Here’s what’s happening in the world of pets and wildlife this month:

In Part 1, we focused on common eye problems in dogs. Today, we’re switching to the ears!

Beagle profile

What’s going on beneath that soft, velvety ear flap?

By Dr. Chris Roth, DVM

Common Dog Ear Infections & Problems
Like dog eye infections, problems with your dog’s ears can range from something to keep an eye on to an issue that requires veterinarian care. The more knowledge you have, the more accurately you’ll be able to decipher between the two.

Dog Ear Infections
All dogs occasionally lift one of their hind legs to scratch their ears or head. But if your dog profusely scratches her ears, frequently shakes her head, or has hair loss around her ears, it’s time to take a closer look. Here’s why: itchy or irritated ears can lead to a nasty ear infection. Itchy ears can be caused by a flea bite, environmental sources, a yeast infection, or a food allergy.

An ear infection occurs when your dog’s ears get inflamed with wax and discharge. This happens when naturally occurring yeast and bacteria overwhelms her immune system and she can’t control the infection. Treatments for an ear infection will vary depending on the cause. Allergies can be complicated to manage and it’s best to seek your veterinarian’s input.

Cleaning your dog’s ears every week is a proactive way to keep them healthy and prevent potential issues. It’s worth noting that dogs with long, floppy ears are more prone to ear infections due to dust, dirt, and moisture getting trapped in their ears and forming bacteria.

Ear Mites
Ear mites in dogs occur when tiny parasites feed on the wax and oil inside your pets’ ears. Dogs that are outside frequently are most likely to get ear mites, but once your pup comes inside ear mites can easily travel from one animal to another through close contact or shared bedding.

If your dog has ear mites, she will most likely scratch and rub her ears. Additionally, her ears will emit a foul odor and possibly have a build-up of dark debris inside. Continual scratching of the ears can cause cuts and redness in that area.

Ear mites are not something to ignore. They live in your dog’s ear canal and reproduce rapidly. So if you see white specks in your dog’s ears or suspect your dog has ear mites, schedule an appointment with your vet to address the situation. Your vet will thoroughly clean your dog’s ears and most likely apply an anti-parasitic medication. The best way to prevent ear mites is to regularly clean your dog’s ears as well as frequently wash their bedding.


Source: https://www.petsbest.com/blog/dogs-with-goopy-eyes-ears

Photo by Torsten Detlaff via Pexels

About the author: Dr. Chris Roth is the resident veterinarian and pet health writer at Pets Best Insurance. He earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from Kansas State University, as well as a degree in biology. Over his 29 years practicing General Veterinary Medicine, including owning and managing two veterinary practices, Dr. Roth has accrued a wealth of experience and specialized training in advanced Small Animal Orthopedics as well as maintaining an AVMA membership, Fear Free Veterinary Practice certification, and Idaho Veterinary Medical and Board of Pharmacy licensure. Among other experience, he has also held a role as an E.L.I.T.E. field consultant for Advanced Sedation and Pain Management for Zoetis Animal Health, formerly Pfizer Animal Health. 

How to Help Your Dog’s Goopy and Itchy Eyes and Ears, Part 1

Close-up of man and dog eyes

Your dog may have these eye ailments in common with you!

Dr. Chris Roth, DVM

As a vigilant dog owner, it’s important to monitor unusual symptoms in your pet to keep them healthy. Ignoring issues can not only lead to an irritable pup, but to bigger, more costly problems. Dog eye discharge and itchy dog ears are two common afflictions that our four-legged family members suffer from. In this article, we will cover the various causes of these conditions and offer possible treatments.

Common Causes of Irritated Dog Eyes
If your dog is suffering from itchy or inflamed eyes, the culprit can range from a condition that is relatively easy to fix to something more serious. An understanding of the following dog eye infections might provide valuable insight into your dog’s situation.

When are a Dog’s Goopy Eyes a Cause for Concern?
The inner corner of your dog’s eyes is where her tear ducts are located. From time to time, goop or crust might form in this area as a result of an accumulation of dried tears, oil, and mucus. Most times the substance will be clear, but it can also be brown in color. This is completely normal. So long as your dog’s eyes are not red and they aren’t agitated by the goop or crust, there is no need to worry.

You can simply take a moist cotton ball and wipe her eyes clean of the discharge. If your dog, however, is rubbing her eyes or blinking and squinting frequently, you should bring her in to see a veterinarian, as this could be a symptom of the conditions listed below. Treating your dog with over-the-counter eye drops is not recommended without first consulting with a medical professional.

