Top 5 Halloween Pet Safety Tips

Halloween is right around the corner. To help you prepare for the big night ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center put together a list of the 5 most commonly noted Halloween-related problems.

1) Lock candy safely away. Kids love to stash candy in their rooms, but a dog's keen sense of smell will lead him to even the most cleverly hidden treasure. Contact a veterinary professional right away if your pet does get into Halloween candy, especially if it contains chocolate or is sugar-free and contains xylitol.

2) Don't leave glow sticks lying around. Glow sticks are used to help keep kids safe while they are out in the dark. Pets (especially cats) find these glow sticks to be a lot of fun as well, and we commonly get calls about pets puncturing the sticks. While most of them are labeled as non-toxic, they do have an extremely bitter taste and we will often see pets who bite into them drooling and racing around the house. A little treat or sip of milk will usually stop the taste reaction.

3) Keep your pet identified and visible. There are a lot of extra people on the streets at Halloween, and that combined with strange costumes can spook pets and cause them to bolt. If you take your pet out after dark, make sure he or she wears a reflective collar and is securely leashed. And make sure your pet has proper identification on the collar and a microchip.

4) Calm your pet. Even pets who are kept indoors may experience intense anxiety over the large number of strangely dressed visitors. Keeping your pet away from trick-or-treaters may do the trick, but if you think more will be needed be sure and speak with your vet well in advance about options to help calm your pet.

5) Check those costumes. Costumes can be fun for the whole family. If you are planning on dressing up your best bud, ensure that the costume fits well and isn't going to slip and tangle the pet or cause a choking hazard if chewed on. Never leave a costumed pet unattended.

As always, we're here to serve--give us a call with any of your dog or cat health-related needs, kindvet.com or 281.351.7184.

We love 'em like you do!

 

Emergency Evac-Pack for Pets

Harvey, in whatever form, is just about upon us in the Gulf Coast region. Now's the time to have a pet emergency plan and supplies.

Consider creating an Evac-Pack for your pets. Make sure that everyone in the family knows where it is. This kit should be clearly labeled and easy to carry.

Items to consider keeping in or near your pack include:

  • Water: at least 7 days worth of bottled water for each person and pet.

  • Food: enough for at least a week if not longer. Store the food in water tight containers. Remember, changing diets leads to diarrhea and dehydration, so try your best to prevent food change.

  • Pet feeding dishes.

  • Liquid dish soap and disinfectant.

  • Proper transport: a crate, sturdy carrier, or traveling bag, preferably one for each pet. Be sure the carrier is large enough for your pet to stand, turn around, and lie down. Protective underpads should be considered to line the carrier in case of accidents. 

  • Pet First-Aid Kit.

  • Disposable litter trays (aluminum roasting pans work great).

  •  Litter (scoopable is best), paper towels, and plastic bags for waste clean-up.

  • Extra harness or collar with I.D. tags, and leash. For dogs include a long leash and yard stake.

  • Photocopies of medical records and a waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires. 

  • Flashlight.

  • Blanket (for scooping up a fearful pet).

  • Recent photos of your pets in case you are separated and need to make "Lost" posters.

  • Make sure your pets are microchipped and up to date on vaccinations

  • Identify shelters and pet-friendly hotels in advance.

Finally, be sure to take care of your family and have a human emergency kit. Include batteries, duct tape, flashlight, radio, multi-tool, tarp, rope, permanent marker, spray paint, baby wipes, protective clothing and footwear, extra cash, rescue whistle, important phone numbers (including emergency contact numbers outside your immediate area), extra medication, and copies of medical and insurance information. Too, keep a NOAA Weather Radio tuned to your local emergency station.

For additional information:

Helping Pets - FEMA

Pets and Animals - .gov

Disaster Preparedness - ASPCA

Disaster Preparedness - CDC

Stay safe out there and let us know how we can help you! 281.351.7184 or kindvet.com

We love 'em like you do!

Code Red: Distemper Outbreak in Harris County

Be sure your dog's Distemper vaccination is up-to-date as Harris County is having an outbreak of this disease.

HCPH Veterinary Public Health has issued an urgent alert regarding the rise of distemper in the Harris County pet population. The Harris County Animal Shelter has enacted Code Red Protocols which include strict isolation and quarantine of sick and exposed animals and enhanced bio-security for visitors and staff. What makes this disease difficult to identify in shelters is the long incubation period: dogs who have contracted Canine Distemper can shed the virus for weeks to months.

