not me or my staff. If an owner is really obtuse I will step in.


 


Hunger/nutrition looks at whether the animal is taking enough food to maintain a body weight score of 3+ (0-10, 5/6 being normal). Is the pet consuming enough food willingly, by hand, coaxing, or force feeding? Will the pet eat those foods that will add to the overall health and extend the life or will it shorten their time here. The patient’s personality to cooperate verses bite is also a big factor. An owner should not have to suffer continual injury to keep a pet alive. Some pets choose their path to the rainbow bridge quicker than others and there will be nothing you can do about this. You can lead a pet to a food bowl but you can’t always make them eat what’s in it.


 


Hydration verses dehydration. Animals minimally need to drink one ounce per three pounds to sustain life. In those with dysfunctional kidneys the number can be higher than one ounce per pound. When they cannot drink enough we generally institute subcutaneous fluids which we train the owners on how to do if the pet and owner are willing. Giving SQ fluids maybe scores a 0-2 on the pain scale of life and often makes a huge difference on the quality of life.


 


Hygiene/Cleanliness:  Is the pet able to get to a clean dry area to rest and if not is the owner able to aid the pet in attaining this. If the cat’s or dog’s coat needs assistance in maintaining some level of normalcy is the owner able to keep up with it, or can or will the pet allow this to happen. Sometimes antibiotics or specialty shampoos are needed to treat secondary infections.


 


Happiness for the pet and caregiver is important. Does the pet still want to socialize, and be involved or watch family activities? Can the pet’s bed or the pet be moved to achieve this? Will a harness, sling, cart, or stroller help? Owners cannot be expected to throw out their back trying to move a large pet.


 


Mobility really can score between 0 and 10 depending on the species, breed and size of the pet with the smaller pets doing better with low scoring mobility. If the pet is really immobile is the owner able to reposition the body every couple of hours to prevent decubital ulcers and swollen appendages from lack of movement. Is there appropriate bedding accessible and cleanable? Can the owner afford a motility cart or Evans standing cart which really help a pet that’s alert and responsive yet not able to use some or none of its legs.


 


More good days than bad factors high. What are bad days? These are the days when undesirable events happen:  vomiting, won’t eat/extremely thin, diarrhea, seizures, falling over and can’t get up, medication not working, animal bites/ scratches you, oozing smelly sores and more.


 


Dr. Alice Villaloboa created the Quality of Life Scale and calls it the HHHHHMM. Scores of 35 or better are considered acceptable for a comfortable life.      





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Myakka River Animal Clinic Newsletter for Spring 2014


Spring 2014 Newsletter:

 

I would like to thank my clients for being patient during these last few months while we have been short staffed due to one of our staff members recovering from a serious illness.

Recently the University of Florida Veterinary College has noticed an increase in the number of cases of leptospirosis. This bacterium of dogs, horses, cattle, rodents and other wildlife also infects humans. Severity of disease varies with symptoms including depression, decreased appetite, vomiting, fever, and peeing problems. The disease can cause severe liver and kidney dysfunction leading to death. The disease is spread by the urine of affected animals, especially rodents. The good news is that for most of the dogs who receive their shots at the Myakka River Animal Clinic have been vaccinated against Lepto. Unless a client declines this part of the vaccination or a pet has demonstrated an allergy to it, all dogs are vaccinated against Lepto. The majority of vaccine clinics do not administer the leptospirosis vaccine,

Did you know that xylitol, a sugar substitute, is poisonous to dogs. If eaten, the product can cause a sudden drops in glucose levels in the dog’s blood stream and worse, acute liver disease. Unfortunately this sugar is showing up more and more in human foods, treats and medicines. Xylitol is now being sold as a bulk substitute for table sugar and is being used for home made baked goods like bread, muffins, and cakes resulting in accidental ingestion by pet dogs. The same thing is happening with gums and mints sweetened with Xylitol. Here are some other products with dangerous level of Xylitol for dogs:

      Axia3 Prodigestive Antacid

      Children’s Allegra Oral Suspension

      Fleet Pedia-Lax Liquid Stool softener

      Umcka col and Flu chewable tablet

      KAL Colostrum Chewable

      KAL Dinosaurs Children’s and Minerals

      Kidz Digest Chewable Berry from Transformation Enzyme

      L’il Critters Fiber Gummy Bears

      Mega D3 Dots w/ 5000 IU of Vitamin

      Stress Relax’s Suntheanine

      L-Theanine chewable tablets

      Vitamin Code  kids by Garden of Life

      Super Sleep Soft Melts by Webber

      Abilify Discmelt Orally Disintegrating Tablet

      Mobic Oral Suspension

      Neurontin Oral Solution

      Riomet Oral Solution

      Varibar barium sulfate products- liquids and puddings

      Zegerid powder for Oral Suspension

      Clemmy’s rich and Creamy ice cream products

      Dr John’s products- hard and soft candies, chocolates, etc.

      Jell-O sugar free pudding snacks

      Nature’s Hollow jams, syrup, ketchup, honey, and etc.

      SparX Candy

      Zipfizz energy drink-mix powders

 

If you do not want to be like everyone else when naming a new pet do not use these names. For dogs do not use Max, Bella, Buddy, Molly, Rocky, Lucy, Bailey, Maggie, Jake, and Daisy. For cats do not use Max, Bella, Oliver, Lucy, Charlie, Kitty, Tiger, Chloe, Smokey and Sophie. These 20 names are listed as the most popular names of pets.

 

For those of you who are cat lovers, if you have not already seen it yet, I suggest Simon’s cat found on You Tube.    http://www.youtube.com/user/simonscat

 

 

Recently Tufts University’s veterinary college has studied the levels of thiamine in cat food. What initiated this were the five voluntary recalls over the past 5 years for thiamine deficiency in cat foods.  Symptoms seen in cats varied from lack of appetite/ vomiting to seizures / blindness and sometimes death. Since canned food seems to be more affected, 45 brands of non-therapeutic canned food where tested. One fish and one non-fish of each brand were tested. Thiamine is found naturally in grains, legumes, and meat products especially organ meats. Even though thiamine is lost during processing good companies successfully supplement enough to counteract the loss. The study found that pate’ foods where more affected than non pate’. Tuft’s research also found that larger companies were less likely to produce and retail cans with thiamine deficiency because they had better quality control and tested the food during and at the end of manufacturing. This testing ups the price of the food which some companies skip to keep the price of the food down. So buyers beware, if you are purchasing the cheaper cans at the pet food isle. My recommendation as usual is to buy from the big companies like: Hills, Purina, Royal Canin, and Eukanuba.  Lastly Tufts did not test dry foods, nor foods packaged in plastic or pouches.

 

Be very careful when ingesting or feeding Chinese herbs to yourself or pets. This holds true for both imported and made in the states. These products are not regulated by the USDA. A Harvard investigation by researchers found that 100 percent of raw Chinese herbal medicines tested had at least one heavy metal in it with a third having more than one including cadmium, arsenic, chromium, lead and mercury. Other veterinary research has shown some levels to be toxic. Never ingest a product that does not list all ingredients- both active and inactive. Chinese folklore herbal prescribing traditionally uses heavy metals and toxins to treat patients and mixtures of secret ingredients that generally have not been tested for safety, nor researched on how it works, interactions with other drugs, side effects or have manufacturing standards. Sometimes the label just does not list all the ingredients or lists only the plants to which an uneducated person on herbs would not realize are toxic.

 

 One of the worst abused herbs is Strychnos nux-vomica, the plant-based strychnine source for herbal products. Some countries have banned its inclusion in herbal remedies. Not only is the product toxic when ingested but can be absorbed through the skin. It is far safer to avoid Chinese herbal medicine since the safety of the product usually cannot be adequately determined.

 

Tall fescue is a hardy grass that tolerates close grazing, heavy traffic; and is draught, weed, insect, and disease resistant. Developed in the 1940’s this grass became very popular because of its positive qualities in lawns and pastures. Unfortunately, it creates problems in livestock when eaten because it contains an endophytic fungus that lives in a symbiotic relationship within the fescue’s stem and seeds. Estimates of infestation runs about 90% in fescue pastures. The fungus produces an ergot alkaloid that adversely affects the physiology of cattle and horses which is dependent on the quantity and length of time it is ingested. As far as our area in the middle of our state, we are too hot with tall fescue growing only in north Florida. Sources of fescue are through hay from northern states and grain mixtures. However those people who take their horses northernly have to watch pastureland too.

 

The toxin suppresses prolactin and progesterone in a mare’s system. The ergot is most noted for decreased conception rates, embryonic deaths, abortions, and stillbirths.  Prolonged pregnancy is another consequence leading to large fetal births which result in increased mal-presentations and   hemorrhaging after delivery. Additional problems seen are reduced milk production and colostrums due to lack off mammary development. All this is seen in cattle too.

 

Other common signs in cattle are poor weight gain and hair growth with an unthrifty appearance.

Research by Auburn University has demonstrated that yearling horses grazing a highly infected fescue pasture put weight on slower than yearlings on an ergot free pasture. Also, adult horses have been found to lose weight on fescue pasture.

 

Another problem seen in cattle is an inability to handle the heat. In attempt to keep themselves cool, they stand in the shade or in streams more than normal, spending less time on the pasture, which also contributes to weight loss due to decreased grazing time. Even though alkaloid peaks in the spring and the fall, research has shown that fat deposits act as a reserve for the toxin into the summer. Horse owners too see the heat intolerance as exercise intolerance with increased respiratory and heart rates.

 

Many owners of horses have also noted, like in cattle, increased frequency of foot soreness and laminitis. This is seen more often when the plants are in seed.  The ergot is believed to cause vasoconstriction to the legs decreasing blood flow to the feet.

 

Ways to reduce contact with the fescue ergot and its side effects are as follows:

  1. Remove the pregnant mares from the infected fescue 45 to 90 days before delivery and keep in a dry lot or fescue free pasture.

  2. Replant the toxic tall fescue pasture with endophyte free fescue or fescue with a beneficial endophyte  .

  3. Use Domperidone on mares 30 days prior to foaling which counteracts the affects of the endophyte.

  4. Keep the fescue mowed at 3-8 inches which drastically reduces stem development and thus seeds.

  5. Use other hays other than fescue like bermuda, alfalfa, timothy, brome, and orchard; or feed endophyte free fescue that is available commercially.

  6. Dilute the fescue pasture by interseeding with other types of hay.

  7. Do not fertilize pastures with fescue.

  8. Try and be present during birthing.

  9. Let your vet know about possible ingestion of fescue.  

 

May 18-24 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. For those of you who use the BBT bank on Jacaranda near Winn Dixie there will be a small display in the bank during this week.

Dog Bite Facts:

  • Each year, more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs.
  • Almost 1 in 5 people bitten by dogs require medical attention. 
  • Every year, more than 800,000 Americans receive medical attention for dog bites; at least half of them are children.
  • Children are, by far, the most common victims of dog bites and are far more likely to be severely injured.
  • Most dog bites affecting young children occur during everyday activities and while interacting with familiar dogs.
  • Senior citizens are the second most common dog bite victims.

There are many things you can do to avoid dog bites, ranging from properly training and socializing your pet to educating your children on how - or if - they should approach a dog. Information and education are the best solutions for this public health crisis.

Check out this web site for more information:    https://www.avma.org/public/pages/Dog-Bite-Prevention.aspx


0114

Myakka River Animal Clinic Newsletter for January 2014



 

Dog Park: Just a reminder that the dog park is dried out and open for use. At this time there is not any water so you will need to bring your own. Also, it will have a lock on it and you will need to be registered to use the park and get the combination. This will increase the safety of those who use it. Participants can be clients of any veterinary clinic.  Those owners who want to use the park will need to show proof of rabies, DA2PP, bordetella, and influenza vaccinations; as well as, a negative heartworm check within the last year and a negative fecal check within the last six months 

Chris P. Bacon:  I would like to introduce you all to a special pot-bellied pig. He is a little pig who could thanks to his owner Dr. Len Lucero. Due to a congenital handicap, Chris was unable to use his back legs. Dr. Lucero adopted him and with the help of Handicappedpets.com, they both have him up and rolling with a customized wheelchair. This porcine trooper has been seen on multiple media shows all over the world, has a face book page, twitters and can be viewed on YouTube. Chris P Bacon acts as an inspiration for handicap children and owners of handicap pets. A child’s book is in the works with Dr. Lucero hoping to donate proceeds to help needy and handicap children.

Mules and Herpes:  Equine herpes virus (also known as rhinotrachietis) usually causes cold like upper respiratory symptoms that runs its course in 7-14 days.  There is however a neurologic strain that can kill horses. Recent research has shown that although mules do not appear to get the symptoms of the neurologic virus, they can act as carriers of the disease to unvaccinated horses.

Multi-cat Homes and Keeping the Citizens Happy:  Cats need food, water, environmental enrichment, space, a potty area, and an owner who understands cat psychology. All animals need water and cats consume approximately 3.5- 7 ounces per 10 lbs. A lot of cats prefer their water separate from their food bowl, tall containers, and prefer it aerated by a fountain or the water faucet. They do not like low standing water and may drink less predisposing the bladder to crystalline problems.

Because cats, if left to fend for themselves eat frequently small meals, a beetle here and a lizard there with a larger rodent/ rabbit/ bird added occasionally; researchers have found they eat about 13 meals a day. So to help simulate the cat’s natural behavior owners should put out many food bowls throughout the home at different height levels creating a hunting behavior and encouraging exercise. For those cats that insist on inhaling their food, automatic feeders can be set out. What is also important to know is that research has shown that meal fed cats seem to be more aggressive and less cooperative. Cats are happier when they are allowed to graze their meals.

You feed a cat and it is going to poop. Number of boxes set out is usually the number of cats plus one more. If you have the space, cats really prefer a larger box, not the small ones sold through retail. You can use larger containers sold to store things under the bed, or I use the large dish pans used in restaurants. Now if you use larger cat boxes you can use fewer boxes. To use a lid or not is the cats preference. What they need is a nice quiet spot with low traffic. Low sides are better for older cats at least on one side. Research shows that cats like fine particulate better with some owners having to use outside dirt with its silty, sandy texture. Some cats and owners need the box cleaned daily, others can wait longer. If you are one of the second you need more boxes or your cat is going to eventually walk through the soiled litter and on to human bed surfaces or where food is prepared. (Just something to think about.)

Environmental enrichment can be done several ways. The easiest, if the cat likes it, is to spend some time with the cat daily and pet it, rubbing their favorite spots. This releases endorphins and is like a box of chocolates on the holidays. Your kitties are going to need private time and the more surfaces they have to rest and get away from each other, because not all cats get along, the better. Areas can be increased by using vertical space w/ plastic shelving units on the floor, cat condos or trees, and installing perches or walkways on the walls with secure shelving. Owners can also build outside pens that attach to the home through doors, windows or walkways.  I, in the past, have used 2X4” horse mesh or aluminum crossed panels on a wood frame (pressure treated). Purrfectfence.com and catfencein.com are two companies that sell cat fencing. Whatever is used, it has to be strong enough to keep stray dogs and predators out. For those lucky enough to have a lanai, if you are building one or getting ready to replace the screen, you can get screening that has higher tensile strength to prevent bigger dogs and coyotes from chewing through the screen. Yes, this has happened more than once in my clientele base. Flooring in the outside pens should not be dirt or like for the cats will poop in it.

Here are a few additional suggestions to help enrich the cat’s areas. Both clawed and declawed cats need to scratch to communicate with each other. Scratching areas should be located along common pathways and can be sprayed with Feliway or catnip to make them more appealing. If a cat is using a wrong surface, double sided tape can be used, a rug runner can be flipped over and placed at the site, or a mint spray like Febreeze can be sprayed on the surface.

 If your cats like toys or to play chase items, use them and make time to use them. A simple laser light for some cats is all you need. There are food puzzles toys out there that can both mentally and physically challenge a cat trying to get a kibble out. Research has found that if kittens do not have appropriate toys, they can redirect their play onto hands and feet of their owners and irritate older cats. These behaviors can become learned and continued into adulthood. I am not a strong believer in catnip.

