Keep These Safety Considerations in Mind This Spring

Safety Considerations
 
Every season presents safety hazards for your pet, and spring is no exception. Your pet’s natural curiosity means that she can find trouble both inside and outside the home. The tips below will help you develop a dog or cat’s mindset as you pet-proof for the spring season.
 
Seasonal Cleaning
If you’re like many of your neighbors in the Grantsburg, Wisconsin or Wild River, Minnesota area, spring cleaning is an annual rite of passage. When you have pets, it’s important to keep cleaning products out of their reach. Even cleaning products with natural ingredients could make your pet ill if ingested. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the following household cleaning products are most toxic for pets: bleach, carpet fresheners and shampoos, fabric softener sheets, toilet cleaning tablets, and vinegar.
 
Lawn
After looking at a brown lawn for months, Minnesotans can’t wait to start working on their lawn in the spring. Just keep in mind that fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, and mulch can all have a toxic effect on your dog or cat. Be certain that you follow instructions on the label exactly and keep all products for your lawn and garden out of your pet’s reach. When mowing the grass or working in the garden, keep your pet indoors if possible.
 
Consider Screens for Your Windows
A cool breeze blowing through the house can feel better than air conditioning sometimes. However, your dog or cat could jump out an open window suddenly in response to noise or just to investigate what’s outside. If you prefer to keep your windows open, make sure each one has a screen so your pet can remain safe inside the house.
 
More Fleas and Ticks
Warm weather usually means more time spent outdoors. As welcome as this is, spring also means an increase in the prevalence of fleas and ticks. Ticks can infect your pet with serious illnesses like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme disease while fleas can cause allergic dermatitis. If you need help choosing the right flea and tick prevention product for your pet, just let us know.
 
Home Improvements
Many people wait until spring to add a room, paint their house, repair a wall, or complete other home improvement projects. It’s important to know your pet’s location before you get started. Your curious pet might decide to lick fresh paint or end up with a nail in his paw in the split second your turn your attention elsewhere. To avoid an emergency, plan to keep your dog or cat contained in another room or with a sitter until you have completed the project. 
 
Emergency Information
We encourage you to create a first aid kit for your pet and to keep it in a location you can get to easily. If you need immediate help, contact us after hours at 1-800-924-0588 or the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-764-7661. During regular hours, you can schedule an appointment at either clinic by calling 715-463-2536 locally or 1-800-924-0588.

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How Much Do You Know About Hookworm?

About Hookworm
 
Larvae are young hookworms that hatch from eggs found in the soil. Your dog or cat can acquire hookworm by rooting in the soil and accidentally eating one. It’s also possible for your pet to pick up hookworm when she licks dirt off her fur. Once inside your pet’s body, hookworm live in the lining of the intestinal wall. They feed on your dog or cat’s blood for survival. 
 
If the hookworm reproduces, the eggs get into your pet’s digestive tract and get into the environment through her feces. Puppies and kittens can also acquire hookworm from their mother’s breast milk and be infected with them from the first day of life.
 
Symptoms of Hookworm Infection in Puppies, Kittens, and Adult Pets
Puppies and kittens infected with hookworm may start to exhibit symptoms by two weeks of age. The most common ones include:
  • Malabsorption of nutrients
  • Dehydration
  • Protein deficiencies
  • Diarrhea
  • Stunted growth
  • Reduced energy
  • Low body weight
  • Blood in the stool
Pets who acquire hookworm as an adult will typically show skin irritation in the form of dermatitis on the paw pads. Adult pets may also become anemic due to the worms releasing an anticoagulant in the intestines. This usually results in diarrhea, weight loss, lethargy, and dehydration.
 
Prevention of Hookworm
The website Pets and Parasites recommends that puppies receive de-worming medication from a veterinarian when they are two, four, six, and eight weeks old. This is due to the high percentage of puppies who already have this intestinal parasite. Heartworm prevention products for older dogs prevents this worm as well, so a separate hookworm protocol is not normally necessary. Your puppy should have a fecal examination up to four times during the first year of life and one to two times annually once he becomes an adult.
 
Kittens should receive de-worming medication to prevent heartworm every other week when they are three to nine weeks old. The schedule after that is the same as it is for puppies. Unfortunately, kittens also have a high rate of hookworm infestation that they acquire from their mother’s breast milk. Keeping cats indoors helps to prevent them from getting hookworm found in soil. 
 
Treating Hookworm in Dogs and Cats
A positive diagnosis of hookworm can only be made from a stool sample. It can take a few weeks for the parasite to start shedding eggs, which is why early treatment for puppies and kittens is so important. Your pet then needs to complete a course of medication to kill adult worms in the intestines. The final step is to bring your dog or cat back to Grantsburg Animal Hospital or Wild River Veterinary Clinic to have their stool checked again. We will either give you the all-clear or discuss additional treatment options.
 
If you suspect your pet has hookworm, please contact us at 1-800-924-0588 to request an evaluation. We also encourage you to get your puppy or kitten started on a de-worming protocol right away.
 
