Happy 2018! Although Berks County has been in the deep freeze for the past couple of weeks, they are still out there! What am I talking about? Parasites.
The numbers are in for 2017 with 3.27% of dogs in Berks County having had roundworms (1 in 31). Hookworms are in at 2.87% (1 in 35), whipworms — 1.07% (1 in 94), and giardia — 4.9% (1 in 21). Cats fared no better with 3.29% (1 in 30) having had giardia, 1.12% (1 in 90) had hookworms, and 8.79% (1 in 12) had round worms.
So how do you prevent your family pet from being part of the statistics for 2018? First, check a fecal at your next vet visit. If you can’t get a sample, ask the technician or veterinarian to get a sample so we can test it while you are at the office. That way we can address any issues while you are at Willow Creek. Puppies and kittens should have at least 4 fecals tested in the first year of their lives. This is due to the lifecycle of the parasites. Adult dogs and cats should have 1-2 fecals a year depending on their lifestyles and health.
Kittens and puppies should be dewormed every two weeks until they are put on a broad-spectrum monthly preventative. Adult dogs and cats should be on a year-round broad-spectrum parasite control. The Companion Animal Parasite Council has a great website for guidelines for pet owners about parasites, the risks to people, and how best to protect your family pet. www.petsandparasites.org
Let’s do our best to keep you and your pets as healthy as possible!
Ann E. Bastian, V.M.D.
How many worms, ticks, viruses, or fleas on your pet are OK with you? Ten? One hundred? One thousand? I am going to bet that your answer is zero. Unfortunately, parasites are a constant threat to our pets. Most parasites are microscopic, so the threat goes unnoticed. It is amazing how many people decline an annual fecal exam because “they don’t see anything in their pet’s stool”!
There is a very interesting website (www.capcvet.org) that breaks down the incidence of parasites in all the counties in the United States and Canada. The following are the current statistics for Berks county:
Lyme disease – 18.9% (1 of 6 dogs test positive)
Erhlichiosis – 1.81% (1 of 56)
Anaplasmosis – 8.36% (1 of 12)
Roundworms – 3.11% (1 of 33)
Hookworms – 2.46% (1 of 41)
Whipworms – 1.11% (1 of 90)
Giardia – 4.95% (1 of 21)
Heartworm – 0.04% (1 of 157)
FeLV – 1.97% (1 of 51 cats)
FIV – 5.7% (1 of 18)
In our practice, we diagnose dogs with Giardia on a regular basis. Currently we have 2 dogs that are undergoing heartworm treatment. So, the threat is real. Please bring in a fecal when your pet comes in for their annual exam. Our staff is ready to answer any questions about the threat of parasites to your pet, and will help you formulate a plan to lessen the risk to your pet.
Ann E. Bastian, V.M.D
April showers bring May flowers, and what do May flowers bring? Itchy dogs and cats. With the re-emergence of spring, the flowers and trees are in full bloom. While we are all enjoying this welcomed weather, the pollen count is through the roof. That means if your pet suffers from atopic dermatitis (aka – seasonal allergies), your pet is probably itchy. Animals show their allergies differently from their human families. While human allergy sufferers experience itchy eyes, runny noses, and scratchy throats, our pets show their allergies through their skin. That means they itch, their ears get infected, they get skin infections, and they lick and chew.
Luckily, we now have an arsenal of tools to help our pets. Topical products can help control secondary skin and ear infections. That can take the form of shampoos, ear drops, and wipes. We can test your pet to see what specific things they are allergic to. We can then order allergy shots or oral allergy drops to help desensitize them (just like people get allergy shots). There are a variety of oral medications to help control the itch as well. Steroids are very effective, but carry a host of side effects, especially if used for the long term. Anti-histamines can help with mild cases. There is a combination product of a small amount of steroids and antihistamine to combine the best of both worlds. Cyclosporine can help to decrease the immune response in both cats and dogs. Elimination diets are available for dogs and cats with food allergies.
A newer product on the market has given relief to those dogs for who nothing else has worked. Apoquel is a cytokine inhibitor, that works on the JAK1 receptor. This does not allow the allergy cascade to start at the cellular level. It is appropriate for dogs over one year of age, and has a good safety record.
Whatever your pet’s allergy issues, our veterinarians can work with you to find the best solution for your pet.
Ann E. Bastian, V.M.D.
As we head into warmer weather, it is time to share some fun tick facts.
- Ticks are part of the Arachnoid species, so they are more closely related to spiders and scorpions.
- There are over 800 species of ticks.
- Ticks crawl up their hosts, and are attracted to their hosts by heat, odor, and CO2.
- The majority of ticks use 3 different hosts for their 3 different life stages.
- Ticks need to be attached for at least 24 hours to transmit disease.
- Ticks have anti-inflammatory and anesthetic agents in their saliva to make it less likely that their hosts will notice that they have been bitten.
- Temperatures have to be less than 10F for a long period of time for ticks to die.
- Male ticks die right after mating.
We have multiple options for controlling ticks. Please talk to one of our staff members about what may be appropriate for your pet. And, it is quite likely, you may find one of these on your human self! We also have “tick twisters”, which can be used on humans and pets, alike.