As a youth we had the plant growing in the garden one year. It was extremely easy to grow. One of our family cats found it one day and managed to wander back to thehouse at a staggered pace. The poor cat could have floated home as high as he was; his eyes were dilated to enormous pupils and he continuously drooled for hours. He repeated this several days in a row and I removed the plants, never replanting them again. I call catnip kitty cocaine and it potentially can cause a cat to place itself in a dangerous situation with poor judgment. I will only use catnip if I want to drug the cat to reduce anxiety for a vet visit. A better choice is cat grass which is one or more of oat, wheat, and/ or rye. You can buy it already germinated or plant it yourself. Some cats like to chew on plants and here are a few other safe plants for your pets to chew on:  African violets, basil, begonias, coriander, forget-me-knots, impatiens, oregano, pansy, sage, spider plants, thyme, and zinnia.

There are some things an owner of multiple cats needs to accept beyond there will be more fur balls to pick up. First, not all cats get along and that may never change.  If there is a ripple in the catopia, you will hear occasional hissing, growling, screeching and some physical contact as they work it out. I have treated abscesses in cats from fellow home cats, including my own. It is not uncommon for one cat in the home to stalk another cat or for more than one cat to inhibit another from using the necessities like food, water or the use of the cat box. Second, all cats mark with urine and this is considered normal.  Cats use this as a means of communicating, especially along well-traveled walkways. Altering the cat decreases the spraying by 89%, however as the number of cats increases so does the spraying reaching 100% with 10 or more cats. All of this is why it is so important to give cats space and multiple sources of food, water, and cat boxes. The less there is conflict the happier you and your cats will be. I have many owners that have to divide their home up for different cliques and food types.

What’s in a bag or box:  Research shows that over 50% of dogs and cats are overweight compared to pets a decade or two ago. There are several reasons. The average cup of food of today carries more calories than days gone past. This is for two reasons. People keep forgetting food is not love; love is not food. How quickly a pet inhales its food because it tastes soooooo good is not going to make your pet love you more. But to increase sales companies cater to this wrong mind set.  The more the calories pure cup, the less picky the pet is, the more the pet gains. I have all my animals, except the skinny minnies on light food as soon as they hit six months to a year. Pet food companies often cater to the thought that smaller stools are better. Again to do this there has been a proliferation of low-residual foods like grain free diets. This ups the calories per cup of food. Pets stools are suppose to be a large diameter to help express the anal glands.  Add to this, owners feeding treats to their pets way too much and not exercising them enough and to no surprise a fat pet population develops.

 

 Pet food companies are not required to label bags of food with calories per volume of food. Only the American Veterinary Medical Association is calling for calorie counts on pet food bags. Knowing how much calories a pet needs and how much is in a bag would help a owner to make an informed choice as what to feed verses making purchases based on who has the better advertising department. So if you are feeding a food and you keep reducing the quantity of the food fed and your pet does not lose weight then probable the food is high caloric and you need to go to a less caloric food like Hill’s lite, WD or Metabolic or Purina’s OM.


Myakka River Animal Clinic Newsletter for October 2013

New Equipment:  The clinic now has new lab equipment that allows same hour lab results for whole blood counts and blood chemistries instead of waiting for results the next day. This helps determine a path of treatment for quicker positive results.

 Kittens:  We still have 2 cute and adorable kittens left for adoption. They are approximately 5 months old, spayed and vaccinated, except leukemia. Stop in and take a look. You must be approved by Doc to take one home.

Bootsie’s Boxes:  Once again it is time to collect items up and pack a stocking to ship to our service people in Afghanistan. Stockings should contain about $25.00 worth of stuff. Most requested items are DVD’s, hand wipes, trail mix and nuts, beef jerky, powdered energy drink mix, AT&T phone cards, athletic socks, coffee and creamers, body wash, deodorant, shaving cream, razors, 40 SPF sunblock, and more. No liquids or fruit cups. We here, if we send something that is less than solid, tape the top and double ziplock bag it incase anything oozes. Don’t send anything that can melt. They need hard candy and lots of it. By the way jolly ranchers melt in our office.

Stockings need to be to our office by October 28th for us to ship them to Boatsie’s Boxes for overseas delivery. Rubber band them shut or sew shut. Use another rubber band to attach $1.00 to the stocking to help w/ Boatsie’s shipping.

For more information go to www.Boatsie.com

Pet Food Stamps Program:  This is a nonprofit program available only to those who already are on public assistance. Application can be filled out on line at www.petfoodstamps.org/pet_food_stamps_application.html. A person can also apply via mail to Pet Stamps Food Program, 391 S. Main Street, New City, NY 10956.  This person will need an award letter from the state agency verifying public assistance. Why are they doing this?- to help reduce the number of animals being relinquished to shelters. Once approved, pet food is sent to the home directly. No money is sent in any form to prevent abuse. I do not know who is the manufacturer of the food or the quality. This is a relatively new program. 

MRSA vs. MRSP:   Methicillin-resistant Staphlococcus aureus is MRSA. Methicillin-resistant Staphlococcus psuedointermedius is MRSP. Staph. aureus more commonly infects humans and large animals while Staph. p-intermedius more frequently infects dogs and cats. MRSA and MRSP are strains of the above showing increased resistance to antibiotics necessitating culturing, then sensitivities, to figure out what will work. Getting results from culturing takes 3-6 days; so the sooner you culture in the treatment plan the quicker recovery will take place.

 Infection of pets w/ Staph. aureus is not very common. Most pets exposed to aureus are colonized for a brief time self clearing the organism and showing no ill effects. Most sources of aureus to pets are children and people who work in the healthcare field. If a pet were to contact the disease these risk factors are usually present: recent surgery, trauma causing skin wounds, or the animal is immune-compromised.

Although circumstantial it is believed that pets are capable of acting as carriers of MRSA and can pass it to people. Again the pet is not infected and self clear once the source is removed or cured.

Staph . psuedointermedius is the staph. species that most frequently colonizes dogs and cats causing skin and ear infections. It however is not a common bacterium that colonizes humans and rarely causes severe infections. MRSP is a resistant population. Like staph. aureus in pets, humans can become asymptomatic carriers when their pet is infected. Once the pet is cleared of the infection, the owners self clears too. Biggest cause of owners becoming silent carriers was a lack of washing their hands after handling their pets.




Myakka River Animal Clinic Newsletter for July/August 2013

 

For Adoption:  We have 3 female kittens in from Animal Control looking for new homes. They are Felv negative, and have their FDV-FRT vaccinations and rabies. Two are white and black and one is white and blue. All three are sweet. There is no adoption fee but you must be approved by Doc. Oh, they have already been spayed too.

 

Boarding fees have gone up one dollar per day. New prices are below:

 

                                                Boarder                      Boarder                      Boarder

                                             1 pet in cage              2 pets in cage              3 pets in cage     

 

Cat <8lbs                                    $ 8                               $ 15                             $ 22

Large Cat <16lbs /                     $ 9                               $ 17                             $ 25

or Small Dog <8lbs

Dog 8-25 lbs, Huge cat              >16lbs$ 10                   $ 19                             $ 28

25-50 lbs                                    $ 11                             $ 21                             $ 30

50-75 lbs                                    $ 12                             $ 23

75-100 lbs                                  $13                              $ 25

100 +                                          $14                              $ 27

 

There will be a $1.00 per day charge for daily medications.

Ear cleaning, eye cleaning and etc. have additional charges.

We do not board intact male cats. If an emergency there will be an additional charge.

Dogs with diarrhea and /or vomiting will have additional charge.

Periodontal disease is one of the most common disease processes in our dogs and cats. Nearly 90% of these pets are affected to a certain degree. In humans the disease has been called a “silent killer.” Periodontal disease is the result of the body’s response to numerous bacteria building up as a biofilm called plaque. As our pets and us chew, bacteria are released into the blood stream where they can cause infection in the kidneys, liver, heart valves, and joints to name a few. The infection in the mouth can spread locally to the sinuses, throat, bronchi, and potentially lungs. As far as the teeth go, the bacteria eat away at the ligament that holds the teeth in place. If it reaches all the way down to the root, the tooth can abscess. If enough of the mouth gets infected, the dog can become septic. Amount of dental calculi is not an accurate gage of the level of periodonitis. Visibility of the disease is seen at the gum line with an increased redness along the gum line. You do not need dental tarter for this to take place. Dental tarter increases the probability of periodontal disease. Sometimes it is not visible at all or is there but on the inside of the teeth. The best way to diagnose it is by probing around the teeth while under general anesthesia, and if you got the pet unconscious you may as well as clean the teeth, pull any bad ones out and get the pet back to recovering.  So bad breath for a pet is not normal, there is something wrong, with bad gums being the number one reason.

 

Just a little more on dentals:  non-anesthetic cleanings are not in any way shape or form comparable to an anesthetized procedure. You cannot clean the back side of the teeth for one. Two, if the pet is hurting from any existing periodontal disease, they are not going to like it and will most likely bite.

I have seen pets that have had this done and the cleaner did not even get half way done. Save your money for a veterinary dental. Cost is always a guestimate at our office because you never know what you may find when you get into the mouth.  We usually say around $150 to start; but size of dog, age of pet, if it has a pushed in nose, how many teeth need to come out, staining and the level of root scaling all make the price go up. I’ve had many go less and many go lots more.

 

Lastly, there is a new quick check called Orastrip to measure the production of thiols, a product of the bacteria in periodontal disease. It is new and I just got it in. How helpful will it be to get a dogs mouth cleaned before teeth need to be removed or organ systems will be affected- not sure?

 

Oleander and horses do not mix. Oleander is a poisonous evergreen shrub found in the southern and western United States. All parts of the plant are poisonous with the red and pink flowering varieties being more toxic than the white. Level of toxicosis is dependent on the amount eaten. Symptoms seen are colic, depression, racing heart rate, fever, and discombobulated gait. One of the toxins affects the electrical conduction of the heart muscle causing arrhythmias and loss of contractility .Other toxins decrease the kidneys ability to work and damages the intestinal track. The heart not working well, also, damages the kidneys and GI tract too. Ingestion of as little as 10 to 20 leaves is lethal to a horse. The probability of the horse surviving is more likely if no cardiac arrhythmias are present, the red blood cell count is not high, the renal values are low and longer treatment duration exists. Past cases run about 50% mortality. Cost of treatment at veterinary large animal hospitals can be $3000 to $6000 dollars. Diagnosis is possible by measuring oleandrin in serum, plasma, urine and gastrointestinal fluid. Problem is that test results are not immediately accessible.  If a horse is seen eating the oleander the best treatment is activated charcoal. The best prevention is don’t plant oleander, don’t pasture a horse where the plants  exist, remove the plant from the pasture or where the horse can graze over or through a fence, and make sure your horse cannot escape from its current housing to a poisonous location.

 

Some Facts about Cats:   Cats can jump seven times their height. The average lifespan of a cat is 14 years, but there have been many that aged past 20 years.  Cats cannot see directly under their nose. Also, cats can get herpes.

 

Feline herpes is specific to cats only and not dogs or humans. The feline herpes virus is spread only from cat to cat. This disease is very common in feral and outside cats since most are not vaccinated. However it is not uncommon in household cats that have contracted the disease as kittens from their silent carrying mothers, other cats, or the snot or eye discharge on items in their environment. Symptoms are usually conjunctivitis with one or both eyes squinty and the lids and inner tissue red and swollen. The eyes may discharge clear to yellowish- green. Cats can also have a nasal discharge. Unvaccinated cats are more susceptible to secondary bacterial infections. Vaccinations if given prior to exposure help to reduce the likelihood of the cat getting the disease. Usually, however, vaccination is used to help reduce the symptoms of already exposed cats. Problem with herpes in cats is that the virus goes into remission and resurfaces when the cat is stressed. Boarding, adjusting to a new home, owners going on vacation, diseases that weaken the cat, or just getting older can trigger an outbreak of herpes in your pet. The best treatment is prevention, none the less it happens and we may need to treat. To help remove the virus from the cat, I suggest L-lysine which slows down viral replication. It is available over the counter but the clinic also sells it as a palatable paste and powder to be sprinkled on the food.

 

Knee problems in dogs are commonly a result of cranial cruciate tears, a ligament necessary to stabilize the leg during weight bearing. A recent study of overweight dogs showed that dogs with cranial cruciate tears managed medically with weight loss, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory drugs showed a 63% improvement while those who had a surgery called tibial plateau-leveling osteotomy achieved a 75% success rate.

 

Myofacial pain in pets: The syndrome is caused by taut bands of muscle fibers within muscle bundles known as trigger points. The muscle is locked in a contracted position causing a lack of mobility, decreased range of motion and often chronic pain in the muscle itself or in surrounding tissue due to pinching. This may happen from an injury (animal walks to avoid pain), a constant low grade contraction using muscle not meant for that (neck pain and computer usage), or a defect in muscle metabolism (fibromyalgia). The constant contraction causes the depletion of ATP, the muscle’s fuel supply needed to unlock the muscle back to rest mode. The tight muscle also narrows the vascular supply reducing the oxygen supply to the affected area. You need oxygen to make ATP. Muscle tightness, in addition, pinches off nerves causing numbness and tingling. The negative feedback cycle causes the area to deteriorate creating the painful trigger points. Treatment concentrates on releasing the tight areas. Methods that can be used are heat, acupuncture, massage, and therapeutic laser. We have a therapeutic laser at the office that costs $28 per treatment. So when I treat an area for joint pain I also work on the surrounding area to reduce the myofacial pain. Frequency of treatment depends on the level of discomfort with visits being every second or third day to weekly and biweekly. 




Myakka River Animal Clinic Newsletter for June 2013


Wanted: An indoor home for an adorable black kitten with a white spot on her chest. She is approximately 12 weeks old, full of energy, and has a loud motor. She is FE leukemia negative and has started her shots. She is free to an approved home.

 

Also, if anyone wants or knows of someone who may be interested in a young male Bantam chicken,give us a call.

 


 

Equine-How to Prepare for a Hurricane

 

The leading causes of death in large animals during Andrew in South East Florida:

1. Collapsed barns, owners thought their animals were safer inside, but confinement takes away the animals ability to protect themselves.

2. Kidney failures due to dehydration, wandering animals were deprived of food and water for days.

3. Electrocution, horses seek the lowest areas, in many cases this was a drainage ditch. Power lines are strung over ditches and were blown down in the storm.

4. Fencing failure, wandering animals, unharmed during the storm, were hit and killed on the roadways.

Debris caused the most severe injuries during Andrew

1. Many horses required euthanasia  due to entanglement in barbed wire and the resultant severe injuries.

2. Debris injuries were found most often in the hind quarters, as horses turn their tails the storm.

3. Don’t keep your horses in the barn to prevent debris injury. Debris injuries were severe, but in most cases treatable. Large animals have no way to save themselves and are likely to panic if they can’t follow their instinct.

 

Guidelines for Disaster Preparedness.

     

      The first step to develop a written plan is to determine whether or not your property is located in a storm surge flood plain. This information may be obtained from your local government or animal hurricane handout from a TV station.

 

      Even if you are not in an area subject to flooding, you may want to consider evacuating horses if they are maintained in stables or in pastures of less than 1 acre, as this will not give sufficient area for them to avoid debris and collapsing buildings.

 

      Because of high winds, a trailer can only be on the interstate during a hurricane watch. Once a warning is delivered you can no longer use this route.

 

      REMEMBER, a fire engine loaded with water- a very stable emergency vehicle-is considered out of service when sustained winds have reached 40 MPH.

Therefore, long distance evacuation is not recommended as the storm may move faster than you anticipate.

       

      You can MAKE PLANS NOW to move your animals to a safer area that is relatively near your home. Before hurricane season begins make sure all animals have current immunizations and Coggins tests and take the necessary papers with you if you must evacuate. Locate safe areas within your county and make arrangements now to move your animals to this location-then assist the receiving property owner in developing a disaster plan.

 

Develop a specific Disaster Plan for Your Property.

 

When you write your plan, consider the following guidelines:

1. Install a hand pump on your well NOW. You will never make a better investment. Well water will not become contaminated unless your well is submerged by flood waters. You may need to use up to two weeks if municipal water has been contaminated.

2. As you landscape your property use native plants. Nature has evolved these species to weather hurricanes. They will be much less likely to uproot and become debris.

3. THINK DEBRIS! Take down and secure everything you can. Turn over and tie down picnic tables and benches and anything else to large to store.

