March 2018-Lyme Awareness Month

Lymes Disease in Pets

What is Lymes Disease?

We live in a beautiful Virginia with beautiful forests, grasslands, marshes, river, and mountain terrain. Unfortunately we and our pets are also living amongst deer ticks that are able to transmit Lymes disease to us. Lymes disease is caused by a tiny spiral-shaped bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacteria lives in mice, deer, and other small mammals. Deer ticks serve as the vector that transmit Borrelia burgdorferi from wildlife to you or your pet. Both humans and pets can be bitten by the deer tick and contract Lymes disease.

What are the signs of Lyme disease?

Lyme disease can go unnoticed for several months (~2-5 months) post tick bite exposure. After this period of time, symptoms can include a fever (>102.5 F), loss of appetite, lameness, joint discomfort and/or swelling, and reduced interest in walking and exercising. In addition, your pet may have swollen lymph nodes, become dehydrated, and severe chronic cases can cause kidney damage. If there is concern that your pet may be suffering from kidney damage, then your veterinarian may choose to check your pets kidney function through bloodwork and urine testing.

How is Lymes Disease diagnosed?

Being in an endemic region (where Lymes disease is common) like Virginia, clinical signs such as arthritis raise our concern that we may be dealing with a Lymes infection. There are multiple tick-borne diseases that can sometimes look alike, including Anaplasma, Ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Therefore, a snap 4DX is a great test to rule in and out Lymes disease. This test just requires three drops of blood and is able to identify Heartworm disease in addition to the three major tick borne diseases we look for (Anaplasma, Ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Sometimes your pet may come back with a positive response that shows he/she was exposed to Lymes disease at some point, but it may not be an active infection that requires treatment. Fortunately, the Lymes Disease vaccine will not cause a snap 4DX to be positive. We like to follow up a positive snap 4DX with what’s called a Lyme Quantitative C6 Antibody Test that looks for a special protein. This test helps to distinguish between just an exposure to Lymes versus an active infection.

Lymes disease is not transmissible between animals, between animal to human, or human to human. It is important to keep in mind, however, that if one member of your family (pet or human) is diagnosed with Lymes Disease, it is a likely indicator that all individuals were exposed to deer ticks. The best next step is to have each family member visit the veterinarian or human doctor to be tested and set up a plan to monitor everyone should signs arise later on.

How is Lymes Disease treated?

Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics that are able to kill Borrelia burgdorferi inside cells, in which it likes to hide. Your pet is often placed on a course of Doxycycline antibiotics for a month.

Following the antibiotic treatment course, we recommend vaccinating against Lyme disease.

How Can Lymes Disease be prevented?

Regular use of flea/tick prevention supplied by your veterinarian. We have a mild climate here in Virginia, so using flea/tick preventative every month of the year is best. Stay vigilant checking your pet and yourself for ticks. A deer tick has to be attached to and feed off the blood of your pet for 24 hours in order to transmit Lymes Disease. Therefore, your speedy removal of ticks from your pet will help to reduce the risk of your pet becoming infected. To safely remove a tick, grasp it with tweezers close to where it is attached to the skin. Talk to your veterinarian about also considering the Lyme vaccine for your pet. This vaccine is a two shot series initially (first vaccine then a booster vaccine about three weeks later) followed by annual boosters. If you’re able to, try to avoid tall grasses, marshes, and wooded areas.

What does Lyme Disease look like in humans?

The classic first sign seen in people that have been infected with Lymes disease is the “bullseye rash” (erythema migrans) that looks like a target symbol. Pets don’t typically show the target lesion like humans. Similar to pets, people also will show fever, headache, fatigue, muscle, and joint pain. Chronic Lymes Disease in people can also cause chronic joint pain, heart, and neurological problems. If you find a tick on yourself, or someone in your family, it is best that you see your doctor to be safe.

Resources:

https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/lyme-disease.aspx

https://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/outreach/Pet-Health-Topics/categories/diseases/your-pet-and-lyme-disease

Lymes Disease in Horses

Similar to dogs and cats, horses infected with Lyme disease can have fever and lameness. In addition, equine cases of Lymes disease can cause neurologic problems, dermatitis, and uveitis (moon blindness). Spirochetes are attracted to cells of the collagen in the joints, the aqueous humor of the eye, the meninges of the brain, and the meninges of the heart. Frequently, fatigue, irritability, and reluctance to work and be ridden are seen.

