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

The Dangers of Lyme Disease

The Dangers of Lyme Disease for Pets

Lyme disease is an extremely dangerous disease that is passed to both pets and humans through the bite of a deer tick. Deer ticks can be picked up anywhere there is underbrush, trees, or grass and are commonly found in parks, wooded areas, yards, and campgrounds. Avoiding these areas is not feasible or necessary, but there are other ways to protect your pet. We recommend:

  • Keeping your pet on a pest preventive all year round
  • Use a pet-safe pest killer in your yard to minimize the risk of ticks at home
  • Check your pet over carefully, especially in warm areas of the body such as the neck, belly, thighs, ears, etc., to determine if a tick has attached itself to your pet
  • Understand the proper method to remove a tick from your pet—we can teach you at our animal hospital if you contact us for assistance

Protecting your pet from Lyme disease can be as simple as protecting your pet from tick bites. Talk with us today to ensure that your pet has the best tick preventive for their needs.

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/

February is National Pet Dental Health Month

Bulldog sitting down and brushing his teeth with a blue toothbrush that has toothpaste bubbles

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

Tips for Traveling with a Pet

Planning a flight or road trip with your pet this winter? Traveling with a pet can be fun, but it can also be nerve-wracking if you’re not prepared. The team at Kootenai Animal Hospital wants your pet to be safe during your trip, just as much as you do. That’s why we’ve provided the following tips for traveling with a pet so you both can have a safe, peaceful journey.

 

Know the Fees for Air Travel

Most airlines charge a fee to bring a pet on their planes, which is usually around $100 each way, so be prepared for that. You can find his information on your airline’s website. Airlines typically also require that you book your pet’s flight at the same time you book your own, but they may give the option to add your pet as a passenger later.

 

Make Sure Your Pet’s Vaccinations Are Updated

Even if you’re not traveling anywhere, it’s always important to keep your pet’s vaccinations updated to protect them from viruses and diseases. For airline travel—especially international travel—many airlines require proof of your pet’s vaccinations in the form of a health certificate. If your pet’s vaccinations aren’t updated, or if a health certificate is required, schedule an appointment at Kootenai Animal Hospital.

 

Choose Your Pet Carrier Wisely

Regardless of how you’ll be traveling, choose a carrier that’s comfortable and spacious for your dog or cat. They should be able to easily turn around in the carrier. 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 meets these requirements.

 

Make Sure Your Pet Has ID

Of course, one of the last things you want to happen on your trip is losing your pet. So whether it’s a permanent microchip or an ID tag (both would be ideal), always make sure your pet has ID when you travel. You may also want to have a recent photo of your pet handy, whether it’s in your phone or a physical copy.

 

Expect the Unexpected

In case of an emergency, it’s always a good idea to have a pet emergency kit with you when you travel. We recommend that you also get familiar with the locations of the emergency veterinarians near your final destination, in case you need their services during your trip.

And if you determine that traveling with your pet is NOT the best decision, remember that Kootenai Animal Hospital offers boarding for dogs and cats. If you have questions about these travel tips or would like to book a boarding stay, give us a call at 208-773-6000.

Pet Safety For Halloween

Halloween Pet Safety Tips in Holmdel, NJ

The Halloween season may be fun for us but there are many seasonal dangers that can affect our furry friends. The veterinary team at Kootenai Animal Hospital is committed to keeping our patients safe and healthy during the Halloween season and we’re here to be your partner in your pet’s care. Explore some of the most common Halloween season dangers detailed below, and as always, contact us immediately to speak to Dr. Rogers and the team if you have any questions or if you suspect that your pet is in an emergency situation. Prompt treatment is often the best means of getting your pet back on the road to good health as quickly as possible.

Jack-o-Lanterns, Candles, and Fires, Oh My!

Jack-o-Lanterns are some of the most popular Halloween decorations, and while they can be cute, they can also be quite dangerous! Anytime lit candles are within your pet’s reach, precautions should be taken to ensure that your pet stays safe. We recommend using battery operated candles in your carved pumpkins so that if they are knocked over by your pet, the danger of hot wax and burns is eliminated.

Bonfires can also be dangerous for our pets, especially when they spark. Our pets may not realize how dangerous a fire is and can venture too close, so it’s important that you keep an eye on your pet and make sure they are always supervised around fires.