4. Get mobile home tie downs (spikes and ratcheting straps) for your livestock trailer and other vehicles. Move vehicles, livestock trailer, etc., into the middle of the largest open areas away from trees and tie them down over the top of the vehicle.

5. Make sure generator is functional.

6. For horses, keep a supply of plastic neck bands with permanent markings to put on your animals for identification and put metal I.D. plates on halters. Animals should be haltered before the storm. Other ways to I.D., microchips, luggage tags braided into mane or tail, shave hair, live-stock crayon, non-toxic, non water-soluble, spray paint, or marker on animals side. Try to include medical HX and coggins results too, in plastic.

7. For cattle, the most common identifications are; ear notch, leg bands, ear tag, brand, livestock crayon marker, wattle notch, ear tattoo, tail tag, neck chain.

8. Have on hand in the house: several flashlights, hurricane lamps, lamp oil or kerosene, fire extinguishers, batteries, battery operated radio, matches, gas, and chlorine bleach. Make sure all cars, trucks, 4-wheelers, tractors are filled with gas.

9. Keep 2 liter soda bottles filled with ice in freezer. They can be thawed in the refrigerator when electricity fails and they keep the refrigerator cold. They can be used as a source of water as they thaw.

10. City water becomes contaminated because purification systems are inoperable. To purify water, add 2 drops of chlorine bleach per quart and let stand for ½ hour.

11. Fill any large outside vessels (boats, canoes, feed troughs, ect.) with water. This keeps vessels from becoming debris and provides a source of water for animals after the storm. Pool water and collected water should be kept chlorinated so it remains useable.

12. Shut off main electrical breakers and close gas and water valves. Unplug appliances and turn off air conditioning.

13. Chain your propane takes to the ground with tie down stakes and label “Propane”. Label any hazardous material containers on your property.

14. Bring chain saw, ladder, axe, and shovel, pry bar, come-along, metal cable, block and tackle, wire cutters, tool box, grill, charcoal and fluid into the house.

15. A 2 week supply of animal feed and medications should be brought into the house and stored in waterproof containers or wrapped in plastic.

16. Contact out-of-town friends and relatives and keep them informed of your plans. It will be easier for them to contact you.

17. Make sure your insurance is adequate. Photograph or video all your property and animals and take these with you if you must evacuate. Along with registration info, adoption papers, and microchip information.

18. For cattle: If an individual animal is or has been medically treated and is still under a withdrawal period, a treatment record must be maintained. The record must include animals ID or group ID, date of the treatments, the drug used and the manufacturer’s serial or lot number, dosage of drug administered, route and location of administration, and the person administrating the drug. The earliest date the animal could clear the withdrawal period for the administered drug should also be listed.

19. Remember that after the storm all transactions will have to be made in cash and that bank and gas stations will be closed.

20. Label all hazardous waste materials and place in a safe place. Label or leave info on such items in home in an obvious place.

21. Remove trash heaps of old, dilapidated machinery to avoid animals running into it.

22. Reinforce your house, barn, and out buildings with hurricane straps. Perform regular checks on all buildings.

 

As the storm approaches:

 

Close barn and or stall doors. Open all interior pasture gates. Put I.D. on all the animals and TURN YOUR LARGE ANIMALS OUT!!

They may suffer debris injuries, but at least this way they have a chance.

DON’T GO OUT DURING THE STORM!!

If you are dead or injured, you can’t help your animals. When any Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico Storm is named, all Floridians should take it seriously, watch it closely and begin implementation of their prewritten Disaster Plans.

Review and upgrade your disaster plan with your family on a regular basis.

The Safest Place for Large Animals to Weather a Storm is in a Larger Pasture.

It should meet as many of the following guidelines as possible.

1. It should be free of exotic trees.

2. It should have no overhead power lines.

3. It should be well away from areas that might generate wind driven debris.

4. It should have both low areas that animals can shelter in during the storm, (preferable a pond), and higher areas that will not be flooded after the storm.

5. It should have woven wire fencing-no barb wire.

6. Not less than 1 acre in size.

 

Long Range Disaster Planning.

 

Fencing….

1. The clear winner is woven wire. It acts like a volley ball net; in many cases falling trees don’t even take it down. It stops debris. It doesn’t pull apart in high winds. Animals are less likely to get caught or tangled in it.

2. Board fencing blows down and becomes debris. If you use it, back it with woven wire.

3. Avoid using barbed wire. It cuts horses to ribbons and is easily torn down by flying debris.

4. Lay out your fence lines to keep animals away from power lines.

5. Each year in May, replace rotten fence posts and make fencing repairs so your fences are as strong as possible for the start of hurricane season on 6/1.

 

Building Construction….

1. Having a well built barn keeps it from becoming debris. Never think it is safe enough to protect your animals.

2. A simple, well strapped, open pole barn with a flat, properly secured metal roof or hurricane reinforced concrete barn is least likely to blow down.

3. Prefab trusses may not hold up. If you use them, make sure they have hurricane straps and are properly braced.

4. Roofing construction should be metal or roll roofing. Shingles and tile become small lethal weapons which pastured animals cannot avoid. Large sheets of anything are more easily avoided by animals.

5. Consider some form of hurricane shutters for all glass windows and doors. Taping may prevent shattering glass from flying, but it will not prevent wind entering through broken windows and destroying everything inside.

 

If you would like more information, will need assistance in locating an evacuation site, or can accept large animals needing evacuation, contact:

 

Sarasota County Emergency Management

1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, Fl 34236

941-951-5283

 


 

 Equine /Livestock Evacuation Kit

 

·         7-10 day supply of food in plastic.

·         Bandannas (blind folds)

·         Batteries (Flashlight, radio)

·         Blankets

·         Duct tape

·         Emergency contact list

·         First aid kit

·         Flashlight – lanterns

·         Fly spray

·         Heavy work gloves (leather)

·         Boots (leather)

·         Hoof knife

·         Hoof nippers

·         Hoof pick

·         Grooming brushes

·         General scissors

·         Hoof rasp

·         Knife (sharp-all purpose)

·         Leg wraps

·         Maps of local area and alternate evacuation routes (in case of road closures)

·         Non-nylon halters and leads (leather/cotton) or come alongs

·         Paper towels

·         Plastic trash cans with lids (can be used to store water)

·         Radio (solar powered & battery operated)

·         Rope or lariat/lunge line

·         Shovel/Axe

·         Tarpaulins

·         Trash bags

·         Twitch or nose leads

·         Water buckets/feed buckets

·         Wire cutters, bolt cutters, fence pliers

·         Chlorine

·         Whips/prods

·         Road flares

·         Tool Kit

·         Winches

·         Pen/marker

·         Baby wipes

·         Water-10 gallons per animal

·         Flat tire kit-small air compressor

·         Compass

·         Safety vest (reflective type)

·         Reflective tape

·         Tow chain/strap

·         Car starter

·         Portable live stock panels

·         Shavings

·         Manure fork

 

 

Be Prepared for Emergencies with an Equine First-Aid Kit

 

Fly ointment-VIP, SWAT

Aloe Vera Gel

Desitin

Antibacterial Products-

·         Panalog

·         Gentocin Wound Spray

·         Furizolidine Spray or Ointment

·         Chlorhexiderm Scrub

·         Triple Eye Salve

Telfas Pads and-or like

Ace Bandages

Leg Sheets

Vet Wrap

Tape-Surgical, Duct, Masking

Koppertox

DMSO

Bute/Banamine

Benadryl Elixir (not with decongestant)

Icthamol

Tongue Depressor

Hoof Pick

Ice Pack (one that activates-no refrigeration)

Rolled Gauze

Rolled Cotton, Gauze, Old Clean Towels, Ect.

Flushing Syringe

Thermometer (Digital)

Unused Container of Distilled Water.

Saline Solution (contact fine)

Bandage Scissors/Iris scissors

Scrub- Chlorhexiderm 1st , Dial Soap will Suffice in Emergencies

Exam Gloves

Mineral Oil

Hemostat

Tourniquet

Q-tips

Towels/wash cloths

Medication-two weeks’ worth

Sterile lubricant

Tweezers

 

In plastic:

Veterinary records

Coggins papers for horses, TB and Brucellosis results-livestock Proof of ownership

Microchip information

Picture of yourself with your horse/livestock

A list of all animals, species, sex, and color

Instructions:      Diet: Record the diet for your animals

Medications: Record dose and frequency for each medication. Provide pharmacy contact information for refills.

 


 

Myakka River Animal Clinic Newsletter for May 2013

 

We know the following is a repeat from a previous newsletter, but hurricane season is again approaching and our new clients and recent additions to our email list have requested to see it.

Disaster Preparation Steps for Pet Owners

Before a disaster:

Advanced planning is essential, it could save your pet’s life and make your’s easier during an emergency.

1.       Acquire a pet carrier (portable kennel) or crate for each house pet if you plan to travel. When animals are stressed, two who love each other may become aggressive if in the same carrier. A cat carrier should have enough room to fit a small cat box, two small dishes, and space enough for the cat to lie down, a dog carrier should also have enough room for two bowls and room for your dog to stand up and turn around. Clearly label each carrier with identification and contact info.

2.       Take time to familiarize your pet with the portable kennel.

3.       Be sure your pets vaccinations are up-to-date. Recommended vaccinations for cats are Rabies, Leukemia, Panleukopenia,Calcivirus,Chlamydia,&Herpes. Recommended vaccines for dogs are Rabies, Para influenza/Bordetella, Influenza, Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvo, Lepto.

4.       Keep a current picture of you & your pet with your pets’ records, along with a list of allergies & medical conditions. Make sure to include the name, address, and phone numbers of both you and your vet. Keep a copy with your pet and on your person. Can also tape to side of carrier or tape, folded in bag to your dog’s collar. Keep a list of each one of your animals with species, breed, age, sex, color, and distinguishing characteristics and carry with you.

5.         Also make copies of registration information, adoption papers, proof of purchase, and microchip information. Store in plastic and carry with you. .

6.       Be sure your pet wears a properly fitted collar/harness and current license, identification, and rabies tags at all times. Identification tags should display your home number, plus the number of a relative outside the affected region. A microchip is an added advantage. Acquire a leash to have on hand to maintain control of your pet, and a muzzle if your pet is uncooperative.

7.       Survey your home and determine the best location away from windows to place your pet(s) during a disaster such as a utility room, bathroom, kitchen, or other tiled area that can be cleaned easily. Keep small pets in carriers and large pets on a leash.

8.       Make some phone calls to determine your options before it ever becomes necessary to leave your home due to a disaster. So if you cannot use a shelter that accepts pets you should make other arrangements for your pets protection and safety, such as:

a.       Survey boarding kennels to determine specific locations. Find out who stays on the premises with the animals in the event of a disaster and what provisions would be made if the kennel should have to evacuate during a disaster. 

b.      Check with veterinary clinics to locate those with boarding facilities.

c.       Get shelter requirements.

d.      Ask dependable friends or relatives who live further inland, away from the coast or river areas, if you and your pet(s) could stay with them during the emergency.

e.      Call motels if you plan to leave your house and take your pet(s) with you during an evacuation. You may wish to check with several local motels away from coastal or river areas. Ask if they allow pets; and if so, ask if there are any restrictions on size or number of pets allowed.

9.       Give flea & tick and heartworm treatment if last time was 3 weeks or later.

10.    Make sure pets’ meds will last 2 weeks and have written instructions in plastic with medical records, including drug name and dosage instructions.

11.    If you live in an apartment, make sure your dog is trained to go up and down stairs to help during a rescue.

12.    Time and money permitting, make up flyers ahead of time of pets picture in plastic to hand out if pet gets lost.

At the time of a disaster:

Leaving your pets behind in a disaster is not recommended. But if it’s impossible to bring them, remember;

1.       Prepare an area for your pets to use inside the house away from windows such as a utility room, garage, bathroom, or other tiled area that can be easily cleaned.

2.       Bring your pet indoors well ahead of the disaster.

3.       Do not leave any pet outside or tied up during a hurricane

4.       Leave only dry type foods that are relatively unpalatable to prevent overeating. Use sturdy food containers.

5.       Do not leave any treat type vitamins or minerals supplements; overeating any of these may cause salt poisoning if too much is consumed. Birds must eat daily to survive. Use special food dispensers if you must leave them behind.

6.       Water for pets should be either left in bathtubs or other sturdy containers that will not spill.

7.       If animals are on special diets and medications, plan ahead by consulting your veterinarian.

8.       Never leave a cat with a dog even if the two are normally friendly.

9.       Confine and keep small pets (birds, hamsters, etc.) away from cats and dogs.

10.    Provide access to high places, such as countertops, in case flooding occurs. 

11.    Difficult or dangerous animals should be left in special crates or cages on top of the counter to reduce the possibility of them getting loose.

12.    Provide information of where you are staying.

Evacuating the disaster:   (If you are planning to leave the area and take your pet with you, the following items should be prepared.)

1.       License or identification, rabies tag & microchip information.

2.       Motion sickness pills may be needed. Check with your veterinarian for your pets specific needs.

3.       Label door with sticker “Evacuated with pets”.

4.       Preload carrier in car with evacuation & first-aid kit.

5.       Call and make sure evacuation site is still available.

After the disaster:

1.       Be careful in allowing your pets outdoors after the disaster has passed. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and your pet can easily be confused and become lost. Downed power lines, reptiles, and ants brought in with the high water could present real dangers to your pet. Watch for sharp objects & dangerous materials like fiberglass.

2.       Do not let pets consume outside water or food. Keep pets on leash or in carrier.

3.       Watch pets to make sure they don’t chew on poisonous ornamental plants from outside.

4.       Reintroduce food in small servings if animals have been without food for a prolonged time to reduce choking and bolting of food.

5.       Allow uninterrupted rest/sleep.

6.       If your animal is lost, physically check animal control, shelters, and local rescues daily. Check web sites for lost and found animals daily.  Hand out waterproof lost animal flyers to local facilities, veterinarians, and neighbors.

Small Animal Evacuation Kit:  (Make sure to put in Watertight Container)

·         2 week supply of food (dry & canned)

·         2 week supply of water in plastic gallon jugs

·         Batteries (flashlight, radio)

·         Cage/carrier (for each animal, labeled with your information)

·         Can opener (manual)

·         Cat/wildlife gloves

·         Emergency contact list

·         Familiar items to make pets feel comfortable (favorite toys, treats, blankets, beds)

·         Instructions

o   Diet: record the diet for each individual animal, including what not to feed and any food allergies

o   Medications: List each animal separately, including dose and frequency of medication, and which is refrigerated. Provide veterinary and pharmacy contact information

·         Leash, collar, or harness (for each animal)

·         Litter, litter pan, & little scoop

·         Maps of local area and alternate evacuation routes (in case of road closures)

·         Muzzles (dog or cat)

·         Newspaper (bedding, litter)

·         Non-spill food and water dishes

·         Paper towels

·         Radio (solar & battery operated)

·         Spoon (canned food)

·         Stakes and tie outs

·         Trash bags

·         Cleanser, disinfectant

·         Grooming equipment

·         Bleach

·         Copies of veterinary records and proof of ownership

Small Animal First Aid Kit:

Consult your veterinarian when developing the first aid kit. The items below are a few things that may be included in a small animal first aid kit.

 

·         Activated charcoal (liquid)

·         Anti-diarrheal liquid or tablets

·         Antibiotic ointment (wounds)

·         Antibiotic eye ointment

·         Bandage scissors/Iris scissors

·         Bandage tape/vet wrap

·         Betadine or Nolvasan (scrub & solution) 

·         Cotton-tipped swabs

·         Elastic bandage rolls (Ace)

·         Eye rinse (sterile)

·         First-aid books

·         Flea & tick treatment and prevention

·         Gauze pads and rolls

·         Ice cream sticks (which may be used as splints)/tongue depressors

·         Isopropyl alcohol/alcohol prep pads

·         Latex or non-allergenic gloves

·         Liquid dish detergent

·         Measuring spoons

·         Medications and preventatives such as heartworm prevention (clearly labeled)

·         Non-adherent bandage pads (wet-proof and telfa pads)

·         Saline solution (for rinsing wounds)

·         Sterile lubricant (water based)

·         Styptic powder (clotting agent)

·         Syringe or eye dropper

·         Thermometer

·         Towel & washcloth

·         Tweezers

·         Ice packs (non-refrigerated )

 


 

March-April 2013

 

When that time comes………The clinic offers in house euthanasia’s when you feel it is time to help your pet to a quiet resting place. Recently I have decided to offer home euthanasia for small animals. I already do large animals and small ruminants in the field. Cost will be $175.00 for pets less than 100 lbs and within 6 miles of the clinic. All field calls will need to be scheduled during regular hours. ASAP or an after hour small animal euthanasia will need to go to one of the four emergency clinics in the area.

