Friday, July 30, 2010

Protect Your Pets from Harmful Algae Blooms

Blue-green algae can form harmful blooms in lakes, ponds, and rivers that make the water murkey, and can sometimes make the water look like pea soup or paint. These blooms may produce tixins and could make pets and people sick.

  • If you see water like this, do not allow your pet to swim in or drink the water.

  • Rinse pets off immediately if they come into contact with algae bloom.

Call your vet immediately if your pet has been around an algae bloom and shows symptoms such as vomiting, staggering, drooling, or convulsions.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Lyme Disease

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme Disease is caused by a spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi. A spirochete is a type of bacterium. It is transmitted to dogs through the bite of a tick. Once in the blood stream, the Lyme disease organism is carried to many parts of the body and is likely to localize in joints. It was first thought that only a few types of ticks could transmit this disease, but now it appears that several common species may be involved. The most common type of tick to carry Lyme disease is the Deer tick.

Can Lyme disease also affect people?

Yes, but people do not get it directly from dogs. They get it from being bitten by the same ticks that transmit it to dogs. Therefore, preventing exposure to ticks is important for you and your dog.

Many pet owners are unaware of how many ticks your outdoor cat can bring into your home. using preventive medications on your cats is just as important as protecting your dog.

What are the clinical signs?

Many people will develop a characteristic "bull's eye" rash at the site of the bite within three to thirty days. The characteristic rash does not develop in dogs or cats. Because the other symptoms of the disease may be delayed or go unrecognized and because the symptoms are similar to those of many other diseases, Lyme disease in animals is often not considered until other diseases have been eliminated.

80-90% of dogs positive for exposure show no clinical signs of Lyme disease when routinely screened at their annual health exam.

Many dogs affected with Lyme disease are taken to a veterinarian because they seem to be experiencing generalized pain and have stopped eating. Affected dogs have been described as if they were "walking on egg shells." Often these pets have high fevers. Dogs may also begin limping. This painful lameness often appears suddenly and may shift from one leg to another. If untreated, it may eventually disappear, only to recur weeks or months later.

Some pets are affected with the Lyme disease organism for over a year before they finally show symptoms. By this time, the disease may be widespread throughout the body.

How is Lyme disease diagnosed?

Dogs with lameness, swollen joints, and fever are suspected of having Lyme disease. However, other diseases may also cause these symptoms. There are two blood tests that may be used for confirmation. The first is any antibody test. This test does not detect the actual spirochete in the blood but does detect the presence of antibodies created by exposure to the organism. A test can be falsely negative if the dog is infected but has not yet formed antibodies, or if it never forms enough antibodies to cause a positive reaction. This may also occur in animals with suppressed immune systems.

The Second test is a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, a DNA test that is very specific and sensitive. However, not all dogs have the spirochete in their blood cells. If a blood sample is tested, a false negative may occur. The best sample for PCR testing is the fluid from an affected joint.

How is Lyme disease treated?

Because the Lyme spirochete is a bacterium, it can be controlled by antibiotics. However, a lengthy course of treatment is necessary to completely eradicate the organism. The initial antibiotic selected to treat an infected pet may not be effective against the disease, especially if the infection is long standing. In this situation, changing to another antibiotic is often effective. Occasionally, the initial infection will recur, or the pet will become re-infected after being bitten by another infected tick.

How can I prevent my dog from getting Lyme disease?

The key to prevention is keeping your dog from being exposed to ticks. Ticks are found in grassy, wooded, and sandy areas. They find their way onto an animal by climbing to the top of a leaf blade of grass, or short trees, especially Ceder trees. Using a topical preventive or tick collar is highly reccommended. Talk to your veterinarian to determine which product would best suite your pet.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Paintball Toxicity

Ingestion of large amounts of paint balls can result in toxicity and even death. Depending on the ingredients in the paint balls, the size of the pet and the amount eaten, various problems can occur. Common symptoms include vomiting and possibly diarrhea. Signs can progress to weakness, coma and seizures. Once toxic levels are reached in the body, the effect becomes apparent at which time you may notice restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle twitching, increased urination and possibly excessive panting. Heart rate levels may also be increased. Seizure activity may occur in severe cases. These signs can occur within a few hours of ingestion. Prompt veterinary care is recommended.It is unknown for sure the amount of paint balls that need to be ingested to cause toxicity. Some data suggests that a couple can even cause mild signs. Diagnosis Diagnosing paintball toxicity or damage is generally based on the owner's witnessing or suspecting ingestion and on physical exam findings. The signs are consistent with the physical injury includes a round type bruise that can be associated with paint on the pet. Ingestion of paint balls can cause a variety of symptoms depending on the type and amount eaten. Symptoms of ingestion may include:
Vomiting (you may see the paint balls or paint)
Difficulty walking/stumbling
Increased thirst and urination
Tachycardia (high heart rate)
Coma Signs may begin within one hour after ingestion. Dehydration may also occur if there has been significant vomiting and diarrhea. Ingestion can also cause changes in the bodies electrolytes. The most severe changes are a dangerously high sodium level, increase in pH, elevations in chloride levels and lowered potassium levels. Baily a 5 1/2 year old yellow lab ingested an unopened bag of 500 orange paint balls. A Brand which was considered non-toxic but contained high amounts of sodium, which causes neurologic symptoms. Baily had orange vomit and diarrhea. He presented with ataxia(trouble walking), glasses eyes, pale color.

Because Baily vomited up most of what he ate and received prompt supportive care at Cape Animal Referral & Emergency he spent one night at the hospital and made a full recovery.

We are happy to report Baily is doing great with no after affects!