Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease kills dogs.  It is spread by mosquitoes which we have in abundance here in Florida. Florida has a lot of parasites in addition to heartworm such as hookworms, fleas, and ticks.  I like to compare the two parasites fleas and heartworm because everyone notices fleas on their pets while heartworm disease is invisible.  Fleas, however, are mostly an annoyance, while heartworm disease is deadly.

Because this disease can be fatal, we check your pet’s blood for it every year.  If your dog iStock_000014993047XSmalltests positive, the treatment is effective, but it is painful and expensive.  Fortunately, heartworm disease is easy to prevent with a monthly medication that you give at home.  It is up to you to remember to give your dog heartworm prevention every month, all year long.

The monthly dose is extremely important because one missed dose exposes your dog to heartworm disease.  There are a few tricks to help you remember to give heartworm prevention every month.  The packages come with stickers that you can apply to your kitchen calender.  Or, there is an app from Heartgard that will alert you on your phone that it is time for the monthly dose.  Other medication companies will send you an email or text reminder if you sign up for it.

You have choices in which type of heartworm prevention you use for your pet.  We typically recommend Heartgard, Sentinel, Trifexis, or Revolution. It all depends on your pet’s lifestyle and whether you want to prevent other parasites at the same time as heartworm.  Heartworm prevention is an essential priority for your dog’s health.  Please call us any time to discuss this disease and its prevention in more detail.

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Save Money! Buy From Our Online Store

Buying flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives for your cats and dogs has become an expensive necessity. Preventatives are becoming more sophisticated and are therefore increasing in price. In today’s economy, high costs for these products can be stressful for many pet owners. Many pet owners have started to purchase preventatives and medication online for the cheaper prices and convenience. Is this a good idea? It depends on what site you use. The question you should ask yourself before you order pet medication online is: where does it come from? Some online “pharmacies” look good because they are cheap, but sometimes their products have been sitting for long periods of time or came from different countries and aren’t even produced by the actual manufacturer! This is a big concern for pet owners because the last thing they want to do is give their pet medication that doesn’t work or might be harmful or even fatal.

So what can pet owners that like shopping online do?  Bay Road Animal Hospital now offers preventatives and medications through our online store. These products are sold at prices that are competitive with other online store pricing, and sometimes even lower! The advantage of buying from us is that you know exactly where these products are coming from. They ship DIRECTLY from our supplier, MWI, to your house. The manufacturers also guarantee the medications and preventatives when purchased through us. These products sell for lower prices than if you were to purchase them at our hospitals because they are shipped directly from our supplier, which is more cost effective for us. We then pass along these savings to our clients through our online store.

How do you get to our online store? It’s simple, just click on this link and login to your Pet Portal account. If you haven’t set up your Pet Portal account, just follow the instructions to sign up. Pet Portal is a free service for all of our clients, and once inside you can click on the ‘Shop’ tab to shop!

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Red Tide: Its Effect on Dogs

Red tide blooms have been reported off the Sarasota area’s coastline recently. Red tide blooms are common in Sarasota and Florida’s Gulf Coast so you need to be very careful with your dog on the beach. A red tide, or harmful algal bloom, is a higher-than-normal concentration of a microscopic alga that produces a toxin that can kill marine animals. As many of you know, dogs love to eat the worst smelling things in the world, like dead fish. These fish can be contaminated with the red tide toxin.

We have seen toxic effects in dogs after ingesting fish or shellfish killed by red tide. The symptoms we have seen have been nerve system problems; infected dogs have staggered, fallen down, drooled, vomited and have had tremors.

Red tide poisoning is difficult to diagnose initially, but once diagnosed, dogs are treated with IV fluids. All dogs we have treated from poisoning survived, but we have seen very sick dogs.

Please make sure your dogs don’t ingest any type of dead fish they find on the beach. If you see any symptoms from vomiting to staggering to falling down, immediately contact your veterinarian, it could be red tide poisoning.