 

 I do not tell you when it is time. Only you as the pet’s owner, will know when it’s is time. Everyone is different as to when this time is. We will support you whenever the decision is made. Euthanasia, however, is not a choice for an inconvenient healthy pet.

 

We do not, after the pet is euthanized, remove the animal from your home. If you are unable to bury the pet, there are several pet crematories in the area:

 

                     Belspur Oaks, (941)751-5044, www.BelspurOaks.com

                     Driftwood Pet Care, (941)488-9219

                     Venice Memorial Gardens Pet Cemetery, (941)493-4246

 

Prices and after hour fees vary. You will need to call ahead to get prices from them.

 

Belspur Oaks handles all cremations coming from the clinic.

Also should you bury your pet at home you can order a personalized marker from www.mosaic memorials.weebly.com

 

Leishmaniasis is the second leading cause of human deaths due to parasite infections behind malaria the leading cause.  This disease is rare in the United States. There are many different species of Leishmaniasis which is endemic in 88 countries of the world. The main vector (carrier) of this parasite is the sandfly a biting midge.  In the US most cases in animals are found in foxhounds that have an issue w/ this disease; or animals brought in from other countries. This is a worry w/ military personnel returning w/ animals from the Middle East. They or their new pet can have the disease.

 

The disease has two forms. The cutaneous version appears as sores on the skin and is self healing. The visceral form is more severe affecting the whole body potentially causing death if not treated.

 

For the first time in 2011 the University of Florida diagnosed a new species of Leishmaniasis in a horse. This species is only known to exist in Thailand and some parts of Europe. This is the first case of Leishmaniasis in any horse in the whole USA. Diagnosis was made via a biopsy and then genetic analysis. This horse has never left the eastern US.

 

Researchers are now going to direct their attention on whether this species can spread to humans and whether it is new to our country or has been here all along and never identified.

 

Time will tell.

 

Gee Doc what is the best food to feed my dog?  There is tons of misinformation about pet food out there. Companies pay advertisement agencies lots of money to make their food look better than everybody else’s. Commercial foods are made in basically the same way. What makes them different are the ingredients, the quality, and control measures. Higher prices do not always mean a better food.

 

A common tactic by smaller pet food companies to compete in a crowded marketplace is to vilify the ingredients in pet food. Most recently, grains like corn are incorrectly being advertised as being bad for pets because they are harder to digest or are more allergenic. Not so, vegetables and grains are easily digested carbohydrates; and the chances of your pet being allergic to grains or meats are about equal.

 

The Association of American Feed Control Officials, AAFCO, is an advisory group who set up guidelines to help US states adopt for feed control laws. This includes regulations, feed terms, nutritional requirements, and ingredient definitions. Feed control laws are not a universal law enforced by the US government, but is controlled by each state. The Food and Drug Administration only gets involved when a bunch of animals get sick. AAFCO does not approve foods for consumption. Only the terms natural and organic have been defined by AAFCO. Gourmet, grain-free, human grade, premium, and whole foods are not defined and advertisers can manipulate the meaning for their positive advantage.

So what should we feed? Stick to the big name companies: Royal Canin, Hills, Nestle Purina, and Iams. They control all aspects of the production of the food from development to manufacturing and sales. These companies use veterinary nutritionist to help formulate their diets using the latest scientific knowledge and then do feed trials according to AAFCO guidelines to prove safety and efficiency. They also test all incoming raw ingredients, during the manufacturing process and at the end when the product is complete. By doing this there is no fluctuation from batch to batch.

 

If you want to feed someone else’s diets then call them and ask some questions. All pet food manufacturers are required to include contact information. Ask them if they have a veterinary nutritionist and what their credentials are? How old is the food formulation? What are their quality control procedures? Do they food trial their dog food line? Owners need to look beyond the advertising glitz and find information about the company. Keep in mind that websites and marketing materials can be misleading because inaccuracies are not enforced by labeling laws.

 

For me, I shy away from anything that is endorsed by any kind of celebrity.

 

Wanted:  I am currently looking for a part-time employee. The job tittle is veterinary assistant. The job description is anything that needs to be done in the working and the running of the office that is not the actual practice of veterinary medicine- that’s my job. I am not looking for an office manager. This person will work front, kennel, surgery, outside and anything in between. It is easier to tell you who should not apply. You do not like to be covered in or clean up drool, vomit, diarrhea, blood, urine, dirt/mud, pus, and anal glands. You do not like the heat and do not like to sweat. You walk slowly and cannot run, squat, go up a ladder or be struck by a 75 lbs. moving object. You cannot lift/ carry 30- 40 lbs. You are allergic to dogs and cats or anything w/ hair or feathers. You love to talk to people all the time and must touch any fuzzy creature that crosses your path. If your mouth moves, you cannot do anything else. You are paralyzed by snakes and spiders. Vacuum cleaners are your thing, and you will not use brooms or dust mops. If you don’t know what a dust mop is, don’t apply. This is true if you don’t like to clean, it’s more than half the job. If you smoke, I’m allergic, nope. You love to cook and bring the food into work- no. Body piercings, other than your ears, or black and loud colors are your style. You don’t like to share your work space. You don’t like to be corrected over and over and over again when you learn something new. If you are interested, stop in and fill out an application or drop off a resume.

 

Oh my aching dog/cat:  In a recent report done at the University of Missouri it was found that 20 percent of middle-age dogs and 90 percent of older dogs have arthritis in one or more joints.

 

Sometimes arthritis is obvious; other times all an owner will see is a decrease in stamina while walking or playing. Dog or cat, you may see them not hopping on the furniture. In cats an owner may see the pet having difficulty grooming or using its box. A pet may look like they are straining to go; however in reality, they are just having difficulty positioning themselves to go.

 

In the last 16 years, care of pets to treat for arthritis has evolved to a plethora of ways to help make our pets be more comfortable. In 1997 Pfizer introduced the first non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), called Rimadyl , to which started the ball rolling and the latter released products of Deramaxx and Metacam, all of which helps manage chronic pain. The goal is always to use as little NSAID’s to get the affect needed.

 

Other measures to aid in pain reduction are many:  weight loss, physical therapy/ aqua therapy, acupuncture, laser therapy, nutraceuticals, Adequan, steroids, opiates, and stem cell therapy. One or more of these may be necessary to help reduce NASID’s usage. Some of you may have read about stem therapy, however most of you cannot afford the $1500.00 to $2500.00 price tag; so I’m going to skip it.

 

Weight loss is a must for reduction in pet pain. Studies have shown that rear leg lameness is greatly reduced by 11 to 18 percent. The goal is not to make your pet skinny. Too little muscle can also aggravate arthritis.

 

Physical therapy can be just as simple as walking your pet. Movement of the joint helps feed the joint. More advanced physical therapy can be done with a trained pet physical therapist. Personally I don’t care for aqua therapy since the pet being wet may predispose to skin/ ear problems if not dried properly. Toweling is not enough for some dogs. You have to use a hair dryer, which takes more time. In general, physical therapy improves muscle strength by careful movement of the affected area. 

 

I put acupuncture and laser therapy in the same category for they both act similarly with either needling or concentrated light directed into the body. Both can help both painful areas as well as secondary myofascial pain in the related area. There are also some really good message therapists who are trained in myofascial trigger point release. Overall response on both is cumulative through repeat treatments.


Adequan, a polysulfated glycosaminoglycan, is an injectable product that helps improve the joint fluid by reducing bone rubbing against bone. There are oral versions that provide glucosamines and chondroitins. The oral products are not regulated and can vary in quality. The general rule is that if it is priced low compared to all the others- don’t buy it. I sell Nutramax’s Cosequin. It was the first on the market and generally is on the top of the list when products are tested for consistent component. Nutramax also make Dasuquin, which is Cosequin with avocado and soybean extracts added. The additional products help reduce inflammation. Other products may also have MSM added to that does the same. MSM can be liver toxic at high doses. I have tried other nutraceuticals in the office but for most the price is prohibitive and they just sit on the shelf. When my own dogs are on their last leg I add in Resverasyn but alas it is not cheap.

Some pets also benefit from the addition of other pain reducing or anti-inflammatory drugs like tramadol, or steroids. Tramadol is pretty safe and an unscheduled opiate. The main side effect is sedation, but it is cheap. Steroids are usually are a last choice drug but for some pets a life savior. Never mix steroids with NSAIDs.

 



MRAC January/February 2013 Newsletter

I have just a few boxes left of the buy one and get one free of the Atopica® special.  Otherwise they are back to the $5 to $15 rebates depending on the size.

 

Adoptions:  Currently the Shar Pei rescue is looking for a home for a spayed female. She is 40-45 lbs. w/ good eyes and ears and not heavy on the wrinkling.  The owner passed on. Interested people can talk to Michelle.

 

Classical Music:  Recently researchers at the College of Veterinary medicine at Colorado State University studied the calming effects of three types of music:  Classical, Heavy Metal, and a modification of Classical music specifically designed for calming dogs. They looked at levels of activity, noises made by the dogs, and body shaking. The dogs where most agitated by the heavy metal. The modified classical showed no change, yet the classical showed increased sleeping. The article did not say as to what type of classical. I prefer Baroque. I would be interested to know what the results would have been for County, the most frequent music I hear at horse barns.

 

Pigeon Fever:  Deep intramuscular abscesses of the pectoral region and the underside of the front chest are usually caused by corynebacterium psuedotuberculosis. This is a disease of horses and because the bacteria makes the animal look like it has a pigeon breast, people have called the ailment pigeon fever. This disease is most prevalent in the arid Western United States where it is also called dryland distemper. I have had 2 cases in the last 20 years. This disease can be sporadic or can occur as an outbreak affecting lots of horses in one area. Right now the disease appears to be happening as outbreaks in the East at an increasing frequency, rather than the more typical sporadic case.

 

Drought and above normal temperatures which increases the numbers of flying insects (flies) seems to occur prior to an outbreak. Inflammation of the front underside of the horses seems to be a predisposing condition to the horse breaking with the disease. Also, those horses that live in the dirt and do not have access to a cleaned stall with shavings are more susceptible to pigeon fever. Hot dry weather cannot be avoided; however, biting insect can be prevented with good insect repellents. If your horse develops an unusual large swelling on its chest or anywhere you need to make an appointment with your Veterinarian.   

 

What is ARF? This stands for adverse reactions to food which includes food hypersensitivities (allergies), food intolerances(malabsorptions), and other food problems. Effects are usually seen in the skin and digestive system but can affect the whole body systemically.

 

Food allergies are an immune response to large ingested proteins with clinical responses seen in minutes to days. Animals are not allergic to fats and carbohydrates. Only ten percent of ARF are immunologic reactions. A pet can potentially develop an allergy to any protein after it has been fed often for two or more years. Most common allergens in dogs are beef, chicken, eggs, milk, wheat, soy, corn, fish, rice, and potato. Chicken, fish, and dairy are the most frequent allergens seen in cats. Now these foods are NOT more allergenic than the unlisted items; they are the more often percentage wise fed and thus are higher on the list. Non-seasonal symptoms can be seen as hives or the skin and ears turning red and itchy. Sometimes an animal is allergic mildly to several food items and only when they are fed together does the animal hit threshold and become symptomatic. This is true when mixed with environmental allergens the pet is sensitive too. Although food allergies are known to be seen in the ears and rears of patients, it can manifest symptoms in the digestive system with diarrhea, vomiting, and gas. Symptoms can also be seen in other systems including the respiratory and neurologic.

 

A very large portion of ARF is food intolerances which has no antigenic component; instead, being a pets inability to digest a food effectively. Lactose and gluten maldigestion fall into this classification. Intolerances can be from eating proteins, fats, or carbohydrates. For example some pets can handle fiber in their diets while others need to be fed low fiber foods. Typically you are going to see signs in the gastrointestinal system: vomiting, diarrhea, flatuance, increased bowel movements and constipation. However, just like allergies you are going to see problems with the skin because nutrients are not being absorbed properly. Normal skin turnover is not going to function properly and the skin barrier is going to get breaks in it. Your pet’s hair will lose its gloss and start falling out while the skin will become flaky and greasy or dry. The pet will become more susceptible to skin/ear/ feet infections and environmental allergens.

 

So what does this all mean? Well it means that one trip to the Veterinarian may not solve your pets problem immediately. Sometimes it’s like solving a crime. Information needs to be collected, test will need to be run and treatment trials will need to be done to find out what is going on and what individualized treatment plan is best for each pet. Many times disease processes overlap on symptoms or there is more than one problem going on making it hard to figure out what is what. It takes time.

 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the ingredients listed above as far as feeding to a pet that has no health issues. While cats are true carnivores, dogs are not, rather being omnivores like we humans, bears, and pigs. Dogs can eat whatever we eat. There are some exceptions like grapes, avocados, raisins, onions and Xylitol®. I will talk more about this later. Now if your pet does have GI and skin problems, modifying the diet may be a place to start. This is called an elimination diet trial. Current symptoms may need to be controlled with veterinary drugs while the cause is figured out. Typical trials run for six to nine weeks, because in food allergies, it takes that long to clear the allergen completely from an animal’s body. To help narrow down as to what trial diet is fed, a blood test can be run to rule in what foods can be used. Sometimes you can get lucky by looking at what you were feeding the pet before the problem occurred or you can remove some of the more common allergens or less tolerated foods.

 

There are pitfalls to the elimination diet. Firstly research has shown that the cheaper over the counter hypoallergenic diets are often contaminated because the processing equipment is not cleaned efficiently between different runs of food. The time it takes to do this is why therapeutic diets by reputable companies like Hill’s, Purina, and Royal Canin cost more.  These companies have very stringent quality controls. Now once the offending food item is found the cheaper varieties can be fed watching for symptoms to return if the food is contaminated.

 

Another tough aspect of elimination diets is that you cannot slip up even an ity bity amount when it is a food allergy. Children dropping food, other pet’s food dropped or left out, and flavored pet’s medication can set back the trial by six to nine weeks if something is accidentally eaten.

 

For the really tough cases there are manufactured diets that have short chained or cleaved proteins so that the pet’s body does not recognize them. Many companies sell these diets:  Hill’s ZD® and Purina’s HA®.  The new one on the block is Anallergenic® diet by Royal Canin. The protein source is poultry feathers which are broken down into short chains of amino acids. This method has already been used successfully in hypoallergenic baby food. Royal Canin then added protein-free palatability enhancers and additional nutrients to produce a balanced, nutritious, tasty diet. I know what you guys are saying- it’s expensive. Yes, these diets are, BUT you save money with less Veterinarian visits, diagnostics, and drugs trying to treat your pet’s skin problem if the diet works. Remember a trial is only 6-9 weeks.

 


 

November/December 2012

 

Here are some short synopses of items I have read lately. Recent recalls are for Boots and Barkley Beef Bully Sticks sold through Target for potential Salmonella contamination. Also, Vita Kitty Chicken Breast with Flaxseed and Vitamins is being pulled off the shelves.

WNV on the rise. This fall, according to public health officials, has turned out to be one of the worst outbreaks of West Nile virus since 1999 when the disease surfaced in the US. As of September, over 4000 cases had been reported with approximately 2000 cases human. Forty-eight states were affected with 70% in six states: Texas, South Dakota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Michigan.

 Birds act as the reservoir host for the virus; and the virus is transmitted to humans, horses and other mammals through mosquitoes. The two main causes for the increase in cases are hot temperatures and decreases immunity in the bird population. Research has shown that hot weather increases transmissibility of the virus through mosquitoes. Researchers also feel that over the last ten years, the older bird population which had immunity to the virus have died off with their being a larger naïve population capable of carrying the bug; thus a larger reserve exists for the mosquito to feed on and spread the disease.

According to the USDA, of all those horses unvaccinated in the US and are bitten by a West Nile virus carrying mosquitoes, 39 percent will develop symptoms of the disease, 40 percent of which will die. Symptoms are walking like they are drunk, hind limb weakness, listlessness, not wanting to eat, muscle twitching, and having a dopey appearance.