Here is HCPH - VPH's news release, June 25, 2017:

The Harris County Animal Shelter has recently seen an increase in the Canine Distemper virus in our shelter dogs.

The shelter is aware of 10 cases of Canine Distemper. The dogs in question were in the shelter during the period of June 15 – July 14. Our on-going investigation is tracing any possible exposures to these dogs while they were in the shelter and contacting adopters, rescues, and fosters who now have these dogs. The dogs that may have been exposed, either in the shelter or in foster care are being tested for the virus. We are taking additional steps to identify infected dogs upon intake and implement proper quarantine and isolation procedures.

“Although we vaccinate all animals as they enter our shelter, we have no information about their health history. They may be shedding the infectious Canine Distemper virus without showing any signs of disease until days later. At that point, they may have already exposed other dogs to the disease.” said Dr. Michael White, director of the Harris County Animal Shelter.

Canine Distemper is a highly contagious, potentially deadly disease caused by a virus which attacks the respiratory (eye, nose, throat), nervous system (brain and nerves) and/or the gastrointestinal system (stomach and intestines). It can also lead to life-long damage in some recovered animals. Young puppies and dogs that have not been vaccinated or which have a weak immune system are most at risk. However, any dog can become infected and sick with the disease.

Canine Distemper virus is spread from animal to animal or in the air. Since our shelter was built in 1986, it consistently holds many more animals than it was designed for due to lack of adequate space. These conditions may cause diseases to spread more easily

Symptoms include: 

  • Runny eyes and nose (respiratory signs)
  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Depression
  • Muscle twitching or seizures
  • The skin on the paws and nose can also harden

These symptoms usually develop in 1-2 weeks after exposure, but it can be as long as 4-5 weeks or even more. There is no cure for distemper and the only medical option is to treat the symptoms as they occur. Many sick dogs require extensive treatment and care in a veterinary hospital. Once nervous system signs appear (seizures & muscle twitching), the dog may never recover or may have life-long damage.

Currently vaccinated dogs can still become infected by the Canine Distemper virus, but they only show mild or no signs of the disease. It is important that you follow up on the complete series of vaccinations to help prevent this disease in your new dog or puppy. We highly recommend that you make sure any pets you have in your home are currently vaccinated against this serious disease before bringing home a new pet.

The shelter is taking every precaution possible to end this outbreak of Canine Distemper, including additional disinfecting procedures and revised animal handling procedures. Fortunately, the virus is killed by most disinfectants.

If you adopted a dog from our shelter from June 15 through July 24, 2017, and it is showing any of the described symptoms, please contact the shelter at: 281.999.3191. We can provide consultation, examination, medication(s) and testing as deemed necessary by our veterinary staff at no cost to you.

The Harris County Animal Shelter is part of Veterinary Public Health (VPH), a Division of Harris County Public Health. The Harris County Animal Shelter takes in about 20,000 stray dogs and cats from unincorporated Harris County each year. It also provides shelter, care and adoptions for homeless pets, animal control in neighborhoods, zoonotic disease surveillance, and education on responsible pet ownership.

For additional information on Canine Distemper or dog vaccination protocols, or to update your dog's vaccinations, give us a call at 281.351.7184 or contact us at kindvet.com.

We love 'em like you do!

Fighting Fireworks Fears

Fireworks are wonderful fun for us, but many dogs are terrified by the explosions even to the point of panic, injury, or running away. Common signs of firework fear include panting, pacing, drooling, hiding, and barking. 

Here are some pointers to fight firework fears:

  • Provide a safe place: It's best to stay home with your pet if you know he has fireworks phobia. If that's not possible, be sure he is safely confined inside and well-identified with a collar/tags and a microchip. Place your dog in the basement, a center room in the house, or any room with lots of insulation in the walls, and play gentle music or white noise to drown out some of the scary sounds. Too, nervous dogs often drink lots of water, so have plenty available.
  • Provide a distraction: Use a fillable Kong-type toy to create a yummy challenge for your dog to play with during the fireworks. Fill the toy with dog food, treats, or fresh veggies and then add peanut butter (without xylitol), yogurt, or applesauce to fill the gaps. Place the toy in the freezer a few hours before the fireworks, then give it to him when the noises begin.
  • Provide comfort and love: Receiving love and comfort from trusted humans can help during panic situations. Support your dog by speaking to him in a soothing voice and offering snuggles. Your dog may also benefit from playful interactions with you, such as fetching a ball or playing with a toy.
  • Try anti-anxiety pet products: 
  1. Synthetic pheromones such as Comfort Zone Adaptil Spray or DAP.
  2. Herbal relaxants such as Composure or Rescue Remedy.
  3. Pressure wraps such as Thundershirts or Anxiety Wraps.
  4. Calming Caps or Ear Muffs.
  • Consider prescription medications: Talk to your veterinarian about the various types of short term sedatives or anti-anxiety medications that are available. It is much easier to prevent panic in your dog than stop it, so these medications are best given before the fireworks begin. Frequently used medications include trazodone, Valium, alprazolam, clomipramine, and fluoxetine. It is important to know that, although some medications may start working within hours, a few take several weeks to build up to an effective level. Too, the effect of a medication may vary so you should test it with your dog before the fireworks season starts.
  • Consider a veterinary specialist: By planning ahead, another way of getting fireworks fear under control is to schedule an appointment with a veterinary behaviorist who can work with you and your pet on true behavior modification. 

Bottom line: The most important thing you can do is begin to address your dog's firework phobia and not ignore it, as this type of fear and panic usually gets worse with time.

Give us a call if you need help this fireworks season at 281.351.7184. Or find us at kindvet.com

We love 'em like you do!

Rabies: Did You Know?

 Rabies is a progressive and deadly viral disease that affects the brain of carnivores and bats, primarily, although any mammal can be infected. Small mammals such as squirrels, rats, mice, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, chipmunks, rabbits, and hares are almost never found to be infected with rabies, and have not been know to cause rabies among humans in the U.S.

Rabies is transmitted through saliva and brain/nervous system tissue, and this almost always occurs through a bite from an infected animal. There is some thought the virus may rarely spread through mucous membranes (eyes, nose, mouth), and there are 11 human cases that occurred from organ transplants (corneas and solid organs). The high-risk carriers in Texas are bats, raccoons, skunks, coyotes, and foxes. However, the U.S. sees between 80 to 100 dogs and more than 300 cats with rabies each year. In foreign countries the number-one cause of human rabies is dog bites, with monkey bites coming up second.

Rabies has the highest case fatality of any infectious disease. Annually, in the U.S., 1 to 3 people die from rabies, however the numbers are staggering worldwide: over 60,000 people die each year. If you are bitten by a mammal, it is important to wash the wound thoroughly, seek immediate medical assistance, and report the bite to the local rabies control authority. Once a person begins to exhibit signs of the disease, survival is rare. To date, less than 10 documented cases of human survival from clinical rabies have been reported.

In the U.S. rabies vaccination is key in preventing disease in our pets. In Texas, dogs and cats must be vaccinated against rabies by 4 months of age, and follow-up boosters are required. Although not required by law, it is recommended that livestock (especially those that have frequent contact with humans), domestic ferrets, and wolf-dog hybrids be vaccinated against rabies.

For more info when traveling to foreign countries.

To report a bite case in Texas.

If you have additional questions about rabies, dog vaccinations, or cat vaccinations give us a call at 281.351.7184 or contact us at kindvet.com.

We love 'em like you do!

Dog Flu Vaccination Day...

...is June 20th. Protect your pet!

In recent weeks, #dogflu has been identified in dogs and could be a threat to your pup. The best way to protect dogs from #dogflu is prevention through vaccination. That’s why on June 20, 2017, we’re partnering with Merck Animal Health for #dogfluday to offer discounted dog flu vaccines at our clinic.

On that day the cost for Canine Influenza vaccination will be discounted by 30%. In addition, first time clients can use our coupon for a free exam for each of their pets who are receiving the dog flu vaccination that day.

For more information about the Dog Flu (Canine Influenza) and dog vaccinations, or to schedule an appointment, visit us at kindvet.com or call us at 281.351.7184.

We love 'em like you do!

Dog Flu is in Spring, Texas!

We now have 2 Canine Influenza cases in Spring, Texas. This, hot off the press from Blue Pearl Specialty and Emergency Hospital: 

"There has been a report of an influenza outbreak in the Southeastern U.S. in the last couple of weeks at large dog shows in Florida and Georgia. It is believed to be the H3N2 variety previously thought to originate in Asia. Some of these dogs traveled from all over the country, so it is feasible that you could see cases.