Sweet Poison: The Danger of Halloween Candy For Pets

Candy, especially sugar-free candy and chocolate, are extremely dangerous for our pets if consumed! These treats contain ingredients that can be toxic for them. If your pet eats any candy, please contact our team right away so we can assess the situation and determine if your pet needs immediately treatment.

Halloween Costume Dangers for Pets

This may not seem like a real danger, but trust us, Halloween costumes have been known to cause many hazards for our pets! If you’re dressing your pet up for Halloween, t’s so important to ensure that your pet is comfortable in their costume and isn’t struggling to get out of it, which can cause them to injure themselves. Never keep your pet in costume if they are unattended and always keep an eye on the situation, watching for signs of discomfort or irritation.

 

Protecting Pets from Poisons in the Yard and Garden

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After an unseasonably warm winter, many gardens and yards around the country are growing and blossoming well ahead of schedule. Outdoor enthusiasts who are also pet owners are delighted with the early onset of spring, enjoying their outdoor living spaces while watching their pets run and play. 

 

The veterinary and toxicology experts at Pet Poison Helpline would like to keep pets safe this spring and summer by informing pet owners of potentially harmful substances, flowers and plants that are dangerous to dogs and cats. “Many of the calls that we receive at Pet Poison Helpline this time of year involve pet ingestions of yard and garden products that may have harmful chemicals or ingredients,” said Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS, assistant director at Pet Poison Helpline. “Additional yard-related emergencies involve pets that have dug into and ingested the contents of compost piles, or consumed various plants and flowers that can be poisonous.” Some of the most common potentially harmful dangers for pets that reside in many yards and gardens are listed below. 

 

Mulch Products 

Cocoa bean mulch is made of discarded hulls or shells of the cocoa bean, which are by-products of chocolate production. The tempting “chocolate-like” smell often attracts dogs and may encourage them to eat the mulch. Processed cocoa bean hulls can contain theobromine and caffeine, the two toxins of concern in chocolate. Unfortunately, determining the amount of toxins in mulch can be difficult as it varies greatly from product to product. Many varieties contain very low amounts of the toxins and are not as dangerous as dog owners are often led to believe; however, varieties with higher toxin concentrations can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, an abnormal heart rhythm, seizures and in extreme cases, death. Since it is not usually apparent how much of the toxin the mulch contains, it’s best to keep dogs a safe distance away, to always supervise your pet while outside, or to not use the mulch at all. 

 

Fertilizers, Soil Additives and Pesticides 

While fertilizers are typically fairly safe for pets, those that contain blood meal, bone meal, feather meal and iron may be especially tasty – and dangerous to dogs. Large ingestions of the meal-containing products can form a concretion in the stomach, potentially obstructing the gastrointestinal tract and causing severe pancreatitis, and those that contain iron may result in iron poisoning. Also, ingestion of pesticides and insecticides, especially if they contain organophosphates (often found in systemic rose care products), can be life-threatening, even when ingested in small amounts. Slug and Snail Baits Available in a variety of forms (pellets, granular, powder and liquid), slug and snail baits contain the active ingredient metaldehyde, which is highly poisonous to dogs and cats. When ingested, metaldehyde produces clinical signs of distress within one to two hours, including salivation, restlessness, vomiting, tremors, seizures, and life-threateningly high body temperature. These baits are highly toxic and without immediate veterinary attention, symptoms can last for several days and can be fatal. Compost Gardeners love their compost; however, it can be toxic to pets and wildlife so please keep it fenced off. As the organic matter decomposes, it is common for molds to grow, some of which produce hazardous tremorgenic mycotoxins. When consumed by an animal, moldy food or compost ingestion can result in sickness and physical distress in as little as 30 minutes. Symptoms include agitation, panting, drooling, vomiting, tremors and seizures. Prompt veterinary treatment with appropriate supportive care usually results in a good prognosis. 

 

Flowers and Plants 

Some of the most dangerous spring and summertime threats to pets in the yard are common flowers and plants. Sago Palm: Popular in warmer climates, this outdoor and indoor plant can be extremely harmful to pets. All parts of the plant, including the fronds/leaves, nuts and seeds are especially poisonous to dogs. Ingesting even a small amount can cause severe vomiting, bloody stools, damage to the stomach lining, severe liver failure and, in some cases, death. This plant is considered one of the most deadly in dogs and long-term survival is poor; only 50% of dogs who ingest is often survive this dangerous plant, even with veterinary treatment. Without treatment, sago palm poisoning can result in severe, irreversible liver failure. Prompt treatment is always needed for the best prognosis. Lily of the Valley: An early springtime favorite, the Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis) contains cardiac glycosides, which are also used in many human heart medications. When eaten by dogs or cats, this common perennial can cause vomiting, diarrhea, a drop in heart rate, severe cardiac arrhythmias, and possibly seizures. Any pet with a known exposure should be examined and evaluated by a veterinarian and treated symptomatically. 

