Tag Archives: Lyme disease

Pets and summertime

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Deb and her little Juno are ready for summer!

Check your dogs for ticks! They can get Lyme disease, too!

It’s the height of tick season, which means people should take extra care to prevent the spread of Lyme disease – not just to people, but also to their dogs.

Lyme disease, as well as another tick-borne ailment called anaplasmosis, can be just as harmful to dogs as to humans. Symptoms can include fever, joint pain, lethargy, loss of appetite, neurologic disorders and difficulty walking. Lyme disease may also cause kidney damage and can be fatal if left untreated.

Dog owners should be especially watchful if their pets become feverish or start to limp, especially if they limp on different legs at different times. A dog with those symptoms should be taken to the family veterinarian or to an emergency veterinarian.

Any dog who has fever and is limping should be evaluated.

One of the best things dog owners can do is to give their dogs anti-tick medicine, not just in the summer but year-round. The medicines are available over the counter and from veterinarians.

It’s probably not realistic to keep dogs inside throughout tick season. Dogs will be dogs, they love hiking, they love the woods. So after dogs go outside, make sure to check them carefully for ticks.

Here are some more tips for making sure dogs are protected:

Talk with your family veterinarian about vaccinating your pet against Lyme disease.

Talk with your veterinarian about the best way to prevent fleas and ticks from latching on to your pet.

Your veterinarian may suggest an oral medication so that your pet is simply given a pill once a month. Or the vet may encourage spot-on medications, medicated shampoos, powders or tick collars.

Consider having your yard and home treated for ticks.

Inspect your dogs for ticks if they have been outside near wooded areas.

If you find a tick, take tweezers and remove the tick as close to the body of the pet as possible, trying to get the head of the tick out.

Watch your pet carefully over time and look out for any changes in behavior.
If your pet is not acting right, take him or her to your veterinarian as soon as possible.

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Traveling with pets 

Travel can be stressful for both pets and people. These tips will make your trip a more enjoyable experience for everyone, whether they have two legs or four:

Never leave your pet unattended in a car, even with the windows cracked. If it’s 85 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car can rocket to 120 degrees in a matter of minutes.

Always make sure you have plenty of your pet’s medication packed. Take extra to be on the safe side.

Pack a first aid kit for your pet: tweezers to remove ticks, bandaging material for any cuts, hydrogen peroxide, etc.

If your pets have any ongoing medical conditions, take a copy of their medical records with you.

Identify the nearest animal emergency hospital to where you are staying and have the phone number handy.

Make sure your pet’s heartworm and flea prevention medications are current.

Don’t feed a large meal before leaving; simply allow periodic snacking.

Carry collapsible bowls for food and water.

Make sure that dog tags are clearly visible because people are more likely to catch pets if they can return them to the owner. Having your pet get a microchip for identification is a good step, too.

If your pet has implants (e.g. plates or screws from orthopedic surgery), and he or she will be flying, you should bring a note from your veterinarian.

When flying, be sure to have wheels for your carrier. Even a 10-pound animal can get heavy when carried in a shoulder carrier walking through a long airport terminal.

If your dog is one of the 17 percent who get sick when traveling, ask your veterinarian about an anti-vomiting medication. Dogs get motion sickness either because they are anxious while traveling or because their balance is affected by movement.

Special considerations for kitty:

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Rosalie’s April on Independence Day!

Cats can be particularly sensitive to traveling. Here are tips for keeping your cat calm:

Try placing some catnip in the carrier 30 minutes before your trip; this may have a calming effect.

Don’t use tranquilizers or sedatives in cats for travel due to potential complications such as hypotension or paradoxical hyper-excitability.

Always keep your cat confined in a carrier while traveling. A frightened feline can easily escape through an open car window or door without anyone noticing.

Be sure to carry some moistened and dry paper towels and plastic bags for potential carrier accidents.

Have a safe and fun summer with your companion animal!

Lyme disease

Deer tick

By Deb Young

Warm summer weather promises lots of fun outdoor activities, but increased time outside also ups our risk for encounters with some of nature’s peskier pests.

