What Is Canine Influenza Virus?

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There are many causes of kennel cough, both bacterial and viral. Canine influenza virus (CIV) is one of the viral causes of kennel cough. This highly contagious respiratory disease has affected thousands of dogs in the United States. Because CIV is a relatively new virus, most dogs have not been exposed to it before. Dogs of any age, breed, and vaccine status are susceptible to this infection.

How Could My Dog Catch Canine Influenza Virus?
CIV is easily transmitted between dogs through a combination of aerosols, droplets, and direct contact with respiratory secretions. The virus does not survive for a long time in the environment, so dogs usually get CIV when they are in close proximity to other infectious dogs.

Which Dogs Are Prone to Canine Influenza Virus? 
Any dog who interacts with large numbers of dogs is at increased risk for exposure. Pet owners should consult their veterinarian for information about the canine influenza vaccine.

What Are the General Signs of Canine Influenza Virus? 
While most dogs will show typical signs of kennel cough, but a small percentage of dogs will develop a more severe illness. Signs of canine influenza virus include:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Variable fever
  • Clear nasal discharge that progresses to thick, yellowish-green mucus
  • Rapid/difficult breathing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

Can Dogs Die From Canine Influenza Virus?
If CIV is quickly diagnosed and treated, the fatality rate is quite low. Deaths are usually caused by secondary complications, such as pneumonia. It is important that dogs with CIV receive proper veterinary care.

How Is Canine Influenza Virus Diagnosed?
Veterinarians will typically conduct a thorough physical examination and run a series of tests to diagnose the illness.

How Is Canine Influenza Treated?
Because CIV is a virus similar to the flu in humans, there is no specific antiviral medication available. However, supportive care and appropriate treatment of secondary infections are important. Your veterinarian may advise the following to soothe your dog while the condition runs its course:

  • Good nutrition and supplements to raise immunity
  • A warm, quiet, and comfortable spot to rest
  • Medications to treat secondary bacterial infections
  • Intravenous fluids to maintain hydration
  • Workup and treatment for pneumonia

Be advised, while most dogs will fight the infection within 10 to 30 days, secondary infections require antibiotics and, in the case of pneumonia, sometimes even hospitalization.

What Should I Do if I Think My Dog Has Canine Influenza Virus? 
If you think your dog has canine influenza virus, immediately isolate him or her from all other dogs and call your veterinarian.

Can I Catch Canine Influenza From My Dog?
So far there has been no evidence to indicate that dogs can transmit CIV to humans.

How Can I Help Prevent My Dog From Spreading the Disease? 
Any dog infected with CIV should be kept isolated from other dogs for 10 to 14 days from the onset of signs. Dogs are most infectious before signs are apparent, and can continue shedding the virus for approximately 10 days. This means that by the time signs of the illness are seen, other dogs may have already been exposed.

Source: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/canine-influenza-viruscanine-flu

Easter Pet Poisons

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The veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline receive hundreds of calls this time of year from pet owners and veterinarians concerning cats that have ingested Easter lilies.

“Unbeknownst to many pet owners, Easter lilies are highly toxic to cats,” said Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS assistant director at Pet Poison Helpline. “All parts of the Easter lily plant are poisonous – the petals, the leaves, the stem and even the pollen. Cats that ingest as few as one or two leaves, or even a small amount of pollen while grooming their fur, can suffer severe kidney failure.”

In most situations, symptoms of poisoning will develop within six to 12 hours of exposure. Early signs include vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy and dehydration. Symptoms worsen as kidney failure develops. Some cats will experience disorientation, staggering and seizures.

“There is no effective antidote to counteract lily poisoning, so the sooner you can get your cat to the veterinarian, the better his chances of survival will be,” said Brutlag. “If you see your cat licking or eating any part of an Easter lily, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately. If left untreated, his chances of survival are low.”