With the presence of clinical signs including swollen joints and lameness, a snap 4DX can be performed stallside to find out whether your horse may have been exposed to Lyme disease. While sending a blood sample to the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine Diagnostic Lab to perform a Lyme Multiplex Assay is best to determine infection status, some owners may choose to do a course of Doxycline. Cornell’s Lyme Multiplex Assay test for Equine Lymes disease is able to distinguish between early and chronic infection. The test is able to measure for antibodies formed by the horse’s body in response to Borrelia burgdorferi outer surface proteins (osp proteins). For example, antibodies to ospF correlate to more chronic infections.

The best prevention of future Lyme disease cases is tick control and a Lymes vaccine. Currently, we have to use canine Lyme disease vaccines off label in horses. A study done by Cornell found that horses vaccinated with Novibac Lyme Vaccine had the best antibody response. Recombitek Lyme Vaccine had higher ospA antibody levels than Duramune Lyme vaccine. The researchers illustrate that it is critical for the efficacy of the vaccine to give a 2 mL, instead of a 1 mL dose. This boosts the amount of osp antibodies produced, as well as the duration.

Arthritis episodes tend to come and go.

Resources:

http://vet.cornell.edu/research/zweig/projects/changlyme01.cfm

https://www.ahvma.org/wp-content/uploads/AHVMA-2017-V47-Lyme-Disease-Equine.pdf

https://ahdc.vet.cornell.edu/docs/Guarino_Vaccine_Online.pdf

Dental Care For Your Pet-February 2018

Dental Care For Your Pet

Have you noticed your pet’s pearly whites are covered by tartar and plaque?  Has their breath been smelly when they give you kisses?  Caring for your pet’s teeth is a critical part of their wellness. Plaque and tartar carry bacteria that can enter your pet’s bloodstream and cause heart, lung, and kidney disease.  Everyday we brush our own teeth, but what about our pets?  They could really use our help to keep those pearly whites pearly.  Developing regular tooth brushing routines and preventative care will help to prevent periodontal issues in the future, saving you money as well the stress of major periodontal problems your pet could encounter.

Image result for brushing your pets teethBrushing Your Pet’s Teeth

We recommend brushing your pet’s teeth daily as the best way to prevent the buildup of tartar, as well as inflammation of the gums.  However, any teeth brushing that you are able to do at all will make a difference.  The physical motion of the bristles over your pet’s teeth helps disturb bacterial film that forms on the teeth.  When you brush your pet’s teeth, concentrate on the surface of the the teeth that contact the cheek.  If you finish the surfaces that touch the cheek, you can then try to cover the other three surfaces of the tooth.  Don’t worry if you’re not able to clean all four surfaces of the tooth as the majority of tartar builds up on the cheek (buccal) surface.  

You need to be sure to use a dog or cat specific toothpaste.  Never use a human toothpaste as swallowing this can harm your pet.  There are a variety of toothbrush options, including a finger brush or a soft bristle human toothbrush.  Image result for brushing teeth cat teeth

Don’t worry if you’ve never brushed your pets teeth before. It’s never too late to start!  It is most helpful to get a young animal used to having his/her mouth and teeth handled with frequent short sessions and positive reinforcement.  If your pet is not a puppy or kitten, then the same principles can be used especially with the help of a fun reward that follows.  Keeping a tooth brushing session short and sweet with an activity afterwards that your pet enjoys such as a walk or a healthy treat is very helpful to the learning process.  We are always happy to over the tooth brushing process with you, or refer you to helpful videos such as this one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wB3GIAgrTPE

While you are brushing your pet’s teeth, please keep an eye out for teeth that are loose, broken, or painful.  Take a look also at your pet’s gums to see if there is any swelling, bleeding, or masses.  Note if your pet may also have any appetite loss, dropping of food from his/her mouth, and unusual chewing or drooling.  Pay attention to any attitude changes your pet may have, as irritability can be a sign of oral discomfort.  Any of the above observations mean that your pet needs to have an oral exam by your veterinarian.  It is important to address these issues early so that they can be nipped in the bud.

Professional Dental Cleanings

The American Animal Hospital Association recommends that your pet’s teeth be professionally cleaned annually beginning at one year old for cats and small dogs and starting at two years for large breed Image result for veterinary dog teeth cleaningdogs.  In preparation for a professional cleaning, your pet will have pre-anesthetic bloodwork performed to be sure that he/she is a safe candidate for anesthesia.  Your pet will be sedated, intubated, and carefully monitored under anesthesia for the procedure.  During this time, your veterinarian is able to do a complete oral exam looking for periodontal disease and oral tumors.  Since we are only able to do a brief oral exam in most awake patients, this is the best time for your pets whole mouth to be examined. Scaling is performed to remove plaque and tartar from above and below the gumline, which is very important to the health of your pets’ teeth. Scaling is followed by polishing with paste that smooths over the enamel surfaces.  Fluoride or another type of barrier sealant is then applied to all surfaces of the teeth that act to repel plaque.  

