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Heartworm disease is still a problem in this area and dogs need to be tested each year, in the spring, to determine if they have contracted the disease. If a dog is infected with heartworm and is given heartworm preventative they can become very sick from the destruction of the heartworm microfilaria dying in the bloodstream. This is why we test each year. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is now recommending the use of heartworm preventative during all 12 months of the year. By doing so, pet owners are: preventing heartworm disease; continuously de-worming their pets; and interrupting the life cycle of many parasites including large roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and others.
Erlichiosis All dogs brought to Countryside Vet for heartworm testing are also tested for Canine Erlichiosis, a disease caused by the intra cellular parasite, Erlichia Canis. It is transmitted by the common brown dog tick after it has attached to a dog and received a blood meal. Erlichiosis causes symptoms similar to many other systemic diseases. At the present time, it is recommended that we only treat dogs showing clinical symptoms of stiffness and soreness of joints and muscles and/or certain blood disorders.
Lyme Disease In the past year, we have discovered more than 82 positive Lyme disease dogs with our heartworm 4dx tests. We are recommending vaccinating all dogs that spend time outdoors in environments where ticks may be present. There is a treatment option available for Lyme disease that is prescribed on a case to case basis. In the acute phase the dog will show signs of stiffness and arthritis. The organism resposible also affects humans.
Bartonellosis in Cats We often see kittens with sneezing, runny noses, and mattery eyes. These are common signs of feline Bartonella which is caused by an organism of the Bartonella species. Fleas are often the carrier from cat to cat. When blood tests are taken from cats with these symptoms, a high percentage are positive for Bartonella. Bartonella is successfully treated with antibiotics. For more information on the many, recent pet food recalls, go to www.fda.gov.
Dental Care for Healthier Pets Periodontal disease is the number one disease of pets today. It is a diagnosis common to all pets, in all age groups, becoming more advanced as pets get older. This disease affects 85 percent of adult dogs and cats, but can strike young pets too. Yet it is very preventable. Factors that influence the development of oral disease include genetics, diet and home care. Veterinarians believe that periodic professional dental cleanings coupled with home dental care is a critical element of total healthcare for our pets.
Periodontitis, inflammation of the tissues and structures surrounding the teeth, not only causes “doggy breath” but also pain, discomfort and potential tooth loss. It is not normal for your pet to have a severe odor from his/her mouth. The byproduct of bacteria produces this foul odor. Dental disease generally begins with inflammation of the gums and accumulation of plaque on the teeth. Plaque is formed when bacteria combine with salivary debris. Tooth loss, gum bleeding and pus between the teeth or at the gum line are indicators of advanced periodontal disease. A pet with periodontitis can send a bacterial shower into the blood stream every time they chew. In turn, these bacteria can affect the heart valves, lungs, liver and kidneys.
A thorough oral exam is one of the most important parts of our comprehensive exam. Many of our clients are surprised when we point out dental disease in their pets. Clinical signs of disease may include bad breath, excessive salivation, appetite changes, facial swelling, weight loss, pawing at the mouth and behavioral shifts. Invariably, we suggest home dental care and perhaps professional dental care for your pets, depending on severity. Home dental care is a classic example of preventative medicine.
We can't change the genetic code of your pet, but we can significantly slow the progression of dental disease through home care. A daily tooth brushing is ideal. It takes 6-8 hours for bacteria to attach to the tooth's surface. The bacteria then absorb calcium from saliva and become mineralized, forming tartar or calculus. This is why brushing is recommended daily, to continually break this cycle. While brushing a few times a week is helpful, brushing weekly does not significantly inhibit the formation of calculus. Do not use human toothpaste when brushing your pet's teeth. The toothpaste may cause tummy upset and the fluoride levels can be toxic to their kidneys. We recommend and sell CET flavored enzymatic toothpaste.
Though there is no substitute for brushing, as it mechanically breaks up the plaque film, there are other home care options when brushing simply is not possible. These include wiping the teeth with medicated wipes, rinsing the mouth with an antiseptic prescription rinse and lastly using chews, such as CET Chews. Also available are prescription diets with special kibbles that help “clean” the teeth while they are chewed. While calculus is reduced by chewing on hard crunchy foods and treats, real bones, rocks and even ice can cause fractures of the teeth, and are best avoided.
