HOT DOGS ARE NOT COOL! – Heatstroke Awareness

Heatstroke is no joke!

Summer’s here! It’s time to sweat (or hide in the air conditioning).

It’s summer in the New Orleans area. We don’t have to tell you it’s hot, and you probably don’t need to see the heat advisories to know it’s best for everyone (with or without fur) to stay inside in the air conditioning during the heat of the day.

But your dog can’t sweat, and your cat only sweats between his toes. So how do you tell if your pet is starting to get overheated? It’s not quite the same with them as it is for us, but there are signs that, once you know them, will seem obvious.

Short-faced dogs are predisposed to heat stress, so be sure to keep them cool! Of course, we all know that pets should never be left in hot cars during the summer, and, while that’s the most common cause of pet heatstroke, it isn’t the only one. In fact, your pets can become heat stressed while playing outside (especially if they just don’t know when to quit!), staying in unair-conditioned buildings, or spending too much time in the direct sun. Additionally, short-nosed breeds of dogs and cats (like pugs, Boston terriers and Persians), pets with dark colored fur, and overweight or obese pets are especially predisposed to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Symptoms of Heat Stress

Normal body temperature for dogs and cats ranges from 101 – 102.5.

Anything higher than 103.5 is considered hyperthermia and may indicate heat exhaustion or heatstroke.

Of course, most of us don’t carry around rectal thermometers to check our pets’ temperatures, so there are other signs that can alert us of heat stress! The first thing to remember is that if we’re feeling hot, it’s likely our pets are too. After all, how would you like to walk around in the summer heat in a fur coat you couldn’t remove? The first reaction to heat that your dog or cat will display is panting. Of course, panting is normal for dogs – less so for cats – and is usually sufficient to cool them off.

However, if panting isn’t enough to dissipate the excess heat, Fido and Fluffy will begin to act restless and distressed, looking for cooler locations. The panting won’t stop, though – it will, in fact, get faster. In addition, your dog and cat may begin salivating excessively, will have bright red gums, and their heart rates and body temperatures will begin to rise. They may also vomit and have diarrhea. These are the early signs of heatstroke. If no relief is found, symptoms can worsen quickly. As this happens, they may have seizures, go into shock, or fall into a coma. In addition, their gums may go from bright red to purple or blue (a sign of cyanosis). If these symptoms are not treated immediately, death can result. I promise that’s not an easy word to throw around, but it can happen quickly!

First Aid, Treatment and Recovery

DISCLAIMER: IF YOU THINK YOUR PET IS HAVING A HEAT STROKE, CALL YOUR VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY!

If you catch your pet’s heat stress early (in the panting and restless stage), the most obvious remedy is to move him to a cooler location and provide lots of cool water to drink. At this stage, your pet will likely be fine, though you should continue to watch him to make sure he’s cooling down and not displaying any other signs of stress. Anything more than panting and restlessness needs more extensive first aid and immediate veterinary attention.

If you didn’t catch the heat stress early, you can wet your dog or cat with lukewarm water and increase air flow around him to help bring down his body temperature while (or immediately before) transporting him to the veterinarian. Don’t ever use very cold water in these situations – cooling your pet too quickly will make things worse and cause other complications! Placing towels soaked in cool/lukewarm water on your pet, particularly between his legs and across his neck, will also help.

Don’t let your first aid delay getting your pet to the doctor, though.

Heatstroke can be life-threatening – causing organ failure, brain swelling, blood clotting disorders, and more – so it’s very important to get your pet medical attention immediately. While pets that are quickly treated can recover, prolonged or severe heat stress can have long-term consequences that need to be evaluated by a veterinarian.

Hopefully, we all know that preventing heat stress, whether it leads to heat exhaustion or heatstroke, is far better than having to treat it.

The best ways to do that include making sure your pet has shaded, cool places to retreat to during the summer, plentiful cool water to drink, and isn’t encouraged to overdo it during the hottest times of day. Also, leaving your pets at home when you go out makes it impossible to accidentally leave them in hot cars! If all your best efforts fail, though, remember that we’re here to help.

How Can Microchips Benefit Me and My Dog?

According to HomeAgain’s statistics, 1 in 3 pets will become lost in their lifetime.

Without proper ID, 90% of lost pets never return home.

So what exactly is a microchip, and how does it work?

A microchip is a radio-frequency identification transponder that carries a unique identification number just for your fur-baby, and is roughly the size of two grains of rice! There’s no battery, no power required, and no moving parts.

The injection is placed under the loose skin between your pet’s shoulder blades and can be done in your vet’s office. The procedure is no more invasive than a quick vaccination!

Check out this helpful video on what that may look like, I promise it’s not too bad!

 

So it’s that simple?

Yes! But with one more very important step; Registering your microchip!

The unique identifier in the chip won’t do you any good unless you register it with a national pet recovery database. You’ll want to use a recovery service that has access to different microchip databases and technology such as HomeAgain.

If your pet’s microchip is not registered, your pet is not protected.

When registering a microchip for your fur-baby, enter all necessary contact details. Consider adding all members of your household with a working cell-phone number! We love a good back-up plan.
You wouldn’t want to miss a call that tells you your furry friend was found!
Remember to keep your contact information with the registry up to date when you move or get a new phone number.

While microchips can’t guide you to your dog’s location, they provide a way for almost any veterinarian or shelter to contact you, if your pup is brought in.

Our clinic is always offering microchips, contact us today for more info!

 

#ADOPTDONTSHOP – Rescue Dog Day!

