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Gorham Animal Hospital July Newsletter

A Message from  Dr. Sheri Sime
Just a reminder... It is not too late for Heartworm testing and preventative medication this spring. Preventative medication ensures our pets are protected against  the Heartworm transmitted by mosquitoes, as well as flea and intestinal parasites.  
Please feel free to email us with any questions regarding your pet, and I will be happy to respond to your concerns.     
-Dr. Sheri Sime

Leptosporosis is on the rise in Canada Leptosporosis is an infectious disease that our dogs can contract from  local wildlife, such as raccoons, skunks and rodents.  Our pets do not need to be bitten to contract the disease. They can contract it through drinking from puddles, slow moving water, and ditches, coming into contact with infected urine, from reproductive secretions, or by consuming infected tissue.

Early diagnosis is difficult to determine as initial symptoms can be easily confused with other diseases.  The symptoms begin with malaise, joint pain and a fever. As the disease spreads to the kidneys it multiplies and will eventually cause organ failure, potentially multiple organ failure. It is extremely important if you think that you pet may have come into contact with wildlife, hunts, mouths or eats rodents and exhibits the above symptoms that you contact your veterinary team.
Though rare, humans can contract Leptosporosis from their pet.

Leptosporosis is easily and economically prevented through an annual vaccination. If you live in, or frequent an area with raccoons, skunks or rodents, consider discussing prevention methods with your Veterinarian.

What do dog parks, and cottages have in common?

Giardia. A common parasite found in wetlands, swamp areas, puddles, pooling water, and DOG PARKS. Yes, the beloved sanctuary of off-leash socialization is a cesspool of bacterial growth, viral contamination and devastating parasites. In the summer we see a significant rise in Veterinary visits from dogs  who come into the clinic with infected bites, wounded paws and parasitic infections from local dog parks.

Giardia can affect dogs, cats and people. In humans it is known as “Beaver Fever” a camper’s nightmare.  Giardia is the number one intestinal parasite experienced by humans in North America, and it is sometime pets who pass Giardia onto their people.
Not all who are infected will experience symptoms as the cysts can lay dormant. For those who do the  main feature is diarrhea.
Infections are treatable, but may require multiple doses. Retesting a stool sample after a course of treatment is recommended as risk for reinfection is high.

My Itchy Dog has FLEAS!

If you have noticed that your canine companion has been scratching a lot, biting at their paws and perhaps experience reoccuring ear infections, it may be time to consider allergies as the culprit.
Common allergies in dogs include; fleas, food allergies, and atopic or airborne dermatitis. Even just one flea bite can illicit a reaction in an allergic dog, even if you don’t see any fleas, it doesn’t mean they are not there.

Food allergies can develop at any time and are most often due to beef, chicken, lamb, soy, dairy and wheat.  Your Veterinarian can assist you in finding reputable dog foods to trial in order to help relieve the itching. It takes three months to know if a food is working or not, and all treats, table scraps and chews MUST BE excluded for the duration of the trial. It is important to be aware that even though a label may say “Hypoallergenic” or “Allergen Free”in the pet store, the food may still contain the allergen. A recent study determined that 75% of over the counter pet foods contained soy. Using food from reputable companies is imperative.

Atopic Dermatitis (AD) is a hereditary condition similar to human environmental allergies. Reactions to dust mites, pollen and grasses are very common with this condition. Your Veterinarian will examine your pet looking for signs of allergies. Some specialty clinics offer allergy testing as well. Most AD is treated with antihistamines, t-shirts to prevent scratching, prescription shampoo and possibly a combination of medication steroids.

Cats experience allergies too!

The most common food allergens cats experience are beef, dairy and fish.  Like their canine counterparts, felines can also experience ‘seasonal or environmental allergies‘. It is important to seek Veterinary Consultation if you think your pet has allergies. The Veterinary Team will assist you in providing safe, effective relief to your pet.

Q & A With Dr. Sheri
My dog only goes in the backyard, does she still need her Heartworm prevention medication?
Yes. Heartworm is spread by mosquitoes. In the suburb of Newmarket and surrounding rural areas we experience a significant amount of mosquitoes, even in our own yards. The Heartworm prevention medication often comes in a combination form to protect our pets (and our families) from fleas and common parasites such as Hookworm, Roundworm and Whipworm.

I have tried everything from the pet store to treat my cat for fleas, why wont the fleas stay away?
The products sold at the pet store are not the same as the prescription medication  we have at the Animal Hospital.

If you give more than the recommended amount from the pet store, or use any combination of flea drops, powder, shampoo and sprays, your pet can become seriously ill. Even worse, if you accidentally give a canine flea product it can be fatal to cats.  These products have a tendency to have higher toxicity and are less effective.

If you suspect fleas, it is important to have Veterinary staff examine your pet to ensure there are no infections from the bites and to get an appropriate prescription dose. In order to be effective the medication must be given as directed by a Veterinarian. Some flea medications ONLY exterminates the adult fleas, not the eggs or larva. On initial dose the medication eradicates the adults, you should notice a significant reduction in fleas within 24 hours. Once the larva reach adulthood your cat will be due for another dose of prescription flea medication, this will continue until all the stages of the flea life-cycle have been cleared. There are a variety of options, please feel free to discuss them with us.

Fleas may re-infest your pet if the medication is not taken for it’s full prescribed duration.

Have a question for Dr. Sheri? clinic@gorhamanimal.ca