Image result for oravet chewsDental Chews, Treats, and Toys

While frequent tooth brushing is the best way to prevent and remove the buildup of plaque and tartar, dental specific treats and toys can be a helpful adjunct to regular tooth brushing.  One thing to keep in mind is that a dental chew will not clean all four surfaces of the teeth due to the way pets chew.  This means that just the incisal surface of a tooth is cleaned, rather than the part of the tooth nearest the gums where plaque and tartar are most likely to accumulate.  Treats that have the Veterinary Oral Health Council have met quality standards for removal of plaque and reducing tartar. Monitor your pet to ensure that they are actually chewing the dental chew or treat in order to receive the most benefit. As always, please use caution when giving your pets treats and chews to ensure that they do not choke or swallow these chews whole.  Never give your pets bones, cow hooves, pig ears, plastic bottles, antlers, or rawhides.  

Image result for oratene water additiveWater Additives, Rinses, and Sprays

Water additives, rinses, and sprays help to reduce the bacterial load in a pet’s mouth.  Oratene and AquaDent are examples of water additive products that act as safe to swallow mouth washes.  Oral rinses like DentaHex can sprayed over your pet’s teeth daily to also help keep bacterial numbers down.  We also offer Leba-III spray that can help the healthy bacterial balance in the mouth.  

Foods to Promote Dental CareImage result for hill's t/d feline

Dry foods have more abrasive activity on the teeth than canned food to help remove tartar and plaque.  Dry foods are also less likely to get packed in between the teeth and in the gingival (gum) crevices.  Plaque and tartar will still accumulate on teeth in spite of feeding your pet a dry diet even a dental diet.  Always keep in mind that a dental diet does not replace regular teeth brushing.  Some dental diets include Canine and Feline t/d and Science Diet Oral Care and Eukanuba Dental Defense Diet.Here is a link that provides a list of dental diets:

http://www.vohc.org/VOHCAcceptedProductsTable_Dogs.pdf

 

Sources:

-AVMA Pet Dental Care

https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Pet-Dental-Care.aspx

-AAHA Dental Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats

https://www.aaha.org/pet_owner/about_aaha/why_accreditation_matters/guidelines_position_statements/aaha_dental_care_guidelines_for_dogs_and_cats.aspx

-American Veterinary Dental College

https://www.avdc.org/ownersinfo.html

Arthritis and Degenerative joint disease treatments

Dasuquin Advanced (joint supplement)

Dasuquin Advanced is an amazing joint supplement. It works by giving your dog or cat’s body what it needs to heal the cartilage in his or her joints. It comes in two formulations: tablets and chews. There is no difference in quality or efficacy between the two forms. There is no generic equivalent to this product.

Dasuquin Advanced contains ASU which scientifically proven to reverse cartilage damage and increase joint health. This type of break through with a holistic oral joint supplement has never happened in veterinary medicine before. This makes Dasuquin Advanced the most effective supplement on the market for dog with early arthritis (DJD).

Some of the other ingredients in Dasuquin Advanced, hyaluronic acid, MSM, and glucosamine, have a long history of improving joint health in patients. Evidence of this was seen with the efficacy of Dasuquin and Dasuquin with MSM increasing joint mobility, decreasing joint inflammation and lessening joint pain in many canine and feline patients treated with these products.

Find more information: http://www.dasuquin.com/en/dasuquin-advanced-soft-chews/

 

Dasuquin for Cats

For more information: http://www.dasuquin.com/en/products/#cat

Movoflex

Moviflex is a new joint supplement made specifically for dogs. It is made from egg shell membrane. It also contains Hyaluronic, vitamin D, and Boswellia serrata extract. This joint supplement works very well for patients with early joint disease. It is also great for dogs with food allergies. It contains no gluten, sugar, salt, or shellfish.

Find more information:  https://us.virbac.com/product/supplements/movoflex-soft-chews

 

NSAIDs and other pain medications for achy joints

Pain and inflammation are major factors in feline and canine arthritis. This pain becomes crippling in older patients. Running, stairs, and sometimes walking are painful. Patients become obese and this extra weight leads to further strain on the joints resulting in pain and inflammation. Keeping these patients strong and a good weight is a very important part of managing their arthritis.