Save a life…

“Approximately 3.3 million dogs enter shelters every year. When these abandoned and abused animals find their way to a shelter, each one needs a forever home and their potential is limitless. They’re rescue dogs.”

— ASPCA

Lisa Wiehebrink, author and founder of Tails That Teach, wrote Love Me Gently; A Kid’s Guide for Man’s Best Friend, inspired by Cooper, her rescue dog from a Los Angeles shelter. The Registrar at National Day Calendar proclaimed National Rescue Dog Day to be observed annually beginning in 2018.

Tails That Teach founded National Rescue Dog Day on May 20 to honor the countless ways rescue dogs become apart of the human family and increase awareness about the number of dogs in shelters.

Rescue dogs often overcome extreme obstacles and still their resilience is astounding! They excel in providing comfort, security and friendship. But, they are far more capable. Rescue dogs tend to make amazing service animals, as they provide many therapeutic benefits. Their gratuity for another chance at life shines through everything they do. Wether they are a part of the family, or working to help to relieve anxiety, depression, and PTSD among the military or those who suffer from mental illness – their unconditional love is unmatched! 

How to observe #NationalRescueDogDay:

There’s a handful of ways to share the puppy love, get involved!

  • SPAY/NEUTER: When you own a pet, it is your responsibility to ensure that you and your pet are not contributing to the overpopulation crisis.
  • ADOPT: Take this into consideration when adding a furry member to your family; The ASPCA’s statistics show 3.9 million dogs enter shelters each year & of that, 1.2 million are euthanized. 99% of puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills. When you purchase a pup this way, you are supporting this crisis.
  • VOLUNTEER: Help out at your local shelter. Taking dogs for walks, grooming, and giving them plenty of affection improves their socialization & overall well-being. At the bottom of this article we will link a few local shelters!
  • FOSTER: If you can’t add a new member to your crew quite yet, consider a temporary stay! Many dogs living in shelters can benefit greatly from socialization, or would thrive better away from the shelter environment. Others may be in need of some medical care or rehabilitation in a home setting before an adoption can take place. Be their support while waiting for their fur-ever home!
  • DONATE: Shelters always need donations. In addition to financial donations, shelters have a list of much needed items such as blankets, toys, treats, and leashes.

What shelters are near me?

Puppy Mills & The Difference You Can Make

We’ve all seen those ASPCA commercials..

The ones that are impossible to look away from, showcasing dozens of neglected puppies that need your help. They ask for donations and leave you inevitably feeling like you want to do more. We know the feeling!

Puppy Mills are the leading cause of Shelter Overpopulation Crisis.

The Humane Society reports that if puppy mills didn’t exist, there would be 75% fewer dogs in shelters and rescues. Unfortunately, there is a lack of statistical data available surrounding the commercial dog breeding industry since much of it is unregulated. Most figures can only be an estimate. Countless dogs are bred for profit and kept in cruel conditions just to keep the puppy industry in business. A problem as complex as puppy mills cannot be solved with just a law being passed.

As of January 2020 – 10,000 is the estimated number of puppy mills in the U.S. (both licensed and unlicensed)

“Why can’t we just ban all puppy mills?”

It’s difficult to define a puppy mill in a law and to cover all the bases. Even laws that require moderate changes in the pet industry—such as requiring that all we do not want to appear “anti-business,” intense lobbying by industries that profit from puppy mills, the difficulty in getting decision-makers to agree on the definition of a puppy mill and a fear of the “slippery slope” of regulation.

But what can you do to actually make a difference?

Whether you have significant amounts of time to devote to helping dogs, or just an hour or two, there are many ways to do your part!

Be an advocate

The ASPCA is asking that you Share Your Puppy Mill Story! Anyone with information on a possible crime involving puppy mills can report it. Follow these instructions or fill out this form to do so!

There is also a petition the ASPCA has put together you can sign and donate to.

Spread the word and wear your support on your sleeve! The Shelter Overpopulation Crisis needs to be a bigger topic of conversation in order to make the changes we need. The Humane Society has a wide selection of apparel to choose from, even pop sockets too; find them on Amazon. You can also download and print these flyers and bring them to local businesses or events to help potential new pet owners avoid puppy mills.

Stop Puppy Mills [PDF] 
How to Find a Responsible Dog Breeder [PDF]
The Cruelty Behind the Cuteness [PDF] 

Help make your local pet store puppy-friendly

The Puppy-Friendly Pet Stores initiative provides a program to help their local pet stores implement puppy-friendly policies by refusing to sell puppies in their store and supporting homeless pet adoptions instead. Stores that already do not sell puppies can sign up to show that they are taking a stand against puppy mills and to make official their policy of not selling puppies. Always refuse to buy pet supplies at stores that sell puppies.

  • Contact the Humane Society with your name, phone number, city and state. They can send instructions and a copy of the invitation and pledge or you can download and print them.
    Download the Invitation
    Download the Pledge
  • Visit local pet store to explain the benefits of the program and invite them to sign.
  • Return the signed pledge to our Stop Puppy Mills campaign and we will do the rest!

 Contact your legislators

Contact your federal legislators and let them know that you’re concerned about the inhumane treatment of dogs in puppy mills and want the issue to be a priority for Congress. Ask them to press the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to make enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act a top priority, with strong fines and penalties for breeders who don’t follow the law.

And most importantly.. ADOPT, DON’T SHOP!

Working Dogs & What Makes Them Heroes

April 29th & 30th are very special days on our calendar..

These two holidays shed lots of light and appreciation onto our furry heroes! Yesterday we celebrated Guide Dogs for the Blind, and today we thank our Therapy Dogs.