Getting a new puppy? Animal behaviorists have studied both pups that were separated from the litter before and after 8 weeks. They have found that premature separation before 8 weeks leads to increase misbehavior in dogs. Later in life the dogs showed increased destructiveness, excessive barking, fearfulness on walks, reactivity to noise, food possessiveness and separation anxiety. 

Thundershirts:  It is body ware for dogs and now cats which produces a swaddling effect on pets. The gentle, constant pressure to the torso creates a calming effect to help animals deal with emotional distress while in the car, during a veterinary visit, and thunderstorms. You can visitthundershirt.com or thundershirtforcats.com .

 Some dogs are not upset by the noise of thunder or rain, or the change in barometric pressure; but are disturbed by the increased static charge of their hair coat. A new company makes an anti-static storm cape. You can look them up at stormdefender.com.

Bird Flu: The answer is in on what killed a whole bunch of New England seals. The H3N8 influenza A virus mutated and jumped from waterfowl to seals. This is a repeat of the equine flu mutating and jumping to dogs.

Are you a Dr Google client? A recent survey done in the UK of 1000 women found out that there was a 25 percent rate of misdiagnosis and a 50 percent rate of self-medicating with an incorrect or unnecessary drug or treatment. Often there was a delay in finding a correct diagnosis and treatment by human doctors, resulting in a less than optimal cure. It is being found that the same is happening in veterinary medicine.  There is nothing wrong with you researching about your pet’s health on the Internet. This often helps you guys to understand what I am talking about. Keep in mind that there is a lot of inaccurate information out there. Often there are articles written by non-experts trying to sell you products or services. To help avoid misinformation online go to google.com/advanced search. A new screen will come up were you can choose a topic and type in .edu in the site or domain section. This will allow one to search articles and resources published on academic veterinary school websites. Other good sites are the multitude of veterinary clinic websites out there. My site does not cover everything. It is always good to research more than one site, like 5, to make sure all is in agreement. Be forewarned that we veterinarians like doctors do not always agree on how to diagnose or treat something.

The clinics e-mail address is Myakkariveranimalclinic@verizon.net . Here are some ground rules for using it. This address cannot be used for instant messaging. Even my husband and mother will not use it that way. As busy I am at the clinic, I only get to look at my email maybe every 24 to 48 hours. Thus there is a one to three day turnaround time for responses. Urgent matters need to be called in if we are open or you need to contact my answering service to reach me when no one picks up the phone. The answering service phone number is 941-364-3464. I will not do a “What is your diagnosis” or look at pictures. I’m a touchy feely doctor; so you nor a picture can capture how an animal is behaving or what his eyes, heart, or outer/inner body is doing. Don’t be surprised when I say you need to make an appointment for your pet. Questions need to be simple. I may respond or have one of the girls call and respond. Longer answers may require an appointment. Lastly no cutesy emails, I only look at maybe 5 percent of them due again to a lack of time. 

More on ticks:  In case you have not heard it, there appears to a connection between lone star tick bites and a development of an allergy to red meat in some people. Researchers say the allergy is triggered by the tick’s saliva leaking into the bite wound. It’s hard to diagnose because symptoms do not show up for three to six hours with symptoms being anywhere from hives to anaphylactic shock. Dr. Scott Commins assistant professor of medicine at the University of Virginia says the bizarre allergy is popping up along the East Coast and into the Bible Belt. He says 90 percent of those affected have a history of tick bites. Those that have the reaction say they can eat fish and poultry but must be careful to not eat it if it is cooked on the same surface as red meat.

We from the clinic hope everybody’s holiday is going smoothly.




October 2012

 

Shorts:

Just a reminder to those of you who have had your pets microchipped and registered, that you should yearly check the registration to make sure no critical data-entry errors have occurred or changed in updates or transfers.

This suggestion comes from an experienced trainer who learned the hard way that the best of training in the best of dogs is not reliable in stressful times. She had to do an emergency evacuation because of an approaching fire. Her youngest dog flipped out and she had to waste time corralling her dog because the dog ignored her voice commands. Fortunate for her the fire never made it to her home. She recommends that before stepping out of the house prior to evacuating during a natural disaster to make sure your dog is leashed up.

Recent research shows that dogs will yawn often in response to hearing a human yawn just like we do.  This contagious yawn occurs most often when initiated by an animal/human familiar to the test dog. Scientists think this a form of empathy or emotionally based.

 

This is from the National Wildlife Federation senior scientist. Two years after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded dumping 200 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, he grades the region’s coastal wetland’s health as poor. As of March 2012 there have been 523 stranded dolphins since the spill. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration call the magnitude of strandings “unprecedented.”

 

Does anybody remember the movie “The Happening,” where nature releases a gas that causes people to commit suicide? Well something similar happened in Texas in some cows kept on Tifton grass. One morning this summer, scientists can’t figure out why, the grass started to release cyanide gas killing a herd of cattle. We still have much to learn about nature.

Do not mix your horse with other horses who are not current on their Coggins. Last summer in Arkansas a herd of 80 horses had 40 test positive. Two horses died while the other 38 where euthanized. The last new addition to the herd was in early 2011 and was suppose to be negative. The owner never checked the whole herd yearly, only testing 5-10 horses. This allowed the missing of animals that may have been incubating the disease on the first test to be missed on nonexistent subsequent testing.

 

Did you know that parvovirus can remain viable in the soil for up to 3 years?  During the dry times the virus is not that contagious from the soil; however, when it rains the virus reactivates and can infect a dog. Unvaccinated dogs develop the disease; while vaccinated dogs do not succumb to the disease but they still shed tons of viruses where ever they go. All current vaccines protect against all 3 strains of parvo. It is so simple- protect your dog by vaccinating.

 

The AVMA has let it be known that there have not been any new canine distemper virus strains running amuck in the USA as some multiple media outlets would like you to believe. There has been an increase in cases seen in animal shelters especially in Florida, California, and Texas. Likely causes are the warmer weather and decreased vaccination in low income areas. Animals sometimes get lose and end up at our local shelters. Distemper is not the only disease they can pick up at a shelter or being out an about. Protect your dog- vaccinate.

 

What is CDS?  Cognitive dysfunction disease in dogs and cats is similar to human Alzheimer’s, a neurodegenerative disease. The relative ages when a dog or cats are considered a senior are based on weight:  10 years if the pet is < 20 pounds, 9 years if they weigh 21-50 pounds, and 8 at 51-90 pounds, and 7 if the pet is over 90 pounds. CDS prevalence is greater as the animal ages: 5% in dogs 10-12 years old, 23.3% ages 12-14, and 41% as dogs grow older than 14 years.  Cats are 28% ages 11-15 years and 50% when greater than 15 years.

 

Symptoms of CDS are disorientation, altered interactions, a change in the sleep/wake cycle, house soiling, and changes in level of activity. Pets may not recognize the owner or stand at times lost in the house. Cats may show increased vocalization. Owners may notice that the pet is more fearful, has increased anxiety, or are more irritable. Animals may demonstrate an inability to stay asleep at night like seniors who night walk. Pet owners will find increased urinary or fecal accidents in the house. Both decreased and increased activities of the senior pets are signs of CDS. Memory deficits have been identified in the early stage of CDS but often are hard for owners to see or except unless they own a highly trained dog (acting dog or service dog) or they are very perceptive.

Diagnosis of CDS requires the veterinarian to rule out first any medical conditions or behavioral conditions that may copycat CDS. Also things get complicated when more than one problem exists or medication alters behavior.

 

Just like Alzheimer’s there is no cure for CDS. Treatment is focused on slowing down the damage taking place to the nerves reducing cellular death and improving clinical signs. Environmental, drugs, diet and supplements are all used as adjunct therapy. Enrichment of the environment has been found to be helpful. The pet’s surroundings should give it the ability to explore, climb, or perch.

 

Owners should play hunt and chase games or stimulate ways to find and get food. One drug used to help pets with CDS is Anipryl (L-deprenyl) which effects dopamine and serotonin levels.  Hill’s senior diet b/d and Purina’s One Vibrant Maturity 7 are both made to help the senior pet with brain function. These diets help counteract the effects of damaging molecules from metabolism and inflammation, and provide alternative sources of energy for the brain other than glucose. Some of the supplements available out there to help manage CDS are Cholodin, Neutricks, Senilife, and Novifit. I carry Cholodin and Novifit in the office. Cholodin provides choline an ingredient in acetylcholine a neurotransmitter which may be low in senior pets. Novifit ,S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe) tosylate, helps maintain cell membrane fluidity, receptor function, and the turnover of neural transmitters; and also increases the production of endogenous antioxidants. I have my dog, Tucker, on both Cholodin and Novifit. He is a 15 pound dog, age 15, and seems to be functioning better with the dietary supplements.

 



September 2012

 

Specials:

·         Heartgard-buy 12 doses and get a $12 rebate

·         Revolution-buy 6 doses and get 1 tube free

·         Certifect, buy 3 doses and get $5 off.

·         Comfortis & Trifexis buy 6ct and get $10 rebate

·         Vectra buy 6 and get 1 free

·         Advantage/Advantix buy 6 doses and get 1 tube free

Boatsie’s Boxes: Once again it is that time of year to stuff a stocking for our military personnel overseas. The following is taken from their website.

 

BOATSIE’S BOXES INC.

OPERATION CHRISTMAS STOCKING

SUPPORT OUR TROOPS AT CHRISTMAS

 

We have thousands of troops serving in Afghanistan this Christmas, and a large group still in Iraq. Some of the large bases have very limited supplies, and many forward operating bases and out posts are without chow halls or stores. After 10 years of combat, our men and women need our love and support MORE than ever. Please join us to brighten up the holidays for our HEROS this Christmas.

 

Fill a stocking…make a donation

· All: Please use this list as a guide, $20-$25 for each stocking makes a nice gift and ensures each military person gets a stocking of equal value.

· Size stocking: If you are filling stocking as a group project than 13-16” is fine, if an individual wants to fill a larger stocking, 16-19”, just add more items.

· Material for stockingsMaking your own…red felt or any material that will hold up during shipping.

· Food: Chocolate candy, Christmas candies, mints, hot chocolate, apple cider mix, slim jims, jerky, trail mix, nuts, gummy anything, twizzlers, gum, dried fruit, kisses, life savers, and any healthy snacks or coffee.

· Games/entertainment: Recent DVD’s, CD’s, hacky sac’s novelty balls, playing cards, yo-yo’s, sports magazines, or anything else you can imagine.

· Travel/toiletries: Toothbrush travel kits, wet wipes, small shaving cream and razors, Chap Stick, tissues. (Please no liquids or strong smelling items that would spoil candy)

· Clothing: Black, brown or white athletic socks and black watch caps. (Good quality)

· Other: Phone cards (AT&T 120 minutes minimum) AA & AAA batteries, your choice.

 

Please add a personal greeting in the stocking, reading uplifting notes and letters from folks back home will surely lift morale!!

 

Instructions: Fill stockings TO THE TOP with items. Slip switch, safety pin, or rubber band the top to prevent items from falling out during shipping. Please mark female stockings with and “F” on the outside.

Please help Boatsie with the shipping costs by placing $1.00 with the stocking (of course more is always gratefully accepted.

Make checks payable to Boatsie’s Boxes Inc.

Please deliver stockings to the clinic by October 22nd so I can ship them to Boatsie’s transition point for the overseas troops.

Updates can be found at Boatsie’sboxes.com

 

________________________________________________________________

 

And he is off munching and walking: On September first at five PM the pony pile bingo was started. After 95 minutes of leisurely grazing the pony took a dump and the winner is Jo Paige and David Greenough. A long time client, they owned Willow a small blue domestic shorthair. Unfortunately they lost their cat recently and purchased their plots in her memory. They were kind enough to donate their 243 dollars to Felinicity to help spay/ neuter feral cats. The next pony pile bingo will run when we sell all the plots again which took about 6 months. There are 155 plots left.

I am planning the Paws poker walk to take place on November 3rd. If there are any major conflicts with big community events let me know. So far I cannot find any. At the poker walk you will walk a lap around the clinic property picking up cards as you go, either with a live dog or a plastic, metal or stuffed dog. The person with the best hand wins. The winner will receive a six month supply of heartworm and flea and tick control. Cost to participate is ten dollars. The walk will start at 12 noon and the last walker will need to be on the course by 2pm. If there has been a lot of rain, call the clinic to make sure the walk is on.

Did you know that recent research shows that 62% of dogs ages 11-16 years old have some form of doggy Alzheimer’s, also known as cognitive dysfunction. Cats get this too. I will cover this in the next newsletter.

 

Warning, Warning, Warning: I do not know if we are going to have a bumper crop like two years ago, but a lot of my oak trees are holding a lot of acorns.  Very tasty to some equine, ruminants and pigs, and a squirrels favorite meal; the acorn carries a lot of calories in a small package. Horses can engorge on them like getting into a bag of grain and colic. Some animals over a period of weeks will pack on the pounds getting way to fat resulting in an episode of laminitis, inflammation of the feet. Many know a horse can get this but so can a ruminant. Please watch your pastures and if your trees are dropping a lot of acorns remove them or move your animal to another local if possible.  Small amounts of acorns are OK; just reduce the amount of grain you are feeding.  The live oak trees (ribbed bark, round leaves) are sweeter while the laurels (smoother bark, prickled leaves) are bitterer. With trial and error you can actually find out which are the tastier trees.

Now some of you are saying to yourself that you have been told that oak trees are poisonous if ingested. The answer to this is yes in certain situations. Oak trees have tannins in them which in high doses can be toxic and affect the kidneys. Interesting note is that research has shown low doses of tannins are good for the kidneys. Also wine and tea have tannins in them and give these drinks their bite. Oak tree poisoning is seen most frequently in the southwestern portion of our country where the trees contain more tannin. When good roughage falls into short supply animals will eat the oaks and get sick. Some species produce a substance in there saliva which binds up the tannin letting it pass through the intestinal track without it being absorbed making ingestion OK. In addition if an animal is fed low doses then increasing doses of tannin, some animals will start producing the binding substance. The animal can adapt to eating the tannin safely. Tannin is bitter. This is nature’s way of saying don’t eat. However, ripe live oak acorns are low in tannin and thus sweet; and if not monitored overeating can be a problem.

What does the clinic accept for tick control?  My current favorites are Vectra 3D, Preventic, Scalibar, and Certifect. I do not accept products that are sold in places like Walmart, Tractor supply or anything you can buy in the dog and cat isle at similar stores. Products that end up here are old treatment regimes that the leaders of flea and tick products have retired for newer more effective products, or found out they were not as safe as they thought, the second being diluted for retail. Vectra uses permethrin like Advantix but has a patented ingredient that helps it stick to the coat better. When I use to use Advantix, I ran into a problem where my dogs would rub it off when they rolled in the dirt, even when I penned them up for a while to give time for the product to spread.

When I switched to Vectra 3D the problem was resolved.  Both the Preventic collar impregnated with amitraz and the Scalibar collar impregnated with deltramethrin have been successfully used in this office. Merck has improved Frontline and has added amitraz to the fipronil calling it Certifect which,also, is working very well in the office. Promeris has been pulled from the market. Although not on the package labeling, Comfortis (spinosad) does kill ticks the first 2 weeks that it is used, not the second two weeks. So if you give it just before you board or go into a tick infested area it should protect your dog. Advantage-multi does not have any thing in it for tick protection. Revolution does not seem to work real well against ticks. Two newer products with similar ingredients (fipronil and cyphenothrin) are Parastar and Frontline Tritrack and are looking potentially effective. We have just started selling the Tritrack so time will tell how well it works.

 If I have a problem with ticks in cats I suggest Comfortis or Assurity, a topical version of Comfortis .

So which product is the best? Well all products do not work at 100% efficiency for all dogs and owners especially if they want an immediate response and zero ticks all the time. I really cannot pick one product over the other. If an owner’s dog has suddenly become inundated with any one or all stages of ticks, two products may be needed. My favorites are Comfortis mixed with Preventic, Vectra 3D, Advantix, or Certifect. If the dog has a problem with Comfortis, then Preventic with Vectra 3D is chosen. 

 



July-August 2012

 

What the tick has happened.

