When to call your Vet about Canine Health Problems
A healthy pet is a happy companion. Your pet’s daily well-being requires regular care and close attention to any hintof ill health. The American Veterinary Medical Association suggests that you consult your veterinarian if your pet shows any of the following signs:
• Lumps or swelling
• Reduced or excessive appetite or water intake
• Marked weight loss or gain
• Limping, stiffness, or difficulty getting up or down
• Difficult, discolored, excessive or uncontrolled waste elimination (urine and feces)
• Abnormal discharges from any body opening
• Head shaking, scratching, licking, or coat irregularities
• Changes in behavior or fatigue
• Foul breath or excessive tartar deposits on teeth
Although this provides basic information about canine distemper, your veterinarian is always your best source of health information. Consult your veterinarian for more information about canine distemper and its prevention. American Veterinary Medical Association 1931 North Meacham Road, Suite 100 Schaumburg, Illinois 60173 – 4360 Phone: 847.925.8070 • Fax: 847.925.1329 www.avma.org • [email protected] Revised 3/10 Printed in the U.S.A. For more information, visit, American Veterinary Medical Association www.avma.org
What to do If you are bitten by a dog
If your own dog bites you, confine it immediately and call your veterinarian to check your dog’s vaccination records. Consult with your veterinarian about your dog’s aggressive action. Your veterinarian can examine your dog to make sure it is healthy,and can help you with information or training that may prevent more bites.
If someone else’s dog bites you, first seek medical treatment for your wound. Next, contact authorities and tell them everything you can about the dog: the owner’s name, if you know it; the color and size of the dog; where you encountered the dog; and if, where,and when you’ve seen it before. These details may help animal-control officers locate the dog. In addition, consider asking your physician if post-exposure rabies prophylaxis is necessary. Dogs are wonderful companions. By acting responsibly, owners not only reduce dog bite injuries, bu talso enhance the relationship they have with their dog.
About Spaying and Neutering
Is there a pet population problem? Every year, millionsof unwanted dogs and cats, including puppies and kittens,are needlessly euthanized. The good news is that every pet owner can make a difference. By having your dog or cat surgically sterilized, you will do your part to prevent the birth of unwanted puppies and kittens and enhance your pet’s health and quality of life.
What about pet behavior and pet reproduction? Contrary to what some people believe, getting pregnant—even once—does not improve the behavior of female dogs and cats. In fact, the mating instinct may lead to undesirable behaviors and result in undue stress on both the owner and the animal. Also, while some pet owners may have good intentions, few are prepared for the work involved in monitoring their pet’s pregnancy, caring for thepuppies or kittens and locating good homes for them.
What is surgical sterilization? During surgical sterilization, a veterinarian removes certain reproductive organs. If your cat or dog is af emale, the veterinarian will usually remove her ovaries, fallopian tubes,and uterus. The medical name for this surgery is an ovario hysterectomy, although it is commonly called “spaying.” If yourpet is a male, the testicles are removed and the operation is called an orchiectomy, commonly referred to as castration or simply“neutering.” While both spaying and neutering are major surgical procedures, they are also the most common surgeries performed by veterinarians on cats and dogs. Before the procedure, your pet is given a thorough physical examination to ensure that it is in good health. General anesthesia is administered during the surgery and medications are given to minimize pain. You will be asked to keep your pet calm and quiet for a few days after surgery as the incision begins to heal.
What are the benefits to society of spaying and neutering? Both surgeries prevent unwanted litters and eliminate many of the behavioral problems associated with the mating instinct.
What are the benefits to spaying my female pet? Female dogs experiencea“heat”cycle approximately every six months, depending upon the breed. A female dog’s heat cycle can last as long as 21 days, during which you rdog may leave blood stains in the hous eand may become anxious, short-tempered and actively seek a mate. A female dog in heat maybe more likely to fight with other female dogs, including other females in the same household. Female cats can come into heat every two weeks during breeding season until they become pregnant. During this time they may engage in behaviors such as frequent yowling and urination in unacceptable places. Spaying eliminates heat cycles and generally reduces the unwanted behaviors that may lead to owner frustration and, ultimately, a decision to relinquish the pet to a shelter. Most importantly, early spaying of female dogs and cats can help protect them from some serious health problems later in life such as uterine infections and breast cancer.
