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The Fleas are Here!

Flea season is in full swing. Is your pet itchy and scratchy?  Here are some great tips for keeping the flea population under control.

Fleas are a pesky external parasite that causes irritating bites and skin conditions on our pets. They can also harbor other parasites such as tapeworms. Fleas are one of the most common causes for an itchy pet. Many owners claim they don’t have fleas but most of the time fleas are the underlying problem. Fleas are incredibly difficult to see and can be removed by your pet grooming and itching itself, making detection harder.  Even indoor only pets are at risk for flea infestations as they can hitch rides on clothing and enter your home.

Once a flea infestation begins, it can be very difficult to get it under control

Understanding the flea life cycle is key in removal and control. Fleas aren’t just outside. A home is the perfect environment for fleas to live all year long.

One flea can lay 50 eggs a day and up to 2000 in her lifetime. A flea produces eggs which fall off to develop into larva in your bed, carpet, or other areas your pet tends to rest.

Once larva develop into the pupae stage, they can remain dormant here for up to 6 months prior to hatching. Nothing can kill the flea when it is in this stage. That is why getting an infestation under control can take so long.

With good flea control implemented it, it still takes a approximately 4 weeks to see a good decrease in the flea population and up to 6 months to rid of the infestation.

The first place to start when fighting fleas is a product to kill the adult fleas on the pet. This will provide your pet relief and help stop the source of new eggs. Many products are available that work very well and have long lasting effects. Some products can last up to three months after one application. There are many products you can choose that come in topical and oral formulations.

It is very important to treat all pets in the household. Flea shampoos, collars, and dips do not provide any benefit when compared to modern oral and spot on medications. Many over the counter products do not work as effectively as they use to thanks to the fleas building up resistance.

The next part is controlling the eggs and larval stages of the flea. This is done with good environmental cleaning and products containing and insect growth regulator. Vacuum daily and wash your pet’s bedding weekly. Use an insecticide with an insect growth regulator like KNOCKOUT in your home. Target places that are dark and where your pet likes to rest.

Using a product that contains an IGR like Sentinel will further decrease the flea population. This product causes the shell of the flea egg to essentially melt. It is also passed in the fleas’ fecal matter that larva in your carpet digest, causing them to “melt” as well.

The outdoor environment must be managed. Keep the yard mowed and limbs and weeds under control. Developing fleas love shady, moist areas and will die when exposed to prolonged light and heat. If you need to use sprays or other outdoor products, consult with an exterminator to choose the best and safest product for your yard and family.

 

 

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Attention Allergy Patients! CYTOPOINT has Arrived!

If your dog is constantly itching, scratching or chewing because of its allergies to pollens, molds or dust mites, we now have a new biologic therapy that targets itch at its source. It’s called CYTOPOINTTM — it is an injection that starts working within one day and helps provide relief of the clinical signs of atopic dermatitis for four to eight weeks.

CYTOPOINT is different from traditional drugs that treat itch. It is a biological therapy—a type of non-pharmaceutical treatment that works like your dog’s immune system. CYTOPOINT contains engineered antibodies very similar to natural dog antibodies. Antibodies are what an animal’s immune system uses to defend the body against infection or disease.

In this case, the antibodies in CYTOPOINT have been designed to specifically target and neutralize one of the main proteins that sends itch signals to your dog’s brain. This helps reduce scratching so the skin has a chance to heal.

CYTOPOINT is an injection that your veterinarian gives your dog once every 4 to 8 weeks, as needed. In studies, after one injection, CYTOPOINT started controlling itch within 1 day, and kept itch controlled for a month or longer. CYTOPOINT also helped damaged skin begin to heal within 7 days.

In a clinical study, dogs receiving CYTOPOINT injections had no more side effects than dogs who received placebo injections (injections with no treatment at all). CYTOPOINT is safe to use in dogs of any age, and can be used with many other commonly used medications and in dogs with other diseases.

Because CYTOPOINT is a biological therapy and not a drug, it is naturally broken down and recycled by the body. It is not eliminated from the body via the liver or kidneys like most pharmaceutical drug products. This is one of the reasons CYTOPOINT can be a safe choice for your dog.

