Every new puppy owner's worst nightmare is bringing home a new furry friend and watching it suffer from parvo within just a few weeks. This virus can turn a pup from playful to fatally ill in just days. Thankfully, this virus can be prevented.
Spring and Fall are considered "Parvo Season" in the world of veterinary medicine. This infectious, gastrointestinal virus can be picked up by those canines that are not fully vaccinated, have never been vaccinated, or puppies just weaned and starting out without their full antibodies on board. Part of what makes this virus so dangerous as well, is that it can be passed so easily from pup to pup, and without treatment, can be deadly.
How can my dog catch the virus?
The parvovirus can be easily transferred either by direct contact with an infected pet or through feces. It is known for being extraordinarily hardy and having a long life even without a host. Parvo can live on the soil for anywhere from nine months to a year. For surfaces like fabric and carpet, the virus can last 6 months or longer. Humid and shaded areas are the ideal environment. Cleaning with bleach, on items that can be, will help kill parvovirus.
When walking in an infected area, parvo can stick to the bottom of our shoes, care tires or pet's paws and carry the virus home to our environment. A healthy pet can either ingest infected feces, or lick their paws after walking through an infected area.
What are the clinical signs of parvovirus?
Every owner should know the signs to look for with parvo. Here are some common signs of the virus:
If you start to see any of these signs, we recommend contacting your local veterinarian as soon as possible. Catching the virus early can help your pet have the chance at recovery.
How can I help prevent against the virus?
As noted above, non-vaccinated dogs, or those puppies between 6 weeks to 6 months that have not yet completed their vaccine boosters, are at the highest risk. Therefore, vaccinating your pet is the first big step toward prevention. We also recommend that, during the vaccinating period, you keep your puppy or older dog away from other pets, or allow only interaction with other vaccinated pets in the safe environment of your own home. Puppies need parvo boosters every 3-4 weeks between the ages of 6 weeks to 16 weeks. If your pet is already older than 16 weeks, and has not yet been vaccinated, then he or she will need at least two boosters for the vaccine to take effect in the body.
If my pet gets parvo, what does treatment look like?
If your pet shows clinical signs of parvovirus, your veterinarian will run an antigen test or blood work to check. If diagnosis is positive, your vet will offer supportive care for your pet's symptoms to help him or her fight the illness. There is no cure for parvo. Because the virus will lower your canines immune system and white blood cell count, as the virus causes damage to the dogs intestinal wall, secondary infection can occur. So, helping your pet fight those secondary infections and keeping your pet hydrated, with medications on board to help fight, is his or her best chance. Your veterinarian will walk through the appropriate steps at your initial appointment. But knowing the signs and catching it early will help your pet toward recovery.
Prevention is the best route of care, especially in the case of parvovirus. Please consult with your local veterinarian today on starting your puppy's vaccine boosters today. Let's keep those canines healthy and smiling!
What is Heartworm Disease?
Heartworm disease is a serious and sometimes fatal disease in pets. Normally found in dogs, it can also be seen in cats, ferrets, wolves, coyotes, foxes, sea lions, and on rare occasions, humans. Heartworm disease is caused by foot-long worms that live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels. This disease can cause heart failure, lung disease and create damage to other organs as well.
What are the symptoms?
For canines, symptoms may not be as noticeable at first. Active dogs, dogs with health issues or those in the later stages of the disease will show more pronounced symptoms. The American Heartworm Society states, "Signs of heartworm disease may include a mild persistent cough, reluctance to exercise, fatigue after moderate activity, decreased appetite, and weight loss. As heartworm disease progresses, pets may develop heart failure and the appearance of a swollen belly due to excess fluid in the abdomen." Later progression of the disease may result in pale gums, labored breathing and dark colored blood in the stool.
For felines, symptoms could vary from subtle to dramatically noticeable. The American Heartworm Society say this about signs and symptoms in a cat: "Symptoms may include coughing, asthma-like attacks, periodic vomiting, lack of appetite, or weight loss. Occasionally an affected cat may have difficulty walking, experience fainting or seizures, or suffer from fluid accumulation in the abdomen. Unfortunately, the first sign in some cases is sudden collapse of the cat, or sudden death."