What are the benefits of neutering my male pet? At maturity (on average,6 to 9 monthsofage), male dogs and cats are capable of breeding. Both male dogs and cats are likely to begin “marking”their territories by spraying strong smelling urine on your furniture, curtains,and in other places in your house. Also,given the slightest chance, intact males may attempt to escape from home and roam in search of a mate. Dogs and cats seeking a female in heat can become aggressive and may injure themselves, other animals or people by engaging in fights. Roaming animals are also more likely to be hit by cars. Neutering male dogs and cats reduces the breeding instinct and can havea calming effect, making them less inclined to roam and more content to stay at home. Neutering your male pet can also lessen its risk of developing prostate disease and testicular cancer.
Are there risks associated with the surgery? Like any surgical procedure, sterilization is associated with some anesthetic and surgical risk, but the overall incidence of complications is very low. Because changes in concentrations of reproductive hormones may affect your pet’s risk of developing certain diseases and conditions in the future, your veterinarian will advise you on both the benefits and risks of the sterilization procedure.
What is the best age to spay or neuter my pet? Consult with your veterinarian about the most appropriate time to spay or neuter your pet based upon its breed, age and physical condition. Keep in mind that, contrary to popular belief, it is NOT best to wait until your female dog or cat has gone through its first heat cycle.
Will the surgery affect my pet’s disposition or metabolism? The procedure has no effect on a pet’s intelligence or ability to learn, play, work or hunt. Most pets tend to be better behaved following the surgery, making them more desirable companions. Also, this surgery will not make your pet fat. Feeding your pet a balanced diet and providing regular exercise will help keep your pet at a healthy weight and prevent the health risks associated with obesity. Askyour veterinarian to advise you on the best diet and exercise plan for each stageof your pet’s life.
Fleas are wingless, bloodsucking insects that may cause excessive grooming, hair loss, anemia and tapeworm infection in your cat. And it’s no wonder that pet owners have a difficult time eradicating fleas from their homes once they take up residence:
• Once an adult flea lands on a pet, she can lay 50 eggs a day and more than 2,000 eggs in a lifetime. 1
• The complete life cycle of the flea can be completed in as little as 14 days or prolonged up to 180 days. 1
• Adult fleas cannot survive or lay eggs without a blood meal, but may live in a pupal cocoon from two months to one year without feeding. 2
• Only 5 percent of a home’s flea population is the adults that you can see. 2
• It can take four to eight weeks or longer of topical preventive medication use to completely eradicate all flea life stages in the home. 3
• 90 percent of the flea life cycle occurs off the animal. 4 For every six adult fleas seen, there are 300 immature stages in the environment or on the pet. 5
Just a low level of infestation of fleas in various stages in the environment can take a considerable amount of time to overcome. Since there are no products labeled that eliminate the pupal stage of the flea, it is important to keep your cat healthy and protected from fleas with a monthly preventive medicine. 1 Dryden MW, Payne P, Zurek L. Pests That Affect Human Health: Fleas Infesting our Pets and Homes, Manhattan: Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, September 2003. 2 Lyon WF. Fleas: Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet, Columbus: The Ohio State University. 3 Dryden M. The Case for Year-Round Flea and Tick Control, Available at: www.capcvet.org. Accessed August 24, 2005. 4 Lane TH. Flea Control: Understanding the Flea, Gainesville: University of Florida IFAS Extension. 5 MacAllister C. Flea Control Fact Sheet, Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Fact Sheets, Stillwater: Oklahoma State University. ©2006 Pfizer Inc. All rights reserved
Plan for Pet Travel
Planning and preparation are important when traveling with family pets. There are dogs and cats that cannot withstand the rigors of any type of travel due to illness, injury, or temperament. If this is the case, discuss with your veterinarian options such as hiring a reliable petsitter or housing your pet in a clean, well-managed boarding facility. For car travel, consider whether or not your pet is comfortable in the vehicle before committing to a long road trip. A car-sick pet is sure to make the trip miserable for everyone. When planning your trip, if you will be staying with friends or family along the way, be considerate and ask them in advance if your pet is welcome. The same applies to choosing hotels, motels, parks, and campgrounds. Always check if pets are allowed or if kennel facilities are available. If a hotel or motel claims to be “pet friendly,” clarify exactly what that means to be sure it will accommodate you and your pet’s needs. If your pet must be left alone in a hotel room, place