Summer 2015 Newsletter

July 16, 2015 |

ShrewHeat stroke is a risk for pets if they are not drowning from floods. Do not lock pets in cars with all widows closed unless your car is completely submerged by the most recent flood. Do not close pets in a garage thinking it will provide shade. An oven will provide shade also and that is what a garage becomes unless you are already on the roof waiting for rescue from a flood then definitely bring your pets up with you. Outdoor dogs must have shade, free movement of air, and unlimited water supply in a bowl or bucket but preferably not a flood covering the entire yard requiring them to swim for their lives.

All kidding aside heat stroke can develop rapidly and damage organs sometimes beyond recovery. Old pets and sick pets are much more likely to suffer heat stroke. A short hair coat does not make a pet safe.

ChipmunkLet’s move on to something not involving any mention of rain. Leptospirosis. That is a nice long name for a disease. We often just refer to it as Lepto. People get it and dogs get it but it is often worse in the dog. Most mammals can catch Lepto. That puts it in the category of Zoonosis. Those are the diseases that can pass from animals to humans. Cats are very resistant and rarely show illness from exposure to the bacteria that cause Lepto. Dogs can be vaccinated for the most common strains they are exposed to in Ohio. We often make the mistake of thinking of Lepto as a farm dog or hunting dog risk because of the presence of the bacteria in water contaminated by urine from deer and other infected wildlife. As I mentioned most mammals can catch this disease. Rodents are a large group susceptible to Lepto and found almost everywhere. Here is a case in point. I live in a subdivision in Granville. We commonly see deer in our yard but I don’t associate with them. Our dogs are all vaccinated for Lepto. Myself and my family however are not vaccinated for Lepto!! There is a vaccine for humans but nobody uses it here.

stanley1Well my wife fell in love with a cat dropped off at our 21st Street office last winter. Stanley is his name. I brought him home for Christmas. He likes to slip out the dog door and explore the yard. He looks innocent enough. He is not innocent at all. He thinks it is a great idea to catch the little critters outside and bring them into the house unharmed. I’m not sure how he does this. He and his two step brothers then make a racket chasing the critter around the house. My wife screams bloody murder and I have to go catch whatever it is. Here is a sample of the fauna he has drug in unharmed about ten times so far this year.(pictures of critters) The chipmunks are the worst! They are rocket fast and bite! How he gets them inside is a mystery. Some are huge! All these critters can carry Leptospirosis and easily pass it in their urine. The cats don’t care. They never catch it! When I grab them I generally get peed on. After I turn them loose I spend time decontaminating. This generally happens at night even though we close up so Stanley can’t hunt at night. He stashes his catch someplace then at night the fun starts when the cats feel like playing. When I feel like sleeping! I bring this up since I lost one very cute Chihuahua patient to a Lepto infection he most likely caught from a rodent. We suspect rodents since the little guy had bad breath once and I found a mouse pelvis wedged in the back of his mouth. I tried to tell him that is the cats job but he didn’t listen. Antibiotics can kill the bacteria but if it has damaged too much of the kidneys or liver before treatment we can lose them even with aggressive treatment. Definitely a disease worth vaccinating for in my experience.

fieldmouseWhen and if we get to the dry hot period of the summer flies often become a nuisance. The most common symptom is scabs and sores primarily on the ear tips of dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors. Insect repellant is needed not just antibiotics for these cases. Sunburn on the dorsal aspect of a long nosed dog is also common when the sun actually shines. Sunblock early is preventive.

MoleWe are now testing for four diseases when we run a Heartworm test on your dog. Heartworm, Lyme disease, Erlichiosis and Anaplasmosis. Heartworm is preventable but we test for breakthrough infections while they are still treatable. Lyme disease can be vaccinated against. Erlichiosis and Anaplasmosis have no preventives so we want to catch them early before serious damage. That is our goal with all four diseases on the test. Early detection and complete recovery versus permanent injury or even death. Mosquitos are the culprit for Heartworm and Ticks spread the other three. Ticks often carry more than one of the diseases at the same time. Rainfall usually correlates to the insect population once it dries enough for them to mature so be ready! Take precautions but enjoy the sun when you can find it!

Dr. James Underwood

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