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!

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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. 


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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.


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What You Need to Know About Lyme Disease

We’re sure you’ve heard of Lyme Disease. Most people have. But we’re always here to help and educate pet parents, so we wanted to take a closer look at this serious illness as we enter Lyme Disease season. Did you know that in 2018 we saw 271 Lyme Disease positive dogs in our practice alone?
What is Lyme Disease?

First and foremost, we live in an area that is plagued with Lyme Disease. This disease is no laughing matter. It results from bacteria spread by ticks and can affect dogs, cats, humans, deer, raccoons, mice, squirrels, and other mammals. And these ticks are sneaky! They’re sometimes so small that they can disguise themselves as freckles and go undetected until after they’ve had a chance to fill with blood.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that around 350,000 people will contract Lyme Disease each year. From coast to coast, Lyme Disease is found in every state, including the entire Midwest. The majority of cases occur in spring, but this disease infects dogs, cats, people, and other animals year around.

Lyme Disease Is on the Rise

For the past twenty-five years, the CDC has seen a spike in incidents of Lyme Disease. In fact, reports of this disease have doubled! Why? Well, they suspect that as more and more people adopt outdoor lifestyles and enjoy more hiking, camping, and nature-walks, the more people and their pets are exposed to infected ticks.
Unfortunately, dogs end up as the most frequent victims of Lyme Disease. This is because ticks do an amazing job of hiding deep in a dog’s coat, dogs are closer to the ground, and dogs don’t have thumbs, which makes tick removal more difficult for them.

Symptoms and Health Concerns for Dogs with Lyme Disease

Only 5-10% of dogs that contract Lyme Disease will show obvious symptoms, and symptoms typically don’t occur until two to five months after infection. Dogs infected with Lyme Disease will go through three stages of symptoms and complications. Sometimes symptoms don’t appear until the third stage!

Stage One

  • Fever
  • Lack of energy
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite

Stage Two

  • Lameness
  • Arthritis
  • Inflamed and painful joints

Stage Three

  • Heart complications
  • Kidney damage
  • Neurological issues
  • Severe arthritis

Symptoms and Health Concerns for Cats with Lyme Disease
It’s also important to remember that cats can also contract Lyme Disease. Many cat owners believe that cats are immune to Lyme Disease because many infected cats don’t show symptoms. 
  • Stiffness
  • Pain and sensitivity to touch
  • Trouble breathing
  • Lameness in limbs
  • Swollen and painful joints
  • Kidney issues, including possible kidney failure
  • Heart complications
  • Nervous system issues
If your dog or cat is exhibiting any symptoms of Lyme disease, we can run blood tests that look for the bacteria that causes the disease, and the antibodies that fight it. These tests help us diagnose your pet so we can begin treatment.

How Can You Protect Your Pet from Lyme Disease?

A tick infected with Lyme Disease will pass the bacteria to your dog or cat after feeding for about 24 hours. If you go on a hike or your pet plays in a wooded area, make sure you check them for ticks afterwards.
The best way to protect your pup or cat from getting sick is to use a prescription flea and tick preventive medicine. These will kill an infected tick before it has a chance to transmit the bacteria to your pet. Provide your pet with protection year-round and stay consistent - don’t skip any months. At Grantsburg Animal Hospital and Wild River Veterinary Clinic, we recommend the Lyme vaccine on all of our canine patients, even the house dogs, as we are in an endemic area.
Don’t skip annual appointments because many pets won’t show signs of Lyme Disease until months after infection. Make an appointment with us to learn about the many affordable and effective prevention methods we offer, or to explore treatment options if your furry friend tests positive.
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