Our own ace technician, Jen, gave birth to a strapping, healthy baby boy at 10:49 PM Friday evening, April 25. I believe the official measurements were 21″ long and 8 pounds, 7 ounces. Mom and son are doing great, and we’ll soon have a new technician-in-training at CPC. Congratulations, Jen and Eric!!!
Entries from April 2008 ↓
April 27th, 2008 — Staffing
April 26th, 2008 — Client Education
Now that the snow is gone, the ticks are out. Many people out walking with their dogs this week have come home to find ticks on their dogs, and themselves! Ticks, in and of themselves, are not really very dangerous. Their saliva does contain irritating substances that can cause an inflammatory reaction at the site of the bite, so after removing a tick from yourself or your pet, you may notice redness or swelling at the site, and that may persist for several days or even longer. It is very unusual to develop an infection at the tick site.
The biggest concern with tick bites in our geographical area is the ability of ticks to transmit the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, which is responsible for lyme disease. In the northeastern United States, the primary vector is considered to be the Ixodes scapularis species of tick, also known as the deer tick, or black-legged tick. In other parts of the country, other tick species are responsible, and there is growing concern that the American Dog tick may be a vector for the disease as well. The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services recently released their 2007 Lyme Disease Bulletin, and they reported that the incidence of lyme disease rose by 43% from 2006 to 2007. They also reported that over 50% of deer ticks in southern NH are infected with the bacteria causing lyme disease.
Lyme disease is a growing concern in our pet dog population as well, and we know from our own screening tests that more and more dogs are exposed to lyme disease every year. In dogs, we do not typically see a “target” rash at the site of the tick bite, but we may note a fever, swollen or achy joints, and in severe cases, signs of kidney failure. (At this point in time, there is no evidence that domestic cats can contract lyme disease.)
How do we reduce the chances that our dogs will contract lyme disease? There are several things we can do:
- Exercise good tick surveillance: If your dog has had any opportunity to be exposed to ticks, while roaming outdoors, or even while walking on a leash at your side, check them over carefully at least once every 24 hours. Ticks like the head and neck, but can be found anywhere on your dog.
- Use a topical parasiticide such as Frontline or Revolution: Even the best of us may miss a tick or two on our dogs. Frontline and Revolution are designed to kill ticks within 24 hours of contact with your dog, and can help diminish their chances of transmitting lyme disease. None of the commercial products have any tick repellant activity, but there is a collar, called the Preventic collar, which is impregnated with a slow-release formulation of Amitraz. This chemical does help repel ticks, and the makers of Revolution will provide the collars free with the purchase of 3 or 6 month supplies of Revolution. The collars may also be purchased seperately.
- Lyme vaccination: For those dogs who are potentially going to be exposed to ticks on a regular basis, vaccination against lyme disease can help reduce the incidence of clinical disease if they are bitten by an infected tick.
- Lyme screening: The Idexx SNAP 3Dx test we recommend yearly to make certain dogs are free from heartworm disease also screens for exposure to lyme disease. It has been shown that treating dogs with antibiotics appropriate for lyme disease can help keep your dog from showing clinical signs of lyme disease if he or she has been exposed to it.
There are also environmental treatments that can be used in your yard to help reduce the tick population. You can check with your local garden center for recommendations.
The Centers for Disease Control has a very nice collection of web pages discussing tick-borne illnesses in humans and control and prevention. It’s worth a look if you are interested in learning more.
Feel free to stop by the office and pick up a brochure about lyme disease, or purchase a dose or two of Frontline. If you are having trouble controlling the ticks on your dog, and would like to consider vaccinating for lyme disease or treating for possible exposure, please call our office and discuss it with one of our receptionists or technicians. They will help you determine the next best step, and may suggest a consulation with one of our veterinarians.
April 15th, 2008 — Client Education
Heartworm season is upon us again in the north country. You can find much information on the web explaining heartworm disease and its diagnosis and prevention. One of my favorite sites is The American Heartworm Society. The AHS is devoted to gathering and disseminating the most current statistics and information about heartworm disease in both dogs and cats. In short, heartworm disease describes an infection with small worms localized to heart tissue, and can cause coughing, lung disease, and ultimately heart failure, if gone untreated. It is considered a fatal disease in untreated dogs.
Because heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes, we are entering heartworm season in New Hampshire at this time. In fact, our clinic recommends that dogs be treated with heartworm preventative medications from April through October, at a minimum. The AHS recommends that all dogs be tested for heartworm disease yearly, and the sophisticated in-house ELISA test we use also screens for exposure to Lyme disease. With the increasing incidence of Lyme disease in our local dogs, evidence of exposure to Lyme allows us to institute prophylactic antibiotic treatment and decrease the likelihood that an exposed dog will develop clinical Lyme disease.
If your dog is negative for heartworm disease (our test detects a protein from female heartworms, therefore a positive test indicates that the dog is actually infected with at least one heartworm), we will recommend that you begin your heartworm preventative as soon as possible to prevent infection. Many clients are choosing to give their dogs preventative heartworm medications year-round to protect against the possibility of early or late mosquitoes, or to simply keep a monthly pattern established. Most heartworm preventatives contain sufficient medication to help prevent against other parasite infections, such as intestinal worms, and can help protect your dog and your family from potentially dangerous infections with roundworms or hookworms. Dogs on year-round preventatives can have their heartworm tests performed at any time during the year.
There are a number of heartworm preventatives available, and most are very effective at preventing your dog from contracting heartworm disease. At Companion Pet Care, we recommend either Revolution, a monthly topical product which protects against heartworms and also kills fleas and ticks, or Heartgard, a monthly oral “treat” which is primarily a heartworm preventative. We find both of these products to be easy to use, and very effective at preventing heartworm disease.
If you are a client of Companion Pet Care, we encourage you to contact our office and schedule your heartworm test today, so you can begin your preventative treatment. If you are not yet a client, please call to schedule a “Get Acquainted” visit and examination with one of our veterinarians, and we can help you design a comprehensive health care plan for your pets.
April 13th, 2008 — Administrative
Remember, all New Hampshire dogs must be licensed with their town clerks by May 1, 2008. You must present a valid rabies certificate to qualify for licensure. Generally, it is a bit less expensive to license a neutered dog (male or female) than an intact dog. Town clerks will accept either a spay or neuter certificate from your veterinarian, or the statement on your rabies certificate indicating your dog’s gender as neutered male or spayed female. You may want to check with your town clerk; I have heard that some clerks require that your dog’s rabies vaccination be valid for at least 6 more months in order to issue a license.
According to New Hampshire state law, all dogs, cats, ferrets and wolf-hybrids must be vaccinated for rabies, although only dogs are required to be licensed at this time.
After several years of trying to find the time to keep our main CPC webpage updated regularly, I have decided to launch the CPC News blog. I find the blog format to be much easier to access and update, and my plan is to post interesting information of all kinds here. Check here regularly for educational tips, local administrative issues, and general news about our clinic. Enjoy!!!