Tick Threats

March 16, 2011

The ticks in our area possess various bacteria which they are sharing generously with our dogs!  Recent convenient in –clinic testing has enabled us to diagnose many cases of Lyme disease and Ehrlichiosis.  These two diseases are part of a trio that poses severe life threatening risks to dogs who acquire ticks.  Both Lyme disease and Ehrlichia cause general signs of weakness, weight loss, fever, and decreased appetite.  However, while Lyme disease notoriously affects the joints and sometimes the kidneys, Ehrlichia attacks the blood vessels, the spleen, liver, and bone marrow.  Therefore, dogs with Ehrlichia may have spontaneous bleeding, swollen lymph nodes, eye problems and swelling of the legs.  The nervous system is also affected resulting in signs of weakness, an uneven gait, a head tilt, and even seizures.  However, while Lyme disease persists in the pet for the entirety of its life, Ehrlichia is cleared with appropriate antibiotic therapy.  If the disease is caught early, dogs recover completely.  Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever completes the trio of common tick-borne diseases in dogs.  It causes symptoms comparable to both Lyme disease and Ehrlichiosis and is treated similarly.  At this time we do not have a convenient in-clinic test available but blood samples can be evaluated at an outside lab for diagnosis.  Since a vaccine is only available for Lyme disease, tick prevention is the key to avoiding these illnesses.  Early detection through testing is crucial to the pet’s speedy recovery. 

 

Heart Attack!

February 28, 2011

While cupid armed with love, targets human hearts, mosquitoes armed with heartworm larvae aim at dog hearts.  With the number of mosquitoes in this area, dogs face a severe risk of being infected with deadly heartworms.  An infected mosquito bites the dog, injecting heartworm larvae under the skin.  The larvae mature under the skin and then travel to the heart and the arteries in the lungs.  Approximately 6-9 months after being deposited under the skin, the fertilized female worms begin to pr...


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Dental Denial

February 22, 2011

“Does my dog really need his teeth cleaned?”
 

That depends!  Some pets never need a dental cleaning, while others need frequent dental care.  As a general rule, dogs that are smaller, older, on moist diets or that have crowded teeth need the most dental care.  In regards to dental health, there is the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.  Providing you have a well mannered dog, lift the upper lips and examine the mouth.  The Good: A healthy mouth has white, clean, firm teeth and healthy pink (or ...


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Lyme Disease: A Ticking Time Bomb

February 1, 2011

It’s time we became aware of a preventable, life threatening disease of our dogs.  Lyme disease is transmitted by the Ixodes tick (black leg tick) which is very common in our area.  The immature tick acquires the bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi) from a carrier such as a mouse or bird, and becomes infected for life.   Then when that same tick attaches to a dog (or rarely a cat, horse or human) and remains attached for a minimum of 18 hours, it can transmit the infection.  Symptoms of Lyme dis...


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Flee Flea!!

January 24, 2011

Many pets are experiencing flea infestations.  Perhaps you have observed your pet scratching or noticed scabs or hairless areas.  Possibly you’ve felt a bite on your ankle or even seen one of those tiny and elusive pests.  Take a moment to examine your pet’s skin for evidence of fleas.  Although you might see an actual flea, you will more likely notice the black “flea dirt” that fleas leave behind.  Just a few fleas rapidly become thousands, as adult female fleas can lay 50 eggs a day...


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