Transmitted by the deer tick and the western black-legged tick, Lyme disease is an infection of the tissues that often leads to lameness. Lyme disease can be very serious for pets. Symptoms in dogs are difficult to detect and may not appear until several months after infection. Also, symptoms may come and go and can mimic other health conditions. Cases vary from mild to severe with severe cases sometimes resulting in kidney failure and death.

Many dogs with Lyme disease have recurrent lameness of the limbs due to inflammation of the joints. Others, meanwhile, may develop acute lameness, which lasts for only three to four days but recurs days to weeks later, with lameness in the same leg, or in other legs. Better known as “shifting-leg lameness,” this condition is characterized by lameness in one leg, with a return to normal function, and another leg is then involved; one or more joints may be swollen and warm; a pain response is elicited by feeling the joint; responds well to antibiotic treatment.

Some dogs may also develop kidney problems. If left untreated, it may lead to glomerulonephritis, which causes inflammation and accompanying dysfunction of the kidney’s glomeruli (essentially, a blood filter). Eventually, total kidney failure sets in and the dog begins to exhibit such signs as vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, weight loss, increased urination and thirst, fluid buildup in the abdomen and fluid buildup in the tissues, especially the legs and under the skin.

Other symptoms associated with Lyme disease include:

Stiff walk with an arched back & Sensitive to touch

Difficulty breathing

Fever, lack of appetite, and depression may accompany inflammation of the joints

Superficial lymph nodes close to the site of the infecting tick bite may be swollen

Heart abnormalities are reported, but rare; they include complete heart block

Nervous system complications (rare)

Tips to help:

Keep your grass mowed. Trim your trees so that sunshine reaches the ground.

Apply a good tick-killing yard spray insecticide to initially get the ticks under control. Ticks do not travel by crawling. Once they are gone, they will not come back unless other animals bring them. Spray when rain is not anticipated for a week.

Use a tick/flea control product on your dog. There are many in topical body-drop form that you can purchase from your veterinarian or online. My favorite is Revolution.

Check your pet daily for ticks and remove them with sharp-pointed forceps. Scrape or pick the tick from the pets body or grasp it as close to the skin as possible, if you grasp it by its mid-body, it will inject its contents into your dog. Wear gloves and drop the parasite into a container of alcohol to kill it.

You can’t catch Lyme Disease from your infected pet. However, if a tick bites your pet and then bites you, you can become infected. That is why eliminating ticks from your environment is so important.

Pets and spring time

By Deb Young

During spring time, it’s not only the flowers that come back to life. Fleas, ticks and intestinal parasites appear, creating a health hazard for our pets.

Fleas and ticks that were no problem in the cold of winter, will rear their little heads again in spring. Fleas can cause a series of health complications. It’s important to treat your dog and cat with flea & tick prevention when spring starts. A single female flea can lay over 50 eggs a day and certain tick species carry and transmit the bacteria that cause Lyme disease.

So take preventive measures to protect your dog and cat and your home from an infestation as the warm Spring weather starts.

Help protect your pets, Vaccinate annually against lyme disease and apply a topical flea and tick control product monthly.

Spring is when most pets pick up intestinal parasites. Tapeworms are contracted from fleas, when a pet licks the flea bites, and roundworms and hookworms are easily contracted as well. Intestinal parasites are easy to contract. Luckily, they are also easy to prevent. By placing your dog and cat on worm prevention medication when Spring starts, you can keep them healthy all season long. And many worm prevention medications also include Heart Worm prevention, which is ideal.

Dogs are more active in the Spring when the weather is mild and prolonged exercising outside becomes possible.

Exercise can easily be overdone. You never want to nag, holler or wear out your dog.
Warmer weather means we all feel friskier. It is normal for dogs to store fat in winter, but a heavier dog needs to begin spring exercise gently. Just as you may want to ease back into an outdoor exercise routine, your dog also needs to take it slowly at first. Increase walks and runs steadily, but gradually.

Set up and follow a schedule that breaks up your dog’s exercise: in the morning before you leave for the day and again in the afternoon or early evening when you get home. Dogs like the predictability of a schedule, and you’re more likely to stick to a routine. Try developing two 15-minute exercise routines for your dog — one for days when you have less time, and a longer routine for less crowded days.

Pets want nothing more than to enjoy Spring. I think the least we can all do is take a few steps to make sure they make the transition to warm weather with no worries!