As we learned yesterday, these hard workers put in lots of hours in order to do their job! No matter what their exact title may be, they are all heroes in their own way.

“Working Dog” is more of an umbrella term.

While Service Dogs, Working Dogs, Therapy Dogs, and ESA’s (Emotional Support Animal) are all similar, they are not interchangeable titles.

Service dogs 

 

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service dogs are trained to perform specific tasks while working with people with disabilities. These disabilities include but are not limited to “physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.”  The work of the service dog is directly related to the handler’s disability.

  • Guide dogs help blind people navigate freely.
  • Hearing (or signal) dogs alert the deaf to sounds like a knock on the door.
  • Psychiatric dogs detect and lessen the effects of a psychiatric episode.
  • Service dogs help those in wheelchairs or who are otherwise physically limited. They can open doors or cabinets, fetch things their handler can’t reach, and even carry some items.
  • Autism assistance dogs are trained to help those on the spectrum to distinguish important sensory signals, such as a smoke alarm, from other sensory input. They can also alert their handler to repetitive behaviors or overstimulation.
  • Service dogs that are trained to recognize seizures and will stand guard over their handler during a seizure or go for help

Working Dogs

  • Search and rescue.  Search and rescue (SAR) dogs can be used in many different situations, including disasters, cadaver searches, drowning situations, and avalanches. From missing persons cases to natural disasters, dogs have been an important part in finding people in dire situations. Bloodhounds are commonly used in this role.
  • Detection. Cancer, Explosives, Drugs, you name it. Believe it or not, scientists were able to train Labrador Retrievers to sniff out cancer in patients’ breath by smelling samples and then sitting down in front of the one that was cancerous.  Cancer cells give off different odors than regular cells and they change the way a person’s breath smells– a dog’s keen nose can tell the difference. These canine heroes work with the police, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and military to locate dangerous materials as well.  They through an intense training course to learn how to locate and identify a wide variety of explosives and how to alert their handlers of its presence. Breeds that excel in this kind of work include the German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois.
  • Allergy alert dogs. These dogs are trained to detect the allergen and its residue at schools, social events, and everyday activities and alert their owner.  Their training is similar to that of a police dog learning to track specific scents. Breeds commonly trained as allergy alert dogs are the Poodle and the Portuguese Water Dog.
  • Guard dogs or commonly known as a watch dog, are heavily trained to watch for and guard against unwanted or unexpected intruders – people or animals! They are different from attack dogs as such and their main capability lies in discriminating familiar and known people, from unfamiliar and potentially-threatening intruders.  Doberman Pinscher, and the Rottweiler most known to be used in this role.
  • Sledding dogs are working dogs used for transportation or cart-pulling in the polar or arctic environment. They were required to carry supplies to the otherwise ice cold and inaccessible areas. These dogs have been used for both the Arctic and the Antarctic exploration though their uses have become limited to some rural areas only these days. Sled dogs were popularly used during the Alaskan gold rush as well, as a means of fast transportation. Common breeds used in this job are Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies.

  • Pastoral Dogs assists farmland workers in guarding and herding livestock and other farm animals, and pest control.
  • Hunting dogs are highly skilled and recognized widely in police and intelligence services. Different breeds and types of hunting dogs are used to perform certain specific tasks. The broad categories of hunting dogs include:
    • Spaniels – flush game out of dense wood or brush
    • Hounds – track or chase prey
      • sighthounds – gazehounds that hunt by sight and speed
      • scenthounds – hunting dogs that hunt by scent rather than sight
      • lurchers – sighthounds mated with a pastoral or terrier-type dog
    • Setters – gundog mostly hunting game (e.g. pheasant, grouse, and quail)
    • Pointers – bird dogs used to find and point game to move it into gun range
    • Terriers – selectively bred for varmint hunting and rat killing.

Therapy Dogs

These pups trained to provide affection and comfort and are often used in therapeutic settings. Therapy dogs are not considered service dogs under the ADA and do not have the same legal right in public spaces.

They are not trained to work for a specific handler,

instead they are trained, insured and licensed through non-profit organizations to volunteer in clinical settings, such as hospitals, mental health institutions, schools, and nursing homes, where they provide comfort, affection, and even love in the course of their work.

Emotional Support Animals (ESA’s)

While incredibly similar to the functions of a Therapy Dog, ESA’s do not have the same legal rights as any other Working Dog according to the ADA.

They may be trained for a specific owner, but are not trained for specific tasks or duties.

In order to be considered an emotional support dog, it must be prescribed by a mental health professional for a patient with a diagnosed psychological or emotional disorder, such as anxiety disorder, major depression, or panic attacks.

The Fair Housing Act mandates “reasonable accommodations” for emotional support animals even in buildings that don’t allow pets. The Air Carrier Access Act requires airlines to allow ESAs on flights, but travelers must have a letter from a doctor or licensed therapist, and there may be additional requirements as well. Because so many people abuse the concept of an emotional support animal, including the traveler who tried to bring an “emotional support peacock” on board a United Airlines flight, airlines are tightening restrictions on emotional support animals. We can expect other commercial and public spaces to follow.

Heartworm Awareness – What You Need To Know

Your pet’s health is important to us, here’s what you need to know about Heartworm Disease.

Learn the facts so we can work together to keep your pet healthy and heartworm-free.

Heartworm disease is a severe and possibly fatal infection caused by parasitic worms residing in cats, dogs and other mammals’ arteries of the lungs and the heart. It can also lead to severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other body organs. Both cats and dogs are vulnerable to infection.

