What are Zoonoses?

Did you know that July 6th is World Zoonoses Day? This day is dedicated to keeping you, your family, and your fur family safe from preventable illness.

What are zoonoses? Contrary to how this word sounds (zoo-noses), zoonoses are not the adorable snouts, snoots, and sniffers you’ll find at the zoo. Zoonoses are infectious diseases that can be spread between animals and humans. 75% of diseases discovered in human originate from animals. Frightening, right?

In honor of Zoonoses Day, we want to shine a light on some of the most common diseases spread from pets to humans and how to prevent them to help you stay healthy and your pets thriving!

The Most Common Zoonotic Diseases in Pets

1. Rabies

Any mammal can contract rabies. From skunks to cats to dogs and bats, rabies is fatal for pets. Not only is rabies fatal to pets but humans can contract this terrifying viral disease. The CDC estimates that 60 to 70 dogs and 250 cats annually contract rabies.

Prevention: Make sure your pet’s rabies vaccine is current.

2. Leptospirosis

This bacterial disease causes severe kidney and liver disease. It spreads through urine and contaminated water. Leptospirosis is especially scary because your dog can contract it simply by sniffing an infected area outdoors.

Prevention: Learn more here and call us to get your dog vaccinated against Leptospirosis.

3. Lyme’s Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Ticks carry these painful diseases and unfortunately, your dog or cat can easily carry an infected tick into your home. Both you, your dog, and your cat can catch these.

Prevention: Don’t become victim to Lyme’s disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Make sure your pets are protected with medicine that kills ticks quickly to prevent one of these dangerous infections.

4. Roundworms and Tapeworms

These parasites are dangerous and disgusting. Unfortunately, they are also becoming more and more prevalent in our Grantsburg area. Roundworms and tapeworms can cause liver and kidney damage.

Prevention: If you have children or the potential of intestinal parasites makes your skin crawl, be sure to make an appointment. We can better inform you of the signs or symptoms of tapeworm or roundworms and prescribe medicine to deworm your dog.

Other Precautions You Can Take to Reduce Your Risk of Contracting or Spreading Zoonoses

When it comes to healthy hygiene habits, you probably already practice most of these. They can be a good reminder and a great lesson for kids:

  • Bring your dog in or make an appointment to visit us if your dog or cat shows any signs of illness.
  • Don't skip your pet’s annual exams and make sure their vaccinations are up to date.
  • Bathe and groom your dog regularly.
  • Flea, tick, and heartworm prevention are a must.
  • Wash your hands after petting your dog or cat, or anyone else's pet.
  • Wear gardening gloves when working in the yard.
  • Pickup and dispose of your pet's waste in your yard and on walks
  • Wash pet bedding regularly.

Our pets would never intend to get us sick, so do your part to keep your whole family healthy by vaccinating your pets against some of the most common zoonotic diseases. Schedule your pet's appointment today!

Photo Credit: Pexels.

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How Adopting a Cat Can Change Your Life

Did you realize June is Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month? Our team at Grantsburg Animal Hospital is excited to give you some background information on this awareness event and give you some reasons to consider changing your life with the adoption of a feline companion!

The Spirit and Motivation of the Month

Adopt a Shelter Month is promoted by the ASPCA to help our vulnerable and beloved cat friends. Why do shelter cats need awareness targeted on them? Over 3 million surrendered or abandoned cats make their way into shelters each year, with June being one of the busiest times of the year.

Why Should You Consider Adopting a Cat?

1. If you already have a cat, it's an opportunity for a new companion!

Solitary cats can become lonely.  Cats with buddies have a build in companion to play with. Not only does this help both of them stay more physically fit, but it also helps with their mental enrichment, as well!

2. Purrs, snuggles and a companion for YOU!

Cats can be amazing emotional support to humans. Studies even show that they can reduce your risk of stroke or heart attack!

3. You will save a life.

There’s no mystery behind this one. Especially choosing to adopt an older or black cat, cat adoption provides a cat a home when he or she may otherwise be euthanized. Shelter resources are limited, and often the cats that are not adopted early fall into those two categories.

4. Cats are a great companion in small spaces.

Are you a townhome, apartment or condo dweller? Or do you have limited backyard space that may not be conducive to dog ownership? When provided opportunities for enrichment, a smaller space isn't a limiting factor for a cat's happiness. As long as they have opportunity to hunt and play, you'll find them quite content.

If We’ve Piqued Your Interest, Here Are Some Some Final Thoughts on a Cat Adoption!

There are many shelters full of cats searching for a family. Take your time, and ask the shelter workers about the cat's temperament to help assess if this is a good fit for you. Once you have your new companion home, give them plenty of space to take in the new setting.  Adjustment takes time, so also give your new cat time to acclimate.