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Tapeworm 101: What You Need to Know About This Internal Parasite

Tapeworm 101
 
If you need another reason to protect your dog or cat from fleas, consider that this external parasite can transmit tapeworm that attach themselves to your pet’s intestines. Tapeworm is a unique parasite because it consists of multiple parts that each has its own reproductive system. Because they are so small, it can be hard for you to see them on your pet. When owners do spot tapeworm, it’s typically in the feces, on the rear end of the pet, or near where the animal sleeps. Tapeworm look like tiny grains of rice or seeds.
 
Types of Tapeworm 
Fleas are the most common carriers of tapeworm and attract a type known as dipylidium caninum. Your pet may also acquire tapeworm by eating a rodent or being bitten by one. Echinococcus and taenia use smaller rodents such as mice, rabbits, and squirrels as a host. They may also show up in sheep or deer. The best way to prevent the latter type of tapeworm is not to allow your dog or cat to eat any type of prey animal.
 
How Tapeworm Affects Companion Animals
According to the website Pets and Parasites, tapeworm produce few symptoms in dogs and cats. The most obvious signs are white specks in the feces and worm segments on the rear end. It’s only when your pet has numerous tapeworm that problems with weight loss and lethargy start to appear. Occasionally, a dog or cat may vomit a worm that has moved into the stomach. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to detect tapeworm in a routine fecal examination. If you think your pet has tapeworm, please contact Grantsburg Animal Hospital or Wild River Veterinary Clinic for a prompt evaluation.
 
Treating Tapeworm Infestation
This type of internal parasite is much easier to treat than many others, including heartworm. Treatment normally consists of a drug given orally or by injection that kills the tapeworm and causes it to dissolve in your pet’s intestines. It probably won’t show up in your pet’s stool because the worm is typically digested before it dies. Medication does not produce any unpleasant side effects for your pet.
 
Preventing your dog or cat from getting fleas and not allowing him or her to chew on animal carcasses is essential in preventing this internal parasite. We offer several varieties of flea prevention in our online store for your convenience. We encourage you to use these products year-round to prevent both fleas and tapeworm in your pet.

Our clinics carry Interceptor Plus, a monthly chewable for dogs that prevents heartworm disease.  It also treats and controls roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms.  We also have Drontal Plus Chewables for dogs for treatment and control of roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms.  For cats, we have Drontal tablets for treatment and control of tapeworms, hookworms, and roundworms.  We also have Profender for cats, a topical solution that treats and controls hookworm, roundworm, and tapeworm infections.

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March is National Pet Food Nutrition Month

National Pet Food Nutrition

The original purpose of National Nutrition Month was to promote the importance of nutrition for children and adults. Over the years, the veterinary industry has used the month of March to highlight the importance of healthy food choices for companion animals. The most important thing you can do for your dog, cat, or other pet’s long-term health is to select nutritious food, limit treats, and ensure that he gets plenty of exercise. 
 
People don’t always put a lot of thought into the food they buy for their pet. They may naturally choose the brand with the lowest price or pick up something at the most convenient store. However, some pets have special health issues such as joint problems or food sensitivities that require owners to consider their food more carefully. It’s also important to keep in mind that your pet’s nutritional needs change as she passes through each stage of life.
 
Evaluating Food for Your Dog
You may see the word premium on a dog food label and assume that it’s a higher quality than other dog foods. What you probably don’t know is that a dog food manufacturing company can call a product premium as long as it contains a minimum of one percent beef. We encourage you to look closer at pet food labels and have higher standards for the products you purchase. 
 
The healthiest diets for dogs have animal protein listed as the primary ingredient. If you notice grains, fruits, or vegetables, they should be in pure form and not processed. That is because processing these ingredients strips the food of nutrients and vitamins that your dog needs to maintain good health.
 
Evaluating Food for Your Cat
Cats also receive maximum nutritional benefit when an animal protein is the most plentiful ingredient in their food. Some cat owners try to avoid grain-based ingredients because they’re concerned about their cat maintaining a healthy weight. In this case, it’s important to note the carbohydrate content in your cat’s food. Anything containing vegetables or potatoes can have a high carbohydrate count. Small amounts of carbs are okay since your cat can easily convert them into energy.
 
All pet food should have a Guaranteed Analysis on its packaging. This symbol means that the food has met minimum requirements for protein, water, fat, and fiber. For cats, it’s especially important that the food contain fish oil.
 
Speak to Our Staff About Your Nutritional Concerns
Every pet has different nutritional needs based on age, species, lifestyle, general health, and other factors. The annual preventive care exam is an excellent time to go over your pet’s diet with Dr. Palmquist or another member of our staff. We also encourage you to schedule an appointment soon after bringing a new pet home to get off to a great start.

If your pet requires a special diet, keep in mind that we carry Royal Canin, Purina Pro, and other brands in our online store. We also carry the same brands as well as Taste of the Wild directly at Grantsburg Animal Hospital and Wild River Veterinary Clinic.

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