a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door and inform the maid and the front desk. Before leaving home, consider bringing along a portable kennel for use in hotel rooms or the homes of friends or relatives who are not comfortable allowing your pet to roam freely when no one is home. Whether you travel by car or by plane, be sure your pet is wearing an ID tag and, if possible, also has an imbedded identification microchip. While both should contain accurate contact information, consider not including your pet’s name on its ID tag. How a pet responds to hearing its name used could be helpful in reuniting a lost or stolen pet with its rightful owner. Grooming (bathing, combing, trimming nails) before a trip, plus taking along your pet’s favorite food, toy(s), and dishes will make your pet more comfortable. Carry proof of rabies vaccination and a current health certificate when crossing state or international borders. Finally, keep a printed photograph (a digital copy is also good to have) of your pet with you to assist with identification in case your pet is lost. Most importantly, before undertaking any trip, consult your veterinarian to ensure that all required vaccinations are up-to-date and to receive a certificate of veterinary inspection within ten days prior to travel by air.
Car Travel with Pets
If your pet is not accustomed to car travel, take it for a few short rides before your trip so it will feel confident that a car outing does not necessarily mean a trip to the veterinarian or unpleasant destination. If your dog has a problem with carsickness, your veterinarian can prescribe medication that will help it feel more comfortable during long trips. Cats should alwaysbe confined to a cage or in a cat carrier to allow them to feel secure and prevent them from crawling under the driver’s feet. Providing a familiar toy or blanket can help make your pet more comfortable in its carrier. Regardless of the length of the trip, pets should not be left unattended in a car. A dog that must ride in a truck bed should be confined in a protective kennel that is fastened to the truck bed. Dogs riding in a car should not ride in the passenger seat if it is equipped with an airbag, and should never be allowed to sit on the driver’s lap. Harnesses, tethers, and other accessories to secure pets during car travel are available at most pet stores. Accustom your dog to a seatbelt harness by attaching a leash and taking your dog for short walks while wearing it. Offer your dog a treat and praise at the end of the walk to associate a positive experience with wearing the harness. Don’t let your pet ride with its head outside the car window as particles of dirt or other debris can enter the eyes, ears, and nose, causing injury or infection.
During the trip, maintain your regular feeding routine and serve the main meal at the end of the day or when you reach your destination. Feeding dry food will Cats should always be confined to a cage or in a cat carrier to allow them to feel secure and prevent them from crawling under the driver’s feet. Planning and Preparation Planning and preparation are important when traveling with family pets. There are dogs and cats that cannot withstand the rigors of any type of travel due to illness, injury, or temperament. If this is the case, discuss with your veterinarian options such as hiring a reliable petsitter or housing your pet in a clean, well-managed boarding facility. For car travel, consider whether or not your pet is comfortable in the vehicle before committing to a long road trip. A car-sick pet is sure to make the trip miserable for everyone. When planning your trip, if you will be staying with friends or family along the way, be considerate and ask them in advance if your pet is welcome. The same applies to choosing hotels, motels, parks, and campgrounds. Always check if pets are allowed or if kennel facilities are available. If a hotel or motel claims to be “pet friendly,” clarify exactly what that means to be sure it will accommodate you and your pet’s needs. If your pet must be left alone in a hotel room, place a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door and inform the maid and the front desk. Before leaving home, consider bringing along a portable kennel for use in hotel rooms or the homes of friends or relatives who are not comfortable allowing your pet to roam freely when no one is home. Whether you travel by car or by plane, be sure your pet is wearing an ID tag and, if possible, also has an imbedded identification microchip. While both should contain accurate contact information, consider not including your pet’s name on its ID tag. How a pet responds to hearing its name used could be helpful in reuniting a lost or stolen pet with its rightful owner. Grooming (bathing, combing, trimming nails) before a trip, plus taking along your pet’s favorite food, toy(s), and dishes will make your pet more comfortable. Carry proof of rabies vaccination and a current health certificate when crossing state or international borders. Finally, keep a printed photograph (a digital copy is also good to have) of your pet with you to assist with identification in case your pet is lost.
