Mountain Ridge Animal Hospital

287 N. HWY 287
Lafayette, CO 80026

(303)665-4852

mountainridgevet.com

Dr. Rob Landry's Published Articles

The Family Dog

Published: October, 2004 CLM Magazine

 

Be certain to choose the correct dog to meet your family's needs and wants.

 

 

 

Heartworms in Colorado

Published: March, 2005 CLM Magazine

 

The following article is intended to discuss a serious life threatening illness in our small animal companions. Heartworm disease is a potentially deadly infection, caused by worms that may grow to be 14-inch-long adults. These worms live in the right side of the heart and arteries of the lungs. Dogs of any age and breed are susceptible to infection. Heartworm infection can cause potentially serious damage to these arteries, eventually leading to heart failure, and in severe cases, damage other organs such as the liver and kidneys. In extreme cases, a dog can be be infected with several hundred heartworms. Cats are also susceptible to the disease.

 

 

 

Make Sure Your Family Pet Has a Happy Holiday

Published: December, 2004 CLM Magazine
December, 2005 Broomfielder Magazine

Many holiday foods and plants can be toxic if ingested?if you think your family pet may have ingested something harmful, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

 

 

 

Is Your Dog At Risk from Leptospirosis?

Published: April, 2005 CLM Magazine

 

Virtually every dog that ventures outdoors is at risk to leptospirosis. Dogs playing outside may have exposure to or contact with wildlife (raccoons, skunks, possums), and dogs that drink from ponds or puddles in high-risk areas clearly have higher risk of infection. 

 

 

 

The Heat is ON!!!

Published: May, 2005 CLM Magazine

 

Heatstroke induced by increased outdoor activity can be prevented by exercising your dog during the cooler parts of the day. Heat stress can be prevented by simply providing your dog adequate ventilation, a place to get out of direct sunlight, and free access to cool drinking water.

 

 

 

Pets and Pain

Published: February, 2005 CLM Magazine
April, 2005 Broomfielder Magazine

 

Given the complexity of pain perception, behavioral signs of pain are unique for each animal and may be best identified by the animal's owner.

 

 

 

Senior Wellness For Your Family Pet

Published: January 2005 CLM Magazine

 

"Many chronic disorders and disease processes seen in older pets can be medically controlled, and in some cases resolved, if they are detected early enough." 

 

 

 

Preventative Measures to Assure a Healthy Quality of Life for Your Pets

Published: January 2005 CLM Magazine

 

This article will give you, as a pet owner, an idea of the necessary measures needed to provide dogs and cats the best chance of protection from a number of infectious diseases and illnesses. Infectious diseases are still an important aspect of veterinary medicine, as well as human medicine. It is my goal to educate pet owners in order to achieve a reduction in the number of deaths in our small-animal companions. 

 

 

 

Spaying and Neutering Your Family Pet

Published: November, 2004 CLM Magazine

 

This article is intended to provide pet owners with the information needed to make the right decisions when it comes to having your family pet spayed or neutered.

 

 

 

     

The Family Dog!!!!

  • Our canine companions have always been considered man's best friend. We benefit from the loyalty and companionship that dogs provide, and dogs have increasingly become members of the family. This article will provide information for selecting the correct puppy and on general dog care.
  • Selecting the right dog needs to be done in order to meet your family's expectations. All puppies are cute, and they all like to cuddle up and lick your face. Some grow to weigh five pounds and some grow to be 115 pounds or more. When you are looking for a dog ask yourself the following questions: What are your needs in a dog? What kind would fit your home? Will the dog require a lot of exercise? Will the dog shed excessively? Do you have budget constraints in terms of dog food and medical care? Do you desire a dog that is naturally high-strung? Do you desire a dog that can play fetch? Do you desire a dog with a known family-friendly disposition?
  • There are many dog breeds to choose from. Many dogs can be found in animal shelters and would love to be part of your family. Whether you choose a purebred or mixed-breed dog, be certain to choose the correct dog to meet your family's needs and wants. Getting a family dog on impulse can certainly be very rewarding; however, it may lead to more dogs without homes.
  • There have been many medical advances that will keep your family dog healthy. There are also many misconceptions in terms of dogs. The following are some examples of both.
  • Male vs. Female. An age-old question. Which is best? There's a feeling among dog owners that females make the best pet, but I would have to disagree. It really depends on how the dog is raised. Males are just as affectionate as females. Male dogs provide the very same companionship as females. Male dogs have different personality traits, yet are no less of a dog than females. Breeding. If you choose to breed your dog, you need to be committed to her overall health. A female dog' s first heat cycle occurs at approximately nine months of age, then, in most cases, goes on a six-month cycle. Females attract the males during part of this cycle. Consult with your veterinarian to assure that your dog maintains a healthy pregnancy. The pregnancy will last for 63 to 65 days.
  • Spayed Females/Neutered Males. Having your dog spayed or neutered will provide a greater opportunity for a long and healthy life. Intact male dogs have a higher risk for prostate disease, and they will more likely have detrimental behavioral habits. Intact female dogs have a much- higher risk for breast cancer and uterine infections. Having your dog spayed or neutered will also assure against unwanted liters and more unwanted animals in our shelters.
  • Parasites. Fleas, lice, and ticks can cause a dog and the owner real misery. There are many species of each, but they all have one thing in common: they must have a warm-blooded animal on which to feed. Such parasites do exist in Colorado. Fleas are not as prevalent, but they certainly exist. Certain species of ticks can carry and transmit many diseases that affect our canine companions.
  • Mange. There are two types of mange, commonly known as demodex and scabies. Both kinds are caused by mites and require attention from your family veterinarian.
  • Ringworm. Ringworm isn't a worm at all it's a fungus infection of the skin that looks like its name. This fungal infection can present as a simple lesion or generalized over the animal's body. Worms. Worms are major parasites of puppies and adult dogs. There are five worms that affect dogs: roundworms, tapeworms, whipworms, hookworms, and heartworms. The first four are intestinal worms, and a heartworm is a blood parasite. Intestinal worms are a human health risk because of the diseases they can cause in people. Heartworm was confi ned to the southern United States; unfortunately it has now become a problem in all parts of North America. Deworming should begin at two weeks of age for intestinal worms. Heartworm prevention should begin before six months of age.
  • Since my childhood I have wanted to help animals of all kinds. Having dogs as part of our daily lives truly provides pleasure and companionship. I look at dogs as family members and continue to strive as a veterinarian who can provide them with the best life medically possible. I want to secure a long relationship between you and your family dog. Congratulations on your new family member. They will naturally provide you with unconditional, unbiased, non- judgmental, and loyal companionship.
  • Future articles will focus on cats, human-animal bonds, and other animal-related topics. Mountain Ridge Animal Hospital is located at Baseline and Hwy 287 in Lafayette, open daily. Call 303.665.4852.