Ensure you’re financially able to bring a cat into your life. There will be expenses such as food, vaccinations, and veterinary care. However, you can rest assured that our Grantsburg Animal Hospital staff will be here to help provide veterinary advice and the very best in veterinary care for your new companion!

Photo Credit: Pexels

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According to Pets and Parasites, whipworm is one of the four most common types of intestinal parasites founds in dogs. They make themselves at home in the cecum of your dog, which is the part of the body where the large and small intestines come together. Your dog can easily acquire whipworm by digging in soil and consuming whipworm eggs or parts of feces from herself or other dogs that contain whipworm. Whipworms are approximately one-quarter of an inch long and can survive for up to five years. They can also reproduce multiple times inside of your dog’s body. 

Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Whipworms in Dogs

This parasite can cause severe irritation to the lining of your dog’s intestines. When that happens, you are likely to notice at least some of these symptoms:

  • Bloody and watery diarrhea
  • General fatigue and listlessness
  • Infection and death in severe cases
  • Weight loss

Diagnosing whipworm in dogs can be tricky. That is because a veterinarian must spot at least one microscopic egg in a dog’s stool, and whipworms don’t mix with a dog’s stool every time he defecates. Another issue is that it can take up to 12 weeks after hatching for a female whipworm to lay eggs inside of your dog’s body. These two problems can often cause false negative results. Even if a result is negative, there is a high likelihood your dog actually does have whipworm if he continues to struggle with bloody, watery diarrhea.

At Grantsburg Animal Hospital, we often recommend a heartworm medication called Interceptor to treat whipworms since it is effective at killing them as well. We may use a different type of medication if your dog’s symptoms and unique lifestyle factors call for it. If that happens, we will need to space the treatments up to four weeks apart. Once a dog has tested positive for whipworm, it’s a good idea to continue to treat every several months as a proactive measure.

How to Prevent Your Dog from Getting Whipworm

The most effective thing you can do to prevent whipworm is to routinely remove your dog’s feces from your yard and stop him immediately if you notice him trying to eat the feces of another dog. It’s also important to keep up with your dog’s routine preventive care so we can take periodic stool samples to check for the presence of this parasite. 

Please don’t hesitate to contact us at 715-463-2536 with additional questions or to schedule an appointment. 


Image credit: Annetics | iStock | Getty Images Plus

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Leptospirosis is a disease primarily recognized in dogs. Although other animals and occasionally even people can acquire it, this is rare. Genus leptospira is the name of a bacteria group responsible for causing symptoms. The most typical way that dogs acquire leptospirosis is by drinking water from ponds, rivers, and other standing bodies of water where the bacteria thrives. 

How Dogs Become Infected with Leptospirosis and How to Recognize Its Symptoms

In addition to drinking water contaminated with the bacteria, your dog could pick it up through contact with the urine of another infected dog. This can happen when dogs dig in the same soil or share the same bedding. A bite from an infected dog or eating tissues of a smaller animal with leptospirosis could also cause your dog to acquire it.

Dogs typically have a strong enough immunity to fight off most of the leptospirosis infection. Unfortunately, it can travel quickly to the kidneys and cause significant health issues. Once infected, your dog will continue to shed the bacteria through urination for as long as several months. We encourage you to schedule an appointment with Grantsburg Animal Hospital right away if your dog engaged in any of the behaviors above and you feel concerned that she could have contracted the bacterial infection.

Your dog could pick up a strain of leptospirosis that ranges from mild to severe. His age and immunization status impact how much the disease affects him. The most common signs to watch for include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Discharge from eyes or nose
  • Fever
  • Frequent urination
  • Jaundice
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting

How to Treat and Prevent Leptospirosis

The simplest way to prevent your dog from picking up leptospirosis is to make sure that she receives all vaccinations on schedule. If you see your dog digging in soil, stop and redirect her to another activity. It’s also important that your dog has her own bedding and that you do not allow her to drink any type of stagnant water. 

If you bring your dog into Grantsburg Animal Hospital due to a suspected case of leptospirosis, our veterinarian will first take a urine and blood sample. Determining whether your dog has leptospirosis or another condition can be challenging since it mimics so many other canine diseases. The most typical course of action for dogs who test positive for leptospirosis is to start on antibiotic medication right away.

We will need to provide more invasive treatment such as administering IV fluids if our veterinarian determines that the bacteria has affected your dog’s liver or kidneys. Dogs who continue to struggle with vomiting can receive a medication for that as well.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us at 715-463-2536 with additional questions or complete an online appointment request form.


Image credit: Jupiterimages | iStock | Getty Images Plus

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