NSAIDs are pain and fever reducing medications that decrease the inflammation in the joints. As a result, pain decreases, and patients are able to move more freely.

NSAIDs can have side effects such as liver disease and kidney disease in cats and dogs. In cats, these risks are too high. NSAIDs are used very, very rarely in them and only in extreme cases. NSAID use in dogs is relatively safe. We do have to monitor their kidney and liver values closely though. We do bloodwork before starting the NSAID. Then, we do it once every six months. This helps get the dog the pain relief it needs to be happy and healthy, and it maintains the health and safety of the patient.

 

Cold laser therapy (to decrease pain, reduce inflammation, and speed healing)

 

For more information: http://ivcjournal.com/laser-therapy-veterinary-medicine/

Adequan (to strengthen and rebuild the cartilage in the joint)

 

For more information on this therapy: https://www.adequancanine.us/

Joint/Mobility foods

 

Purina J/M: https://www.proplanveterinarydiets.com/products/jm-joint-mobility-dog/

Hill’s J/D: http://www.hillspet.com/en/us/products/pd-canine-jd-dry

Joint injections (Hyaluronic Acid)

For more information: http://veterinarynews.dvm360.com/surgery-stat-intra-articular-therapies-elbow-dogs

Catlett Animal Hospital’s Parasite Prevention Sale

Catlett Animal Hospital’s Flea and Tick, Heartworm, and Gutworm Preventative SALE!!!

 

Trifexis:

Trifexis is dosed by weight. Bring your dog in for a weigh in today and get some BOGO heartworm, gutworm, and flea preventative.

Trifexis is dosed by weight. Bring your dog for a weigh in today and get some BOGO heartworm, gutworm, and flea preventative.

BUY 6 Months of Trifexis (all the same size) and get 6 months FREE!!!

Heartworm, gutworm, and flea prevention all year for half the price. This product is one of the best if not the best product of it’s kind on the market. Guaranteed to work! Simply give one tablet by mouth once a month WITH FOOD.

 

 

Heartgard and NexGard:

Image result for nexgard chewables for dogs

Image result for heartgard chewables for dogsBuy six months of Nexgard and Heartgard and get $40 off instantly and $15 rebate.

Buy twelve months of Nexgard and Heartgard and get $80 of instantly and a $50 rebate.

                                                  Heartgard and Nexgard together provide protection from heartworms, roundworms, hookworms, fleas, and ticks.

Feline Revolution:

Image result for revolution for cats

Buy six months of Feline Revolution and get two doses free and $30 off instantly.

Buy nine months of Feline Revolution and get three doses free and $60 off instantly.

Heartworm And Tick Disease Testing:

Does your dog need a heartworm/lyme/anaplasma/ehrlichia test. They are $15 per test on April 22nd (Typically, they are $49.)!  Call and make your appointment today (540-439-9016).

Why is Parasite Prevention Important?

The Importance of Your Pet’s Yearly Fecal Exam

We recommend that every pet have a fecal checked for intestinal parasites yearly. One major reason for this is that intestinal parasites can harm your pets by decreasing their ability to absorb nutrients, causing vomiting or diarrhea, or even damaging their intestines. The other important reason to check your pets for parasites is that many of these infections are zoonotic, which means that they can spread to people. Young children are often especially at risk of developing parasitic infections, as their hygiene can be less than ideal.

What are the most common parasites found in fecal samples of dogs and cats?

Roundworms:

Roundworms are one of the most common worms seen in fecal exams of young puppies and kittens.t.canis This is because the worms are spread from the mother to the babies across the placenta. We assume that every puppy and kitten is positive for roundworms, which is why we put every patient on a safe dewormer to give consistently until they are six months of age.

If untreated, roundworms can cause young animals to have a “pot belly” appearance and to grow more slowly than they should. Animals will sometimes vomit up worms or have worms in their stool. The immature form of the worm also travels through the lungs, so some animals will cough or show respiratory distress.

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Zoonotic risk

Roundworms are a very important zoonotic disease, often seen in children. Disease occurs when children eat an egg, released in the stool of an affected animal,  from the environment. These eggs survive in soil for many years, and can often be found at parks or playgrounds. After the child eats the egg, the larvae are born and migrate throughout the child’s body. This can cause disease in any number of organs: liver, lung, brain, or eye. Because the eggs are so difficult to kill once they are in the environment, it is very important that we prevent our pets from spreading them.