Most importantly, before undertaking any trip, consult your veterinarian to ensure that all required vaccinations are up-to-date and to receive a certificate of veterinary inspection within ten days prior to travel by air. Dogs riding in a car should not ride in the passenger seat if it is equipped with an airbag, and should never be allowed to sit on the driver’s lap.
American Veterinary Medical Association 1931 North Meacham Road, Suite 100 Schaumburg, Illinois 60173 – 4360 Phone: 847-925-8070 • Fax: 847-925-1329 www.avma.org • [email protected] Revised 12/09 Printed in the U.S.A. For more information and helpful tips on traveling with your pet American Veterinary Medical Association www.avma.org Import and Export and Interstate Travel – Veterinary Practice Resource Center – AVMA www.avma.org/services/vprc/travel.asp United States Department of Transportation Aviation Consumer Protection Division http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/publications/animals.htm United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Care Pet Travel Page www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_welfare/pet_travel/pet_travel.shtml USDA Veterinary Services Area Offices Locator www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/area_offices/ International Air Transport Association Live Animals Transportation by Air (includes guidelines on selecting an appropriately sized animal carrier) www.iata.org/whatwedo/cargo/live_animals/index.html Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Frequently Asked Questions about Animal Importation www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dq/animal/faq.htm This brochure is made possible in part through an educational grant from Subaru. subaru.com be more convenient, assuming your pet readily consumes it.
Parasite Prevention in Felines
Encouraging year-round protection is crucial to pet health. Although veterinarians continue to educate pet owners on feline parasite protection, it seems that most cat owners are unaware that their unprotected cats are being put at constant and unnecessary risk. Additionally, the necessary level of parasite protection for “indoor” cats continues to raise questions. Cat owners may not be fully aware that, although the majority of indoor cats may stay indoors, the outdoors, such as mud, insects and rodents, can easily find its way into the home. These outdoor elements might harbor parasite eggs or larvae, fleas, ticks or heartworms. There is a false sense of security that indoor cats are not at risk. In fact, one study showed that 25 percent of cats diagnosed with heartworm disease were solely indoor cats.1 Furthermore, other pets in the same household, such as dogs, can easily spread these contagious parasites to unprotected indoor cats. The good news is that parasite prevention is easy. One simple monthly application of a preventive medicine is all it takes to protect your cat from some of its worst parasite enemies, including fleas, heartworms, ear mites, hookworms and roundworms. Our hospital, as well as, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the American Heartworm Society, and the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) recommends that all cats, both indoor and outdoor, be on year-round broad spectrum parasite prevention.
1 Atkins CE, Defrancesco TC, Coats JR, et al. Heartworm infection in cats: 50 cases (1985- 1997) J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2000; 217:355-358.
