Gross and Dangerous: TICKS! - 06/13/2018
If I say tick, most people’s immediate response is something along the lines of eww, or yuck, or gross.
They are truly disgusting, and we have been seeing a lot of them on both dogs and cats in the office this spring.
It appears that although the weatherman cannot predict whether or not it will rain in the next hour accurately, the parasitologists have hit the nail on the head with their prediction of a bad tick season this year. And, unfortunately, the cool, damp spring is not helping matters any.
Most pet owners are worried about Lyme disease and with good reason. The incidence of infection with Borrelia Burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease is way up this year in our area. While Lyme Disease is an important problem for dogs and their owners, there are many other tick borne diseases that we need to be concerned about. Different ticks carry different parasites and we have seen spikes in positive tests for Anaplasma and Ehrlichiosis as well as Lyme disease this spring.
Along with emerging diseases spread by ticks, we are seeing changes in the species of ticks that we are seeing in our area.
Lone Star Ticks, named for the single white spot on the back of the bug (not for the state of Texas) are emerging as a problem, especially out east.
They are problematic because many tick preventions are not as effective against this species as one would like. They also spread diseases like Tularemia and Human monocytotrophic ehrlichiosis.
If that’s not bad enough, they also can cause a serious and sometimes lifetime allergic reaction to red meat.
That’s right, as bizarre as it sounds, a protein in the saliva of the Lone Star Tick can cause it’s bite victims to become allergic to all red meat.
A new species of east Asian tick has raised it’s ugly head in New Jersey and we are girding ourselves for it’s appearance on Long Island in the near future.
So, what can we do to keep ourselves and out pets safe?
Stay out of tall grass when possible.
Treat your yards if you are in high tick areas.
Use an effective tick control product.
We recommend Simperica oral chews or Seresto collars for our pets.
Pyrethrin treated clothing for humans.
Ticks need to attach for a period of time to spread disease.
Check your pets and yourselves daily for ticks.
A useful tool is a tape lint roller up and down your pet after it comes in.
Ticks will stick to the tape.
If you find an attached tick, gentle traction with a small tweezer, close to the skin will get the tick to release.
Do not crush it with your fingers.
If you need it identified, put it in a plastic baggie and bring it to your veterinarian.
Have your dog tested regularly for tick borne diseases.
It’s a simple blood test.
We have effective vaccinations against Lyme disease, the most common tick transmitted disease in our area.
If your pet is at risk, vaccination is imperative.
H3N2 Dog Flu and You - 05/11/2018
Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) has been a cause of canine cough in the US since 2003. The original strain of the virus was first seen in racing Greyhound kennels and rapidly spread throughout the country and is now endemic to many states including Colorado, Florida, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. The original strain of CIV is s subtype of an Influenza A virus, identified by it’s protein receptors as H3N8. It causes a dry hacking cough, similar but more serious than that associated with Bordetella, the bacteria that causes Kennel Cough. It is easily spread through direct contact, nasal aerosols (think coughing and sneezing), and fomites (objects and clothing that has been sneezed or coughed on). Since it was a new virus on the block, all dogs were susceptible to infection, there was no immunity. A vaccine was quickly developed and we were able to control infection in our pet populations. The game changed again in 2015 with the appearance of a new strain of the virus, H3N2 CIV. Unlike human influenza viruses, this was not simply an annual mutation of the virus but an entirely new strain. The H3N8 is still around. Originally appearing in the Midwest, H3N2 has since started to spread. We monitored the spread of the outbreaks (somewhat more severe than the original CIV infections) and since there was no spike in cases in our area, we did not change our vaccine protocols. However, an outbreak of H3N2 CIV has been identified just last week in Brooklyn and so now we are trying to get the word out to dog owners so that they can protect their pets. While flu season in people is winding down, dog flu season is just getting started. That’s because the risk factors increase as the weather gets warmer. We see increased exposure for dogs that go to boarding, day care, dog runs, grooming, social groups, or now, go into Brooklyn and they need to be protected against this virus. What does this mean for your dog? If your pet has any of the above risk factors, we recommend vaccination against both strains of CIV. An initial series of 2 vaccinations is followed by annual boosters. If you are anticiapating a high risk situation (boarding for example) the series should be completed at least 2 weeks prior to potential exposure. If your dog has had the H3N8 vaccine, it just needs the new vaccine. If it has not had a flu vaccine in the past, it will need to be vaccinated against both strains, which can be done at the same time. We will be setting up some clinic times for flu shots so that we can keep the cost down for owners. Patients of ours that have been seen in the past 6 months and have no health issues can just receive the flu shots without and examination or office call fee. If your dog is not a patient of ours, we will perform a courtesy examination during clinic hours to make sure that it is healthy enough to vaccinate before we administer the vaccines. Details for vaccination clinics will be posted on our facebook page so keep an eye out. We will also be reaching out to our clients via text or e mail to let you know when the clinic hours will be available.
