Fleas and Ticks - ICK!

Fleas-Ticks

 

Although fleas and ticks can survive year-round, they are especially numerous in the late spring, throughout the summer, and in the early fall. Grantsburg Animal Hospital and Wild River Veterinary Clinic encourage you to provide your pet with year-round protection against these annoying and potentially deadly parasites.

Common Signs of Fleas in Companion Animals

The most likely places to find fleas on your dog or cat is on the hind end, thighs, upper portion of the paws, and tail. However, these microscopic parasites are usually too small for anyone to see. You will know your pet has fleas when he starts scratching himself with unusual intensity. Other possible indications of fleas include:

  • Pus draining from the area of infestation
  • Red skin abrasions, with or without bleeding
  • Tapeworm in your pet’s feces
  • Licking, chewing, biting, or rubbing the areas of flea infestation

Some pets are allergic to the saliva of fleas and may develop dermatitis because of it. The intense itching can cause bald patches of fur, another clue of the presence of fleas. Although this parasite is not deadly, it can cause your pet to develop tapeworm. Left untreated, tapeworm will continue growing inside of your pet’s body and possibly make her anemic due to diverting all of her nutrient sources.

What You Need to Know About Ticks

The organization Pets and Parasites states that cases of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases are higher this year because of more ticks. The increase is attributed to the dry and hot weather conditions of the last several summers. Fever, fatigue, arthritis, and infections of the skin are the most obvious indications of a tick. This parasite cannot survive without the blood of its host.

You can help reduce the likelihood of Lyme or other tick-borne diseases by checking your pet for ticks daily. The best way to do this is to feel with your hand from head to tail as well as your pet’s underbelly, between toes, underneath the ears and armpits, and under the face and chin. Be sure to pull the tick out in a straight motion with a pair of tweezers so you don’t leave any of the body behind.

Commit to Year-Round Protection

Your pet depends on you to keep him free of parasites. If you feel unsure of which prevention product to use, just call for a recommendation or bring it us at your pet’s next check-up. You can also shop in our online store.

Prevention is simple, inexpensive, and can save your pet’s life. At the very least, it will spare her a lot of misery. Summer is short enough as it is. The last thing you want is for your pet to have to stay indoors due to illness or fear of picking up tickborne diseases or fleas. If we can help in any way, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Grantsburg Animal Hospital at 715-463-2536 or Wild River Veterinary Clinic at 320-629-7474.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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How Does a Dog Get Heartworm?

How Does Dog Get Heartworm

Now that summer is finally here, you and your dog are probably both eager to spend more time outside. However, it’s also important to be aware that the warmer weather also means that your dog has a greater likelihood of developing heartworm. Dogs can only develop heartworm in one way and that is through a bite from an infected mosquito.

Mosquitos acquire heartworm when they bite a dog that already has the parasite. The circumstances must be just right for this to happen, which means the heartworm present must be adults that have already started reproducing.

When a mosquito sucks the blood of an infected dog, it takes the babies of the heartworm called microfilariae into its own body. These develop into larvae over the next 10 days to two weeks and become infected. The mosquito then transfers the heartworm larvae to a new host when it bites another dog. This dog doesn’t develop symptoms of heartworm disease until the heartworm become adults several months later.

Symptoms of Heartworm Disease in Dogs

Heartworm can have an incredibly long life span and live up to seven years once inside of your dog’s body. A single worm can grow to a length of 12 inches and reproduce multiple times. When a female heartworm reproduces, it can release several thousand tiny worms into your dog’s bloodstream. Although the symptoms may not be obvious for several months, you'll eventually notice these issues:

  • Easily fatigued
  • Refusal to eat
  • Weight loss
  • Persistent cough

The following symptoms are common with advanced cases of heartworm:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Blood in the urine
  • Distended stomach

If you suspect that your dog has heartworm, please contact Grantsburg Animal Hospital or Wild River Veterinary Clinic right away for an examination. It typically only takes one blood test to determine if your dog is heartworm positive. The first thing we will recommend if your dog tests positive is to reduce exercise or prevent him from doing it altogether. He will also need to take medication to eliminate the heartworm from his body after he has reached a point of stabilization. We test your dog again approximately six months after the last dose of medication to ensure that he no longer has heartworm remaining in his body.

Preventing Heartworm is Easier Than Treating It

Dogs are fortunate in that they are much more responsive to heartworm treatment than cats. Even so, the process is long, uncomfortable, and expensive. It’s much better to prevent your dog from getting heartworm in the first place. Prevention comes in many forms, including chewable medication and a topical solution. You can find these products and more in our online store. Please let us know if you would like a specific product recommendation or if you have additional questions about summer heartworm control.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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Safe Toys for Your Pet

Safe Toys for Your Pet

While it’s fun to watch your pet engage with her toys, it’s also important to remember that dogs and cats need toys for physical activity, entertainment, comfort, distraction, and mental stimulation. It’s not spoiling your dog or cat to buy or make what she needs to lead a happy life. However, not all pet toys are entirely safe for them. It’s up to you to consider the safety of a toy before allowing your pet to play with it. Below are several things to think about for both dog and cat toys.