Treatment includes inducing vomiting, administering drugs like activated charcoal (to bind the poison in the stomach and intestines), intravenous fluid therapy to flush out the kidneys, and monitoring of kidney function through blood testing. The prognosis and the cost – both financially and physically – to the pet owner and cat, are best when treated immediately.

There are several other types of lilies that are toxic to cats as well. They are of the Lilium and Hemerocallis species and commonly referred to as Tiger lilies, Day lilies and Asiatic lilies. Popular in many gardens and yards, they can also result in severe acute kidney failure. These lilies are commonly found in florist bouquets, so it is imperative to check for poisonous flowers before bringing bouquets into the household. Other types of lilies – such as the Peace, Peruvian and Calla lilies – are usually not a problem for cats and may cause only minor drooling.

Thankfully, lily poisoning does not occur in dogs or people. However, if a large amount is ingested, it can result in mild gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Other Dangers to Pets at Easter Time

Pet Poison Helpline also receives calls concerning pets that have ingested Easter grass and chocolate.

Usually green or yellow in color, Easter grass is the fake grass that often accompanies Easter baskets. When your cat or dog ingests something “stringy” like Easter grass, it can become anchored around the base of the tongue or stomach, rendering it unable to pass through the intestines. It can result in a linear foreign body and cause severe damage to the intestinal tract, often requiring expensive abdominal surgery.

Lastly, during the week of Easter, calls to Pet Poison Helpline concerning dogs that have been poisoned by chocolate increase by nearly 200 percent. While the occasional chocolate chip in one cookie may not be an issue, certain types of chocolate are very toxic to dogs. In general, the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the greater the danger. Baker’s chocolate and dark chocolate pose the biggest problem. The chemical toxicity is due to methylxanthines (a relative of caffeine) and results in vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, an abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and possibly death. Other sources include chewable chocolate flavored multi-vitamins, baked goods, or chocolate-covered espresso beans. If you suspect that your dog ate chocolate, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately.

Spring is in the air and Easter is a wonderful holiday. Remember that your pets will be curious about new items you bring into your household like Easter lilies, Easter grass and chocolate. Keep them a safe distance away from your pets’ reach and enjoy the holiday and the season.

 

SOURCE: http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-owners/seasons/easter/

How Well Do You Know Pet Food?

Pet Food Myths

We know there are always plenty of pet food myths circulating the internet in this information age and at Clearwater Animal Hospital, our team is always making an effort to field those questions. After all, we want to make sure that you are as well-informed as possible about your pet’s needs.

Where Do You Get Your Pet Nutrition Information?

Reading pet food labels, talking with store clerks at pet supply stores, and reading up on pet nutrition facts online are all a good start when it comes to understanding your pet’s needs, but it’s so important that you don’t stop there. Everything you read and hear is not necessarily good information.

Keep in mind that pet food labels are designed for good advertising, and that may mean that the information listed there is not quite accurate. The same goes for talking with store clerks. These people may be extremely helpful and very knowledgeable about the products, but their primary training comes from sales reps for these companies, not from unbiased pet nutrition education. And the fact is, these store clerks are looking for a sale. Reading information online is the most common way for most people to become educated about any subject, but it is so important to look in the right place, reading only reputable websites that don’t have a sales agenda.

Schedule a Nutrition Consultation With Our Team

When you are in doubt about your pet’s nutritional needs and are not sure whether they are a being met, we highly recommend a visit with our team. We provide veterinary consultations to talk with you about your pet’s dietary requirements and we base our recommendations on your pet’s specific needs, including:

  • Lifestyle
  • Health status
  • Breed
  • Physical condition
  • Age
  • …and more!

This information is gathered through a thorough conversation between you and our team. After all, the best recommendations for your pet’s needs come from a thorough understanding of your pet and the lifestyle you share together. We invite you to contact our team to schedule a nutritional consultation with us today!

February is National Pet Dental Health Month

Dental health is a very important part of your pet’s overall health, and dental problems can cause, or be caused by, other health problems. Your pet’s teeth and gums should be checked at least once a year by your veterinarian to check for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.

