Update on Canine Influenza

The new strain of canine influenza, which has caused a mini-epidemic in Chicago, has been big news for the last several months.  At this date, several cases of influenza have been diagnosed in dogs in Indiana, but not in Elkhart county.  Influenza presents much like other causes of upper respiratory infections in dogs do.  Affected dogs have a deep, generally non-productive cough, and fever.  They may not have an appetite and some will sneeze.  Rarely, especially in very young or very old dogs, influenza can progress to pneumonia which can be life-threatening.  The majority of dogs will be ill for a week or two, then will recover fully.

Influenza is spread by direct contact with an infected dog.  Those that go where a number of dogs congregate (dog parks, doggy daycare, etc.) will be most at risk of infection.  There is a canine influenza vaccine, but it has now been proven that the vaccine is a different strain of the virus than the current outbreak.  Therefore, we are not recommending that most dogs be vaccinated.  However, it has been shown that many dogs that become ill with influenza are also affected by other respiratory pathogens such as bordetella.  We already recommend that at-risk dogs be vaccinated annually against bordetella, but we now know that it may help to decrease illness in dogs infected with influenza.

Feel free to contact our office for more information on canine influenza.

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Spring and Parvovirus

We love spring! Midwest winters can be long and cold, and the promise of warmer weather can be a relief. One negative consequence of the melting snow, however, is that this region tends to experience an epidemic of parvovirus. Parvo is a viral disease that affects unvaccinated or inadequately vaccinated dogs, particularly puppies under 1 year of age. Parvo is everywhere in this county, and it is ridiculously contagious. Parvo is spread in the stool of an infected dog, but is survives in the environment for up to a year (it even survives freezing!). We can easily carry it to our pets on our shoes and clothes by walking through an area where an infected dog has been. Because of this, we have diagnosed dogs with parvo who have never set foot outdoors. Parvo attacks the bone marrow, the gastrointestinal tract, and sometimes the heart. The most common presentation of a puppy infected with parvovirus is vomiting, diarrhea (possibly with blood), refusal to eat and severe depression. The morbidity rate of parvo is high, meaning that many affected dogs will die. Luckily, parvo is nearly 100% preventable. Puppies should receive their first vaccine at 6 to 8 weeks of age, and then monthly until they are four months old. It’s very rare that a puppy that has stayed current on its vaccines (through a veterinarian) will be diagnosed with parvo. Ideally, scheduling a puppy’s first wellness visit would be done prior to bringing the new puppy home. Spotty

 

Spotty is one of our parvo survivors who went to live with Dr. Anderson after he was well.

 

For additional information on parvovirus visit our friends at veterinary partner:

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Winter can be a rough time for pets with joint issues

pandora

Winter can be a rough time for pets with joint issues. Cold weather can make arthritic joints achy and stiff. Arthritis can lead to stumbling, injuries, urine or stool accidents in the house, and to a cranky attitude. Luckily, many things can be done to lessen the impact of arthritis on our pets’ lives.

* Weight loss – Keeping dogs and cats at their ideal body weight is the least expensive and most effective component of treatment. Losing even a couple of pounds lessens the impact on joints and can dramatically improve mobility.

* Physical therapy – Regular and controlled exercise can improve mobility by strengthening muscles and lessening stiffness. This does not mean that a “couch-potato” should suddenly go out and play ball for 3 hours. If the pet is not used to exercise, five minutes of leash walking per day may be adequate. Swimming is a fantastic therapy for arthritis sufferers, as it allows for muscle development while placing minimal impact on the joints.

* Glucosamine – Glucosamine is a supplement that comes from shellfish. Studies have shown that glucosamine decreases inflammation in the joints and may help to repair cartilage. Because glucosamine is a supplement rather than a drug, it is not controlled by the FDA. This lack of control means that glucosamine supplements may or may not contain what they claim to contain. We tend to recommend the prescription glucosamines, such as Cosequin, which undergo quality control testing.

* Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (nsaids) – There are handfuls of these on the market, but all work by decreasing inflammation, thereby lessening stiffness and discomfort. A veterinarian can determine if an nsaid is an appropriate treatment choice for a pet based on the pet’s history, consideration of any underlying medical problems, and the results of a physical examination on the pet.

 

 

 

Welcome to National Pet Dental Health Month!

February is National Pet Dental Health Month.  Dental disease is one of the most common issues that we diagnose in our patients.  Untreated dental issues can lead to foul breath, discomfort, difficulty eating or grooming, and even to infections in other areas of the body such as the heart or the kidneys.  Because we believe that proper dental care is one of the greatest things we can recommend to improve the lifespan and the quality of life of our patients, we are offering free dental screenings with a technician, and 15% off of dental cleanings through the month of February.

 

It’s the time for ticks!

Spring has finally come!  For those of us that braved the brutal winter here in Indiana, it is a wonderful reward!  With the reward of spring comes beautiful flowers, gardens and everything green.  However, those flowers and warmer temperatures also mean ticks are here for the season.  In northern Indiana we see ticks starting as early as February (when the temperature is warm enough) and they last through October.

Male Dog Tick Continue reading

Annual R.M. Nelson Dog Park Meeting

The annual R.M. Nelson dog park meeting is going to be held on Monday, April 14, 2014.  The meeting will be in the community room at Concord High School at 6:30pm.  Attendees can enter through the McCuen Gym doors.  The dog park meeting is open to all new and returning members.  The purpose of the meeting is to discuss yearly dog park business and future projects.  If you and your pooch are passionate about the future of the park, please plan to attend.  We hope to see you there!