What is the life cycle of the Heartworm and how does my pet pick it up?
Heartworm disease starts off in a mosquito that has ingested the blood of an infected animal. After the first-stage larvae progresses through two more stages within the mosquito, typically 10-14 days, the mosquito can then carry that infection over to your pet. This is now called the "infective stage". When a mosquito, that has been infected, bites your pet, it leaves a path for the larvae to travel to your furry friend. The next stage takes 6 months for the larvae to develop into sexually mature adult heartworms and can live in your dog for 5-7 years and in your cat for 2-3 years.
Heartworms cannot be transferred from pet to pet without the mosquito as the carrier, and the disease is not based on location, but rather, mosquito population. Therefore, the increase in heartworm count within your pet can increase each mosquito season. This means that each state can be affected, whether you live in the north or south, though warmer climates are most susceptible.
What can I do to help prevent against infection in my pet?
The first step to prevention is with oral, injectable or topical prevention recommended for both canines and felines. The best route of care for canines is either oral or injectable prevention. For felines, we like to recommend our topical prevention, Revolution Plus (more information below). Oral and topical heartworm prevention often include prevention against intestinal parasites as well. Combinations for heartworm and flea prevention can also be found. At Deep Roots Animal Clinic, we offer multiple preventions both in clinic and in our online store (myvetstoreonline.com).
Here are some heartworm prevention options we offer and what they help prevent against:
Heartgard Plus (monthly oral prevention for your canine companion 6 weeks of age and older):
Proheart Injection (6 or 12 months of prevention for your canine companion 6 months of age and older):
Revolution Plus (monthly topical prevention - recommended for your feline friends 8 weeks of age and older):
Heartworm and flea combination prevention:
Simparica Trio (monthly oral prevention for your canine companion 8 weeks of age and older):
As Benjamin Franklin once said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Even though his quote was in reference to fire safety, it is so true in many other areas of life as well, especially in the area of health for your pet. Contact your local veterinarian today to know how you can start your pet on the road to prevention and let's keep those hearts healthy!
Every year, the third week of March is designated "Poison Prevention Week", making the month of March our awareness month. Just as we need to watch our kids and prevent against contact with toxins, we also need to watch the little critters in our lives, and homes, that can also come into contact with food, medication, plants and other objects that can be poisonous to their system.
What can we watch for? Human medications, while, many times, prescribed for our health, can be dangerous for our furry friends. Many prescription drugs, such as antidepressants, have been commonly ingested by dogs and can cause serious harm. Also, over-the-counter medications, such as drugs containing acetaminophen, and NSAIDs, are common medications that pets can get into and that can cause adverse effects to our canine and feline friends. These are just a few examples of toxic medications for our pets. If your pet ingests any medications that are not their own, please contact your veterinarian for more information.
Like myself, I am sure that many of you find yourself in the kitchen and a piece of food slips off the counter onto the floor. With pets in the home, you will need to watch these occurrences and keep your furry friend from picking up those stray pieces, if they are toxic. In the kitchen, foods such as:
There are many other toxins and chemicals in our homes. In our cabinets, garbage, shed or garage, keep your pets away from:
We may look at the plants in our homes and yards and think nothing of the poisonous effects they may have on our pets, distracted by their beauty, but plants can also have toxic results on dogs and cats. Plants like:
Poison prevention starts first with recognition; recognizing what is toxic for your pet will help with the prevention of ingestion. Get to know pet poisons, and if your pet ingests any of them, do not wait for symptoms to occur; seek immediate care.
Let's talk about hookworms. Puppies are especially prone to parasites of all kinds, but this week, let us focus on just one of those parasites. What are hookworms exactly? To answer pointedly, they are intestinal parasites that live in the digestive system of either your dog or cat. They get their name "hook"worm because they literally hook themselves into the lining of your pet's digestive system and, using their hook-like mouthpieces, feed off of the blood vessels of the intestinal lining.