Ticks, ticks, ticks, ticks, ticks. Parasitologists are forecasting a bad year with hard ticks. Why? The little buggers are maturing and reproducing faster since this year has been warmer than normal. Both poor and rich are affected. The bigger the house and yard are, the more places for the ticks to hide. Unless the White House is dumping lots of pesticides in and around the building, ticks are living there too. All that is necessary for ticks to set up house on your property are some tall grasses or bushes; some crevices in and around your home; and some wildlife traveling through. Ticks like to lodge in cracks and crevices below shingles, clapboard siding, window moldings, baseboards and small holes in your stucco. Ticks will feed on all land vertebrates: reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and birds. To hitch a ride, and feed ticks will climb up tall grasses, weeds, low shrubbery, fences, siding of buildings and the like. The height climbed is usually not more than a yard and no they do not fall from trees.

According to the University of Florida the hard body tick (not the soft) are the main tick pests in Florida. The most common types of ticks in our area are the black-legged tick also known as the deer tick, the American dog tick, the lone star tick, the Gulf coast tick, and the brown dog tick. These hard body ticks are a 3-host tick and need 3 separate hosts to feed on for each meal as the tick molts from a larva or seed tick to a nymph and then to an adult who then mates; whereupon, the female lays eggs and the whole cycle repeats.

 The adult female tick only feeds once and then lays 5-10,000 eggs in one location which I call a tick nest. It is not uncommon to find the dead female attached to this dense cluster. In warmer climates the female tick may start laying within two days after detaching. In colder weather this may be months. Outside the eggs are laid under stones, leaves, clumps of dirt, etc. and in crevices and cracks of natural and manmade structures.  Incubation can be as short as 7 days in the black legged tick with an average of 20 days for the other species.

 Outside larvae will locate themselves along mammalian trails and paths, roads, hedgerows, and in meadows in a waiting position. While questing (host seeking) ticks will migrate back and forth between vegetation and the ground to rehydrate. Larvae are alerted about a potential host by carbon dioxide, odors, vibrations, interrupted light, warmth, and moisture. The larvae, after feeding, drop to the ground and molt into a nymph. Larvae can feed for as little as two to three days. Molting times for the larvae is shortest for the black legged at three days and as long as eight days for the lone star. During the molts the old stage is shed and the tick hardens.

Nymphs and adults behave similarly to the larvae. The feeding process lasts from 3 to 21 days for the nymphs and adults. Nymph molts are again quickest for the black legged at 4 days with the other four in the teens.  Only during the last 24 hours of feeding do the nymphs and female adults engorge and expand into their blown up appearance.  The male adult tick usually dies after mating while the female dies after laying her eggs. The males do not swell like the female.

Ticks may have multiple life cycles throughout the year or may take 2 or more years to complete one life cycle. They are able to tolerate long starvation periods, very low humidity and low water intake when off the host. Ticks are also specialized in the ability to excrete large volumes of fluids back into the host while feeding.

So how do we tell which tick is which? It’s not that easy but here is one helpful way. Behind the mouth parts is a shield. In the bloated adult female the lower body swells up around the shield which you can only see looking straight on in front of the tick. The black-legged tick has a black shield. The brown dog tick’s is reddish brown. The lone star has a white dot on the caudal part of its golden shield. The American dog tick and gulf coast have a brown shield with tan lines on the perimeter with the gulf coast having more tan. If the male is hiding under the female identification is even easier since he does not swell.

The black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis)  is one of the smaller ticks. The legs are darker than the rest of the body. The female has a reddish-brown body while other stages and the male are a brown to black. The black legged tick larvae and nymphs prefer to feed on skinks, little lizards, snakes, birds and some rodents. The adults feed on larger animals. These ticks prefer wooded areas or along the edge of forest clearings.  Adult female ticks grow from a sesame size to as large as 3/8th of an inch turning a slate gray.

 The American dog tick (Dermacenter variablis) larvae can live without food for 540 days and feeds almost exclusively on small rodents. The larvae are very small, being noticed only when there is a large number of them. Initially yellow, they turn slate-gray to black when they feed. Nymphs live as long as larvae, change color similarly, and also prefer rodents. The adult female is brown and the male is mottled brown with tan. Both prefer to feed on dogs but will hop on a large variety of mammals. These ticks like open habitats and grassy areas but will also quest along the edge of woods. When full the female can swell as large as ¾ long and a ½ wide, becoming a slate-gray.  Adults can live as long as three years without food. The American dog tick is the most widely distributed tick of the hard ticks and is also the most commonly encountered by pest control companies. In warm weather this tick can complete its life cycle in 3 months.

The brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus) is the only tick in Florida that will live in indoors as well as outside as the other 4 tick types. This is a cosmopolitan tick and all stages will set up shop inside as well as lay their eggs. Inside, female ticks will lay eggs around baseboards, window and ceiling casings, on curtains, inside/ under furniture, and around warm TV sets and entertainment systems. They lay eggs outside too.   All stages of the brown dog ticks really prefer dogs and will only go to other mammals if necessary to survive. The brown dog tick is uniformly red-brown as a nymph and adult. Engorged adult females will get to be about I/2 long and 1/4th wide while the body expands into a gray- green color.

The lone star tick (Amblyomma americnum) is rounder than the other ticks. The tick larvae and nymphs feed on small mammals and birds while the adults prefer big mammals like cattle, deer, us and horses; but if hungry, any domestic animal is far game for all tick stages. Females engorge to be about 3/8 of an inch long and 1/4th wide.  Although found in our area they are more prevalent in the central and northern parts of the state.

The Gulf coast tick (Amblyomma maculatum) generally is only noticed in the adult stages. The immature forms feed on small rodents and ground birds. The adults like a large variety of mammals but prefer cattle and deer. This tick is ornamental with the body a mixture of gold-brown and white. This tick is similar to the American dog tick but has larger mouth parts. They really like to feed in ears and are known as the cattle ear tick.   

Ticks are only second to mosquitoes in transferring infectious agents. Diseases passed to our pets (dogs, cats and horses) are rocky mountain spotted fever, tularemia ,babesiosis, anaplasmosis, Lyme disease, Q fever, ehrlichiosis, cytauxzoonosis, and piroplasmosis.

Ticks can, also, cause a paralysis in your pets by secreting a neurotoxin in its saliva while feeding. Typically it is a female tick that is attached around the head and neck and is entering the fast feeding stage somewhere around five to seven days after attachment. There are exceptions in that some dogs are affected regardless of where the tick is. Also, when there is a heavy burden of larvae or nymphs symptoms of paralysis can occur too. Treatment is removing the tick with improvements seen in twenty four hours and full recovery in seventy two hours. Sensitized animals if bitten by another tick soon after the first episode may relapse more quickly. All species of ticks discussed in this article can cause paralysis. I was taught that the way you tell tick paralysis from other paralysis is that the animal affected can still wag its tail.

When examining your pet for ticks one must use both hands and eyes to observe a tick. Often a tick can be felt and not immediately seen. No the tick is not going to bite you if you touch it. Do not use your fingers, match or alcohol to remove the tick. What you should use is a pair of tweezers or better yet forceps which you can buy at a medical department store and some hardware stores. Be careful to not rupture the tick for the fluids can penetrate breaks in your or the dog’s skin and pass diseases. Also, if you aggravate the tick, you know like taking a match to it, the tick may expel its saliva back into the bite wound passing disease to the pet if it had not yet done so. To remove the tick, just use the forceps and place them in front of the head, close and yank. It is OK if some tissue comes with it. It is OK if some off the mouth parts are left behind as long as the salivary glands are gone. Don’t dig at it to get the rest out. These bits will come out when the scab that forms falls off. One other important thing to know- ticks DO NOT burrow into the skin. The body will respond to some tick bites by swelling up around the head of the tick. If you pull a lot of ticks off your pet or yourself you should contact your veterinarian or your doctor. They may want to see you and dispense antibiotics to avoid development of a tick borne disease.

During the 17 years that I have maintained the 5 acre clinic site walking through and clearing over 2 acres, I have only pulled off only 2 immature ticks from my body. During this time we have had only two dog tick outbreaks. The first was in the back kennel over ten years ago and resolved with the Mitaban collar. The second outbreak happened where my dogs are kept and only Vectra 3D cleared the first two stages of the ticks never allowing the last cycle to complete. Do to past history, all dogs boarded at our facility are required to wear what I feel are the best tick products to prevent the brown dog tick from taking up home in the clinic.  If a dog comes in with more ticks that can be removed the dog is quarantined and an additional product is used to kill the ticks. I will have more on the best tick products in another news letter. Currently in the kennel, mostly what we deal with are the occasional black legged tick which comes in from the squirrels, outside rodents, and snakes. They will hide in the outside kennel area and show up in the dog’s feet or ears. Since I have instituted the tick treatment protocol for all boarding dogs I have not had a tick outbreak at the clinic in over five years.

Before I conclude this article I would like to reiterate some old facts and add a few new. Firstly the five tick species I have talked about do NOT hop on the animal and live its whole life there. The first two stages must detach, find a safe spot, molt, harden and find a new host. This means if your dog(s) are from their home environment for a while the burden of hungry ticks goes up for each day your pet does not return home if no other animal has frequented the area, especially if inside a home. Don’t always blame where you just came from for the cause of the ticks. They may have been hiding in your dog’s home environment the whole time and only notice when the landings occur at a higher rate. In addition with the better tick products should a tick attach, they do not hide under the dogs coat very well floating above the hair making them easier to notice. Please take note that pets do not get ticks from animals that already have the ticks attached to them.

If your pet gets infested (> 25 ticks) you may need to use more than one product to take your dog to 100 percent dead ticks quickly. When your pet hits a hot zone where hundreds upon hundreds of starving ticks whether they be larvae, nymph or immature adult, one product by itself, no matter how good it is, may not prevent every single tick from getting on your dog or keep it from attaching. Please let me specify that 3-5 ticks on a dog are not a whole bunch of ticks in my mind. Also, if the tick is swollen and smaller than 3/8 inch, what an owner is finding is a larvae or nymphs, not a fully fed adult female. If you don’t see the gravid females the pets tick product is breaking the tick cycle. Furthermore when the tick is dying they will begin to look like raisins if they have already started to swell. Just like some humans who lose weight they will wrinkle from the excess skin. The tick’s legs may still move but they lose the ability to suck and start to dehydrate and use that which they have already stored. Thus the body shrinks but not the skin. This means the tick product is working. Lastly it takes several days for a dead tick to fall off if they have been attached prior to dying.

Remember that ticks may take over three years to complete their life cycle and can hide on your property or in your house, if a brown dog tick, for months waiting for a host to pass by. So if you see a tick on the walls in your house, pay close attention as to which way they are traveling and if they are thin or plump. If they are traveling towards your pet and thin they are questing and if you back tract it and its buddies you may find a nest or favorite hiding place to concentrate your tick treatment to reduce the pesticides in your home.

Currently I am working on collecting pictures of ticks to help owners identify the type of tick on one’s pet.  If you want a tick identified use the forceps and gab below the head to pop them out. Don’t squish them rather put them in some alcohol to kill and preserve them. They are much easier to handle when identifying them when they are dead.

In the next news letter I will go over what I feel are the best tick preventive products. 

 


 

May 2012 Newsletter

 

Clipnoisis:  This is a new and safe way to calm and immobilize cats for minor veterinary procedures without sedating the cats. Research has shown that in cooperative cats greater than 90 % show more calmness and were less fearful. So how is all this accomplished? Believe it or not, by using one to two standard 2” binder clips and attaching them to the cat’s dorsal neck (scruff). This induces pressure where a mother cat would pick up kittens resulting in an instinctual relaxation. 

 

What is included in a dog’s vaccination trip to this clinic?  Firstly, an examination of the outside of your pet- the mouth, ears, coat and skin, legs and feet, and back and tail. Your pet’s heart is checked as well as your pet’s abdomen the pet permitting. All animals are weighed with it reviewed. Vaccines given to visiting dogs are distemper, adenovirus, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvo, corona and rabies. Bordetella and influenza are optional. If needed your dogs nails are trimmed too.

      Your visit will not include a onetime one treatment for round and hook worms. Why? Because there are no effective products out in the marketplace that does so. Hookworm deworming requires a 3 day treatment regime. A onetime treatment does kill roundworms. What is better is to do a fecal check and deworm the dog with what will be appropriate to kill the worms or protozoa. Nothing may be needed to be done. Unfortunately, tapeworms do not show up readily on a fecal check. So, we treat when the owner sees the tapeworm segments or there is a history of fleas.

     When you check out at the front desk, a rabies tag will be dispensed with our clinic name on the back with our phone number. Our tagging fee is included with the rabies vaccination. Also by having this tag on your dog should he get loose, the person finding the dog can contact us. If for whatever reason they cannot contact you or you can not pick up the dog from them when they cannot hold the dog, we will take the dog in during normal business hours. A boarding fee will be charged; however, we are a more disease free place than animal control. No we cannot do this when we are closed.

     I do not vaccinate without an examination. I want to make sure that if there are any health problems visible that my clients are aware of it and what are the options to treat. At this clinic we have a relationship with our clients and you are a part of our animal family. We want to educate and to answer your questions. I can only do this if I know your pet and you. 

     I recommend leptospirosis for all dogs unless they are incapable of handling the vaccination. Reactions are not size dependent but are based on a pet’s individuality and are rare. The disease is present in all 50 states. Areas of contaminated standing water especially after a heavy rain are the main risk of exposure. Mammalian wildlife like fruit rats increases the risk too. The disease affects several systems in the body but the main one is the kidneys. Diagnosis ($$$) is required to identify the disease, and treatment can be expensive. Fatality rates can be as high as 30% due to renal failure. With today’s economy, unfortunately many clients are several days behind on recognizing there is a problem and/or bringing in the sick pet into the clinic, making it harder to treat sick dogs in a timely fashion and avoiding death or damage to organ systems. To me the best way to avoid all this is to vaccinate the dog against the disease.

      So the cost for a vaccination trip to our clinic for a dog is $60 and includes an examination on a healthy pet with a rabies and DA2LPPC. The county charges $10 for a rabies tag. If you want a fecal check, the fee is $15.

 

The Horse Magazine: According to Carol Gillis, DVM, PHD, DIPL. ACVSMR, at present there is no time advantage of healing when using shock wave therapy, platelet-rich plasma, and stem cell treatment verses stall rest and increasing exercise over 8 months; the time it takes for a tendon/ ligament to heal in a horse. Laser therapy was not included in her research; however, in those I have treated I have seen a quicker reduction of swelling and pain.

 

More info on chicken jerky treats: The FDA has done extensive chemical and microbial testing and has found no contaminants. The FDA cannot find a direct link between chicken jerky treats and Fanconi-like syndrome. The syndrome appears to happen more frequently in small breed dogs. A common thread among those dogs affected was that they were eating chicken jerky treats in excess of what the package recommended. At this time FDA advises dog owners that chicken jerky products should not be substituted for a balance diet and are meant to be fed occasionally in small amounts. 

 


 

April 2012 Newsletter

 

Brief Basic Goat Ownership

 

1. Goats need to be dewormed on a regular basis, just like horses. Choice of dewormer should be selected dependent on fecal checks. In the South, there is a real bad problem with parasite resistance and making sure what you are using is working is important to keep your goats healthy.

2. Unless you are keeping your goat as a milker or you are in the business of making more goats, you do not need to feed your goats concentrates. They really only need a good quality grass hay like brome or orchard if you have a poorly grassed pasture or a pasture deficient in edible shrubbery. They don’t need anything if you have a green pasture that is growing.

3. Provided plenty of fresh water and give excess to a mineral block.

4. Goats do best behind a mesh fence. Height of the fence depends on the type of goat and its personality. There are those that will climb the fence. My Nigerian male also can clear a four foot fence like a deer. A hot wire may help, maybe.

 

Common novice mistakes are breeding goats and not being prepared to handle difficult deliveries, mastitis, retained placentas and more. Not doing fecal checks resulting in thin, anemic goats are a common presentation. Lastly, feeding concentrates to male goats can lead to the formation of bladder/urethral stones a potentially very expensive disease to treat.

 

What is a sand flea?

This I asked myself after a client said her dog was being bitten by fleas living in the sand in her yard. I said to myself nope this is not right. The dog and cat flea may hatch outside but will look for your pet, a squirrel, rodent, possum, rabbit, or any warm blood creature to set up house in – not the yard.