February is National Pet Dental Health Month

It’s here! It’s back!!  February is National Pet Dental Health Month!  What does this mean for you?  At AACS, all dental cleanings are discounted 15% for the entire month!  We do this in an effort to improve your pet’s health and rid their mouth of harmful bacteria.  Can you imagine how your teeth would feel if they hadn’t been brushed for 5-6 years?  Especially if you eat things like poop for instance (as many dogs do)?!  Gross!  That is why regular dental cleanings are necessary for your pet’s overall health.  The visible plaque and other material that you may see on the teeth of cats and dogs is actually loaded with disease causing  bacteria.  Over time, the bacteria enter the bloodstream and can settle in places like the heart and kidneys.

What do you do?  Schedule a free dental exam with one of our Registered Veterinary Technicians.  They will examine your pet’s teeth and determine if it is time to schedule a dental.  Some dogs (especially larger breeds) do not need dental cleanings until later in life.  Small dogs such as chihuahuas, poodles and yorkies may need yearly dental cleanings starting at a young age.  The average cat needs their first dental around 6-7 years of age.

What do we do?  First, we will do necessary bloodwork to make sure your pet is healthy enough for the procedure.  Once the bloodwork is done, your pet is placed under general anesthesia.  The teeth are cleaned with an ultrasonic scaler and polished.  A veterinarian checks the teeth for root exposure, fractures, and infection.  Any teeth that are diseased are extracted.  The remaining teeth are then given a flouride treatment.  Once this is done, your pet begins to wake up and will be ready to go home later in the day.

Due to the discount, appointments for dental cleanings fill up fast! Call today to schedule your free dental check up or discounted dental cleaning for February!

Snow Dogs!

Winter is here and in this part of the country, that means the snow has arrived!  While some people don’t enjoy the winter, many dogs certainly do!  The larger breeds of dog really love romping through the snow, chasing snow balls and eating snow.  Some small dogs do as well.  Being out in the snow is perfectly safe for most pets.  Some dogs may need a path shoveled for them however! 

It is important to watch the temperature outside. If it is in the single digits, being outside for extended periods of time may not be safe.  Some breeds of dog with “hairy” toes may get “snow balls” stuck between the pads on their feet.  These can be easily removed with a warm washcloth.  If your pet’s only water supply is outside, be sure to refresh it several times a day to prevent freezing.  Some little dogs refuse to go outside in the snow and cold.  They can hold it for long periods of time!  If this is your dog, you can set them outside for a few minutes and bring them back in immediately after they go to the bathroom!  This is the best time of year for certain breeds of dogs!  Huskies, Akitas, and other thick coated dogs love the snow and will happily stay outside for hours!  After all, we live in Indiana.  It snows here.  We might as well enjoy it!

Merry Christmas from AACS!

It’s almost Christmas and at AACS we are preparing for the holidays!  For us this means getting ready for lots of boarding dogs and cats, trimming our AACS Christmas tree and eating all of the delicious treats that clients bring in for us.

Many of us are looking for the “perfect” gifts for all of our four-legged family members.  At my house it’s lots of catnip toys, big dog bones, horse treats, winter squash for the pigs and some leafy greens for the ducks and chickens.  What will you buy your pets this year?  Kong’s make great gifts for dogs.  Greenies, Nylabones, and rope toys are also excellent gifts.  For cats, the laser toys are always popular as well as anything with catnip!

As Christmas approaches, there are a few pet hazards to watch out for.  The first one that comes to mind is cats trying to eat the curling ribbon that many of us use on our gifts.  This can bind up in their intestines and cause an obstruction and perforation.  Also, we get lots of phone calls about pets eating poinsettias and chocolate this time of year.  While poinsettias aren’t deadly, they will cause some vomiting and diarrhea so try to keep them out of reach.  No one wants Fido to have a blow out in the middle of Christmas dinner!  Dogs love chocolate.  Even milk chocolate in larger amounts is toxic to dogs.  Please call us if your dog has eaten chocolate to discuss any possible treatments needed.

Our Holiday hours are:

Christmas Eve 8:00 am – 12:00

Christmas Day – Closed

New Year’s Eve 8:00 am -12:00

New Year’s Day – Closed

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our family to yours!

It’s Trick or Treat time again!

October 31st is rapidly approaching!  It’s time to get your pet a costume and go trick or treating!  Halloween is a fun time of year. Who doesn’t love costumes and candy?!  However, it can be scary and even dangerous to some pets.  Here are some tips to keep you and your pet safe and happy for Halloween.

Keep all of the Halloween candy picked up and out of reach for your pet.  Hungry pets have been known to jump on counters and tables to get to that bowl of chocolates!  Chocolate is toxic to pets and can cause symptoms from mild nausea to seizures and death.  Call your veterinarian immediately if your dog gets into the candy stash!

Dressing your dog up as a bumblebee or superhero is often as enjoyable for the pet as it is for you!  Make sure the costumes do not have any loose parts that the pet may feel inclined to chew on or swallow.  Supervision while is in costume is very important.

Some dogs are very scared of people in costumes!  Do you blame them?  Who isn’t a little frightened by a giant clown or zombie!?  It is important to watch your dog for his or her signals that may mean she is scared or anxious.  Never force your dog into a situation that they are not comfortable with.  If the dog is backing away from someone in costume, follow his or her lead and get your pet out of this scary situation.  Don’t attempt to get your dog to “make friends” with the zombie.  This could lead to more fear and even aggression.

It is a good night to keep your indoor/outdoor cats inside.  The streets are very congested with cars and kids.  This can lead to unfortunate accidents if your cat would get into the road.  Cats may also become very scared of the crowds and costumes and run away to get away from the situation.  If this happens, they may become lost.

At AACS, we hope these tips help you and your pets have a safe and happy Halloween!