The hookworm has a 3-stage life cycle: egg, larvae, and adult. These parasites start their life as microscopic eggs nested in your pet's stool where they can grow into larvae and contaminate the environment. But how long can they live outside of the pet's body? The American Kennel Club tells us that, "the larvae can survive for weeks or even months before infecting your dog." Once your dog, or cat, is infected. The hookworms attach themselves to their intestinal lining and grow into adults. They then lay eggs and continue the cycle.
How can your pet get infected? Hookworms can be transmitted a couple of different ways. Paws are notorious for picking up transmittable parasites. If one infected pet has a bowel movement in the grass, then the next pet to pass by can simply contract the infection by walking through it. Another way a pet can pick up hookworms is through oral transfer. Either by sniffing, getting the stool on their nose and then licking it, or eating the stool directly. It is also commonly picked up when some fecal matter is accidentally in contact with food or water and therefore ingested. For puppies, it can also be transferred in the womb and through the mama's milk.
Hookworms are also classified as a zoonotic parasite. A zoonotic parasite or disease is one that can transfer from pet to human or visa versa. Though we may not be as likely to pick up the hookworms orally, we can pick it up by allowing an infected pet to lick our face, or by walking barefoot through an infected environment. Adult stage hookworms are not passed to humans, but the larvae can burrow under our skin. Migrating larvae can affect organs and even eyes. Thankfully, this is rare and can be avoided by bathing and washing hands regularly, and knowing how to keep your environment as clean as possible to help prevent infection.
What are some common symptoms of hookworms to look for? The American Kennel Club gives us these to look for:
* Pale gums
* Weight loss
* Bloody diarrhea
* Itchy paws
* Poor growth
These symptoms could also be signs of other diseases going on in your furry friend's body. Contact your local veterinarian if you notice any of these.
What can you do if your pet becomes infected? First off, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian and have their stool tested to confirm diagnosis. Treatment usually involves an oral dewormer that is given to help kill adult stage hookworms. Because of this, your veterinarian will probably recommend treatment again in 2 to 4 weeks to target the existing larvae that may have survived into the adult stage. The second step would be to go home and clean up all the stool and clean your environment. Hookworms thrive in a warm, moist environment. We recommend cleaning up all stool immediately after each bowel movement is made. This will be the most effective way to keep larvae from having the chance to infect the environment. You will need to package all stool and discard in the trash to limit exposure to other pets. Lastly, you will want to speak to your veterinarian about getting your pet on a heartworm prevention that also targets hookworms and helps keep the infection from happening again.
If you suspect your pet may have hookworms, or you would like to have their stool tested for ease of mind, call your local veterinarian to set up an appointment.
So, you just brought home a new kitten, or maybe a cat with a few years behind her? How can you litter train them? Today we want to answer just that. No one wants to give their new, feline friend the uncomfortable and uneasy feeling of not having a place to go.
Let's start with the new kitties entering your home. For kittens, just starting off, their mom generally sets the tone for litter training. By two to three weeks of age, kittens start copying momma cat's litter box behavior habits. But you may not have the mom around, so what do you do? Since it is recommended that cats have a litter box that is about a length and a half longer than them, kittens can start off with a more compact litter box; graduating up to a larger size with growth.
For adult cats that may need that litter training, we recommend using the same guidelines, as mentioned above, for sizing: a length and a half longer than your furry feline. And if your adult cat is aging, keep in mind that with age comes some mobility issues per individual. With that in mind, make sure to keep those litter box walls short, maybe two to three inches in height, to allow for easy stepping.
For each cat, no matter the age, comes the question of - cover or no cover? Many owners may think that finding a litter box with a cover will provide the privacy their kitty desires. Being both a predator and prey, a cat's natural instinct is to find a place where they can make a quick getaway if needed. Not preferring to be cornered or trapped, some cats will prefer to have a litter box that is fully open. A covered litter box may also lead to the possibility of forgetting to clean the litter, therefore, building up fecal matter and odors. For older cats, entrance and exit may be difficult as well. Try to figure out what works best for your cat, but if they are urinating outside the box, it could be due to the desire to have that open box concept.