We would be glad to discuss specific recommendations for your pet, in both the professional and home care realm. We can determine upon exam the need for a prophylactic cleaning (to prevent disease) or periodontal therapy (treatment of current disease) and provide an estimate accordingly. As a rule, smaller breed dogs and cats are more prone to periodontal disease than large breed dogs. The interval between professional cleanings varies based on the same factors that influence development of disease. Some dogs and cats need annual cleanings while some may go a lifetime without the need for this procedure. The adult cat has 30 teeth; the adult dog has 42. Our wellness goal at Countryside Veterinarian is to educate owners to care for each of these teeth over the lifetime of their pet. Dental care isn't costly, but dental disease is.
Navigating the “Ear-rie Canal” Otitis, inflammatory disease of the ear, is one of the most common diagnoses made in small-animal veterinary medicine. Symptoms include shaking the head, pawing at or rubbing the ears, pain around the ears and odor from the ears
The ear is composed of three segments: the external, middle and inner ear. The external ear canal is a structure made of cartilage and lined by skin. This explains why the ears are often involved with skin problems. This skin contains glands that secrete a waxy substance known as cerumen, designed to trap dirt and debris in the ear canal and move it outward – a self cleaning mechanism. The external ear also functions to conduct sound and protect the eardrum. The ear canal has a vertical component that leads to the deeper horizontal ear canal that cannot be evaluated without a special tool called an otoscope. The middle ear is separated from the external ear by the tympanic membrane, commonly called the eardrum. In severe ear infections, the middle ear can also be affected, often with rupture of the eardrum. The inner ear is responsible for hearing and balance.
Some animals have predisposing factors that increase their risk of developing otitis. Genetics is a key predisposing factor. Examples include the narrowed ear canals of the Shar Pei breed, the hairy ear canals of Poodles and the long floppy ears of Spaniels. Another predisposing factor is moisture, seen in dogs that spend a lot of time swimming or that live in a humid climate. Often dogs are presented to Countryside Veterinarian with ear infections a few days after a bath. A warm moist ear canal is a prime environment to cultivate the abnormal growth of yeast and bacteria. Trauma to the ear canal from improper cleansing or use of irritating agents in the ear can also predispose to ear inflammation.
There are also primary factors that can initiate the inflammation within the ear canal. The most common cause of primary otitis in dogs is allergic reactions, either to things in the environment or to food. Up to 50 percent of dogs with allergies manifest with ear involvement. Ear mites (much more common in cats than dogs) and other parasites as well as microorganisms such as bacteria and yeast are also examples of primary causes. Other primary causes include hypothyroidism (under active thyroid), Cushings disease (a disease of the adrenal glands) and foreign bodies (such as plant awns).
Treatment errors include under treatment or inappropriate use of antibiotics. This is why it is important to diagnose before treating. A first time offender will be diagnosed by looking at an “ear smear”. A swab of the ear is taken and the debris is rolled out on a slide, stained and evaluated microscopically. This allows differentiation between yeast, bacteria and other cell populations. Appropriate antimicrobials can then be chosen based on this information. In a chronic ear situation, an ear culture is recommended. This test is performed by inserting a sterile Culturette deep into the external ear canal and sending the material obtained to the laboratory for identification and determination of the best antibiotic choice.
Ears should be cleaned on a regular weekly schedule (cats less frequently) and after bathing or swimming. We recommend flushing Epi Otic ear cleansing solution down into the canals to reach the horizontal ear canal, gently massaging the base of the ear for a minute or two to break up debris and wax in the canal and then allowing the pet to shake his head. This will bring the fluid carrying debris up from the deeper canal to the external surface. Next, gently wipe the fluid away with cotton balls or gauze squares. You may carefully use Q-tips to wipe debris away from the visible crevices, but do not put Q-tips down into the canal as this packs down the wax and debris. The goal of home cleaning is to make the environment less favorable for microbial growth and decrease inflammation by keeping the ears clean and dry.
As a rule of thumb, pets may have one “free” ear infection in their life. If otitis frequently recurs we must look for an underlying cause. Without getting to the root issue, otitis may never be resolved long term. Most recurrent ear problems are a manifestation of a generalized health condition. If your pet has ear problems or you would like a thorough explanation of proper home cleaning, please call to schedule an appointment.