Choosing Safe Dog Toys

Dog breeds vary considerably, which means that you need to carefully consider the size of your dog’s mouth before giving him a new toy. A poodle, for example, would not be able to handle a chew bone in the same way that a Great Dane would. Some dog toys contain parts they could swallow easily, including buttons, plastic eyes, strings, polystyrene beads, or nutshells.

As a dog owner, you already know that your dog has a built-in need to chew. Safe choices for toys that help to fulfill this desire include a Kong, a busy box with a treat hidden inside, a small rope with a knot on each end, and tennis balls. Busy boxes are an especially good idea because they motivate your dog to keep interacting with the toy to release a treat.

At Grantsburg Animal Hospital and Wild River Veterinary clinic, we offer several safe dog toy options in our online store. Some of these include:

  • Large squeaky balls
  • Nylon bones
  • Kong toys
  • Tug-a-jug
  • Rawhide rings

Choosing Safe Cat Toys

While a dog’s primary instinct is chewing, a cat’s is to hunt and stalk. Something as simple as a chasing a rubber band across the floor can entertain a cat for hours. However, this could present a choking hazard. When selecting toys for your cat, choose items that she can bat at and that allow her to interact with her human family. Be sure to watch for choking hazards, including small pieces that your cat can easily chew off. Some safe toys for cats that we recommend from MyVetStoreOnline include:

  • Egg-cercizer treat dispenser
  • Doorway dangler
  • Kong cat wobbler
  • Incline scratcher

Toys are especially important for indoor cats who may become bored and destructive without them.

Rotate Your Pet’s Toys Frequently

We encourage you to rotate your pet’s toys on a regular basis to keep him interested in them. When you put a toy into storage for a while and then re-introduce it to your pet, he will think the toy is new. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with additional questions about toy safety or MyVetStoreOnline.

Photo Credit: npdesignde / iStock / Getty Images Plus

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Tips for a Pet-Safe Easter

Tips for a Pet-Safe Easter

Easter comes a bit early this year on Sunday, April 1. Like many people, you may enjoy decorating your home for the holiday, filling Easter baskets for the kids, and getting together with family for a delicious ham dinner. As you do so, keep in mind that some of the things traditionally associated with this springtime holiday can be harmful for pets.

Don’t Share Human Food or Candy

Chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, and other Easter treats be may impossible for your pet to resist. Unfortunately, he may try to grab a mouthful when you have your back turned for just a minute. Chocolate is especially problematic for dogs and cats due to the active ingredient of theobromine. This can produce seizures as well as cause hyperactivity and an accelerated heart rate. The artificial sweetener Xylitol, which is a top ingredient in many seasonal sweets, can cause liver failure in pets.

If your pet can’t get at the candy, she would be just as happy with table scraps. However, they’re not necessarily safe for her either. Many foods in the traditional Easter meal contain excess spices, a high amount of fat, or small bones that could cause your pet to choke. If you’re hosting and you don’t think your guests will be able to resist such a cute beggar, be sure to keep your dog or cat contained in another room until people have finished eating. This is also a good idea if having company tends to make your pet anxious. She could act in unpredictable ways, especially towards children.

Easter Plants and Baskets

The Easter lily is one of the most popular plants for people to decorate with during this season. Although lilies are beautiful, they’re extremely toxic to cats. Since cats naturally gravitate towards chewing plants and grass, it’s best to avoid bringing lilies into your home. The most adventurous cats will still find a way to get at the plant even if it’s on a high shelf.

The plastic grass that parents use to decorate Easter baskets for the kids can be a choking hazard to pets. It can also cause immediate gastrointestinal symptoms if swallowed. If you do choose to use plastic grass, let your children know they should keep the baskets in their bedrooms. Also, make sure your pet isn’t in the same room when your kids find their Easter baskets in the morning.

If you hide candy inside of hard plastic eggs, this is another thing your pet may feel he needs to investigate. If he bites into one hard enough, pieces of plastic cold become stuck in his throat. You also don’t want your pet to eat hard-boiled eggs.

Emergency Contact Information

It doesn’t have to be Easter Sunday for your pet to get into something that could hurt her. If you need help during regular office hours, please call Grantsburg Animal Hospital at 715-463-2536 or Wild River Veterinary Clinic at 320-629-4742. After hours, you may call Affiliated Emergency Veterinary Service. Please click here to find contact information for the location closest to you.

Photo Credit: LiliGraphie / iStock / Getty Images Plus

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