 

So what is a sand flea? A sand flea to some people is the mole crab that lives in the intertidal “swash“zone at the beach where the sand is liquid like due to the mixing of water and sand as the waves hits the beach. The mole crab is a cousin to hermit crabs. They eat plankton and organic material and don’t bite, nor will infest you or your pet.

 

To other people a sand flea is another type of crustacean that looks a lot like a miniature land shrimp that can actually hop. Thus it’s other names of sand hopper for the marine ones and land hopper for the fresh water ones. They eat similar material to the mole crab but unlike its relative can live on land for a period of time before going back to its watery beach/ shore environment. They don’t bite either or live on you.

 

What does bite and has been mistakenly called a sand flea is the sand fly, a biting midge that lives in sandy environments. These insects are not a flea, nor a mosquito, but a fly that feeds on warm blooded creatures mostly at dusk and dawn. They live at the beach and on land including your yard. For some people and pets the bites can cause large welts and/or rashes. So in addition to flea bite and mosquito bite hypersensitivities in our pets I also see sand fly hypersensitivities. The most notable, especially seen in horses, are the isty bitsy noseeums or culicoides. Treatment for the allergy is usually antihistamines and steroids. To help keep the midges off your pets, you will need to use products w/ permethrins or DEET. Both Advantix and Vectra have permethrins in there ingredients. Deep woods off is what I use for my DEET supply; but only use after applying to a small spot first to make sure your animal is not allergic to the product. There are some natural products that may work but so far I rely on the above.

 

A Shocking Furball

I am going to tell you about something that you probable have never thought about when you pet protect your home. We all have them in our home- the multiple plug electric adapters. They lay on the floor harmless- wrong. Unfortunately one of my clients this past year found out how dangerous they are when her cat accidentally threw up a furball on the adapter. The electric current went up the canine tooth, through the chest and out the rear foot. As much as we tried to treat the damage, the cat deteriorated over many weeks and was finally euthanized. So our hope is that by making people aware that this can happen, electrical adapters/ surge protectors will be hung or placed where cats or dogs can’t throw up or urinate on them.

 



March 2012 Newsletter


Clinic News:

We have recently installed a large tub so that we can bathe large dogs, as well as the small ones. Small dogs are $15, medium to large dogs are $20. Huge dogs and those with a thick coat will cost extra. A nail trim is included as long as the dog is cooperative. The price does not include ear cleanings, anal glands, or comb outs. We can comb out a dog if the dog is not badly matted, otherwise Dr. recommends a body clip.

Also, we can do lion cuts on cats and farm clips on dogs, and for those pets who are unappreciative of grooming, we use twilight sleep to make them more comfortable. Sorry, no pick-ups before 1PM.

You may have noticed fencing going up along the east side of our driveway. This area is going to be our new Paws Park for large and small dogs. You do not need to be a client to enjoy our park. We just ask for proof of vaccinations; rabies, distemper, bordetella, and influenza. We will also need proof of a negative heartworm check annually and a biannually negative fecal check.

The Paws Poker Run is being rescheduled for the fall.

To help raise funds for our Felinicity feral cat spay/neuter program, I am planning a Pony Pile Bingo with each square going for $5. The pot will be split with the clinic to pay for Felinicity procedures.

There is a new face in our office, Thomas Van Dyke, my husband who has reopened his Senior Homemaker Companion business at the clinic’s location called Tender Loving Caregivers.

Don’t forget the cats! Most of our canine clientele is on heartworm preventative, which means they are also on a hookworm preventative, and this is not so for our cats. Hookworm eggs are everywhere, as long as there is dirt and stray cats. Sarasota County alone has over 40,000 stray cats within its perimeter. Hookworms have two ways of getting into your dog or cat. The simple act of grooming themselves to remove dirt from their coat allows your pet to ingest the eggs. The larva can also hatch in the dirt and penetrate the skin and migrate to the digestive system. The larva matures in the small intestine where they attach to the wall and suck blood, causing anemia and intestinal inflammation, and can result in diarrhea and vomiting. Sometimes all you see is a pet doing poorly, losing weight and failing to thrive. There are a lot of subclinical infections out there in household cats, running about one in every seventeen cats. The level of infection in feral and stray cats is greater than 50 percent.

Hookworm treatments in cats have gotten really easy with the introduction of the Bayer product Profender. The product goes on topically over the withers and has never failed me in clearing the hooks. For an additional bonus, this product also treats for tapeworms, so there is no pilling of the cat.

Hookworm hot zones for dogs are anywhere dogs and cats congregate, like parks, rest stops, classes, boarding facilities, and cat colony locations. So please, do not skip on your heartworm preventatives. Also make sure you are giving the plus variety. Ivermectin by itself, in my experience, does not prevent hookworm infestation. Diatomaceous earth will not be useful either.

Thanks to the former Soviet Union, we have had the research and development of therapeutic lasers. Laser therapy is not light therapy. Instead, it is photobiomodulation where cellular tissue is altered through three physiologic responses: photothermal, photoenergetic, and/or photoelectric. The clinic owns the new higher powered class IV therapy laser which is able to penetrate deeper tissues more adequately than cold or low level lasers. Essentially, the unit is able to deliver a larger total dose of photons to make up for lost energy as they travel into the deep tissues. However, the unit is adjustable and works on superficial tissue just as effectively. Measurable changes are muscle relaxation, improved range of motion/flexibility, faster wound healing, dulling of pain, decreased inflammation and swelling, decreased fibrosis/scaring, improved immune system, and acupuncture stimulation.

Disease processes where laser therapy shows a benefit are hip dysplasia, knee cruciate tears, open wounds, lick granulomas, ear and mouth infections, neck and back pain, leg bows, broken bones, bladder infections and more. Cost of each treatment is $25; repeat visits are required for results to be seen, initially every 2-3 days, then with decreasing frequency. Chronic problems will mean repeat maintenance visits.

 


 

February 2012 Newsletter

 Tropical Soda Apple an Emerging Problem

Tropical soda apple (TSA) is a weed from Brazil showing its leaves for the first time in this country in a Florida county in 1988.  The plant belongs to the Nightshade family including the potato, eggplant, and tomato.  Producing somewhere between 40,000- 50,000 seeds per plant, TSA now covers over one million acres of pasture, sod farms, forests, ditches and natural habitat. Seeds are spread by contaminated seed, sod, hay, manure, and loads of dirt. When mature the plant reaches 3-6 feet tall with thorns.  The fruit is green, globular and look like mini-watermelons when not ripe.

 

There are currently 2 ways to reduce the spread of the seeds.  Mowing the pasture every 60 days at 3” will prevent fruit production and mortality of approximately 10-30 percent of the plants.  The TSA can remain viable in the digestive system for up to 6 days so all new animals need to be quarantined for this time prior to being moved onto your pastures; or removed off your pasture for this length to prevent spread of the seed to new locations. Another step to treat the land is to spot treat with herbicides every 7-14 days. The whole plant must be sprayed to be effective.  You can color mark the herbicide solution to be able to tell what you have sprayed.  If you do not like chemicals pull the plant and dispose in the trash.

 

     If all property owners try to control TSA, hopefully in the future, animals leaving the state of Florida will not need to be quarantined, for this will greatly trudge the movement of animals in and out of the state. 

 

A memo to cat owners:

      To avoid urinary tract problems in your cat do not feed tuna or any cat food with tuna or unidentifiable fish.  Also, do not feed generic cheap cat food or multi colored cat food. These foods have a tendency to have too much ash/magnesium which increases the likelihood of small stone formation which can cause obstruction of the urethra or grow bigger and form stones in the bladder. Dr feeds her cats Science diet and Royal Canin.

 



December 2011

 

 

Hi everybody- December newsletter:

 

Meet the Animals.

Oscar is one of our permanent residents, living in the cat apartments behind the clinic. He came to us from the Sarasota Humane Society six years ago and now is 18 years old.  Oscar has old age kidney disease and thanks to Royal Canin Veterinary diets, he is still a happy guy. Oscar eats their Renal LP diet which comes in both canned and dry. The diet is specifically made for cats with chronic renal failure. The food has highly restricted phosphorus content, a mineral which old renal cats lose the ability to regulate making these guys feel really crappy. The diet also restricts the unnecessary protein for life helping to decrease nitrogenous waste products. This is another problem renal cats have regulating and thus feel like you would if you did not urinate for two days holding it all in your body. Oscar loves his food and meows for it every day. From my perspective and my staff’s we all feel that he appears recharged.

Button Cell Batteries

 

Button cell batteries are everywhere, and are located in hearing aids, Christmas ornaments, cameras, remote controls, glucose readers, ect.

 

            What can happen to your pet if they happen to swallow a button battery? Maybe nothing, as most pass through the body and are eliminated when they poop. However, sometimes things can go wrong and the small batteries can get stuck in the esophagus or intestinal track.  An electrical current can form around the outside of the battery, causing a tissue burn and creating a hole.

 

            Those batteries that are as big as a penny, especially the 20mm Lithium batteries, are the most problematic. These batteries can be recognized by the engraved imprinted number like cr2032, cr2025, or cr2016.

 

            Should your pet eat a button battery, call your vet or the National Battery Ingestion hotline at 1-202-625-3333 or poison control at 1-800-222-1222. If possible, have the battery identification number available when you call. Your vet will have you bring in your pet for an x-ray, just to make sure your pet actually ingested the battery and to determine where the battery is. Always watch for fever, abdominal pain, vomiting and blood in stools.

 

Safety tips for button batteries.

1.      Never leave them sitting out. Always store unused batteries in a safe place, such as a drawer or cabinet. Store used recyclable batteries in a closed container; and if the battery cannot be recycled, it should be wrapped and placed deep into a garbage can that is tip proof and separate from food trash. Immediately dispose of used batteries. Don’t leave them on your bedside, counters, or even in your pockets.

2.      Always check to make sure the battery compartment is securely shut on any device that uses a button battery.  Try to purchase devices that screw shut, need some kind of tool to open the compartment, or securely snaps shut. Do not rely on tape to keep closed.

3.      Always change batteries when pets are not around.

4.      Don’t store batteries next to pills, or any type of food, yours or theirs. Don’t leave batteries adjacent to nuts, candy, popcorn, kibble, treats, or any other type of food.

5.      When possible, buy batteries in a blister pack as this makes it harder for your pet to chew open, and it helps keep batteries together.

 



October/November 2011 Newsletter

 

Hi all, this is the October Newsletter.

 

Skin Problems Short Synapses

Causes: External parasites- fleas, ticks, walking lice, mites

Bacterial- Staph, Strep, Proteus

Fungal- Microsporum, Trichophyton

Viral- distemper

Autoimmune- Lupus, Pemphgus

Allergic- food, bugs, cotton, drug eruptions, contact

Nutritional- copper, zinc, intestinal parasites

Metabolic- Liver, kidney, heart

Hormonal- Thyroid, ovarian, adrenal

Genetic- Sebaceous adenitis, Schnauzer comadone syndrome, Cocker seborrhea

Cancer- Cutaneous lymphosarcoma, Mast cell, Anaplastic carcinoma

Trauma- bite wounds, scratches, sunburn, psychogenic licker

And much, much more

Diagnostics: Fecal check

Skin scrape

Blood chemistry/CBC

Fungal culture/ serology

Bacterial culture

Tick serology

Heartworm check

Thyroid check

Cortisol measurement/ ACTH response check

Urinalysis

Element measurement- like copper

Immunoglobulin measurement

Food serology

Flea and tick treatment

Medication/food trial

Viral titter

Cytology

Biopsy

Autoimmune profile

Maldigestion/ pancreatic profile

And more

Treatment: Antibiotics

Antifungals

Anthelmetics

External parasite treatment

Steriods/ immunomodifiers

Hormones/ supplements/ modifiers

Medicated baths

Removal of allergens

Fatty acids- oral and topical

Food supplements

Laser

And more

 

Most clients have their pets skin problems resolved in 1-3 visits with only a few if any diagnostics. Time to complete healing or where problem is managed can be 1-2 months. However, if the dog does not respond it may take time and money to figure out what is going on. Just one selection food trial could take 6-9 weeks. Same is true on some drugs like Atopica with 90 days to see 100% positive results.

 


 

September 2011 Newsletter


Hello again everyone, it is time for our September Newsletter.

Equine - How to prepare for a hurricane:

The leading causes of death in large animals during Andrew in South East Florida:

1. Collapsed barns, owners thought their animals were safer inside, but confinement takes away the animals ability to protect themselves.

2. Kidney failures due to dehydration, wandering animals were deprived of food and water for days.

3. Electrocution, horses seek the lowest areas, in many cases this was a drainage ditch. Power lines are strung over ditches and were blown down in the storm.

4. Fencing failure, wandering animals, unharmed during the storm, were hit and killed on the roadways.

Debris caused the most severe injuries during Andrew

1. Many horses required euthanization due to entanglement in barbed wire and the resultant severe injuries.

2. Debris injuries were found most often in the hind quarters, as horses turn their tails the storm.

3. Don’t keep your horses in the barn to prevent debris injury. Debris injuries were severe, but in most cases treatable. Large animals have no way to save themselves and are likely to panic if they can’t follow their instinct.

 

Guidelines for Disaster Preparedness.

            The first step to develop a written plan is to determine whether or not your property is located in a storm surge flood plain. This information may be obtained from your local government or animal hurricane handout from a TV station.

            Even if you are not in an area subject to flooding, you may want to consider evacuating horses if they are maintained in stables or in pastures of less than 1 acre, as this will not give sufficient area for them to avoid debris and collapsing buildings.

            Because of high winds, a trailer can only be on the interstate during a hurricane watch. Once a warning is delivered you can no longer use this route.

            REMEMBER, a fire engine loaded with water- a very stable emergency vehicle-is considered out of service when sustained winds have reached 40 MPH. Therefore, long distance evacuation is not recommended as the storm may move faster than you anticipate.

            You can MAKE PLANS NOW to move your animals to a safer area that is relatively near your home. Before hurricane season begins make sure all animals have current immunizations and Coggins tests and take the necessary papers with you if you must evacuate. Locate safe areas within your county and make arrangements now to move your animals to this location-then assist the receiving property owner in developing a disaster plan.

 

Develop a specific Disaster Plan for Your Property.

When you write your plan, consider the following guidelines:

1. Install a hand pump on your well NOW. You will never make a better investment. Well water will not become contaminated unless your well is submerged by flood waters. You may need to use up to two weeks if municipal water has been contaminated.

2. As you landscape your property use native plants. Nature has evolved these species to weather hurricanes. They will be much less likely to uproot and become debris.

3. THINK DEBRIS! Take down and secure everything you can. Turn over and tie down picnic tables and benches and anything else to large to store.

4. Get mobile home tie downs (spikes and ratcheting straps) for your livestock trailer and other vehicles. Move vehicles, livestock trailer, etc., into the middle of the largest open areas away from trees and tie them down over the top of the vehicle.

5. Make sure generator is functional.

6. For horses, keep a supply of plastic neck bands with permanent markings to put on your animals for identification and put metal I.D. plates on halters. Animals should be haltered before the storm. Other ways to I.D., microchips, luggage tags braided into mane or tail, shave hair, live-stock crayon, non-toxic, non water-soluble, spray paint, or marker on animals side. Try to include medical HX and coggins results too, in plastic.

7. For cattle, the most common identifications are; ear notch, leg bands, ear tag, brand, livestock crayon marker, wattle notch, ear tattoo, tail tag, neck chain.

8. Have on hand in the house: several flashlights, hurricane lamps, lamp oil or kerosene, fire extinguishers, batteries, battery operated radio, matches, gas, and chlorine bleach. Make sure all cars, trucks, 4-wheelers, tractors are filled with gas.

9. Keep 2 liter soda bottles filled with ice in freezer. They can be thawed in the refrigerator when electricity fails and they keep the refrigerator cold. They can be used as a source of water as they thaw.

10. City water becomes contaminated because purification systems are inoperable. To purify water, add 2 drops of chlorine bleach per quart and let stand for ½ hour.

11. Fill any large outside vessels (boats, canoes, feed troughs, ect.) with water. This keeps vessels from becoming debris and provides a source of water for animals after the storm. Pool water and collected water should be kept chlorinated so it remains useable.

