Springtime Parasite Safety For Your Dog

outdoor dogs

Springtime Parasite Safety For Your Dog

 

It’s the time of year when your pet is going to start spending more time outdoors. You may not give much thought to who he shares that space with—but you should. From deer and coyotes to foxes, skunks, bats, and raccoons, wild animals can pose a serious threat as they carry a variety of diseases that can be transmitted to pets and people. Springtime parasite safety for your dog is definitely something you want to think about.

Rabies

  • Rabies is a disease caused by a virus that attacks the brain. It can affect any warm-blooded animal, including dogs, cats, and humans. It is almost always fatal.
  • All mammals can contract rabies, but some are more susceptible than others. Foxes, skunks, and raccoons are particularly prone to rabies and can be carriers. The disease is transmitted by the bite of a rabid animal to another mammal.
  • The best way to prevent rabies is to have your pet vaccinated. For more information visit pet vaccinations

 Leptospirosis

  • Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects livestock, wildlife, companion animals, and humans. Symptoms of the disease can vary, but common signs include fever, lethargy, and vomiting. The disease can be fatal if left untreated or even if treatment is delayed.
  • Leptospirosis is most commonly transmitted through standing water or soil contaminated with the urine of infected animals. Pets at particularly high risk include those who frequent dog parks, visit hiking trails or other nature areas that have an increase in wildlife traffic, or spend any time outdoors, even if only in the yard. Pets that are walked in common areas such as apartment complexes or busier neighborhoods are also at great risk.
  • A vaccine is available to protect your pet against leptospirosis infection. In addition, be sure not to let your pet drink from standing water and avoid any areas that may be contaminated.

Tapeworms

  • Tapeworms are long, flat worms that live in your pet’s intestines.
  • In order to become infected with tapeworms, your pet must ingest a flea that contains tapeworm eggs. This process begins when fleas are accidentally ingested upon licking or chewing the skin. The flea is digested within your pet’s intestine and the tapeworm hatches, anchoring itself to the intestinal lining. We are seeing an increased number of pets with fleas every year, even in the city.
  • Tapeworm infections are treated with a deworming medication that kills the worms within the intestines.
  • The most effective way to prevent infections in pets and humans is through aggressive and thorough flea control.

 Giardiaswimming dogs

  • Giardia is a parasite that lives in the intestines and is passed in the feces. In some humans and animals, it can cause diarrhea and cramping known as Giardiasis. Anything that comes in contact with feces from infected humans or animals can be contaminated with the Giardia parasite.
  • Wildlife including beavers, muskrats, deer, coyotes, and rodents are frequent carriers of Giardia. Pets may become infected after drinking from puddles or ponds or swallowing infected stool from other animals. Signs of Giardia infection include diarrhea, greasy stools, and dehydration.
  • Giardiasis can be treated with medication; however, this parasite can persist in the environment and lead to reinfection. Because of this, environmental disinfection is also critical.

Tick Transmitted Diseases

  • Ticks are blood-feeding external parasites that can attach to both animals and humans and spread transmit numerous bacterial diseases, including Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
  • Ticks are unable to jump and instead find their hosts through a behavior called “questing.” Questing ticks perch on leaves or blades of grass with their front legs extended, waiting to climb onto a host that brushes past. They can easily grab a hold of your pet’s fur as he travels through particularly grassy, bushy, or wooded areas. The tick then burrows down through the hair where it attaches to the skin.
  • When it comes to preventing ticks and the diseases they spread, consistent parasite control is key. In addition, you should always examine your pet thoroughly after hikes or other outdoor activities. If you find a tick on your pet, it is important to remove it as soon as possible, if you are unsure or unable to remove it yourself please call your vet for assistance.
  • A Lyme disease vaccine may be also be recommended for pets who are highly exposed to ticks.

As always, do not hesitate to contact us with any questions. staff@gentletouchanimalhospital.com or 303.691.3720


Thanksgiving Pet Safety

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Thanksgiving Pet Safety

Food and Decorations

Thanksgiving is a special holiday, with decorations and an overabundance of food. Thanksgiving pet safety is of the upmost importance. While pets should be considered a part of the family, they should not eat the same as the 2-legged family members.

Human food can be very difficult for pets to digest. If it is fatty, their bodies cannot properly process it and that can lead to a life-threatening condition called pancreatitis.  Even a small piece of turkey can have too much fat on it. Do not give him the turkey bones. They are soft and can break apart or splinter, causing an obstruction. Desserts often contain chocolate and/or xylitol, both of which are toxic. For a complete list of harmful foods visit the ASPCA/food safety .

When you are cleaning up after the feast, make sure the trash is out of the way. The smells in their will be too much for your furry family member to resist. Any spills should be cleaned up immediately.

Be very careful with decorative plants. A lot of holiday plants and flowers can be toxic to pets. This includes (but is not limited to) amaryllis, hydrangeas, baby’s breath and poinsettias. For a complete list visit the ASPCA/toxic plants .

Cats are very curious and will check out that candle with the open flame you have so beautifully displayed. Never leave a pet alone in a room with one. Pine cones, garland, and other small decorations can make for a fun toy (so they think) but can also cause a not so fun obstruction if it is ingested.

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Traveling With a Pet

If you are taking your pet across state lines, make sure you have had a veterinarian first check him out completely and issue you a travel certificate. If you are flying, be sure to check with your airline to find out what their specific requirements are. If you are traveling internationally you must also find out the requirements in the country you are entering. Some are very strict and require treatments or vaccine way in advance, so make sure you start early. For more information on domestic travel you can visit USDA/pet travel.

 

All pets should be restrained while in the car. This means using a harness or carrier. Make sure to place them in the back, away from airbags. Not only is restraint safer for them, it also protects the driver from being distracted by a pet roaming freely in the car.

 

As always, for additional information you can visit www.gentletouchanimalhospital.com email us at staff@gentletouchanimalhospital or call us at 303.691.3720