What kind of litter should you be using? Each cat will have their own preference with scented or unscented, as well as clumping or non-clumping, but, according to the Humane Society, research has found that most cats prefer the fine-grained litters, possibly due to the soft feel. Keep in mind, some cats will not prefer the corn or wheat-based litters because it smells like food, and they don't want to eliminate on food. But, once you find the litter that your feline loves, stick to it. Switching litters on cats can cause them to reject the litter box all together. If your cat ends up rejecting all commercial-based litters, try using sand. They may prefer the more natural approach. Do you have issues with your cat using your planting soil for a litter? If your cat is having trouble staying out of your plants, try putting rocks on top of the soil to prevent the mix up of plant soil and litter for your cat.
How many litter boxes should you have? And where should you put them? The typical rule-of-thumb, is to have one litter box per cat, plus one. Especially if you live in a two-story home, we recommend keeping one box on each story for easy access. And, like us, cats don't want to have to travel throughout the whole house, searching for a place to eliminate; try an easy to access place where your feline frequents and don't make them have to travel up or down stairs or through three doors, for example, to find their relief. Keep their litter boxes far from their food and water bowls and away from noisy appliances. If you are keeping the litter box in a closet or bathroom, the Human Society recommends keeping the door wedged open to prevent your feline friend from being trapped inside or locked out.
If your feline begins to urinate or defecate outside of the litter box, or urinates more frequently than normal, and changing litter or litter box does not help, please consult your veterinarian for further guidance and testing.
Litter training can be a difficult start, but once you find what your cat loves, you will be set! We love our furry friends, and we want to help make their business an easy one.
We all love a healthy dog, am I right? A rumbly-tumbly, rolly-polly pooch. I mean, isn't it true that the chubbier the better? The direct answer to that is a *fun fact!*: no.
Veterinarian and president of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, Dr. Ernie Ward, said, "Veterinarians need to offer more obesity treatment options than: Feed less and exercise more." I'm sure we have all heard this before. And then, your pup is hungry and barking constantly for more food. What can we do? We, at Deep Roots Animal Clinic, want to answer that question.
Let's start with the first question we should be asking, and that is, "What kind of diet is my canine SUPPOSED to be eating to begin with?" Dogs are omnivores, like humans, and can eat a combination of meat and plants in their diet. Unlike cats, who are considered obligate, or true carnivores, and only need a meat based diet, or on the opposite spectrum, cows, which are herbivores and can only have a plant based diet. Our canine's diet should be regulated according to their nutritional needs. Along with meat and plants, they need a well-balanced diet with an appropriate amount of minerals, vitamins, certain essential amino acids (from proteins) and specific essential fatty acids (from fats).
Again, which diets then should we be feeding? Pet food ingredients are listed by order of weight. Keeping that in mind, "premium" food is not only found on the nutrition label, but also, in the quality and source of the ingredients. Check the ingredients and the order they appear in the ingredients list. Find a diet that matches your pup's current lifestyle and body condition. Many, like Purina ProPlan, Royal Canine and Science Diet, offer diets geared toward your pet's needs. Detailed feeding instructions can also be located on the back of the bag.
Another factor to consider, is lifestyle. Most adult, indoor, spayed or neutered dogs have low energy requirements. Therefore, their diet should contain a relatively small number of calories per cup; ideally less than 350 calories. If a dog food has 500 calories per cup, and you have a 20lb dog, then the amount you should feed, according to the VCA Hospital Veterinarians, is tiny (and unsatisfying). Making matters worse, high-calorie foods mean even a small snack or a few extra kibbles can really pack on the pounds.
How many calories do our canine counterparts need? A standard formula for energy requirements for an adult, indoor dog that receives light, daily exercise, and is spayed or neutered is:
30 X weight in kg (or pounds divided by 2.2) + 70 = daily caloric intake
AHHHH, so much math am I right?! Don't worry. I'll break it down with an example. My pooch is 55 pounds. If I take that and divide it by 2.2, I would get: 25. Then I take 25 and multiply it by 30, which would give me: 750. That number, added to 70, leaves us at the daily caloric intake of 820. And if one cup of dog food was 500 calories, then my doggy would only be allotted less than two cups of food for the whole day. Being a senior, spayed canine, with a healthy lifestyle, she would do best with a diet that had lower calorie intake, allowing her to eat her desired, 1 cup, amount at each meal and keep the healthy body condition she needs (4 or 5; see picture below). Keep in mind, each dog is different and most likely needs less or more caloric intake, depending on its lifestyle and body condition. As briefly mentioned in the example above, spayed or neutered dogs have a decrease in their metabolic rate, and therefore, their energy needs are lowered. This is caused by the loss of estrogen and androgen (sex hormones) from the alteration. So their caloric intake would be decreased from the average pet.