Although both cats and dogs can get heartworms, they are affected very differently.

Simply put, the dog is a natural host for heartworms, meaning that heartworms living within the dog grow into adults, mate and bear offspring. The Cat, by comparison, is not. They are an atypical heartworm host, and the majority of worms in cats do not survive to adult stage. Cats with adult heartworms typically have only one or three worms, and others do not have adult worms. Although it is generally undiagnosed in cats, it is important to recognize that even immature worms can inflict real damage, possibly leading to a condition known as respiratory disease (HARD) associated with the heartworm.

So to summarize – All Heartworms are bad!

In the United States, Heartworm disease reported mostly in the southern states; 

From the Gulf of Mexico to New Jersey and along the Mississippi River and it’s major tributaries, although there are many cases across the States.

The truth is that heartworm disease is diagnosed in all 50 states, so preventatives should never be based on reported cases in your area. Multiple factors, ranging from climate changes to the presence of wildlife carriers, cause infection rates to vary significantly from year to year even within populations. Both outdoor and indoor pets are at risk since infected mosquitoes may come inside.

So How Do They Get Around?

The mosquito is key in the heartworm life cycle.

 

Adult female heartworms living in an infected animal produce microscopic baby worms called microfilaria that circulate in the bloodstream.

When a mosquito bites and takes blood from the animal, it picks up these baby worms. They then develop and mature into “infective stage” larvae over a period of 10 to 14 days. When the infected mosquito bites another susceptible animal, the infective larvae are deposited on the surface of the animal’s skin and enter the new host through the mosquito’s bite wound. Once inside a new host, it takes an estimated 6 months for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms.

 

 

Adult heartworms can live for 5 to 7 years in dogs and up to 2 or 3 years in cats.

Because of the longevity of these worms, each mosquito season can lead to an increasing number of worms in an infected pet.

Heartworm disease is spreading to new regions of the country each year. Stray or neglected dogs and certain wildlife such as coyotes, wolves, and foxes can be carriers. Mosquitoes travel great distances by the wind. The relocation of infected pets to previously uninfected areas, also contribute to the spread of heartworm disease. This happened following Hurricane Katrina when 250,000 pets, many of them infected with heartworms, were “adopted” and shipped throughout the country.

Heartworm disease is completely preventable and treatment is safe and inexpensive!

Some treatment options include chewable tablets, topicals or injections.  The key is to provide Heartworm preventatives properly and on a strict schedule. As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to maintain the prevention program you select with your veterinarian. Heartworm disease is successfully treated in dogs with proper care, but there is currently no treatment for cats. The cost for treatment varies but can be very costly.

What are the early signs of Heartworm disease?

It is common for Dogs to show little to no symptoms at all. The longer left untreated, the more likely symptoms will develop. Active dogs, dogs with a high Heartworm count, or those with other health problems often show more pronounced symptoms.

The most prominent symptoms are:

  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue after moderate activity
  • Decreased appetite
  • Mild or persistent cough
  • Lethargy or lameness

As the disease grows more intense, your furry friend can quickly go into heart failure and what may seem like a swollen belly because of fluid within the abdomen area. Dogs with larger numbers of heartworms can develop a sudden blockages of blood flow inside the center thus resulting in a life-threatening kind of cardiovascular collapse. You may even notice sudden labored breathing, pale gums, and dark bloody or coffee-colored urine. Without emergency surgical removal of the Heartworm blockage, few dogs survive.

Cats tend to show extremes of symptoms, such as none at all, or all of them dramatically. These symptoms may include:

  • Weight loss
  • Coughing
  • Asthma-like attacks
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Lameness

They can also have difficulty walking, experience fainting or seizures, or suffer from excess fluid in the abdomen area. Commonly, the first sign in some cases is sudden collapse, or sudden death.

How does testing work?

As you can see, Heartworm disease progresses quietly and quickly.

The quicker we diagnose the disease, the more likely we can effectively treat it. There are few, if any, early signs of disease when a dog or cat is a host, so doing a Heartworm test administered by a veterinarian is incredibly important to your pets health and well-being. Testing and timing differ somewhat between dogs and cats, but general the rule of thumb is to test annually (depending on a few factors).
Adult dogs over 7 months of age and previously not on a preventive need to be tested prior to starting Heartworm prevention.  Then again, they need to be tested 6 months and 12 months later and annually after that. The test requires just a small blood sample from your pet, and works by detecting the presence of heartworm proteins. Our clinic processes heartworm tests in house, so there is no need to wait for results! If your pet tests positive, further tests may be ordered.
If your pet is…
  • Younger than 7 months, they can start on heartworm prevention without being tested. Six months after the initial visit, you would test for heartworms, as it takes 6 months for an infected dog to test positive. Then testing again 6 months later, and then yearly to ensure your pet continues to test negative.
  • Over 7 months old and previously not on a preventive, they need to be tested before heartworm prevention. They then need to be tested 6 months and 12 months later and yearly after that.
  • If there has been one or more late or missed doses of prevention, the pup should be tested immediately. Then tested again six months later and annually after that.
Annual testing is incredibly necessary, even when dogs are on yearly prevention. Heartworm treatment plans are highly effective, but there is still a chance of becoming infected. Missing just one dose of a monthly prevention—or even just giving it late— can leave your dog vulnerable to infection. If you don’t get your dog tested, you won’t know your dog needs treatment.

It is much harder to detect Heartworms in cats than in dogs because they are much less likely to have adult heartworms.