We currently are treating 2 confirmed cases of influenza in our Spring hospital, and both of these cases were exposed to the Perry, Ga outbreak....

We want to inform our primary veterinary community of the potential for a more large-scale outbreak in our area and other large metropolitan areas in the country. If any dogs present to you with signs consistent with infectious respiratory disease including cough, fever, nasal discharge, etc. please have this possibility in mind. 

Details of note:

  • No drugs are effective and treatment is mainly supportive. 
  • In some cases, dogs may have concurrent respiratory infections with other contagious organisms including secondary bacterial 
  • H3N2 is important because, like most flu viruses, it is spread through air easily and most dogs do not have protection against this strain.
  • Large outbreaks of this disease with fatalities have been reported in the past few years in different parts of the country....
  • No human transmission has been reported from this flu virus.  This is not the bird flu, swine flu, or other flu viruses that have infected humans.  Rarely, cats have been affected by this virus which caused upper respiratory signs, but all cats recovered with support care.
  • Vaccination is available.  The vaccine reduces the clinical signs if a dog gets infected, but does not prevent the flu virus from being able to infect the dog.  This is a 2 injection series, given three weeks apart.  Maximal protection does not occur until five weeks after administration.  It is a preventative vaccine and not a treatment."

For more info on influenza, see the link below:

https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Reference/Pages/Canine-Influenza-Backgrounder.aspx 

For more info on dog vaccinations.

We have the influenza vaccination available here at Spring Creek Animal Hospital. Call us at 281.351.7184 or contact us at kindvet.com 

We love 'em like you do!

Heartworms to Skyrocket

Heartworm disease is predicted to skyrocket this year due to the mild winter temperatures and above average rain we've had throughout most of the nation. This weather has been perfect for breeding the more than 70 species of mosquitoes that transmit the disease. The prevalence of heartworms in our Gulf Coast region of Texas is especially troubling.

Dogs are the primary host for heartworms, however other species can be infected including ferrets, cats, marine mammals, and even people.

Heartworms are a deadly and silent threat to our dogs. As a mosquito feeds, microscopic heartworm larvae migrate into the dog's bloodstream, and eventually develop into adult worms that can be as long as 12 inches. Adult heartworms live within the pulmonary arteries and right side of the heart causing lung damage and heart failure. Many dogs can be infected for years before symptoms of heartworm disease develop. Symptoms can include coughing, weight loss, fatigue, and decreased appetite.

Dogs that become infected with heartworms should see their veterinarian and undergo treatment as soon as medically practical, or the disease will worsen and even cause death. 

Heartworm prevention is the key to keeping your dog safe from this disease.  There are a variety of medications available to prevent the larvae from developing into adult heartworms: 

  • Advantage Multi® Topical Solution for Dogs (imidacloprid/moxidectin) (Bayer Animal Health) 
  • HEARTGARD® Chewables for Dogs (ivermectin) (Merial) 
  • HEARTGARD® Tablets for Dogs (ivermectin) (Merial) 
  • HEARTGARD® Plus Chewables for Dogs (ivermectin/pyrantel) (Merial) 
  • HeartShield™ Plus Flavored Chewables (ivermectin/pyrantel) (TruRx) 
  • Interceptor® Flavor Tabs® for Dogs & Cats (milbemycin oxime) (Elanco) 
  • Iverhart Max® Chewable Tablets (ivermectin/pyrantel pamoate/praziquantel)  (Virbac) 
  • Iverhart Plus® Flavored Chewables (ivermectin/pyrantel) (Virbac) 
  • Paradyne® (selamectin) (Zoetis) 
  • PetTrust™ Plus Chewable Tablets (ivermectin/pyrantel) (Sergeant's) 
  • ProHeart® 6 (moxidectin) (Zoetis) 
  • Revolution® (selamectin) (Zoetis) 
  • Sentinel® Flavor Tabs® (milbemycin oxime/lufenuron) (Virbac) 
  • Sentinel® Spectrum® Chewables (milbemycin oxime/lufenuron/praziquantel) (Virbac) 
  • Trifexis® (milbemycin oxime/spinosad) (Elanco) 
  • Tri-Heart® Plus Chewable Tablets (ivermectin/pyrantel) (Intervet/Merck Animal Health) 

It is extremely important that dogs who receive heartworm preventive have annual heartworm testing to verify they have not become infected despite the medication. Why? Because we know that no heartworm preventive is 100% effective; heartworms are beginning to develop resistance to the preventives in parts of the country; and dogs can spit out the preventive or, rarely, tablets can pass through their GI tract and not be digested. If an infected dog has microfilaria (baby heartworms) and receives heartworm preventive, life-threatening anaphylaxis can occur.