So, you may be still wondering, what can I do to get my furry friend back to their optimal weight? What is best for dogs that need to lose weight is daily exercise and caloric restriction, which is usually 70% to 90% of the calculated amount above.
Dr. Steven Guzman - DVM states that, an appropriate diet along with daily exercise and avoiding things like excessive human food and high calorie treats is the best start to helping your canine toward a healthier diet and lifestyle. He recommends trading out those high calorie treats for vegetables like baby carrots or canned green beans. Also, each dog should get a measured meal twice daily, and owners should avoid free feeding when trying to lower their pet's weight.
Many health issues can arise, simply due to obesity strain on the body. So, let's give our canines the best quality in life we can give!
"My pet is shedding all over my house! What should I do?!"
Maybe you have this issue. Maybe you can’t wear black out of the house, because your Golden Retriever laid on your clean laundry pile last night and now all you see is hair. Maybe you “throw your hands in the air” in hopeless doubting, wondering if you’ll ever get your house clean enough for your mother-in-law, after your longhair tabby rubbed all over EVERY PIECE of furniture. Does this sound like you?
Don’t worry. You are not alone. Every pet owner, especially those of us with an indoor buddy, has felt this way. Why is your pet shedding so much?
Dog shedding is based on a few factors: breed, health and seasonal changes. There are a handful of breeds that have a more hypoallergenic coat that produce less dander. Dander is what is attached to the hair and what is considered the main, contributing factor to the allergens passed from canine to human. And while no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, according to the American Kennel Club, it is possible to find breeds that produce less dander, with limited shedding and fewer allergies.
Your dog’s health also affects their shedding habits. Stress, poor nutrition or an underlying medical condition can cause abnormal shedding in your furry friend. High quality pet-food manufacturers work hard to offer the correct amount of nutrients for your pet, so that extra supplements may not be needed. Yet, like how every human body is unique and responds to diets in different ways, dogs are similar in their uniqueness as well! You may have to experiment with different brands, or formulas to find that perfect, “fits-like-a-glove” match for your canine companion. Keep an eye out for excessive shedding, bald patches, red skin, bumps, rashes or scabs. If your pet experiences any of these conditions, please contact your veterinarian for advice.
"Let's bubble up, Buster!"
Okay, so now you may be thinking, “I can work with the breed and health factors, but I can’t choose or change the weather!!” Many indoor dogs are not affected by the seasonal changes quite as much as outdoor dogs, so they are more prone to smaller fluctuations of coat thickness and so, they typically shed evenly all year. The best thing for our domesticated doggy is daily brushing, adding moisture to their diet and keeping that vacuum and lint roller handy, for our own convenience. A regular bath is also helpful with shedding management. Depending on the coat type, regular baths can vary from weekly, to every 4-6 weeks, to seasonally. Over-bathing can strip too much oil from your pet’s skin. And be sure to use your canine friendly shampoo! Products specifically for shedding are a huge plus for you AND your canine counterpart.
But what about cats? Cats were created in a way that their regenerative coats are necessary to regulate their temperature. So, why are they shedding? To put it simply, that is how their bodies were designed. And, unless you have a hairless cat, your cat will shed. Maintaining through brushing and occasional baths can help you and your feline family member. The National Cat Groomers of America recommend cats get a bath and blow-dried every 4-6 weeks to keep their coats from getting matted or pelted. For strictly indoor cats, on average, bath time can be even more sparse! An average indoor cat can experience the “heart racing, eyes wide, claws out” bath time only once to twice a year. Choosing the frequency of this experience for you and your cat is up to you! However, remember, that even though baths can help the shedding issue, too often they can strip those healthy, skin oils your feline friend needs.