Protecting Cats From Heartworm
(NAPSA)—Heartworm disease is a serious risk to feline health that harms or even kills thousands of cats each year. While it is a very preventable disease, studies show that fewer than 5 percent of U.S. households with cats regularly administer heartworm prevention, while 59 percent of dog-owning households do so regularly. Veterinarians say this lack of prevention leaves cats at risk of developing HARD (Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease). HARD attacks a cat’s lungs and is particularly dangerous because it is often misdiagnosed as feline asthma, allergies or bronchitis. Fortunately, a new program called KNOW Heartworms may help keep cats safe. The initiative is based on new data outlined in the updated American Heartworm Society (AHS) Feline Guidelines and focuses on these five myths and misunderstandings surrounding feline heartworm: • Dogs vs. Cats: Heartworm is not just a canine disease, and it affects cats differently than dogs. While cats typically have fewer worms than dogs, and the life span of the worm is shorter in cats, the consequences for felines can be much more serious. • Indoor vs. Outdoor Cats: It only takes one mosquito to infect a cat, and because mosquitoes can get indoors, both indoor and outdoor cats are at risk. In fact, one North Carolina study showed that 28 percent of cats diagnosed with heartworm were inside-only cats. • It’s a Heart Disease: “Heartworm disease” is a misnomer; it mostly affects the lungs, not just the heart. The disease frequently is mistaken for asthma and other respiratory diseases. • Adult Heartworms vs. Larvae: New research shows that heartworm larvae at all stages, not just adult worms, can cause serious health problems. • Diagnosis: Accurate diagnosis can be difficult, since negative antigen and antibody tests don’t automatically rule out the presence of heartworms. Chronic signs of feline heartworm disease include difficulty breathing, coughing or gagging, heavy or fast breathing and vomiting. More acute signs can be weight loss, lethargy, seizures, fainting and loss of coordination. However, some cats with heartworm infection may exhibit no signs of disease. Understanding HARD According to Charles Thomas (Tom) Nelson, DVM, president of the AHS, both the veterinary community and the cat-owning public have a long way to go in developing awareness about the risks of feline heartworm disease. It’s a belief echoed by James R. Richards, DVM, director of the Feline Health Center at Cornell University and a past president of the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP). “It is important that we be aware of the range of risks an animal can face and make sure they receive regular checkups,” explains Dr. Richards. “As we’re learning with heartworm, the dangers are much more significant than previously thought.” The KNOW Heartworms campaign is sponsored by the AHS and AAFP and funded by an educational grant from Pfizer Animal Health. It’s hoped that it will help increase awareness and help pet owners avoid tragic situations such as the one faced by Ashley Jones. Jones, a resident physician, came home one day to find her one-and-a-half-year-old indoor cat Harley lying motionless on the floor. After rushing her to the vet for examination, the doctors determined that Harley had died from heartworm disease. “My husband and I felt helpless, and wished there was something we could have done to prevent [Harley’s death],” says Jones. She and her husband now protect their other cat against heartworms and work to raise awareness of the disease. For more information on HARD and ways to prevent feline heartworm disease, visit the Web site www.knowheartworms.org.
Understanding Zoonotic Disease in Cats
Pet owners may not be aware that parasites are more than just irritating to the pet, but they can also cause disease in the animal and even transmit diseases to people, called a zoonotic disease. In fact, it is estimated that each year 3 to 6 million people are infected with Toxocara (roundworm), which causes a condition called larva migrans. 1 In humans, roundworm infection may cause tissue damage (visceral larval migrans), affect the nerves or even lodge in the eye (ocular larval migrans). Hookworm larvae typically move within the skin, causing inflammation (cutaneous larval migrans). One type of hookworm can penetrate into deeper tissues and cause serious damage to the intestine and other organs. Hookworm and roundworm (Toxocara) are prevalent intestinal parasites that can be transmitted to people through ingestion of infective eggs in the environment (such as eating contaminated foods), and by direct penetration of the skin (for hookworm only). Although zoonotic diseases can affect anyone, ingestion of infective eggs is more likely to happen to children who encounter a contaminated outdoor area, get the sticky roundworm eggs on their clothes or toys, then their hands and eventually, in their mouth. To reduce the risk of zoonotic disease transmission: • Do not walk/allow children to walk barefoot where there is likely to be animal feces. • Have kittens dewormed by your veterinarian at an early age. • Keep play areas, lawns and gardens around your home free of animal waste. o Bag and dispose of pet feces o Cover sandboxes when not in use • Keep your cat healthy and protected from hookworm and roundworm, and other harmful parasites, with a monthly preventive medicine. Because pets are susceptible to parasite infection and infestation any place at any time, pet owners are urged to use year-round parasite protection. For more information on zoonotic disease, talk with your family physician and veterinarian. 1 Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) Guidelines, 2005. ©2006 Pfizer Inc. All rights reserved.