The Results Are In! - 04/23/2018
Our April 12th Free Pee Jubilee was a huge success! Thanks to all our clients who had the messy job of catching the urine, our staff for processing all those samples, and Stanley the Sedivue for analyzing all of them. Amidst the dozens of pee jokes all day, Stanley tested 58 samples of urine, which means we learned more about 58 dogs (sorry, nobody managed to collect any cat urine!) that day. By evaluating urine, we can screen for lots of diseases and possibly prevent some life threatening ones. Out of these 58 samples, we found abnormalities in 28 of them! We found 10 urinary tract infections, 10 with crystals, 9 with an abnormal pH. And, except for one known diabetic, all of those dogs were clinically normal; the owners were not expecting to hear anything was wrong with the urine.
This result surprised us as well and confirmed our belief that something as simple as a urine sample can give us so much insight into our pets' health. Since our pets are very good at hiding illness, we all learned that getting that small sample can help us provide better health care for our patients. So the next time we ask you to bring in a sample, please try to get one, it could make a huge difference to your pet!
Dr. Sandra Wu
I Think My Pet Had a Seizure - 03/22/2018
What is a seizure?
Think of the brain as a network of electrical circuits.
When things are going well, electricity flows through the network in an organized fashion and everything works just fine.
During a seizure, the electrical impulses flow in a disorganized, erratic way, causing the central nervous system to go haywire. There are a many underlying problems that can cause a seizure.
Trauma, congenital deformities, toxins, infections, metabolic problems (kidney disease, liver disease, diabetes, dehydration), inflammation (encephalitis), or brain tumors can all cause seizures.
When no apparent underlying cause is found, the condition is called epilepsy.
How do I know if my pet is having a seizure?
Seizures can be localized, and signs can vary and can include twitching of the eyelids/lips/body, abnormal leg movements (often can be stiff but can be flaccid), chatter of the teeth, and altered mentation.
Generalized (previously called Grand Mal) seizures result in a loss of consciousness and often incontinence of stool and urine. Animals can have abnormal vocalization during a seizure. Seizures may feel like they last forever, but in reality, they commonly last a few second to minutes. If your pet is having a seizure lasting more than a few minutes, they should immediately be taken to the veterinary emergency clinic for further care and treatment.
What to do during a seizure?
Make sure you stay calm. Seizures can be very scary for both owners and their loving pets. This is not a time to panic but instead be proactive by making sure your pet is in a safe place. You can use towels or pillows to protect or move your pets’ head and also to keep him/her steady without falling off the couch or stairs. During a seizure, owners can lower the lights or cover your pets eyes with a small towel or blanket. The decrease in stimulation can be calming to your pet as they come out of the seizure. If possible, record a video to show your veterinarian.
What NOT to do during a seizure?
While in a disoriented and confused state, your pet can accidently act aggressively and bite. It is important to not pick up or put your hands/face, other family pets or young children near your pet while they are have a seizure. Safety for everyone is the main goal of getting through a seizure successfully.
What to do after a seizure?
After a seizure it is important to continue to monitor your pet. They may have a post seizure phase that can involve them being very sleepy, confused and/or show signs that lead into another seizure. Another task would be to think back and record any triggers or clinical signs that may have occurred before your pet had the seizure. It is also a good idea to record; the date, time, clinical signs, how long the seizure lasted and how many seizures occurred. Lastly, please contact your veterinarian to discuss details/questions and schedule a visit. A complete examination and diagnostic testing will help to determine the cause of the seizures and what the appropriate treatment course is best for your dog or cat.
Dr. Stephanie Waters
Free Pee Jubilee 2018 - 03/09/2018
Free Pee Day!
Why do we want you to bring in your pet's urine? A complete urinalysis (which involves chemical and sediment analyses) can reveal so many diseases and provides an opportunity to prevent more serious illnesses.
The chemical analysis reveals changes in kidney function by looking at the urine's concentration (called the urine specific gravity) and evidence of protein. We may suspect diabetes if glucose or ketones are present. In both dogs and cats, increased drinking and urination can be signs of both kidney failure and diabetes. A urinalysis can differentiate between the two completely different diseases. The pH of the urine can confirm presence of urinary crystals and help us to make nutritional recomeendations. And if bilirubin is present in the urine, we may be concerned with liver disease.
The sediment analysis looks at any microscopic objects in the urine. We may find red and white blood cells when the bladder wall is inflamed. If we also find bacteria, we could diagnosis a urinary tract infection. Crystals in the urine are early detectors for bladder or kidney stones. Urinary tract stones can be life threatening, particularly in male cats and dogs, as they can urinary obstruction and lead to kidney failure. Early detection of crystals helps us make changes to your pet's diet that could avoid painful and dangerous urinary stones (which often require surgery to remove them). Abnormal bladder cells may also be found in the sediment, which may indicate cancer.
With just a teaspoon of urine, we can discover so much about your pet's health. If you bring in a sample of urine on April 12, 2018 we will analyze it at no cost. Just collect a clean sample from your pet that morning and bring it to us Samples should be refrigerated and brought in within 4 hours of collection for the most accurate results. If you'd like to bring a sample from your cat, you can use some Nosorb non-absorbent litter. Stop in after April 1 t pick up urine collection kits for dogs or cats. Or, message us either on Facebook, our Web Page, or from your Petsite account and we'll instruct you on how to collect a sample. Sorry, we can't collect urine for you on the 12th, we anticipate a large volume of testing.