If your dog needs heartworm preventive or treatment, call us at 281.351.7184 to schedule an appointment or check out our website, kindvet.com

We love'em like you do!

 

 

Soapbox Warning: Fleas, Really?!!

Now that we've seen the first case of bubonic plague this season--which is transmitted to pets AND PEOPLE through bites from infected FLEAS, and is FATAL 50% of the time in people--I thought I'd take my megaphone, jump on my soapbox, and shout-out:

Hey Peeps! In this day and age there are ZERO reasons why a pet dog or cat should have fleas...ZERO! 

And yet, I see pets with fleas in my practice every single hour of every single day of every single year, which is NOT GOOD! Fleas cause diseases, and they are just plain hugely uncomfortable to our dogs and cats. 

30 years ago, when I started my veterinary practice, you could make a case the reason our pets had fleas was because flea control was inadequate. All we had back then were flea dips, flea sprays, flea shampoos, flea powders, and flea collars. None of these products provided flea prevention for longer than a few days, or were weak in their ability to kill fleas. They failed miserably, so it was common for our pets to be infested with fleas. 

Today, however, we have excellent flea preventives for dogs and cats that, when used year-round (and monthly in most cases), will keep our dogs and cats flea-free. There are many to choose from, but I do have my favorites:

  • NexGard is a chew tablet given every month -- my favorite for most dogs.
  • Revolution is a topical dosed every month -- my favorite for most cats.

I want to reiterate that all non-debilitated dogs and cats should be treated with flea control all year-round in Texas and most of the country, and this includes inside-only cats. One pregnant flea will produce 2000 baby fleas, and guess who rides into the house, unnoticed, on your clothes? Yep, that female flea itching to find your cat (or dog) and spread microscopic eggs all over your place. Check with your vet whether or not your sick pet should be on flea control.

There are other flea controls on the market, and available in our hospital, and I'd love to chit chat with you about what's right for your pet. Give me a call at 281.351.7184 or find us on the web at kindvet.com.

 

Breaking Alert - Parvo Upsurge!

According to officials in Houston/Harris County (Texas), Parvo cases have suddenly made an upswing in our area. Be sure that your dog/puppy is up-to-date on vaccinations!

HCPH Veterinary Public Health is sending this alert to inform you of the rise of parvo in the Harris County pet/stray population.  We are seeing an increase in the frequency of parvo cases coming in from the community.

Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that attacks white blood cells and the gastrointestinal tract of puppies, dogs, and wild canids.  It is spread by direct dog-to-dog contact and contact with contaminated feces, environment, people, and fomites (kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes, and the hands and clothing of people who handle infected dogs).  It is resistant to heat, cold, humidity, and drying, and can survive in the environment for long periods of times.  All dogs are at risk, but puppies less than four months old and dogs that have not been adequately vaccinated against canine parvovirus are at increased risk of becoming infected and ill.  To reduce gaps in protection and provide the best protection against parvovirus during the first few months of life, a series of canine parvovirus vaccinations including a vaccine between 14 and 16 weeks of age should be given. To protect adult dogs, pet owners should be sure that their dog’s parvovirus vaccination is up-to-date.

HCPH Veterinary Public Health vaccinates dogs on intake with the DHPP vaccine and intranasal Bordetella vaccine.  With increased awareness of parvo cases from the community, we have been able to identify infected individuals upon intake and successfully prevent spread within the shelter.

We encourage you and your staff to be diligent about reducing the risk of infection spread throughout your veterinary clinic and the Harris County community.  Please remind your clients to vaccinate their animals regularly, use good hygiene, and use caution when bringing their pet to places where young puppies congregate and areas of pet waste.  Prompt and proper disposal of pet waste is advisable as a way to limit spread of canine parvovirus infection as well as other diseases that can infect humans and animals.

Veterinary Health Alert Network, Veterinary Public Health, Harris County Public Health

612 Canino Road, Houston, TX 77076, 281-999-3191

We can help you figure out if your dog's vaccinations are current. Call us at (281) 351-7184 or reach out through our website, kindvet.com

We love 'em like you do!