Conjunctivitis
If the lining of your dog’s eyelids becomes inflamed, she might have conjunctivitis. This ailment, which is akin to pink eye in humans, can trigger a clear and runny discharge or yellow-green pus in one or both of your dog’s eyes. Conjunctivitis can also make your dog’s eyes red, crusty, and swollen. You might see your pup blinking excessively, pawing at her eyes, or keeping her eyes closed.

The cause of conjunctivitis can be allergies, environmental irritants, or a bacterial infection. Once you bring your dog to a veterinarian, the doctor will examine your dog’s eye to see if a foreign body is causing the problem. If this is the case, the debris or object will be removed. If an allergy is responsible for the condition, your vet might prescribe antihistamines. If a bacterial infection turns out to be the cause of the conjunctivitis, your dog will be given eye drops and antibiotics. There is no reason to worry that you’ll contact conjunctivitis from your dog as it is not contagious.

Epiphora
Epiphora is an eye ailment that causes an abnormal flow of tears. Tearing is a natural reaction to an irritant and acts to flush away foreign bodies from the eye. But if your dog’s eyes are overly wet, and it’s not a result of something getting into her eyes, you should investigate the matter further. Epiphora can cause a darkening of fur around your dog’s eyes. Other symptoms of this condition are squinting, inflammation, redness and irritation, and discharge from the eye.

The causes of epiphora can be wide-ranging and include allergies, a parasite in the eye, glaucoma, sinusitis, or a blocked tear duct. Some breeds are susceptible to a blockage of their tear ducts or poor eyelid function as a result of a deformity. Treatment for epiphora will depend on what your vet finds to be the underlying cause and can range from topical solutions to surgery.

Dry Eye
The opposite of a dog with excessively watery eyes is one with dry eyes or keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS). The condition can be caused by congenital or immune related causes. It can also be the side effect of certain medications or previous surgeries to treat “cherry eye.” Symptoms include decreased tear production or insufficient tear secretion. These symptoms can lead yellow or gray, goopy discharge, eye redness, corneal ulcers, and blindness in extreme cases.
Dog breeds such as Boston Terriers, Shih Tzus, Lhasa Apsos, and Pugs, can be predisposed to dry eye.

KCS is most commonly caused by a response from the dog’s immune system, which can cause inflammation and deterioration of glands in the eye. Toxicity caused by sulfa drugs, hypothyroidism, and canine distemper can also create trouble with a dog’s tear film. Unfortunately, there is no cure for dry eye and ongoing treatment is required. A daily administration of topical medications will stimulate tear production and replace tear film, which will keep your dog’s cornea protected and healthy.


Part II focuses on itchy ears — stay tuned!


Source: https://www.petsbest.com/blog/dogs-with-goopy-eyes-ears

Photo by Kamille Sampaio from Pexels

At Little Creek Veterinary Clinic, we treat only cats and dogs,
but we love to hear about our clients’ other pets —
including turtles! 

Is a turtle the right pet for your home? Consider this:

Turtle graphic

Learn more about World Turtle Day from the founders,
here:
https://www.worldturtleday.org

And remember — 

Turtle owners should wash hands

Do you know the meaning of those initials in your cat’s vaccine record?

Cats receive a cocktail of vaccinations, typically rolled into one shot. Since many cats are allowed to roam outdoors unsupervised, it is especially important to keep cats vaccinated against Rabies and other diseases. This is a closer look at the components of the FVRCCP vaccine, sometimes known as the “feline distemper shot.”

FVR is for Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, aka Feline Herpesvirus-1, a severe upper respiratory disease that, once contracted, often remains in the cat’s body. Recurrent outbreaks throughout the cat’s life are common. Signs include fever, congestion, runny eyes and nose, sores and crusts on the face, lip ulcers, mouth breathing, coughing, sneezing, and drooling. Vaccination helps reduce the severity of signs.

C is for Calicivirus, an upper respiratory disease that can cause fever, blisters on the tongue, and may turn into pneumonia.

C is for Chlamydiosis, a bacterial respiratory infection that is highly contagious. Signs include conjunctivitis, sneezing, runny eyes, excessive drooling, and coughing.

P is for Feline Panleukopenia, aka Feline Distemper, a contagious virus that causes fever, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, depression, dehydration, and can lead to death.

Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian, recommends that all cats living in the Norfolk/Virginia Beach/Chesapeake region receive their FVRCCP booster, along with the Rabies vaccine. The FVRCCP booster protects cats against the most common, and serious, feline diseases.

Note: Other vaccines are available to cats, including Rabies and Feline Leukemia. However, those vaccines are given in a separate injection and, for our purposes, are not considered part of the distemper combinations.

Lg Caduceus


Originally posted on January 26, 2017.

We’ve noticed an increase in the number of calls about new puppies during this period of stay-at-home orders. For many people, this is the perfect time to be at home with a new pup for training purposes — and the puppy provides its owners with excitement and a new cuddle buddy during unprecedented downtime.

Socialization with other pets and people can be difficult while practicing social distancing. The point of socializing is to meet others, and the point of social distancing is to stay away from them!

See this video on Socialization While Social Distancing.

The American Veterinary Medical Association has tips for socializing your kitten or puppy. Check out this list, so that you’ll be ready when the world starts to get back to normal.

Orange tabby cat with fawn puppy

What is socialization?

Socialization is the process of preparing a dog or cat to enjoy interactions and be comfortable with other animals, people, places and activities. Ideally, socialization should begin during the “sensitive period” which is between 3 and 14 weeks of age for puppies, and 3 and 9 weeks of age for kittens.

Advice to new puppy and kitten owners

Adopting a new kitten or puppy is a wonderful and exciting experience. It is also a time where a little extra planning can help a new pet develop the calm and confident temperament that will help them enjoy life to the fullest. The basic tenets of socialization are outlined below. The AVMA will be developing tools to help veterinarians and their clients create simple and fun plans tailored to the developmental needs of puppies and kittens in their first weeks and months of life.

  • When adopting a puppy or kitten, ask for a pre- and post-adoption socialization plan.
  • Create a socialization plan specifically for your dog or cat to prepare him or her for life in your household. Plan exposures to the animals, individuals, environments, activities and objects that will be part of his or her new life.
  • Provide regular positive and diverse experiences to encourage your dog or cat to enjoy new experiences without becoming fearful or aggressive.
  • Provide praise, play and treats to reward engagement. Allow the dog or cat to withdraw if he or she is uncomfortable. Move at a pace appropriate for your pet’s personality.
  • Well-managed puppy or kitten socialization classes are a good way to socialize your new pet within the sensitive period.
  • Puppies or kittens that are not fully vaccinated should not be exposed to unvaccinated animals or places they may have been (such as outdoor parks).
  • Continue to reward your dog or cat for calm or playful responses to social interactions throughout his or her life.
  • For dogs or cats with special behavioral needs, develop a plan with your veterinarian and/or another animal behavior expert.


    Image by Snapwire via Pexels.


The month of May isn’t just
for fans of Star Wars and
Cinco de Mayo.

Here’s what else is going on:

List of pet events in May

 

Reminder: If your pet runs out of its heartworm preventative,
it could end up with juvenile heartworms swimming through
its bloodstream and traveling to the lungs and heart.

At Little Creek Veterinary Clinic, we filmed these two young heartworms in a patient’s blood sample (seen here under magnification):

Click for fullscreen view

Dogs and cats can be protected from deadly heartworm disease with a monthly dose of prescription heartworm preventative.

Did You Know?
It takes only a single adult heartworm to cause
a fatal inflammatory reaction in a cat’s heart.
Ask us about heartworm prevention for cats.

Heartworm disease is spread by mosquitoes and is a year-round problem. And while humans have been under stay-at-home orders, moquitoes are free to travel and dine wherever they like. 

Contact Us to refill your pet’s heartworm medication before it runs out.

The alternative to prevention just isn’t pretty. Here’s proof:

[Warning: Sensitive content ahead]

 

 

Continue Reading »

There is more than one reason why a cat may lose weight in spite of a healthy or larger-than-normal appetite.

Today, we will focus on a condition called hyperthyroidism, which can cause cats to become emaciated even as they beg for more food.

What is hyperthyroidism?
The thyroid gland, located in your cat’s neck, uses dietary iodine to make thyroid hormones that help regulate important body functions, including:

  • Metabolism
  • Body temperature
  • Blood pressure
  • Heart rate
  • Gastrointestinal function

When a cat has hyperthyroidism, its thyroid gland is enlarged and it produces excessive amounts of thyroid hormone.

Illustration from Hill's Pet Nutrition pamphlet on Feline Thyroid Health.

Illustration from Hill’s Pet Nutrition pamphlet on Feline Thyroid Health.