In order to test Cats for heartworms, we have to draw blood for an antigen and antibody test. We may also use x-rays or ultrasound to look for a visual on the possible infection. Just like dogs, cats need to be tested before being put on prevention. Prevention is critical, there is no effective treatment plan for cats.

What kind of treatment plan is there in the case of a positive heartworm test?

The good news is most contaminated dogs can be treated successfully and efficiently with proper care and treatment. The goal is to stabilize your dog as soon as you know they are positive, then kill both adult and immature worms while keeping the treatment’s side effects to a minimum.

What to expect:

  • Confirm. Upon receiving a positive test, the diagnosis should be confirmed with an additional—and different—test. Because the treatment regimen for heartworm is time consuming, expensive, and complex, you will want to be sure that taking action is necessary.
  • Restrict activity. This is the most difficult part of treatment, our clients find. Especially if your dog is highly energetic, or just really loves playtime. But their normal activities must be restricted as soon as the diagnosis is confirmed, because physical exertion increases the rate at which the heartworms cause damage in the heart and lungs. The more severe the symptoms, the less excercise your dog should have.
  • Stabilize. Before actual treatment can begin, your pups health needs to be the best that it can be, given the circumstances. Therapy is common with dogs that have other medical conditions unrelated to heartworms. In severe cases of heartworm disease, or when a dog has another serious condition, the process can take several months.
  • Treatment. Once we have determined your pup is stable and ready for treatment, we will recommend a treatment plan with several steps. The American Heartworm Society has guidelines for effective treatment plans. Dogs with none or mild signs of the disease, like cough or exercise intolerance, have a high success rate with treatment. More severe cases can be successfully treated, but the risk of complications is significantly greater. The severity of heartworm disease doesn’t always correlate with the severity of symptoms. Remember, dogs with many worms may also have few or no symptoms early in the course of the disease.
  • Test (and prevent) for a long healthy life. 6 months after treatment is completed, we will test again to confirm that all heartworms are gone. To avoid your dog contracting the disease again, you need to administer heartworm prevention year-round for the rest of his life.

A cat is not an ideal host for Heartworms, some infections can resolve on their own. But in most cases, treatment is still needed to ensure the healing process is done safely.

Respiratory system damage is a big risk in Cats infected with heartworms. They can also affect the immune system and cause symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing. They may even move to other parts of the body, such as the brain, eye and spinal cord. Blood clots in the lungs and lung inflammation can result when the adult worms die in the cat’s body as well.

What to expect:

  • Diagnosis.  Cats almost always have 6 or fewer worms in their body. The severity of the disease in dogs is related to the number of worms, but in cats, just one or two worms can be deadly. Diagnosis is complex, requiring a comprehensive exam, an X-ray, a complete blood count and several kinds of blood test. An ultrasound may also be done.
  • Treatment.  There is no approved drug therapy for heartworm infection in cats, and what is used to treat infections in dogs is not safe for cats. Cats with this disease can often be tackled with proper veterinary care. The goal is to stabilize your cat quickly and find a long-term management plan with their veterinarian.
  • Monitor. Cats that have tested positive may experience a spontaneous loss of heartworms, but the damage from this loss may be permanent. If your cat is not showing signs of respiratory distress, but has active worms detected in the lungs, chest X-rays every 6 to 12 months will be recommended. If mild symptoms are found, mediations may be prescribed to help reduce inflammation.
  • Intensive care. If the disease is severe, additional efforts will be made such as hospitalization in order to provide therapy, intravenous fluids, drugs to treat lung and heart symptoms, antibiotics, and general nursing care. Surgical removal of heartworms may be an option if needed.
  • Upkeep prevention. When a cat is diagnosed with this disease, it has shown that it is susceptible to heartworm infection, and both outdoor and indoor cats are at risk. It’s important to give your cat monthly heartworm preventives, which are available in both topical and pill form.

Preparing For Flea & Tick Season 101

How Do Fleas Travel From Place To Place?

They itch hike!

On a more serious note.. It’s about that time for our sweet southern partners to make their yearly come back. You guessed it – Flea and Tick season is well on it’s way! ( Mosquitoes too! ) You may be asking yourself the routine questions as these little suckers begin their return;

“Have my pets had their prevention?”,

“Do I need to spray my house/yard?”,

And the golden question we always hear about fleas..

“Where are they coming from and why do they keep coming back?!”

In order to understand how those nifty suckers get around so quickly and discreetly, we have to begin with their life cycle.

Fun Fact: Did you know that about 5% of the flea population is the adult? YIKES!!
The eggs, larva and pupa stages are much more numerous!

The Life Cycle.

Here’s how it works: 

  1. The start of the life cycle happens when an adult female flea lays eggs from the host after a blood meal (your pet). Blood is needed for the adult flea to reproduce. These eggs are white objects, smaller than a grain of sand, laid in the pets fur in clusters of about 20. A single female adult can lay up to 40 in a single day. Gross! Although some eggs will stay and hatch in the pets hair, most will fall off of your pet as he/she moves around where they spend their time. Eggs take up an estimated 50% of the entire flea population present in an average home. They hatch within 2 to 2 weeks, only emerging when environmental conditions are just right. When temperatures are warm and humidity levels are high, the eggs hatch at a faster rate. So for our Southern friends, this is why they thrive down here!
  2. Next, we see the Larvae. They develop over several weeks, avoiding light and living off of eating pre-digested blood (known as flea “dirt”) that adult fleas pass, along with other organic debris in the environment. Double Gross! Larvae make up about 35% of the flea population in the average household. If the environmental condition is hot and humid (which it most commonly is in the south), 5 to 20 days after hatching, feeding, and growing, the Larvae will spin a cocoon and enter the Pupa Stage.
  3. Pupa (the cocoon), accounts for only 10% of the average household flea population. This step in the cycle houses the adult flea until environmental conditions are best for the survival of the adult flea. In the Louisiana environment, the pupa can live up to 6 months! The pupa is the toughest part of the flea life cycle because it has a thick outer-coating that not only allows them to hide but to protect them from chemicals such as prevention medication for your pet or pesticides. This is why environmental control is so important in eliminating a flea infestation (or preventing it!).
  4. Lastly, we have the Adult stage. Once a flea has emerged from the cocoon, it will need to begin feeding from a host within a few hours. Shortly after the first meal, adult fleas will breed and begin laying eggs within a few days. Female fleas are not able to lay eggs until they obtain a blood meal. Adult fleas account for less than 5% of the entire flea population in a home. They spend the majority of their time living on the host while they feed, breed, and lay eggs, and can live anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months on the host animal.