Hookworms:

Dogs and cats have many different ways to become infected by hookworms. The eggs can be eaten HookwormMouthfrom the environment or from consuming another animal. Hookworm larvae can also burrow into an animal’s skin and enter the body that way. Similar to roundworms, hookworms are also spread from mother to baby. However, instead of crossing the placenta, hookworm larvae are passed to the baby through the milk. Again, this makes hookworms very common in young animals. This is another reason why we always deworm puppies and kittens.

Hookworms are nasty parasites that slash at the intestines and drink the blood of the animal. They inject anti-coagulants into their wounds to create small bleeding ulcers that they feed from. This can cause animals to become anemic from lack of red blood cells. Affected animals are often pale, thin and sick in appearance. Young puppies and kittens can even die from hookworm infections. Respiratory disease is also possible, again secondary to the larvae traveling through the animal’s lungs.

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Zoonotic risk

Similar to how they infect dogs and cats, hookworm larvae can enter the skin of humans. However, they become lost inside the human skin and cannot find their way to the GI tract. Instead, they migrate around the skin, causing a red itchy lesion. This is one of the most common skin infections seen in tourists to tropical locations. Another common place for infection is in children’s sandboxes, which should always be covered when not in use.

Whipworms:

Whipworms are much more commonly seen in dogs than cats. Dogs become infected when they eat whipworm eggs from the environment. Whipworms also can damage the intestines and cause diarrhea. The most difficult part of treating whipworm infections is that their eggs are incredibly hardy and can live for years in the environment. For this reason, dogs should be on a monthly heartworm prevention that is labelled to protect against whipworms (i.e Sentinel, Trifexis, or Interceptor).

Zoonotic risk: None proven

Coccidia:

Coccidia

Microscopic View of Coccidia

Coccidia are single-celled protozoan parasites that commonly infect dogs and cats, especially puppies and kittens. They cause diarrhea, dehydration, vomiting, lack of growth, and possibly death. Coccidia can be picked up by eating eggs from the environment or from hunting and eating other infected animals. Coccidia is also very hardy in the environment and is resistant to most disinfectants, so it can be difficult to get rid of the eggs once they are released from the animal in the stool. Treatment for coccidia is a medication called Albon, which is different from the treatment for most other intestinal parasites.

Zoonotic risk: None

giardia-trph1

Microscopic View of Giardia

Giardia:

Giardia is another protozoa that can cause diarrhea in dogs and cats. Cysts are picked up from the environment, often from a contaminated water source, or from the animal grooming itself. Treatment for giardia often involves a combination of medications, as well as bathing to remove cysts from the animal’s coat. We will often treat asymptomatic animals from the same household, since the parasite is so contagious and can be difficult to control.

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Zoonotic Risk

Very low. Humans can develop giardia infections as well, but it has not been demonstrated to travel between dogs/cats and humans. It is suspected that humans can only spread giardia to other humans, and dogs and cats have their own species as well.

Tapeworms:tapewormhead

Tapeworms can be difficult to diagnose from a fecal sample, as their eggs are often too heavy to show up in a fecal float test. However, they are often recognizable as “small grains of rice” in the animal’s feces. Dogs and cats catch tapeworms from either predation of other animals or eating fleas (often when grooming them off of their coats). Fortunately, severe disease from tapeworms is uncommon and treatment is simple. Regular flea prevention and not allowing pets to hunt will keep them from developing tapeworm infestations.

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Zoonotic Risk

Although rare, tapeworms, especially Echinococcus species, can cause a significant risk for humans who ingest their eggs. In this scenario, people may become the intermediate host of the parasite, and develop large tapeworm cysts somewhere in their body. This can require drainage, surgical removal, or long-term treatment with anti-parasitic medication.

How can we prevent intestinal parasites?

The best way to prevent intestinal parasites is to keep your pet on a monthly heartworm preventative that also kills GI worms. Each of these preventatives vary in their spectrum, so ask your veterinarian which one may be appropriate for your pet. Flea prevention is also very important, both to prevent flea infestations and tapeworm infections.Yearly fecal exams allow us to pick up on parasites that may not be addressed by monthly preventatives, such as coccidia, giardia or tapeworms.

Feel free to ask your veterinarian if you have more questions about these intestinal parasites. Also, enjoy 10% off fecal testing and heartworm testing for the month of April, as well as discounts and bargains on flea/tick and heartworm/gutworm preventatives! Click here to learn more about our BOGO deals on heartworm and gutworm prevention.

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