For more information on red tide visit this link

For current information on the status of red tide in our area visit this link

The last link is very good and you can pull up maps that highlight the exact location and concentration of the red tide blooms.

 

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Burn Victim Saved

This poor puppy was brought to us with burn marks down her back. She was homeless at the time and was luckily found by a client, who brought her right over to us. You can see how bad the burn marks were from the photo to the right. Dr. Rosenberry immediately treated the wounds and sutured her skin back together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can see the improvement just 6 weeks after the procedure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here she is 5 months after, you can barely notice the scars. She is now very happy and has a loving home. Bay Road Animal Hospital has treated many animals like Lexi through ARC’s Emergency Medical Fund (EMF). The EMF is a program funded by donations that are used to provide medical care to unfortunate animals without homes, these animals are treated and then adopted out to loving homes so they can live a normal life. To learn more about the fund and/or how you can donate, visit www.animalrescuecoalition.org

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ARC Success Story

Bay Road Animal Hospital teamed up with the Animal Rescue Coalition (ARC) at the start of this year to help with their goals of reducing pet overpopulation and providing emergency veterinary care to adoptable pets. So far, Bay Road’s doctors and staff have spayed/neutered over 100 feral cats and treated about 50 potential pets that required emergency services.

Penelope, pictured here, was found on the streets of Sarasota at just 6 weeks old. She was starving and suffering from parasites. Had she remained on the streets she would not be with us today. The great people at Animal Services found her and brought her to us. When she came to Bay Road Animal Hospital, she had about every parasite you could think of. We treated her for her parasites and provided her with proper nutrition so she could get her strength. She now has a great home and is very happy to be in this world!

We look forward to telling more of these stories as we continue our partnership with ARC and Animal Services. For more information on ARC, and how to help with these programs, visit www.animalrescuecoalition.org.

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Florida Wintertime Myths

Pet owners hear many different myths about how to take care of their pets, especially during the winter months in Florida. Dr. Rosenberry addresses some myths in this month’s adrticle.

Myth#1 – My dogs and cats don’t need to be on flea medication during the wintertime.

False. Winters in colder parts of the country, like the northeast, break the flea life cycle because the temperatures are cold enough for an extended period of time. This disrupts the cycle and makes the fleas less prevalent. However, the winters in Florida are usually mild and still have humidity, which does not break the flea cycle and the eggs stay fertile and there are still many fleas. So, in florida, your pets need to be on flea prevention year round.

 

 

Myth #2 – My dogs and cats don’t need to be on heartworm medication during the wintertime.

False. Heartworm is a year round problem in Florida. It is a disease that is spread by mosquitoes and there is no month that is mosquito-free. Just like with flea prevention, your pet needs to be on heartworm prevention year round in Florida.

Myth #3 – My pet will not have pollen allergies during the Florida winter.

False. In Florida, there are plants that have pollen or allergens even during the winter. It is possible for your pet to have an allergy to something blooming even in the middle of winter. Also, don’t forget other types of allergens that are indoors such as dust mites or molds! These can cause allergy symptoms at any time of the year.

Myth #4 – Dogs and cats with thick coats can live outside in the winter.

False. Dogs and cats need shelter during even the Florida winter. Even though the winters are mild, it is too cold overnight to leave your pet outside without some type of covering.

Myth #5 – Dogs and cats in Florida do not need vaccines.

False. Pets need vaccines no matter where they live. The only difference is what type of vaccines they get. Certain vaccines are not needed for pets that live in Florida year round, but these decisions need to be made by your veterinarian. Simply not vaccinating your pet at all can leave your pet at risk of becoming infected with rabies, parvo, lepto, etc.

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Attention: Leptospirosis Positive Dog Discovered in Sarasota

A dog was brought to Bay Road Animal Hospital recently that was suffering from severe kidney disease. This dog was only 8.5 years old and had no previous history of kidney problems. Severe kidney disease usually strikes later in life. There was no history of vaccines being administered for several years. We suspected Leptospirosis (Lepto).