Fleas can be difficult to remove, but if you are careful and using the right chemicals in a safe and successful manner, you will be successful in maintaining a flea free home! Just be sure to treat all the areas where your pet spends time, including the car and yard.There are new preventatives coming to the market all of the time and some of theme are great!! Just ask if you have questions about a certain product you have heard about and we can go over what option may work best for you and your furry friend.

All Pets in a household regardless of being indoors or outdoors should be on flea prevention.

Environmental Flea Control

  • FleaBusters
    This is a great product that will aid in drying out the larvae and adult fleas. It is statically charged to stick to carpet fibers and will not be removed with vacuuming. FleaBusters is a desiccant or drying agent that can be safely used in your home. Look at www.FleaBusters.com for more information. This product should be used in dark or covered spaces as this is where fleas like to congregate most.
  • Vacuum Cleaners
    Daily vacuuming is very important as the heat and vibration will stimulate the pupa to hatch allowing our flea preventions and household cleaners to be effective. Unfortunately, the pupa is very hardy and no product on the market will kill the pupa! After cleaning, recommend cleaning the inside of the vacuum and other parts with Dawn/detergent solution. Discard bag (if using a bagged machine) securely in outside trash to avoid fleas escaping back into the household.
    Fleas and larva like to live in the cool shadows, clean under that couch and coffee table!! They will not be high in numbers in the path of foot traffic.
  • Yard Control

Over the Counter Insecticide Products:
Look for products containing the active ingredients fipronil or imidacloprid. These products are often labeled for fire ant control and can be purchased at HomeDepot or Lowes to kill adult fleas within the yard. Follow directions on back of bag for proper application. Target areas of shade and where leaves/debris pile up (base of trees, flower beds, along fences lines). Typically fleas, eggs, and pupa will not be in the middle of the yard – they like shade and moisture.

Local Pesticide Service:
Contact your local pesticide service for further options to help alleviate fleas within the yard. They can give great options that are not only effective but also pet-friendly!

Wellness Plans vs Pet Insurance: Which Will Work Best For You?

How Does a Wellness Plan Compare to a Pet Health Insurance Policy?

Let’s take a look at some of the important differences between wellness plans and insurance policies:*

*Please see your pet insurance provider for details on all products before purchasing any policy or plan.

How to Pick a Pet Wellness Plan?

In general, wellness plans are intended to make wellness care more affordable and are not intended for use on “unpredictable or abnormal” occurrences, such as illnesses and injuries. At our clinic, Wellness Plans are quoted based on the weight of your pet, and which plan option you choose. Wellness coverage can be ideal for new puppies that require a series of vaccines as well as spay/neuter procedures.

When Does Coverage Begin Once You Sign Up for a Wellness Plan?

For our plans, coverage goes into effect as soon as the first payment is made. There is no waiting period for new plan members before services can be used.

What is Pet Insurance?

Animal insurance helps pet owners escape a financial crisis from injuries and illness due to unforeseen medical expenses. It helps pet owners to make choices based on what’s best for their pet and to avoid hard choices determined by financial constraints.

What Does Pet Insurance Cover?

Pet insurance pays for veterinary care as covered by the specific policy’s limits. Both coverage and cost will depend on your policy.

Some key points about pet insurance coverage include:

  • There is no pet insurance that will cover pre-existing conditions or preventative care. For example, if your pet has a thyroid condition, your insurance coverage will not pay for any diagnostic test or treatment related to this condition. Some companies, will cover certain conditions after a specific time frame. If, for instance, your young puppy had a urinary tract infection that was treated successfully, the insurance provider may consider this a “cure” and cover other urinary problems in the future.
  • Payments depend on the insurance company and policy. You can choose to be reimbursed for 100% of the costs or a much smaller amount. As with other types of insurance, you can choose a high deductible or no deductible. The more coverage you have, the more expensive the premium (payment). A number of things could impact your premium.
  • Coverage also depends on the company. For example, some pet insurance companies will cover genetic and congenital conditions while others won’t. If you have a purebred dog and have specific concerns, it is important to understand any exclusions.
  • Most policies for accidents and illness only go into effect after a waiting period. This can vary from a week to a month.
  • Like in the market for human healthcare, the expense of offering quality care for dogs, cats and other pets has risen, but this also means higher veterinary bills due to the advancement of treatment.

What are the Components of a Pet Insurance Policy?