Pet IDentification Pets can become separated from even the most conscientious pet owner. A family pet is lost every two seconds in this country. Identification of your pet is a vital part of responsible pet ownership. Micro chipping is the best option for permanent pet identification. This procedure requires the injection of a small microchip under the skin between the shoulder blades with a sterile hypodermic needle. It can be done while pets are awake. The cost for micro chipping your pet at Countryside Veterinarian is $40.00. This includes the fee to register your pet in the nation wide data base. When you have your pet micro chipped, you will also receive a tag for the pet's collar indicating that they have been micro chipped. Scanners that read these microchips are supplied free of charge to shelters and are owned by most veterinary offices. The scanner is passed over the pet, revealing the unique number of the pet's chip. This number can be called into a sophisticated national database that works 24 hours a day to reunite lost pets with their owners.
How long will the microchip last?
The microchip will last for the life of the pet. The microchip contains a unique ID code that can be activated only when read by a scanner.
Where is the microchip implanted?
For most animals (dogs, cats) the chip is implanted in the scruff of the neck (the loose skin between the animal’s shoulder blades). In birds, the chip is implanted under a wing. Consult your veterinarian. for exotic or other pets.
Can the microchip be easily removed?
No, a microchip can only be surgically removed by a veterinarian.
Do I have to renew my pet’s enrollment?
No, the one-time enrollment fee covers the life of your pet.
What happens when my pet is found?
When your pet’s identification number is called in to the recovery hotline, AKC Car will immediately call you. If you are not home, we will try to reach your alternate contact. This is why it is very important that you keep AKC CAR updated of any contact changes. You can update your pet’s record now. AKC CAR’s 24-hour recovery hotline is listed on all AKC CAR-issued collar tags.
“The chip really does work. My cat was missing for six weeks before he was picked up. Because of the chip, he is back home now. Thank You." —Faribault, MN
Bucc, Male Labrador Retriever Dog
We received another call on a lost Labrador Retriever. This is our most recovered dog breed by far with over 10,000 successfully recovered Labs and counting. In this recovery, Bucc wandered approximately 40 miles until he was found in Valrico, FL. The owner was in St. Petersburg, FL. and she was amazed. So were we!
Dogs who spend extended time alone are likely to become bored, and boredom can lead to destructive behavior. A product we can whole heartedly recommend to help dogs to pass the time is the Kong chew toys. Kongs are the dog toy most recommended by veterinarians and dog trainers worldwide. Their unusual shape and design makes for an unpredictably challenging game of catch and their hollow center can be strategically stuffed for hours of fun.
Example of enticing Kong stuffing recipes include peanut better mixed with dry kibble, cream cheese and veggies, and canned food with cheese bits. Though some of these foods are not recommended dietary staples, they may be used as an occasional treat. Some owners even put their dog’s Kongs in the freezer before play for a twist.
Kongs can be helpful for many problems by providing an outlet for excess energy and lots of fun! Kongs can be especially beneficial while crate training or housebreaking. Before leaving, owners can fill up the Kong with tasty treats and it can keep dogs busy for hours while they are away.
Resilient and durable Kongs come in many sizes suitable for all dog breeds. As with all dog toys, initially Kongs should be used only with owner supervision. Countryside Veterinarian sells Kongs and provides complimentary recipes guides for “the perfect” dog.
Sunny days turn tragic in heartbeat
Imagine a nice summer day. You put the dog in the car and head out on the open road. You stop for a burger and a shake. Returning to your car, you open the door to a nightmare that will ruin that picture perfect day.
Heat stroke affects dogs of all shapes and sizes, with those having long hair and brachycephalic (squished nose) breeds being more sensitive. Caused by excessive environmental heat, heat stroke is a very common veterinary emergency that can be easily prevented.
Do not leave animals in a car unattended for any length of time. Be sure not to overwork dogs on hot days and always offer plenty of fresh, clean water. Be aware of your pet’s physical condition. Medical issues such as dehydration and obesity can be risk factors for heat stroke.
Watch for the signs that your pet may be overheating. These signs include:
1) excessive panting
2) excessive salvation
3) muscle tremors
5) wobbly/unsteady gait
Should you notice any of the above signs contact us immediately at 952-442-4200.
Taking the proper precautions will ensure that your perfect day never becomes a tragedy.
Countryside Veterinarian & Feed, 13950 Highway 5, Young America MN 55397, 952-442-4200 Open Monday-Friday 8 to 6, Saturday 8:30 to 1