Hyperthyroidism is most often diagnosed in cats older than 10 years. Untreated hyperthyroidism can have serious — even fatal — effects on organs such as the heart and kidneys.

What are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism?

  • Weight loss
  • Increased appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased thirst
  • Poor skin and coat condition
  • Hyperactivity

Because some of these same symptoms can appear as a result of other diseases, such as diabetes or kidney failure, your cat will need tests such as a blood profile and urinalysis to determine the actual problem.

Did You Know?
An over-active thyroid is more common in cats than in dogs,
and an under-active thyroid is more common in dogs than in cats.

How is hyperthyroidism treated?
There are four types of treatment available today. Your cat’s doctor will discuss with you which treatment [or combination] is recommended, based on your cat’s overall health:
1. Daily nutrition
2. Daily medication
3. Radioactive iodine therapy
4. Surgery

What should I do if I notice the symptoms listed above?
Contact your cat’s veterinarian for an examination so that he or she can determine which tests to run. It may turn out that your cat does not have hyperthyroidism, after all — and that’s important to know!

Good to know:
Do not attempt to diagnose or treat hyperthyroidism — or any other condition — on your own. Hyperthyroidism, in particular, is notably tricky to manage and requires professional guidance.

Never give your pet a medication that has not been prescribed or approved by your pet’s veterinarian.

Questions? Contact Us


Sources of information for this article:
Feline Thyroid Health, pamphlet by Hill’s Pet Nutrition
Saunders Manual of Small Animal Practice
Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary


This article has been edited and updated from its original publishing date in April 2013.


Disclaimer: Information on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure your pet. Information provided on this site does not take the place of a valid client-patient-doctor relationship, nor does it constitute such a relationship. Your pet’s veterinarian is the best source of information regarding your pet’s health. Your pet may require an examination and testing by a licensed veterinarian in order to provide proper diagnosis and treatment. Neither Dr. Miele nor Little Creek Veterinary Clinic or its staff is responsible for outcomes based on information available on this site. Every pet’s condition is unique and requires the direct care and oversight of its own veterinarian.

April is Prevention of Lyme Disease in Dogs Month

What is Lyme Disease? Lyme Disease is an illness caused by Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, which are carried in the midgut of deer ticks and transmitted to dogs through a tick bite.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease include lameness that shifts from leg to leg, swollen joints, lack of appetite, depression, fever, difficulty breathing. As the disease progresses, it can cause serious injury to the dog’s kidneys.

Why are we talking about Lyme Disease in April? In spring and summer, a stage of deer tick called the nymph [between larval stage and adult stage] is feeding on blood and is able to transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease.
Nymphs are tiny — about the size of a poppy seed — and are fast-moving and difficult to detect. For this reason, they tend to go unnoticed longer and are able to attach to your pet [or you] long enough to transmit disease.

How do dogs get Lyme Disease? When a deer tick carrying B. burgdorferi feeds on a dog for at least 48 hours, the bacteria are “awakened” and travel out of the tick’s midgut, into the dog’s bloodstream, through the site of the tick bite. 

Baked bean? Nope – it’s an engorged, dead tick, thoughtfully preserved for the enlightenment of future generations of pet owners. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

This is not a deer tick, but it is a well-fed tick.

Here’s where it gets a little technical: While the bacteria, B. burgdorferi, resides in the tick’s gut, they are protected by a special coating called Outer Surface Protein A (OspA).  A dog that is vaccinated for Lyme Disease has — circulating in its blood — antibodies to OspA. When the tick ingests the blood, the OspA antibodies travel to the tick’s midgut and attack the B. burgdorferi there — before they’ve had a chance to awaken and mobilize.

So, rather than the vaccine-induced antibodies attacking an organism that has already entered the dog’s body, they instead attack the organisms outside the dog’s body, while still in the host. That is why we — cheekily — refer to it as “vaccinating the tick.”

Think of Lyme Disease vaccine as the vaccine that stops an organism before it reaches your pet: like an invisible force field! Pretty cool, huh?

But remember: deer ticks and other ticks can transmit nasty diseases in addition to Lyme Disease. There is no vaccine (yet) for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis (and the list goes on.) For that reason, Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian, recommends year-round tick control, like the Seresto collar or Nexgard chewables. 

 Contact Us with your questions about Lyme Disease.

Bonus Content: How to safely remove ticks from your pet


Originally posted on April 26, 2016. [Links and information updated.]