Pet health insurance providers offer several basic types of policies and upgrades. The main components of a pet insurance policy include:

  • Deductible: This is the amount of the veterinary bill that you are responsible for before your pet insurance benefits take effect. It is important to understand that companies differ in how they define “deductible.” Some companies have an annual deductible, while others offer a per-incident deductible. This difference can make a big impact on what you pay over the course of a year. The lower the deductible, the higher the premium and vice versa.
  • Maximum coverage limit: This is the amount of money an insurance company will pay out per claim. Some companies have a per-year limit and others a lifetime limit.
  • Reimbursement: The reimbursement, also referred to as “copay,” is the amount of a bill that is paid by an insurance company. You can often choose the amount (percentage) the insurance company pays when selecting your policy. They can cover 100%, 90%, 80%, or 70%, and so on. The more they cover, the more expensive your premium. The reimbursement kicks in after the deductible.
  • Premium: Premium is another word for payment. This is the amount you pay to the insurance company each month or year for coverage.

You can purchase your policy directly from a pet insurance company or an insurance agency representing several different companies.

How Does Pet Insurance Work?

Here is an example of how a pet insurance policy might work:

  • Let’s pretend you have a pet insurance policy with a $500 deductible and 90% reimbursement.
  • Now, pretend your dog ate a sock that became stuck in their intestines and removal of the object required surgery. The surgery to remove the sock with diagnostic x-rays, bloodwork, and supportive therapy, such as intravenous fluids, antibiotics, and pain medications, costs $3,000.
  • First, you pay the deductible of $500. After this is paid, the reimbursement kicks in. Your remaining bill totals $2500. The pet insurance company will pay 90% of that and you will pay 10%. You will, therefore, owe the $500 deductible plus $250 (which is 10% of the balance). Your total bill comes to $750. The pet insurance company will pay $2250.
  • Most pet insurance companies require that you pay your veterinarian and submit any invoices and paperwork. They will then pay you directly.

 

Call or email our clinic anytime for more information on what option will work best for you and your pet!

(985)951-2305 // info@premiervetcareandresort.com

COVID-19 vs. Canine Coronavirus FAQs

Dogs can contract certain types of coronaviruses, such as the Canine Coronavirus (CCV), but this specific novel coronavirus, aka COVID-19, is believed to not be a threat to dogs.

The CDC says that “while this virus seems to have emerged from an animal source, it is now spreading from person-to-person.” The CDC recommends that people traveling to China avoid animals both live and dead, “but there is no reason to think that any animals or pets in the United States might be a source of infection with this novel coronavirus.”

What is Canine Coronavirus (CCV)?

A canine coronavirus infection (CCV) is a highly contagious intestinal disease that can be found in dogs all around the world. This particular virus is specific to dogs, both wild and domestic. The coronavirus replicates itself inside the small intestine and is limited to the upper two-thirds of the small intestine and local lymph nodes. A CCV infection is generally considered to be a relatively mild disease with sporadic symptoms, or none at all. But if a CCV infection occurs simultaneously with a viral canine parvovirus infection, or an infection caused by other intestinal (enteric) pathogens, the consequences can be much more serious. There have been some deaths reported in vulnerable puppies.

Symptoms and Types

The symptoms of a CCV infection vary. In adult dogs, the majority of infections will be inapparent, with no symptoms to show. Sometimes, a single instance of vomiting and a few days of explosive diarrhea (liquid, yellow-green or orange) may occur. Fever is typically very rare, while anorexia and depression are more common. Occasionally, an infected dog may also experience some mild respiratory problems. Puppies may exhibit protracted diarrhea and dehydration, and are most at risk of developing serious complications with this virus. Severe enteritis (inflammation of the small intestine) in puppies will occasionally result in death.

Causes

This intestinal disease is caused by the canine coronavirus, which is closely related to the feline enteric coronavirus (FIP), an intestinal virus that affects cats. The most common source of a CCV infection is exposure to feces from an infected dog. The viral strands can remain in the body and shed into the feces for up to six months. Stress caused by over-intensive training, over-crowding and generally unsanitary conditions increase a dog’s susceptibility to a CCV infection. Additionally, places and events where dogs gather are the most likely locations for the virus to spread.

Treatment

Puppies that have been exposed to this infection and are showing symptoms will need the most guarded care. What appears to be a small amount of diarrhea and vomiting can lead to a fatal condition for a defenseless, puppy. Most adult dogs will recover from a CCV infection on their own and without the need for medication. In some cases, diarrhea may continue for up to 12 days, and soft stool for a few weeks. If the infection does cause inflammation of the small intestine (enteritis), respiratory problems, or blood poisoning (septicemia), antibiotics may need to be prescribed. If severe diarrhea and dehydration occur as a result of the infection, the dog may need to be given extra fluid and electrolyte treatment. Once the dog has recovered from the infection, there will usually be no need for further monitoring. But, keep in mind that there may still be remnants of the virus that are being shed in your dog’s feces, potentially placing other dogs at risk.

Prevention

There is a vaccine available to protect dogs from this virus. It is normally reserved for show dogs and puppies, since they have undeveloped immune systems and are most vulnerable. Because the canine coronavirus is a highly contagious infection, the best prevention for it is to immediately isolate dogs that either exhibit the common symptoms or have been diagnosed with it. It is also important to keep kennels clean and hygienic at all times, to clean after your dog in both public and private spaces, and to protect your dog from coming into contact with other dog’s feces, as much as that is possible.

COVID-19:

On March 11th, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic. Pet owners are understandably concerned. The American Veterinary Medicine Association has recently addressed these concerns by publishing their answers to some common questions.

Here’s a brief summary:

Did a Dog Test Positive for COVID-19 in Hong Kong?