What is veterinary dentistry, and who should perform it?

Veterinary dentistry includes the cleaning, adjustment, filing, extraction, or repair of your pets’ teeth and all other aspects of oral health care. These procedures should be performed by a veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary dentist. Subject to state or provincial regulation, veterinary technicians are allowed to perform certain dental procedures under the supervision of a veterinarian.

The process begins with an oral exam of your pet’s mouth by a veterinarian. Radiographs (x-rays) may be needed to evaluate the health of the jaw and the tooth roots below the gumline. Because most dental disease occurs below the gumline, where you can’t see it, a thorough dental cleaning and evaluation are performed under anesthesia. Dental cleaning includes scaling (to remove dental plaque and tartar) and polishing, similar to the process used on your own teeth during your regular dental cleanings.

Oral health in dogs and cats

Your pet’s teeth should be checked at least once a year by your veterinarian for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.

Have your pet’s teeth checked sooner if you observe any of the following problems:

  • bad breath
  • broken or loose teeth
  • extra teeth or retained baby teeth
  • teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar
  • abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
  • reduced appetite or refusal to eat
  • pain in or around the mouth
  • bleeding from the mouth
  • swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth

Some pets become irritable when they have dental problems, and any changes in your pet’s behavior should prompt a visit to your veterinarian. Always be careful when evaluating your pet’s mouth, because a painful animal may bite.

Causes of pet dental problems

Although cavities are less common in pets than in people, they can have many of the same dental problems that people can develop:

  • broken teeth and roots
  • periodontal disease
  • abscesses or infected teeth
  • cysts or tumors in the mouth
  • malocclusion, or misalignment of the teeth and bite
  • broken (fractured) jaw
  • palate defects (such as cleft palate)

Periodontal disease is the most common dental condition in dogs and cats – by the time your pet is 3 years old, he or she will very likely have some early evidence of periodontal disease, which will worsen as your pet grows older if effective preventive measures aren’t taken. Early detection and treatment are critical, because advanced periodontal disease can cause severe problems and pain for your pet. Periodontal disease doesn’t just affect your pet’s mouth. Other health problems found in association with periodontal disease include kidney, liver, and heart muscle changes.

It starts with plaque that hardens into tartar. Tartar above the gumline can often easily be seen and removed, but plaque and tartar below the gumline is damaging and sets the stage for infection and damage to the jawbone and the tissues that connect the tooth to the jaw bone. Periodontal disease is graded on a scale of 0 (normal) to 4 (severe).

The treatment of periodontal disease involves a thorough dental cleaning and x-rays may be needed to determine the severity of the disease. Your veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary dentist will make recommendations based on your pet’s overall health and the health of your pet’s teeth, and provide you with options to consider.

Why does dentistry require anesthesia?

When you go to the dentist, you know that what’s being done is meant to help you and keep your mouth healthy. Your dentist uses techniques to minimize pain and discomfort and can ask you how you are feeling, so you accept the procedures and do your best to keep still. Your pet does not understand the benefit of dental procedures, and he or she reacts by moving, trying to escape, or even biting.

Anesthesia makes it possible to perform the dental procedures with less stress and pain for your pet. In addition, anesthesia allows for a better cleaning because your pet is not moving around and risking injury from the dental equipment. If radiographs (x-rays) are needed, your pet needs to be very still in order to get good images, and this is unlikely without heavy sedation or anesthesia.

Although anesthesia will always have risks, it’s safer now than ever and continues to improve so that the risks are very low and are far outweighed by the benefits. Most pets can go home the same day of the procedure, although they might seem a little groggy for the rest of the day.

What can I do at home for my pet’s oral health?

