1.) Adopting a new puppy or kitten is a great new experience but there are many things to be informed about. Be sure that all kittens have been checked for FELV and FIV (feline leukemia and feline AIDS) and properly vaccinated according to your veterinarian’s discretion. All puppies and kittens should have a fecal parasite exam to reduce the chance of intestinal parasites. Parasites can cause serious diseases and can be transmitted to you, your family and your other household pets.
2.) Watch your puppy for any of these sudden symptoms: Vomiting, Diarrhea, Lethargy, Decreased appetite and decreased water consumption. These are all symptoms of Parvo-virus which an unvaccinated puppy is very susceptible to. If your puppy experiences any of these acute symptoms be sure to contact your veterinarian immediately.
3.) Vaccinating your pets is one of the most important things you can do to help them. Your pet received antibodies from their mother and her milk when he/she was young. These antibodies help to protect them however they dissipate out of their system by about three months of age. Their growing immune system is vulnerable when they are young. With vaccines you can help to stimulate and build their immune system. As an adult your pet needs to have booster vaccines annually. Call us today and we will come out and get your pet up to date.
4.) We recommend spaying and neutering your pets. There are thousands of animals being euthanized across the country. Please help us in our quest to decrease population control. It’s also the best thing for your pets. In females it helps prevent against cancer and pyometra (an infection of the uterus.) In both males and females it helps with marking, aggression and other behavioral issues.
5.) Parasites can cause serious issues with puppies and kittens. They can also be serious health concerns to you and your family. Be sure to check on your new puppies and kittens stools. Loose stools can indicate that there is a parasite. They can be diagnosed by a fecal sample tested by your veterinarian and treated with a course of medications.
6.) Heartworm disease is difficult to treat and sometimes fatal, but heartworm infection is easily prevented. Your dog should be given a blood test for heartworm every year. They should also be on a monthly preventative. Although dogs are the natural hosts for heartworms, cats can also contract this disease, transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Contact your veterinarian for more information.
7.) Missing something? Puppies love to chew and eat most anything. Be sure to keep anything you care about up and out of reach. If your puppy eats something it may be a concern. Some of the items that they eat can obstruct their bowels causing vomiting, lack of appetite and decreased water consumption. If you think your puppy may have eaten something contact your vet immediately as this may be a life or death matter.
8.) Exercise is very important for you pets. It not only helps to keep them thin and healthy it also helps to stimulate their minds. Regular activity helps to burn calories, strengthen the heart and increase muscle mass. Each individual will need a varied amount of exercise depending on their breed, age and physical ability. If you are just starting out walking, take it slow. If you have any questions feel free to ask us about how to get started.
I often times get questions from my clients about Valley Fever. So I thought I would write a little bit down. If anyone would like to talk more about this or has questions about other diseases our furry and scaly friends can get please let me know?
WHAT IS VALLEY FEVER?
Valley fever is a fungal infection caused by Coccidiodies immitis which inhabits the soil of the deserts of the southwestern United States. There are 150,000 cases in the US each year and 90% come from Arizona and California. Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties have the highest incidence in Arizona and the peak seasons are from June through August and from October through November. There is some evidence that shows there is a higher infection rate in the summers following rainy winters. The spores of the fungus are inhaled from soil or dust. Infected animals are not contagious to other animals or to people in most cases. If an infected animal does have a valley fever lesion that is open and draining the discharge may be contagious.
Most animals in Arizona are exposed to the spores and do not become infected, and many even become resistant to infection. Valley fever can manifest itself in many ways. It can affect any part of the body including: lungs, brain, bones and joints, eyes, skin and other vital organs. Most affected animals have a cough and are lethargic. Some have painful bones and joints and will have a chronic limp. Other cases will have a skin swelling which may open up and drain. In severe cases the infection can become disseminated throughout the body.
Some of the signs to look out for include: coughing, lethargy, limping, skin abscesses, weight loss, swollen joints and even seizures. Diagnosis can be made through blood tests, biopsies, X-rays, or additional modalities depending on areas affected.
The most common treatment used in our domestic pets is a product called fluconazole. It is given orally twice daily and is an acidic medication which decrease appetite, cause vomiting and diarrhea, It is a fungistatic which is a medication that has an inhibiting effect upon the growth and reproduction of fungi without destroying them. It is used to keep the fungus from spreading and multiplying while the immune system fights it off. The treatment is a long and slow process. Fortunately the price of fluconazole has come down a considerable amount in recent years. There are other antifungal medications however they can have more side effects and are often more expensive. Some animals will also need anti-inflammatory and other pain medications. Some will need lifelong treatments. They will also require ongoing blood testing to determine if the medications are working and to ensure they are not causing any harm. There are some cases of valley fever that do not respond to treatment however this is not common place.
Valley Fever can affect many types of animals and most mammals can be shown to be infected with the fungus. Species in which valley fever has been isolated include: humans, dogs, cats, pigs, cows, horses, apes and monkeys, kangaroos, lamas, wallabies, tigers, bears, badgers, otters, dolphins, skunk, mountain lions, coyote and javelin.
Anthony J. Gilchrist DVM
Summer Heat and the problems it causes!
Hello everyone its Dr.Gilchrist,
I’m sure we are all feeling this summer heat. Please make sure to stay vigilant about all of our pets. They cannot cool themselves off as well as we do. They can also get injuries to their paws in the form of burns and abrasions. Most of the heat exhaustion and heat stroke cases that I see are dogs.
The majority of dogs and cats ability to cool themselves off is by panting. They cool the air they breathe by evaporating the saliva on their tongues. It is a poor way of cooling off the body compared to sweating. In the summer heat most dogs can overheat in a matter of minutes. Dogs in a car can die within ten minutes. Some of the signs to look for are excessive panting, bright pink tongues and gums, thick saliva, a temperature over 104 degrees, staggering, unsteady gait, vomiting, diarrhea and disorientation.
-Get them into a cool place as fast as possible. Cool with room temperature water.
-DO NOT USE ICE WATER!
-Place wet towels around the abdomen.
-Call your veterinarian even if they are acting better. Heat exhaustion can become heat stroke without proper re-hydration. Drinking water often is not enough.
Some pets can handle a long walk or hike where others will have issues. Hiking on loose gravel can lead to torn paw pads or abrasions. They can also burn their pads on the hot ground. If you can’t hold your palm on the pavement for three minuets then your dog should not be on it.
-Get them out of the heat. You may need to carry them.
-Call your veterinarian.
Please make sure to always have access to plenty of fresh clean water. For your outside pets make sure they have plenty of good shade and water. Don’t forget about the turtles and tortoises. They need more water this time of year.
I hope none of your pets have any issues with the heat his year. Have a great summer and stay cool!!!
Thank you, Dr. Gilchrist DVM