12. Shut off main electrical breakers and close gas and water valves. Unplug appliances and turn off air conditioning.

13. Chain your propane takes to the ground with tie down stakes and label “Propane”. Label any hazardous material containers on your property.

14. Bring chain saw, ladder, axe, and shovel, pry bar, come-along, metal cable, block and tackle, wire cutters, tool box, grill, charcoal and fluid into the house.

15. A 2 week supply of animal feed and medications should be brought into the house and stored in waterproof containers or wrapped in plastic.

16. Contact out-of-town friends and relatives and keep them informed of your plans. It will be easier for them to contact you.

17. Make sure your insurance is adequate. Photograph or video all your property and animals and take these with you if you must evacuate. Along with registration info, adoption papers, and microchip information.

18. For cattle: If an individual animal is or has been medically treated and is still under a withdrawal period, a treatment record must be maintained. The record must include animals ID or group ID, date of the treatments, the drug used and the manufacturer’s serial or lot number, dosage of drug administered, route and location of administration, and the person administrating the drug. The earliest date the animal could clear the withdrawal period for the administered drug should also be listed.

19. Remember that after the storm all transactions will have to be made in cash and that bank and gas stations will be closed.

20. Label all hazardous waste materials and place in a safe place. Label or leave info on such items in home in an obvious place.

21. Remove trash heaps of old, dilapidated machinery to avoid animals running into it.

22. Reinforce your house, barn, and out buildings with hurricane straps. Perform regular checks on all buildings.

 

As the storm approaches:

Close barn and or stall doors. Open all interior pasture gates. Put I.D. on all the animals and TURN YOUR LARGE ANIMALS OUT!!

They may suffer debris injuries, but at least this way they have a chance.

 

DON’T GO OUT DURING THE STORM!!

If you are dead or injured, you can’t help your animals. When any Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico Storm is named, all Floridians should take it seriously, watch it closely and begin implementation of their prewritten Disaster Plans.

Review and upgrade your disaster plan with your family on a regular basis.

 

The Safest Place for Large Animals to Weather a Storm is in a Larger Pasture.

 

It should meet as many of the following guidelines as possible.

1. It should be free of exotic trees.

2. It should have no overhead power lines.

3. It should be well away from areas that might generate wind driven debris.

4. It should have both low areas that animals can shelter in during the storm, (preferable a pond), and higher areas that will not be flooded after the storm.

5. It should have woven wire fencing-no barb wire.

6. Not less than 1 acre in size.

 

Long Range Disaster Planning.

Fencing….

1. The clear winner is woven wire. It acts like a volley ball net; in many cases falling trees don’t even take it down. It stops debris. It doesn’t pull apart in high winds. Animals are less likely to get caught or tangled in it.

2. Board fencing blows down and becomes debris. If you use it, back it with woven wire.

3. Avoid using barbed wire. It cuts horses to ribbons and is easily torn down by flying debris.

4. Lay out your fence lines to keep animals away from power lines.

5. Each year in May, replace rotten fence posts and make fencing repairs so your fences are as strong as possible for the start of hurricane season on 6/1.

 

Building Construction….

1. Having a well-built barn keeps it from becoming debris. Never think it is safe enough to protect your animals.

2. A simple, well strapped, open pole barn with a flat, properly secured metal roof or hurricane reinforced concrete barn is least likely to blow down.

3. Prefab trusses may not hold up. If you use them, make sure they have hurricane straps and are properly braced.

4. Roofing construction should be metal or roll roofing. Shingles and tile become small lethal weapons which pastured animals cannot avoid. Large sheets of anything are more easily avoided by animals.

5. Consider some form of hurricane shutters for all glass windows and doors. Taping may prevent shattering glass from flying, but it will not prevent wind entering through broken windows and destroying everything inside.

 

If you would like more information, will need assistance in locating an evacuation site, or can accept large animals needing evacuation, contact:

 

Sarasota County Emergency Management

1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, Fl 34236

941-951-5283 

 


 

August 2011 Newsletter


General Information I’ve read:

It can take up to 30 million dollars to get a drug approved in the USA, which is why new drugs are sometimes pricey. Generics do have an abbreviated process and costs less to get approved but cannot be made until the patent on the new drug has expired. Even though approved some drugs turn out to be not safe. The US food and drug administration approves and monitors this, which is more stricture than Canada. Our tax money helps pay for this administration along w/ the fees they charge. Buying drugs outside the US does not support the process and handicaps the FDA from protecting us. In addition sending money out also hurts the American economy. Counterfeit flea, tick and heartworm products are becoming more prevalent in out of country purchases. So don’t let your pet be a victim, buy American.

For all of you who still need to gather your small animal first aid kit and evacuation kit...

SAVING THE WHOLE FAMILY (SMALL ANIMAL)

Small Animal Evacuation Kit - Make sure to put in Watertight Container

· 2 week supply of food (dry & canned)

· 2 week supply of water in plastic gallon jugs

· Batteries (flashlight, radio)

· Cage/carrier (for each animal, labeled with your information)

· Can opener (manual)

· Cat/wildlife gloves

· Emergency contact list

· Familiar items to make pets feel comfortable (favorite toys, treats, blankets, beds)

· Instructions

- Diet: record the diet for each individual animal, including what not to feed and any food allergies

- Medications: List each animal separately, including dose and frequency of medication, and which is refrigerated. Provide veterinary and pharmacy contact information

· Leash, collar, or harness (for each animal)

· Litter, litter pan, & little scoop

· Maps of local area and alternate evacuation routes (in case of road closures)

· Muzzles (dog or cat)

· Newspaper (bedding, litter)

· Non-spill food and water dishes

· Paper towels

· Radio (solar & battery operated)

· Spoon (canned food)

· Stakes and tie outs

· Trash bags

· Cleanser, disinfectant

· Grooming equipment

· Bleach

· Copies of veterinary records and proof of ownership

Small Animal First Aid Kit

Consult your veterinarian when developing the first aid kit. The items below are a few things that may be included in a small animal first aid kit.

 

· Activated charcoal (liquid)

· Antidiarrheal liquid or tablets

· Antibiotic ointment (wounds)

· Antibiotic eye ointment

· Bandage scissors/Iris scissors

· Bandage tape/vet wrap

· Betadine or Nolvasan (scrub & solution)

· Cotton-tipped swabs

· Elastic bandage rolls (Ace)

· Eye rinse (sterile)

· First-aid books

· Flea & tick treatment and prevention

· Gauze pads and rolls

· Ice cream sticks (which may be used as splints)/tongue depressors

· Isopropyl alcohol/alcohol prep pads

· Latex or non-allergenic gloves

· Liquid dish detergent

· Measuring spoons

· Medications and preventatives such as heartworm prevention (clearly labeled)

· Non-adherent bandage pads (wet-proof and telfa pads)

· Saline solution (for rinsing wounds)

· Sterile lubricant (water based)

· Styptic powder (clotting agent)

· Syringe or eye dropper

· Thermometer

· Towel & washcloth

· Tweezers

· Ice packs (non-refrigerated ) 



 

July 2011 Newsletter

 

Hello again from the Myakka River Animal Clinic. We hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th. It’s that time of year again where we must prepare for hurricane season.

Small Animal Disaster Planning

Plan Ahead!

Before a disaster:

Advanced planning is essential-it could save your pet’s life and make yours easier during an emergency.

1. Acquire a pet carrier (portable kennel) or crate for each house pet if you plan to travel. When animals are stressed, two who love each other may become aggressive if in the same carrier. A cat carrier should have enough room to fit a small cat box, two small dishes, and space enough for the cat to lie down, a dog carrier should also have enough room for two bowls and room for your dog to stand up and turn around. Clearly label each carrier with identification and contact info.

2. Take time to familiarize your pet with the portable kennel.

3. Be sure your pets vaccinations are up-to-date. Recommended vaccinations for cats are Rabies, Leukemia, Panleukopenia,Calcivirus,Chlamydia,&Herpes. Recommended vaccines for dogs are Rabies, Para influenza/Bordetella, Influenza, Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvo, Lepto.

4. Keep a current picture of you & your pet with your pets’ records, along with a list of allergies & medical conditions. Make sure to include the name, address, and phone numbers of both you and your vet. Keep a copy with your pet and on your person. Can also tape to side of carrier or tape, folded in bag to your dog’s collar. Keep a list of each one of your animals with species, breed, age, sex, color, and distinguishing characteristics and carry with you.

5. Also make copies of registration information, adoption papers, proof of purchase, and microchip information. Store in plastic and carry with you. .

6. Be sure your pet wears a properly fitted collar/harness and current license, identification, and rabies tags at all times. Identification tags should display your home number, plus the number of a relative outside the affected region. A microchip is an added advantage. Acquire a leash to have on hand to maintain control of your pet, and a muzzle if your pet is uncooperative.

7. Survey your home and determine the best location away from windows to place your pet(s) during a disaster such as a utility room, bathroom, kitchen, or other tiled area that can be cleaned easily. Keep small pets in carriers and large pets on a leash.

8. Make some phone calls to determine your options before it ever becomes necessary to leave your home due to a disaster. So if you cannot use a shelter that excepts pets you should make other arrangements for your pets protection and safety, such as:

a.    Survey boarding kennels to determine specific locations. Find out who stays on the premises with the animals in the event of a disaster and what provisions would be made if the kennel should have to evacuate during a disaster.

b.    Check with veterinary clinics to locate those with boarding facilities.

c.    Get shelter requirements.

d.    Ask dependable friends or relatives who live further inland, away from the coast or river areas, if you and your pet(s) could stay with them during the emergency.

e.    Call motels if you plan to leave your house and take your pet with you during an evacuation. You may wish to check with several local motels away from coastal or river areas. Ask if they allow pets; and if so, ask if there are any restrictions on size or number of pets allowed.

9. Give flea & tick and heartworm treatment if last time was 3 weeks or later.

10. Make sure pets’ meds will last 2 weeks and have written instructions in plastic with medical records, including drug name and dosage instructions.

11. If you live in an apartment, make sure your dog is trained to go up and down stairs to help during a rescue.

12. Time and money permitting, make up flyers ahead of time of pets picture in plastic to hand out if pet gets lost.

At the time of a disaster:

Leaving your pets behind in a disaster is not recommended. But if it’s impossible to bring them, remember;

1. Prepare an area for your pets to use inside the house away from windows such as a utility room, garage, bathroom, or other tiled area that can be easily cleaned.

2. Bring your pet indoors well ahead of the disaster.

3. Do not leave any pet outside or tied up during a hurricane

4. Leave only dry type foods that are relatively unpalatable to prevent overeating. Use sturdy food containers.

5. Do not leave any treat type vitamins or minerals supplements; overeating any of these may cause salt poisoning if too much is consumed. Birds must eat daily to survive. Use special food dispensers if you must leave them behind.

6. Water for pets should be either left in bathtubs or other sturdy containers that will not spill.

7. If animals are on special diets and medications, plan ahead by consulting your veterinarian.

8. Never leave a cat with a dog even if the two are normally friendly.

9. Confine and keep small pets (birds, hamsters, etc.) away from cats and dogs.

10. Provide access to high places, such as countertops, in case flooding occurs.

11. Difficult or dangerous animals should be left in special crates or cages on top of the counter to reduce the possibility of them getting loose.

12. Provide information of where you are staying.

If you are planning to leave the area and take your pet with you, the following items should be prepared:

1. License or identification, rabies tag & microchip information.

2. Motion sickness pills may be needed. Check with your veterinarian for your pets specific needs.

3. Label door with sticker “Evacuated with pets”.

4. Preload carrier in car with evacuation & first-aid kit.

5. Call and make sure evacuation site is still available.

After the Disaster:

1. Be careful in allowing your pets outdoors after the disaster has passed. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and your pet can easily be confused and become lost. Downed power lines, reptiles, and ants brought in with the high water could present real dangers to your pet. Watch for sharp objects & dangerous materials like fiberglass.

2. Do not let pets consume outside water or food. Keep pets on leash or in carrier.

3. Watch pets to make sure they don’t chew on poisonous ornamental plants from outside.

4. Reintroduce food in small servings if animals have been without food for a prolonged time time to reduce choking and bolting of food.

5. Allow uninterrupted rest/sleep.

6. If your animal is lost, physically check animal control, shelters, and local rescues daily. Check web sites for lost and found animals daily. Hand out waterproof lost animal flyers to local facilities, veterinarians, and neighbors.    




June 2011 Newsletter

 

Meet the Clinic Animals

 

Hini is a 1+ year old, spayed pot belly pig given to Dr. Dawn because she had gotten too big for her home. She is fed pot belly pig chow, 1 cup twice a day, with free choice orchard/ brome hay, and water. Pigs are omnivores and eat everything, just like us. To keep her fit it is important to watch the treats. An easy way to tell if the pig is a little too fat is when the eyes start to swell shut from fat. Pigs also loose their waist line. Pigs can and will bite, so keep all fingers on the outside of the pen. Hini’s regular fecal check is parasite free. Ivomec is the drug of choice to deworm pigs. Pigs are very clean animals and can be litter box trained in the house or when outside will poop in one area of the pen. Never try to catch a pot bellied pig by the legs, as this can result in a sprain or strain with a possibility of permanent arthritis.  

 

 

Monthly Blog:

 

 

     The new disease on the block is Canine Flu or CIV a virus believed to have jumped species from the horse flu. Now specific to only canine, it is rapidly spreading across the United States. Isolated only seven years ago, the original work on the virus was done at the University of Florida after investigating a new respiratory infection in greyhounds at a Florida track.

 

     The disease itself is similar to the human flu, causing respiratory problems with coughing, snots, fever, decreased appetite, and general blah. Symptoms can be mild to severe.  Pneumonia can be a complication in older dogs and immuno-compromised dogs (like young pups). Some dogs die from CIV. Treatment is aimed at treating the symptoms and the use of antibiotics if a secondary infection happens.

 

    The vulnerability is large since CIV is a new disease and few dogs have had prior exposure or are vaccinated against the disease. CIV spreads through the air when a sick dog sneezes or coughs. Owners can spread the virus by petting a sick dog then touching theirs or the dogs stuff- toys, bowls, and leashes. Owners can transfer the disease on their clothing and shoes. Communal bowls and toys can harbor the virus. Also, mildly infected dogs are just as infectious as a really sick dog.

 

     Dogs are out and about more than ever now where the risk of infection is possible: camping trips, visits to public parks, dog parks, rest stops along the interstate, mobile parks, horse and dog shows, kennels, groomers, hotels/ motels, stray dogs travelling along a street or property fence line, neighbors and friends getting a new dog and more.

 

     Confirming cases can be costly with either a nasal swab test done in the early stages of the disease or a two blood sample test two to three weeks apart to diagnose.

 

     How to protect your dog?  Well you can keep your dog in a bubble, never let the dog or yourself out of the house, or you can vaccinate your dog against the flu, just like you do for yourself. No flu shot is perfect in any species in that it does not prevent the flu. It does, however, significantly reduce the symptoms and the risk of pneumonia. Also, the vaccinated dog sheds much less virus and is thus less contagious.  The vaccine is safe and with all new products, I tried it first on my five dogs who did just fine.

 

     Because it is so hard to tell a healthy dog from a contagious dog with no symptoms of the canine flu, I am highly recommending the vaccination of client’s dogs. I would not have vaccinated mine if I had felt them at low risk. For those clients who board here, you will be asked to sign a waiver in the boarding contract should you decide to decline to vaccinate your dog against canine flu.

 

Side note #1:  Owners cannot get canine flu from their dogs. However, cats can get the human flu. So stay away from your cat if you have the flu.

 

Side note #2:  Do not let your dog go nose to nose with another dog while in this office. You do not know what they may have wrong with them. I have seen owners with sick contagious dogs say “Hi” without a second thought to another dog before we have a chance to stop it.  So if you notice as we switch dogs in and out of exam room and lobby we try to keep them separate. Some times that is because one may be aggressive but many times it is to reduce contact and the spread of germs.

 

Side note #3:  Please do not touch your cat and then pet Fergie.  Especially do not let Fergie go nose to nose with your cat. Not all things that are contagious between cats can be prevented by vaccination. Same with dog to dog. The last time she got sick from another cat she had to spend three weeks in quarantine. She was not a happy kitty when she started feeling better.

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