Lepto is transmitted in the urine of raccoons, possums, squirrels, rats, mice, dogs, and other animals. The organisms are ingested by drinking contaminated puddle water. Dogs that lick their paws after inadvertently stepping in urine from the infected animals can also get the disease.

A blood sample was collected from the 8.5 year old dog, and then was submitted to Idexx Laboratory for testing. We began treating the suspected Lepto with injectible antibiotics. We treated the kidney disease with IV fluids. This patient rallied in the first 12 hours but died within 24 hours. Three days later we received test results confirming our suspicion of Lepto.

Tests for this disease take time and may not confirm the diagnosis for as long as 6 weeks. We must treat these dogs on the suspicion of Lepto because we do not have the time to wait for test results. We have had some success treating but we also have seen some deaths. It’s reported that this disease is on the rise in some dogs.

Lepto vaccine can protect pets against the four most common forms of Lepto. This vaccine must be given yearly. It is a must for any dogs in Florida that could be exposed to the wild animal host population.

Don’t let your dog be the next victim of this preventable disease. Check your vaccine records or call your veterinarian to be sure your dog is protected. If you discover your dog has not had the Lepto vaccine, call your vet today!

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Halloween and Pets Q & A

Question 1– I have a Rhodesian Ridgeback at home and she has a knack for getting food left on tables, in cabinets, etc. I have heard chocolate is bad for dogs, is this true? If so, and she gets into the Halloween candy this year what should I do?

Answer 1 – Chocolate can be toxic to dogs when they eat a large amount of it. The ingredients of caffeine and theobromine found in chocolate are what cause the problem for dogs. Dark chocolate, especially baker’s chocolate, has high levels of these ingredients. Most chocolate candies or baked goods have a very low amount so are usually not a problem, especially for a big dog like a ridgeback. If a small dog eats a lot of chocolate candies, there may be some symptoms so please call your vet if you are concerned at all. The symptoms of chocolate toxicity can be as mild as a bout of vomiting or diarrhea; or they can be as severe as tremors, seizures, or even death. The safest thing is to keep ALL human food away from your pets! For more information, check out this article.

Question 2 – I love to dress my dog, Teddy, up for Halloween, but someone told me last year that my dog’s costume was hurting him. How can I tell if Teddy’s costume is causing him discomfort?

Answer 2 – Sometimes it is hard to tell because many dogs will tolerate whatever you do to them! But you need to check the fit around Teddy’s neck and belly to make sure it is not digging in tightly, just like you would with a collar or harness. Sometimes dogs will not tolerate anything other than their regular collar even if it is not hurting them. If Teddy is not placid and tolerant of the costume, you should not force him to wear it.

Question 3 – I want to go trick or treating with my kids, is it a good idea to bring our dogs along too?

Answer 3 – If your dogs love all people, then yes, you could bring them. But if your dogs are even slightly timid or scared of new people, new sights, and new sounds, then no, do not bring them. People’s costumes sometimes scare dogs, so it is not fair to put them through that. Also, there are a lot of loud noises and “boos” which can frighten even the bravest of dogs!

Question 4 – On Halloween, I normally stay in and hand out candy to trick or treaters. However, my dog Brutus gets worked up and barks a lot when people knock on the door or ring the doorbell. Is there anything I can do to keep him from doing this?

Answer 4 – There is no quick fix for this problem. If his barking bothers you, put him in a crate in the back room. It won’t do any good to yell at him when he barks.