Health is, of course, another contributing factor to shedding in cats just as in dogs. If your furry feline starts shedding significantly more than normal in a short amount of time, seek counsel from your veterinarian; we are talking about a few days or weeks. Some of those contributing health factors include cat allergies, ringworm, thyroid disease or simply, anxiety, among others. But overall, just remember, shedding is a sign of a healthy cat!
Hair, hair everywhere! Let me guess what you are thinking. “Where there is hair, there is a furry friend. Where there is a furry friend, there are lots of cuddles. Where there are lots of cuddles, there is a lot of love and memories!” Am I right?! Hmm…maybe I should read minds for a living…
Oral health plays a major part of the well being of our furry friends. Just as with human teeth, naturally occurring plaque, that slimy build-up left from eating, will harden and turn into tartar, also called dental calculus, which builds up on the teeth over time. The real issue is what happens right at the junction between the teeth and the gums. As tartar builds up on the teeth, it holds bacteria and plaque against the gums, resulting in inflammation and infection of the gums. Over time this results in the breakdown of the seal between the teeth and gums, allowing infection to travel along the tooth and eventually compromising the tooth root all the way to the tip of the root far beneath the gumline! Once compromised, the tooth most often must be extracted leaving Fluffy with one less of those precious pearly whites!
Home dental care plays an important role in keeping teeth and gums healthy. However, just as we do with our own teeth, our pets teeth periodically need a thorough professional cleaning and evaluation of the gum health.
Schedule an appointment with us today to evaluate your pet for a dental cleaning and for further information about caring for your pets' teeth at home.
We have had a very wet spring in Central Texas, and with the hot, humid weather that describes summer in our Lone Star State, it is the perfect environment for the reproduction and hatching of billions of insects...including those pesky fleas!
Any pet owner who has had trouble with fleas on a dog or cat knows how quickly an infestation of these tiny pests can get out of control. But how does it go from one to hundreds, and thousands, so quickly?
There are 4 stages in the life cycle of a flea:
Eggs are laid on the pet, but then fall off into the environment (like your home or yard) within a few hours
Eggs hatch into larvae (they look like maggots) which develop outdoors in cool, shady areas - where pets rest - as well as indoors in undisturbed, protected sites such as in carpet, under furniture and along your house or apartment's baseboards.
After a few days or weeks, larvae spin whitish cocoons and become pupae. These cocoons can be found in soil, on vegetation, in carpets, under furniture and on animal bedding. Pupae can remain dormant for months, hatching as adult fleas once the weather is favorable (like in the spring).
Once hatched, adult fleas find a host (such as your pet) and begin feeding immediately - usually within a few minutes. Egg production begins within 20-24 hours of females taking their first blood meal. Female fleas can produce 40-50 eggs per day - that's nearly 3,000 fleas in 2 months! During the warm summer months, the entire flea life cycle can be completed in 2-3 weeks.
Fleas are pests that quickly duplicate and take over the environment, and they survive best in warm, humid climates...Texas! How do you get rid of fleas, and keep them away?
While fleas do spend most of their life cycle in the environment, it's important to know that their life cycle begins and ends on your pet. Your dog or cat is the breeding ground for fleas, so to stop the fleas from reproducing you need to eliminate them at their source. Putting your dog or cat on a monthly flea prevention is the best way to get the fleas at their source. The medication kills adult fleas, so consistency is important in order to interrupt their life cycle and kill the adults before they can lay eggs. That is why it is important to keep your dog or cat on a monthly preventative year round. Don't give those pesky fleas a window to begin reproducing! Talk to your veterinarian today about the best product to use on your pet!
Source: DVM360 & AmericanVeterinarian.com
Thank you to Kyle Chamber of Commerce for a wonderful ribbon cutting event on Friday 5/3. We are proud to be a part of the city of Kyle. And feel very blessed to be welcomed by so many people who came out and celebrated our grand opening with us on Friday. With a great opening week behind us, we look forward to continuing to serve Kyle. Our first week was exciting as we were able to help and serve many of our furry friends. Tune in to our blog as we attempt to share with you some of the happenings going on at our clinic. Here at DeepRoots Animal Clinic, Dr. Guzman, and our technicians: Veronica and Patrick look forward to meeting you.