Do you know what they say about an ounce of prevention? Besides the beautiful wildflowers peppering our hillsides, our wet winter is expected to bring us a significant flea and tick season. The warm, moist conditions that we are seeing now are favored by both fleas and ticks, and will actually accelerate their life cycles.
Some flea/tick facts for you: - Fleas can jump 100X their own body length. - They will hitchhike until they find a suitable host (ie: bring them home on your clothes to your pets). - Average lifespan of a flea 2-3 months, ticks 3 months, but both have to ability to “go on hold” with their lifecycles until conditions are favorable. Ticks up to 3 years! - A single flea will lay up to 2,000 eggs, and a tick several thousand. - Fleas will lay them on the pet, but will roll off and develop in the environment (that is under your couch, in bedding, carpet…) Ticks lay their eggs off the host in the environment (yard, window casings, baseboards, drapes…) - Fleas and ticks have been around for at least 100 million years!
Is your skin crawling yet? Besides these wee beasties being disgusting, why care about an infestation? They will cause a multitude of health issues including dermatological conditions, discomfort, stress for owners, anemia/death in some, tapeworms, can transmit protozoan, bacterial, rickettsial and viral pathogens (to humans too)- Lyme disease or Bubonic Plauge anyone? Ticks rank second to mosquitoes in transmitting more disease than all other pests.
What to do? This is where Ben Franklin’s idea of "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" comes in. Get your pets on a quality, monthly flea and tick preventative before you have a problem! You won’t have to deal with treating your house, pets, yard and having to make appointments to cure Fluffy’s flea allergic dermatitis, or tapeworm infestation, or having to send blood off to the lab for a tick titer after Fido isn’t eating and running a fever. The cost of flea prevention is far less than treatment and a whole lot easier! Dr. Davis has her own flea and tick prevention favorites that you can discuss with her at your next appointment and decide which will work best for your pets. If we don’t have it in stock, we can direct ship it to you from our online pharmacy! We love to keep pets healthy and their owners happy!
Veterinarians know that bad breath in dogs and cats isn’t something to be ignored. Bad breath can be a sign of dental problems and might also signify other serious health risks, with the potential to damage not only a pet’s teeth and gums, but also internal organs including the heart, liver and kidneys.
Regular check-ups for our furry friends are necessary to maintain good dental hygiene and protect their overall health. By the age of just three, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some form of periodontal disease.
Routine cleanings not only can help prevent periodontal disease and save money in the long run, but also allow for a complete oral examination that can detect hidden health problems. Brushing your pet’s teeth is the single most effective way to maintain dental health between professional dental cleanings. If you’re not sure how to brush your pet’s teeth, ask your veterinarian for advice or a demonstration.
Your veterinarian also can advise you how often your pet should have a dental cleaning. But you also should keep an eye on your pet’s teeth to check for any signs that dental disease has already started. If you notice any of the following symptoms, take your pet in to see your veterinarian immediately: · Red swollen gums · Bad breath (similar to the smell of a rotten egg) · Teeth that are broken, loose, discolored or covered in tartar · Abnormal chewing, drooling or dropping food from the mouth · Bleeding from the mouth · Shying away from you when you touch the mouth area · Frequent pawing or rubbing at the face and/or mouth · Reduced appetite or refusal to eat · Weight loss
For more information about National Pet Dental Health Month, visit the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) website at www.avma.org/PetDental. The AVMA sponsors National Pet Dental Health Month every February and has a variety of materials on how you can improve the dental (and overall) health of your pets.
The Final Gift...Euthanasia can be a powerful experience that provides relief from pain, emotional suffering, and chronic debility. In many cases, euthanasia can be the kindest, most humane decision for animals at the end of their lives, or for animals suffering from severe illness at any age.
The overwhelming majority of companion animals’ lives end with euthanasia in a veterinarian’s office. While some pets are quite relaxed in a hospital setting, most are stressed. Many of these animals have mobility impairment that makes travel difficult or even painful. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the euthanasia experience could be as stress-free as possible for pets and as meaningful as possible for their caregivers?
In-home euthanasia can provide a relaxed and personalized experience for animals & families during their final moments together. It is Dr. Davis' belief that we can humanely end an animal’s life without pain, emotional distress or fear, with the goal to make the final goodbye as calm and compassionate as possible. Euthanasia should be a gentle time – un-rushed, peaceful and respectful. The life of an animal is honored when it ends with dignity.
As back to school time is here its good to remember its not just an adjustment on kids but also on our pets. This article talks about some things we can do to help ease back into a routine that will keep everyone happy! We hope you all have a great start to your school year!!
Meet our adorable Great Pyrenees puppy friends, Champ and Chase, are true working dogs in training. They are livestock guardians, and their family wanted us to “Bring the Clinic to Them” to start them on their vaccines to protect them from any diseases they may encounter. These infectious diseases are not only transmitted from direct contact with other dogs, they can be found in the air, as the result of infected animals’ coughing and sneezing. Even on surfaces where other dogs have been or shared water and food bowls. Some can be brought in on our clothes and shoes. Wildlife, like coyotes and raccoons that may visit our property, can pass along certain diseases that our domestic babies can pick up.
Sounds like there are threats from everywhere just waiting to harm our little ones! The problem is that puppies don't have the immunity to fight off these encountered pathogens. They may have some acquired immunity from their mom, but that is gone by a certain age (which varies by the individual). So, we vaccinate! However, immunity from mom may block our vaccines, rendering them ineffective. This is why we do a vaccine series, because we never fully know where mom's immunity drops off, and our vaccines can start doing their jobs. Nothing is more heartbreaking than watching a puppy or adult dog suffer with a disease that we know could have been prevented from a simple vaccine.