What is Canine Distemper?
Canine distemper is a highly contagious and serious disease caused by a virus that attacks the respiratory, gastro intestinal, and, often, the nervous systems of puppies and dogs. The virus also infects wild canids (e.g. foxes, wolves, coyotes), raccoons, skunks,and ferrets. How is CanineDistemper virus spread? Puppies and dogs usually become infected through airborne exposure to the virus containedin respiratory secretions of an infected dog or wild animal. Outbreaks of distemper tend to be sporadic. Because canine distemperal so affects wildlife populations, contact between wild canids and domestic dogs may facilitate spread of the virus. What dogs are at risk? All dogs are at risk but puppies younger than four months old and dogs that have not been vaccinated against canine distemper are at increased risk o facquiring the disease. What are some signs of CanineDistemper? The first sign ofdistemper is eyedischarge that may appear watery topus-like. Subsequently, dogs develop fever, nasal discharge, coughing, lethargy, reduced appetite, vomiting,and diarrhea. In later stages, the virus may attack the nervous system, bringing about seizures, twitching, or partial or complete paralysis. Occasionally, the virus may cause footpads to harden. Distemper is often fatal. Even if a dog does not die from the disease, canine distemper virus can cause irreparable damage to a dog’s nervous system. Distemper is so serious and the signs so varied that any sick dog should be taken to a veterinarian for an examination and diagnosis. How is Canine Distemper diagnosed and treated? Veterinarians diagnose canine distemper on the basis of clinical appearance and laboratory tests. No specific drug is available that will kill the virus in infected dogs. Treatment consists primarily of efforts to prevent secondary infections; control vomiting, diarrhea,or neurologic symptoms; and combat dehydration through administration of fluids. Ill dogs should be kept warm, receive good nursing care,and be separated from other dogs.
How is CanineDistemper prevented? Vaccination and avoiding contact with infected animals are key elementsof canine distemper prevention. Vaccination is important.Young puppiesare very susceptible to infection, particularly because the natural immunity provided in their mothers’ milk may wear off before the puppies’own immune systems are mature enough to fight off infection. If apuppy is exposed to canine distemper virus during this gap in protection, it may become ill. An additional concern is that immunity provided by a mother’s milk may interfere with an effective response to vaccination. This means even vaccinated puppies may occasionally succumb to distemper. To narrow gaps in protection and optimally defend against canine distemper during the first few months of life, a series of vaccinations is administered. Until a puppy has received its complete series of vaccinations, pet owners should use caution when taking their pet to places where young puppies congregate (e.g.pet shops, parks, puppy classes, obedience classes, doggy daycare, and grooming establishments). Reputable establishments and training programs reduce exposure riskby requiring vaccinations, health examinations, good hygiene, and isolation of ill puppies and dogs. To protect their adult dogs, pet owners shouldbe sure that their dog’s distemper vaccination is up-to-date. Ask your veterinarian abouta recommended vaccination program for your canine companion. Contact with known infected dogs should always b eavoided. Similarly, contact with raccoons, foxes, skunks, and other potentially infected wildlife should be discouraged.
What is canine parvovirus and how can I prevent it?
Do not let your puppy or adult dog to come into contact with the fecal waste of other dogs while walking or playing outdoors. Prompt and proper disposal of waste material is always advisable as a way to limit spread of canine parvovirus infection as well as other diseases that can infect humans and animals. Dogs with vomiting or diarrhea or other dogs which have been exposed to ill dogs should not be taken to kennels, show grounds, dog parks, or other areas where they will come into contact with other dogs. Similarly, unvaccinated dogs should not be exposed to ill dogs or those with unknown vaccination histories. People whoare in contact with sick or exposed dogs should avoid handling of other dogs or at least wash their hands and change their clothes before doingso. Although this provides basic information about canine parvovirus, your veterinarian is always your best source of health information. Consult your veterinarian for more information
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