One thing to work on for next Halloween, however, is to desensitize him to people at the door. It is not easy because it takes hundreds of repetitions. Brutus needs basic obedience first. Have him “sit and stay” in front of the door and give him a training treat for doing that quietly. Then you lightly tap on the door (from the inside) and give him a treat as he sits quietly. Over a period of days, gradually increase the volume of tapping on the door, giving him a treat as he sits quietly. Do not give him a treat as he barks, but do not punish him either. Eventually open and close the door, go outside and knock, until finally you can ring the doorbell. Like I said, it takes a long time, it is a slow process, but you can do it!

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A Reminder About Rabies

55,000 people die worldwide every year from rabies, and these people typically are infected from rabid dog bites. Rabies is a fatal, viral disease that is spread through the bites of infected mammals; both wild and domestic. It is spread when the virus in saliva enters the blood stream where it travels to the brain.  Because it settles in the brain, neurologic signs (think of a wild rabid dog) are the hallmarks of this fatal disease.

In Florida last year, 200 cases of rabies were reported. Rabies can only be prevented by vaccinating and avoiding exposure. Therefore, it is important to prevent your pets from roaming free where they can contact wildlife such as raccoons, skunks, bats, foxes and coyotes that carry the disease.

Surprisingly, for the past 25 years, cats are more likely to be infected with rabies than dogs are!  The reason for this is that pet owners are not vaccinating their cats even though they are just as susceptible to the disease as dogs.  People mistakenly believe that cats are not at risk when they are housed indoors.

If your pet gets bitten by another animal, contact your veterinarian immediately.  If the bite was from a stray or wild animal, then contact animal services as well. If you are bitten by an animal thoroughly wash the bite and contact your physician immediately.  Your physician will likely contact the health department.

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Do Older Pets require Less Medical Care?

Many people believe that pets are less prone to medical problems as they age. Is this true? NO! As pets get older, they become more susceptible to certain diseases and conditions, including weight and mobility changes; osteoarthritis; kidney, heart, and liver disease; tumors and cancers; hormone disorders such as diabetes and thyroid imbalance; and many others. Just like humans, pets develop different medical needs as they age.

So, what can a pet owner do to prevent these diseases and conditions? Well, unfortunately we cannot prevent every disease, but if we pay close enough attention to your pet we might discover early warning signs and be able to control it. To do this, we must fully examine senior pets every 6 months. Remember, 1 year for a human is 5-7 years for a pet. So, if a senior pet goes a full year between visits, his or her body has aged 5-7 years.

We also need to do full laboratory testing every 6 months. Lab tests can find problems that are not visible or apparent during routine exams. This is extremely important with senior pets as their diseases and conditions aren’t noticeable at first, allowing us to catch it early. At Bay Road Animal Hospital (both locations), our standard annual lab test looks for: worms and parasites (heartworms, roundworms, hookworms, etc.); tick borne diseases (Lymes, Ehrlichia), and Feline HIV and Leukemia in cats. For our senior patients, we recommend our Senior Health Profile, which is a more complete test that includes everything in our standard test, plus:

Complete Blood Count – this test counts the number of red and white blood cells. Why is this important? It tells our vets vital information to help diagnose certain problems like anemia, leukemia, and infection.

Urinalysis – Testing urine can alert our doctors to the presence of substances that are not supposed to be in the urine, such as protein, sugar, and white blood cells. We can also diagnose urinary-tract infections, diabetes, kidney problems, and other conditions using urine testing.

Blood-Chemistry Panel – This tells our doctors how various organs, such as the kidneys, pancreas, thyroid and liver, are currently functioning.  This information is vital in discovering problems as well as monitoring the effectiveness of treatment.

We also need to pay close attention to any physical changes with your pet. This is something we will look at during our physical exam, but you will more accurately be able to tell if your pet’s behavior or physical condition has changed because you see them every day. Waste elimination is the most common change for senior pets. If you notice anything different about your pet, call us and let us know so we can give you advice on what to do.

 We can avoid many serious medical issues for your pet if we regularly examine your pets, complete lab testing, and pay close attention to physical changes. If you have any questions on senior pets, or would like more information, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

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