Prevention of the most common oral disease in pets consists of frequent removal of the dental plaque and tartar that forms on teeth that are not kept clean. Regularly brushing your pet’s teeth is the single most effective thing you can do to keep their teeth healthy between dental cleanings, and may reduce the frequency or even eliminate the need for periodic dental cleaning by your veterinarian. Daily brushing is best, but it’s not always possible and brushing several times a week can be effective. Most dogs accept brushing, but cats can be a bit more resistant – patience and training are important.

There are many pet products marketed with claims that they improve dental health, but not all of them are effective. Talk with your veterinarian about any dental products, treats, or dental-specific diets you’re considering for your pet, or ask your veterinarian for their recommendation.

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

5 Tips for Traveling with a Pet

5 Tips for Traveling with a Pet

Are you planning a winter vacation with your pet to take a break from the cold? Let the team at Clearwater Animal Hospital help you prepare. Consider the following five tips for traveling with a pet, so you and your fur baby have a happy, safe, stress-free journey.

Expect the Unexpected

Even with the most thorough planning, sometimes accidents happen that can put your four-legged friend in danger. Always pack an emergency kit with basic first aid items when you travel with your pet. It’s also important to get familiar with the nearest emergency veterinarians near your destination. That way, if ever you find yourself in need of emergency care, you’ll already know where to find it.

Keep Vaccinations Updated

Vaccinations help protect your pet from potentially fatal diseases, which is why it’s so important to keep them updated, especially when you travel. Showing proof of vaccinations is often required for international air travel and certain airlines before pet can be allowed to board. Always check your airline’s policy in advance to make sure you’re well prepared.

Make Sure Your Pet Has ID

Sadly, there have been cases where pets become separated from their owners during travel and are never reunited with them. Don’t let your pet be one of them. Make sure they have an updated ID tag or microchip. A microchip serves as a permanent form of identification that can be scanned by most animal shelters and hospitals in the country.

Choose Your Pet Carrier Wisely

Regardless of how you’ll be traveling, always choose a pet carrier that’s comfortable and spacious enough for your pet to turn around in. Keep in mind that all airlines have dimension limits for pet carriers in the cabin, so if your pet will be your carryon, make sure the carrier does not exceed these limits. For the cabin, we recommend that you choose a soft-sided carrier, since it offers more flexibility under the seat.

Know the Fees

Most airlines charge an additional fee of about $100 (each way) to fly with a pet. Check your airline’s website for their fee information. Most airlines require also that you book your pet’s flight when you book your own, so make sure to check this as well. We recommend that you also about the pet cancellation policy, too, in case you need to cancel at the last minute. If you DO decide to cancel your pet’s flight at the last minute, remember that Clearwater Animal Hospital offers boarding. Give us a call to book a stay or if you have any questions.

HOW TO: Pill Your Cat

 Here is a “How To” video by Dr Jammu on how to successfully pill your cat at home. Steve was a very good boy for his first movie debut!

HOW TO: Place Cat In Carrier

 Here is another “How To” video on how to easily put your cat into their carrier to make it as easy on you and your kitty as possible, and so no one get scratched or stressed out! Steve is such a good sport!

Custom Wellness Plans for Your Pet

At Clearwater Animal Hospital, we offer custom wellness plans to fit all of your pet’s needs. By providing your pet with one of our wellness plans, not only will you be providing your pet with the veterinary care that he/she needs, but you will also be budgeting the care with affordable monthly payments. By doing this, you will also increase the likelihood that ailments and illnesses will be caught earlier, which should reduce the extent and cost of any treatment needed.

Our custom wellness plans depend on the type of pet you own. We have kitten services, for your feline’s first year, and adult services that cover between one and seven years old. We also offer services for your puppies first year and adult services that cover from one to seven years old.

With our custom wellness plans, your pet will receive routine preventive care, that includes laboratory testing for the most common worms found in dogs and cats, including roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. Also included in our wellness plans is spaying and neutering, depending on your pet’s gender.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment, to determine which wellness plan is right for your pet.  (519) 250-7700