Not exactly. In late February, Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department (AFCD) detected low levels of SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — in a pet dog. They repeated the test last week and found “weak positive” results for the virus. Hong Kong authorities responded with warnings that residents should not kiss their pets. The infected dog was placed in quarantine, but showed no signs of COVID-19 infection. It tested negative on March 12th.

Can COVID-19 Infect Pets?

While no one is certain, it seems very unlikely. AVMA writes, “Infectious disease experts, as well as the CDC, OIE, and WHO indicate there is no evidence to suggest that pet dogs or cats can be a source of infection with SARS-CoV-2, including spreading COVID-19 to people.” They acknowledge, however, that additional tests and investigations are ongoing.

What Precautions Should Pet Owners Take?

The AVMA, WHO, and other health organizations recommend pet owners take a number of precautions to avoid contracting and spreading COVID-19. These common-sense measures include regular hand washing, social distancing, and proper respiratory hygiene. Pet owners should take particular care to wash their hands after handling their pets, feeding their pets, and handling pet waste.

“Out of an abundance of caution,” the AVMA suggests that anyone who is ill with COVID-19 (or expects they might be) should limit their contact with animals “until more information is known about the virus.” While facemasks are not advised for most individuals, anyone who is symptomatic should wear them around their pets and other people.

Ill pet owners should designate friends or family members as handlers of their pet’s care. AVMA recommends putting together “emergency kits” with several weeks’ worth of pet food and other necessary supplies.

Is Testing Available for Pets in the United States?

Not as of March 12th, but tests and updates to testing capacity are in the works. AVMA expects that more information on availability and submission requirements will become available shortly.

Stay Safe and Calm

The AVMA concludes their FAQ sheet with yet another reminder that pet owners should remain calm. “There is no evidence,” they write, “to suggest that pets can spread COVID-19 to other people or other pets.” Be sure to identify credible news sources and check in regularly as this situation continues to develop.

What If Pets Had Thumbs?

In honor of March 3rd’s wonderfully wacky national holiday “If Pets Had Thumbs”,  we compiled a list of things your furry (or not so furry) friends would probably do if they did indeed have opposable thumbs.

What Would Dogs Do If They Had Thumbs?

  1. Open the Fridge! You know they’ve been watching us and have already mapped out their plan on where the best snacks are.
  2. Eat Peanut Butter out of the jar. Even if they have to climb the counters, or open the pantry to get to it!
  3. Throw the ball or frisbee for themselves, or better yet, learn how to throw a boomerang!
  4. Learn how to text their owners when we’re away.
  • First of all, we don’t think dogs would type much. They’d rely heavily on emojis.
  • Second of all, we suspect their syntax would be awful. Think Yoda mixed with Dug from Up. We would constantly be seeking philosophical insights from our pet’s poorly phrased posts. Emojis.
  • We think dogs would primarily text nouns and love words. And heart emojis.
  • You’d be constantly interrupted at work with questions such as: Where are you? When will you be home? Is it time for you to come home yet? Are you here yet? Are you almost here yet? You know, emojis are better.
  • The real danger is if our dogs learned to text restaurant deliveries. We would be broke and they’d be fat. Penniless and plump is not how we want to go out. Hide your phones!

What If Cats Had Thumbs?

Believe it or not, some cats do have “thumbs”! Cats with extra toes and fingers are called polydactyl cats, and sometimes an extra finger can look just like a thumb. This genetic mutation is generally harmless, and cats can’t use this “thumb” in the same way that we do. So what if cats had thumbs they could use? Here’s what we would like cats to use their thumbs for, and what they’d actually do with them.

What We Would Like Cats To Use Their Thumbs For:
  1. Clean their litter box. An opposable thumb would allow cats to grasp the litter scoop, carry the pan and sweep the floor. Scratch that idea. Let them flush the toilet.
  2. Food prep and measurements. It takes a thumb to slice and dice and grasp a measuring cup or dispense food. Of course, we would have to mark the cup and verify they didn’t double dip. On second thought, this might not be such a good idea. Then again, celebrity cat chefs would be pretty awesome.
  3. Walk our dogs. We know this sounds far-fetched and probably wouldn’t work in every furry family, but our clinic cats Frankie respects our dogs. So much that we believe if Frankie could carry a leash, he could tag-team safe, responsible walks. The dogs would oblige Frankie and prance alongside at a sensible pace. That’s something we would love to see.
  4. Take selfies. Cats love to admire their regal selves. Give them a thumb and you’ll get more selfies than a Kardashian. Better increase your data plan.
What Cats Would Actually Use Their Thumbs For:
  1. Comb their fur. A thumb is the foundation for combing. No more waiting on lazy humans to stroke their luscious locks.
  2. Program super computers; take over planet. Forget Artificial Intelligence and aliens conquering our species, this is humanity’s true threat. If you see cats sprouting thumbs, better head for the hills.
  3. Hitchhike. We see a world with millions of cats thumbing for rides, causing congestions and highway havoc, heading for nature parks. That is, until cats program cars and robots to transport them around town.
  4. Pinch people. That takes the risks of being a veterinarian to new levels. Ouch.
  5. Open cat scratch services and kneading parlors. If they can’t program robots, they’d start making money performing these high-demand feline services on each other.
  6. Rate movies and food. Thumbs up or down. It’s a big deal. Six-toed cats would be in high demand as celebrated critics. Four-thumbs up is twice as good as two.

Every now and then, it’s good fun to let your mind wander and explore outlandish ideas, like what if cats and dogs had opposable thumbs? Now, if you’ll excuse us, We need to go examine our clinic cat for any suspicious articulations. The fate of our species depends on it…