 

Crocuses: There are two types of crocus plants: one blooms in the spring and the other in the fall. The spring plants (Crocus spp.) are more common and cause only gastrointestinal upset accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea in dogs and cats. However, the fall crocus (Meadow Saffron or Colchicum autumnale) is highly toxic and can cause severe vomiting, gastrointestinal bleeding, and multisystem organ failure with bone marrow suppression. Symptoms may be seen immediately but can be delayed for days. If you witness your pet eating a crocus and you are not sure what variety it is, seek veterinary care immediately. 

 

Lilies: Cat owners beware of lilies! While some types, such as the Peace (Spathiphyllum spp.), Peruvian (Alstroemeria spp.) and Calla (Zantedeschia spp.), cause only minor symptoms when eaten, other varieties of the true lily family (Lilium and Hemerocallis species) are deadly and highly toxic to cats, including Tiger, Asiatic, Easter, Japanese Show and Day lilies. Ingesting very small amounts – eating as little as two petals or leaves, orexposure to the pollen – can result in severe kidney failure. Even the water in a vase containing true lilies is considered highly poisonous, as the toxin in the plant is water-soluble. If a cat consumes any part of these lilies, he or she needs immediate veterinary care to prevent kidney failure. 

 

Pet Poison Helpline’s new iPhone application contains an extensive database of plants, chemicals, foods and drugs that are poisonous to pets. Always available with or without Internet access or cell phone service, the iPhone app has full-color photos for identifying poisonous plants, and a powerful indexing feature that allows users to search for toxins, cross-referencing them by common and scientific terms. For emergencies, it has a direct dial feature to the veterinary experts at Pet Poison Helpline. Called Pet Poison Help, the iPhone app costs $0.99 and is available on iTunes. More information is available here. 

 

While enjoying the beautiful gardens and flowers this spring and summer, have the knowledge to keep your pets safe. If, however, you think a pet may have ingested something harmful, take action immediately. Contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680. Pet Poison Helpline is the most cost-effective animal poison control center in North America charging only $39 per call, including unlimited follow-up consultations.

 

 Source: 

http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/2012/05/protecting-pets-from-poisons-in-the-yard-and-garden/ Published on May 7, 2012

 

Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis in Dogs

We recently treated a sweet dog named Daisy (a 7-year-old Yorkie) who was suffering from hemorrhagic gastroenteritis and bloody diarrhea. When a dog develops hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (also called HGE), it can appear without warning and the main symptoms are bloody diarrhea and vomiting. Symptoms the pet may be experiencing include abdominal pain, decreased appetite, lethargy or fatigue, and fever. HGE can affect dogs of any breed, age, size, or gender, but it is most common in the smaller or toy breeds. Some breeds most commonly affected include:

  • Miniature French Poodles
  • Miniature Schnauzers
  • Yorkshire Terriers
  • Pekingese
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Poodle

The Causes of HGE

While the exact causes of HGE are largely unknown, it has been determined that the condition is often related to the following issues or concerns:

  • Dietary indiscretion, such as ingesting non-food items or food that the dog is not accustomed to eating
  • Immune-mediated diseases
  • Toxins
  • Pancreatitis
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Hyperactivity
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Bacteria

Dogs who suffer from HGE once may be more likely to develop it in the future. There are ways to minimize the likelihood of developing this condition. We can recommend high-quality commercial diets, refraining from offering extra treats or unusual foods, preventing parasites, and more. We can offer advice on an individual basis, based on your pet’s specific needs and your concerns.

Update on Daisy

Sweet little Daisy was treated with IV fluids, antibiotics, and stomach protectants for 24 hours and we sent her home on a bland diet. She has improved and is now doing great!

Sunday is Take a Hike Day

Sunday is Take a Hike Day! That means gear up and take your four-legged friend out for a nice walk outdoors! It’s a great way to bond with your pet while also staying fit!