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Archive for October, 2012

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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This is the final installment of the National Pet Wellness Month series, and I’ve rounded out the Pet Wellness Plan to 10 items.

Here are the Top Ten Ways to Keep Your Pet Healthy:

  1. Twice a year examinations
  2. Protective vaccinations
  3. Pet health insurance
  4. Microchipping
  5. Spay/neuter
  6. Internal parasite control
  7. External parasite control
  8. Dental care
  9. Proper diet
  10. Exercise

We already know that obesity is a big problem among pets. In fact, 54% of pets in America are overweight. In an otherwise healthy pet, the two greatest contributors to obesity are poor diet and a lack of exercise. The good news is, these are two areas you can control

A few words about diet: 
*Feed your pet more than once a day. Three small meals a day are ideal.
*Give your pet more of your attention, not more food.
*Choose a respected brand, like Hill’s Science Diet. Hill’s has an active website, e-mail newsletter, and a Facebook page, all of which can be used to communicate with pet owners.
*Choose an age-based diet. Your pet will transition from puppy (or kitten) food to adult food to senior food over its lifetime. Each diet is formulated for the nutritional needs of the particular lifestage.
*Your vet can direct you to an adult pet diet based on other health concerns, such as activity level, weight regulation, skin or digestive conditions, and more.
*Beware the risks of raw food diets, which may contain harmful pathogens such as Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli, and more. Humans can also be sickened through handling raw foods or by exposure to an infected pet. Read more on the American Veterinary Medical Association’s policy regarding raw food diets. The American College of Veterinary Nutritionists has published their opinion on raw food diets under their FAQs page.
*Keep abreast of pet food/pet treat recalls. It seems like they’re everywhere these days. Type “pet food recalls 2012” into a search engine and look for results from the FDA.

A few words about exercise:
*Aside from staving off numerous health problems, exercise can relieve anxiety due to boredom. Dogs and cats that are bored may act out by destroying objects in their environment or through self-harm, like excessive licking and chewing.
*Pets bond with their owners through exercise and playtime. Even solitary cats like to exercise their predatory skills once in a while!
*Look for the pet exercise app from Petmobi (coming soon – sign up for more info).
*Check out pet exercises from Hill’s Pet Nutrition.

 

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Halloween fun

Looks like someone’s stirring up trouble for the coast this weekend and possibly into next week. Can Halloween be saved? Or will the forces of Nature prevail? Stay tuuuuuuuned…

If you are looking forward to the Virginia Zoo’s Zoo Boo, take heart – it will take place on Saturday, November 3rd, instead of this weekend.

From my inbox:Virginia Zoo

In response to heightened weather concerns, the Virginia Zoo is moving Zoo Boo, the Zoo’s annual Halloween event, to the rain date Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, including both Family Fun Day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Fright Night from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
 
Pre-sale tickets will be honored on the new date.
 
Family Fun Day will start at 10 a.m. Guests can visit our animals at their habitats, as usual, and there will also be animal pumpkin smashing, costume contests and, of course, trick or treat candy stations. Admission for members—ages 2 and up—is $6; for nonmembers—ages 2 and up—is $11. Children under 2 are free.  Guests can take a Haunted Hayride for $1 per ride, or climb aboard the Zoo Boo Choo Choo for $3 per ride.
 
The Zoo will temporarily close at 3 p.m. and reopen for Fright Night at 6 p.m., when Zoo Boo will take on a more sinister tone, focused on thrilling adults and older children. There will still be costumes and candy, along with a Train of Terror, Haunted Hay Ride and more.  It’s so scary we have to put the animals inside! Admission for members—ages 2 and up—is $5; admission for non-members—ages 2 and up—is $8; children under 2 are free. 
 
For more information, visit http://www.virginiazoo.org
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The news is not as good from the Hermitage Museum and Gardens, where All Hallow’s Eve festivities have been cancelled for Sunday, due to the approaching storm. That’s unfortunate, since the Hermitage is a pet-friendly location – and this would have been a great excuse to haul out your dog’s Headless Horseman costume again.
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Meanwhile, our clinic will be open on Saturday this week, so be sure to stock up on your pet’s food and medicine, in case weather conditions deteriorate next week.

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A family pet went missing from her home in Norfolk on Monday, October 2nd. She lost her ID tags in a separate adventure a couple days before. Please see the notice below for her description and details. 

If you believe you have seen this dog, (which may be in the company of a new “owner” by now) please contact our office.

Missing dog in Norfolk, VA

Have you seen this pet?

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October is National Pet Wellness Month.