We know how difficult it is to see your dog so uncomfortable from constant itching and other signs of atopic dermatitis. We’re very excited about this new therapy that can help give your dog long-term relief and bring back the fun in life

Give us a call today and we would be happy to answer any further questions and get your dog scheduled for their first injection today!

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Public Health Alert: Leptosporosis

Two dogs were recently diagnosed with active leptosporosis infections at Pet Care Center.  Lepto is a concern as not only can it make your dog very ill (even result in death) but can be transferred to you as well. The disease is not limited to hunting dogs. Urban wildlife, rodents, and family vacations can result in exposure to the bacteria. In this case, both dogs were lap dogs less than 15 lbs. A vaccination is available to help provide protection; however it does not protect against every subspecies of leptosporosis. If you think your pet has signs consistent with leptosporosis, contact your veterinarian and your personal physician immediately.

https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Leptospirosis.aspx

 

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Leptosporosis: Is Your Dog At Risk?

Leptosporosis is a disease caused by the bacteria Leptospira. There are numerous different sub-species of Leptospira but the main ones affecting our canine friends are L. grippotyphosa, pomona, autumnalis, icterohaemorrhagiae, and bratislava. It is found worldwide in soil and water. The bacteria is shed in the urine of wildlife reservoirs including rodents, opossums, and raccoons as well as cows and pigs. The disease was usually considered mostly for outdoor, hunting dogs but with today’s influx of urban wildlife, we are seeing more city dogs contracting this deadly disease.

Lepto is contracted through exposure with stagnant water sources. However, even wet grass where a shedding animal has urinated can infect our dogs. Common risk factors include exposure to or drinking from rivers, lakes or streams; roaming on rural properties (because of exposure to potentially infected wildlife, farm animals, or water sources); exposure to wild animal or farm animal species, even if in the backyard; and contact with rodents or other dogs (AVMA website). Transmission occurs when the bacteria come in contact with mucous membranes, an open wound/cut, or from eating a carcass. It can cross the placental barrier between mother and fetus.

It is known for causing acute kidney and liver failure. Clinical signs include depression, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain, loss of appetite, jaundice, increased thirst, increased urination, fever, and shivering. It can in some instances cause inflammation inside of the eyes, swelling of limbs, and clotting disorders leading to bruising as well as blood tinged vomit, diarrhea, and nose bleeds.

Clinical signs can be quite severe but also very subtle. Some dogs will become acutely ill while others may have lingering illness. Diagnosis is typically reached by interpreting clinical signs, exam findings, bloodwork, and specialized testing using titers and PCR. Many dogs with lepto will have elevated kidney and/or liver values. Titers show an antibody response to the bacteria while PCR identifies the organism itself. Titers may need to be paired 2 weeks apart to identify an increase indicating and active infection. PCR is diagnostic if positive; however due to dilute concentrations of urine there may not be enough detectable organisms to ID. Blood can also be used for PCR however the organism must have entered the blood stream to detect.

Aggressive treatment in the early course of the disease often leads to favorable outcomes but permanent kidney or liver damage still may persist. Treatment often includes hospitalization, aggressive fluid therapy, antibiotics, and symptomatic care for nausea. Depending on the severity, the average lepto case stays in the hospital for 3-7 days or longer.

Fortunately a vaccine is available against leptospirosis. The downside of the vaccine is it only covers four sub-species of lepto so there is always the chance your dog may become infected with other varieties. Many reactions were seen with the early vaccine product. Now days the vaccine has been reformulated and vaccine reactions against the product are few (no more than any other type of vaccine). Vaccination is recommended for at-risk dogs. This includes dogs that frequent wet areas (lakes, streams, ponds, marshes), come in contact with rodents and wildlife (including urban wildlife), and visit dog parks or areas where many dogs gather.

One scary aspect of leptospirosis is that it is a zoonotic disease. This means that if you come in contact with your dog’s urine that is shedding the bacterium, you can be infected as well. If you believe you have been exposed to lepto, contact your physician immediately. Clinical signs in humans include high fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, vomiting, yellow skin and eyes, red eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rash.

Leptosporosis is very rare in cats. Cats are considered resistant however not much is known about the disease in cats. Most display very mild or no signs at all. There are very few documented cases of cats actually displaying symptoms similar to dogs.

Helpful links:

CDC https://www.cdc.gov/leptospirosis/symptoms/index.html

AVMA https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Leptospirosis.aspx