Champ and Chase are learning their jobs as well as gearing up for the possibility of encountering disease causing microorganisms. Big aspirations for these little guys, thanks to their loving family! We were talking today about our fluffy canines, but the same is also true for our friendly felines too. To find out more about a vaccine schedule for your pet, give our office a call!
This handsome man was seen for his second rattlesnake vaccine. He lives on acreage in Murrieta and has a high risk of running into a rattlesnake during his daily jaunts on the property. His awesome mom wanted to protect him from a potentially fatal bite, so she had him vaccinated and took him to rattlesnake avoidance training. Since he had never had the vaccine before, he had to have the initial vaccine, and then have it boostered a month later. The days are getting longer and warmer, rattlesnakes are emerging from their dens, thus rattlesnake season has begun. So, do you know if your dog needs a vaccine? Since we shouldn't over vaccinate our animals, we need to consider if they are at high risk. Do they live on acreage or near hillsides? Even if they live in a tract home, does the home back up to the creek or wooded/brush filled areas? Do they go hiking or camping with the family? Do they live in an area that is a long distance away from a veterinary hospital or emergency clinic? Is there a defined high risk for rattlesnake exposure?
A big misconception about the vaccine is that it will protect the dog from any bite, and the dog will not require veterinary treatment. Not true at all! What the vaccine does is buy you time to get your dog to the vet for emergency care. It may lessen the severity of the venom and as a result there may be less pain, swelling, tissue damage, clotting issues and organ involvement. The dog also may not require as much antivenin. Sounds good, but all of this is influenced by other things such as the dog's age, health, breed, location of the bite, how much venom was injected, how much time elapsed between bite and treatment, and how much physical activity between bite and treatment.
We really hope Mr. Tank avoids any rattlesnake that he may encounter, but if he should get bitten, we are happy to know that he has a little back up protection from the vaccine until help arrives! Happy trails Tank!
The number one problem I see dogs (and to a lesser extent in cats) is itching! I hear, "Doc, she is scratching all night long; it is driving me nuts" or "he licks his feet constantly". Itching is most commonly a sign of allergies. Other causes can include mange, fleas, a foreign body like a foxtail or thorn, a bug bite, etc. But skin allergies are VERY common. It's difficult to simplify allergies, but in general they fall into a few categories: 1. Environmental--this is due to pollen and dust that either gets inhaled or touches your pet's skin. It doesn't have to be plants just in your backyard. The pollen can be from trees and plants blooming miles away that blows in on the wind. Even if you keep your windows shut all the time, you yourself still walks outside from time to time and can carry in allergens.
2. Fleas/Ticks/Mosquitoes--a true flea allergy is an animal that is allergic to the saliva of the flea bite. So it only takes one bite to set off an allergic reaction. See the picture below for an example of flea "dirt" and a dog with a typical presentation for a flea bite allergy. Flea "dirt" is actually the feces from the flea. When you dab it with a bit of water on a white paper towel, you will see it turn red because the flea's feces is basically dried blood. For some reason, fleas really like the base of the tail, in the armpits and in the groin areas. For this reason, most dogs and cats will chew the heck out of their lower back and sides when they have a flea allergy.
3. Food Allergies--This is a slow brewing process where dogs and cats have an allergy to one or more ingredients in their food. It is not like a child with a peanut allergy that is very sudden and life-threatening. Food allergies tend to cause excessive gas, soft stools or diarrhea, scooting or "carpet surfing". Carpet surfing is when a dog rubs its face along the floor or a couch, especially after he/she eats food. That can indicate his/her face is very itchy. Food allergies can and do contribute to skin allergies overall, but it is not as common as people seem to think. Allergies from something in the environment and fleas are by far the most common causes. That being said, I will always recommend trying to reduce potential food allergens to eliminate them as a contributing factor.
4. Bacteria and Yeast--Bacteria and yeast are always present on our pets' skin in healthy numbers. When an animal has allergies, they often traumatize the skin by scratching it creating small breaks in the skin. Allergies also cause changes in the pH of their skin. The pH change and the tiny breaks in the skin allow bacteria and/or yeast grow in excessive numbers. This leads to stinky, smelly, super itchy dogs and cats. To make matters worse, some animals are allergic to the very bacteria and yeast that grow on their skin. Most animals with allergies have some type of bacterial or yeast overgrowth, which is why we have to use medicated shampoos and oral antibiotics or anti-fungals to treat the secondary infections that have developed. Below shows a slide image of yeast (the large "footprints") and bacteria (the smaller purple dots). There is relief, however! There are many options that can help your dog or cat who suffers from allergies. Two newer medications such as Apoquel and Cytopoint are doing absolute wonders for my canine patients. Check out www.itchcycle.com to understand the biology behind allergies. If your animal is suffering from an itch that never stops, please give us a call so we can find the right solution for your pet!
Hello Temecula Valley! As we are nearing the end of our summer, we are still seeing cases with foxtails in our pets. These pesky grass awns have a nasty way of finding their way into ears, noses, in the mouth, under eyelids, and between the toes! They have also been reported to migrate into the body cavity burrowing their way into the spine. These are nasty plants! See some examples below:
If you see your dog shaking his head vigorously or scratching at his ear, or a swelling between the toes, or sneezing hard all of a sudden...these are good reasons to give us a call!