Something to chew on:

“Infection associated with periodontal disease can be responsible for bad breath, and bacteria can enter a pet’s blood stream and spread to vital organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys.” 
– Hill’s Pet Nutrition

Sometimes our lives get so hectic that important tasks are forgotten. September begins a cycle for many people of school / work / holiday chaos that doesn’t seem to end until January. Unfortunately, our pets can get lost in the shuffle.

Maybe you forgot to apply the spot-on flea control or, more seriously, forgot to give the heartworm preventative.

Perhaps it’s been a while since you’ve taken your pet to the groomers.

And when was the last time you were able to devote an hour to playtime with your cat or taking your dog for an extra-long walk?

That’s why having a Pet Wellness Plan in place is so important: it keeps our pets top-of-mind and makes it easier to remember tasks like giving medication or going to the vet to update a Rabies shot.

At its most basic, a Pet Wellness Plan consists of three things:

  1. Twice a year examinations
  2. Protective vaccinations
  3. Pet health insurance

But we’ve expanded the list this month to include:

       4.  Microchipping
       5.  Spay/neuter
       6.  Internal parasite control
       7.  External parasite control

Today, we’ll add this:

       8.  Dental care

Remember the statement from Hill’s Pet Nutrition at the beginning of this post? Your pet’s mouth is the gateway to his general physical health. Problems that begin in the mouth, such as plaque buildup and inflamed gums, can lead to more serious problems affecting vital organs.

February is Dental Health Month, but oral care is a year-round task. So why not get started today?

Links round-up

Tips for brushing your pet’s teeth
Tooth root abscess
VetzLife Oral Care Gel
Oxyfresh Oral Hygiene Solution

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Halloween lies in wait
concealed amongst the shadows;
a shrouded moon, a creaking gate,
the shrieks and screams that follow

I’ve got Halloween on the brain – can you tell? Speaking of witch, be sure to pick up one or two or a few FREE trick-or-treat bags for the kids, on your next visit to our clinic.

The bags are shiny and reflective and are large enough to carry around a good haul of dentist-defying candy treats.
All the little boils and ghouls want one!

Here’s another spooky item coming your way:

Order your tickets online here. Don’t wait until all the tickets have disappeared…

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Top image courtesy of  The Graphics Fairy.

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Today I get to share with you something we (fortunately) don’t see very often on fecal exams – Whipworm eggs. Those are the pink football-shaped objects in the photo below.

A rare sight in Norfolk: evidence of Whipworm infestation. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic. [Click to enlarge]

INTESTINAL ILLNESS

What’s so awful about Whipworms?
An infection can lead to diarrhea (sometimes with blood), weight loss, abdominal pain, dehydration and anemia. 

Whipworms (so named for their whip-like appearance as adults: thin at the front end and fatter at the rear) are not the most common intestinal parasite that we find in dogs, but it is a nasty little bug if contracted. Whipworms are rarely seen in cats.

Whipworm eggs are deposited in the soil when an infected animal defecates. When the same or another animal ingests the contaminated soil (this can happen by mouthing a toy left on the ground or licking the paws after playing outside), the infection begins again.

LIFE CYCLE

Once swallowed, the eggs hatch out and the larvae spend about 10 days in the small intestines before moving on to the large intestines. Then the larvae spend the next two to three months maturing to adulthood.

Adult whipworms use their narrow heads to pierce your pet’s intestinal walls and hang on, then rob your pet of its blood and nutrients. By the 70th day after the initial Whipworm eggs were swallowed, the adult Whips are ready to produce new eggs.

The adult female Whipworm can lay up to 2000 eggs per day. That is actually a small number, compared to a Roundworm that can lay 80,000 eggs per day. Because Whipworms lay a relatively few number of eggs and do not constantly reproduce, they can be difficult to detect. Multiple stool sample exams may be necessary. 

PREVENTION AND CONTROL

Whipworm eggs are hardy and difficult to eradicate in the yard, so recurrent infections are likely.
O
nce diagnosed, a Whipworm infection can be treated with a course of medication, such as Panacur.
Then, because of the high likelihood of recurrence, affected dogs and their canine housemates should receive a monthly heartworm/intestinal worm preventative rated to control Whips. Our go-to choice has been Sentinel, but it is not currently available. Until Sentinel is returned to the marketplace, we recommend Trifexis.

LOW ZOONOTIC POTENTIAL

The most common type of Whipworms found in dogs is Trichuris vulpis. Though they tend to be host-specific, there are a few reported cases of people contracting Trichuris vulpis, as well. To be on the safe side, wear disposable gloves when handling soil or pet waste and wash your hands well afterward.

See our previous entries in our ‘Scope series:

Roundworms

Hookworms

Tapeworms

Coccidiae

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