 Heartworms in Colorado

  • Heartworm disease is spread by mosquitoes that become infected with early stage heartworms (microfilarie) while taking a blood meal from an infected dog. The microfilarie mature into the infective stage within the mosquito. When the mosquito then bites another dog, cat, or susceptible animal, it then passes the infective stage in to the animal's blood stream. It then takes a little over six months for the infective stage to mature into adult worms that can live for five to seven years in the dog.
  • Clinical signs of heartworm disease may not be recognized in the early stages, as heartworms tend to accumulate gradually over a period of months and sometimes years and after repeated mosquito bites. Dogs recently infected may exhibit no signs of disease, while heavily infected animals may eventually show clinical signs, including mild, persistent cough, reluctance to move or exercise, tiredness after only moderate exercise, reduced appetite, and weight loss.
  • Detection of heartworm infection in apparently healthy animals is usually made with blood tests for the different stages of heartworm. X-rays and ultrasound can also be used to determine the worm burden and extend of the disease.
  • Heartworm disease is completely preventable. Pet owners need to work with their veterinarian on how to best protect their pets from the dangerous disease. Heartworm prevention is safe, easy and inexpensive compared to treating an animal after adult worms have matured. There are a variety of options for the prevention of heartworm disease including daily and monthly tablets and chewables, or monthly topicals. Treatment for heartworm disease is available and is complicated by expense and potential complications with treatment. It could take weeks for treatment to be successful.
  • The typical mosquito season in Colorado is from April-August, however, with the warmer temperatures mosquitoes are seen earlier as well as later in the year. There are many cases of positive cases diagnosed in Colorado every year. As the population grows and people move here from endemic states the rise in heartworm disease will continue. Many of the products used to prevent heartworm will also provide adequate protection from intestinal parasites as well. Contact your family veterinarian to discuss the best protocol for your family pets. You can access more information from www.heartwormsociety.org.

 


Make Sure Your Family Pet Has a Happy Holiday

  • There are several common hazards that your family pets are exposed to during the holidays. Cats and dogs love to eat during the holidays, just as much as we do. However, many holiday foods and plants can be toxic if ingested by your pets.
    • Poinsettia:
      The poinsettia is a common ornamental plant seen during the holidays. Both cats and dogs have been known to eat this plant. The poinsettia is considered to be of low toxicity, and ingestion usually results in mild gastrointestinal effects such as vomiting, salivation, diarrhea, abdominal tenderness, and loss of appetite.
    • Daffodil:
      Daffodils are commonly known as Wild Daffodil, Lent Lily, and Poet's Daffodil. Although they are commonly perennial plants, they can be part of flower arrangements during the holiday season. Signs of ingestion can typically occur within 15 minutes to 24 hours. Common clinical signs include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal tenderness, anorexia, salivation, and pale gums.
    • Mistletoe:
      Mistletoe is one of the most-common household plants during the holidays and can cause illness if ingested. The berries, leaves, and stems of the plant are all potentially toxic. The onset of clinical signs can be immediate or delayed for several hours, and include vomiting, diarrhea, salivation, and weakness. Other common clinical signs are difficulty walking, constricting pupils, and drinking a lot of water.
    • Chocolate:
      Theo bromine is the component in chocolate and cocoa powder that is known to be toxic for cats and dogs. The concentration of Theo bromine varies among different chocolate products. Chocolate also contains a small amount of caffeine. Cocoa beans and cocoa powder contain the greatest amounts of Theo bromine. The toxicity depends on a number of factors, which include the animal's weight, amount ingested, and type of chocolate. Chocolate can be fatal. Onset of clinical signs is generally within 24 hours, usually within less than four hours. The most-common clinical signs are vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal tenderness, drinking a lot of water, restlessness, excitability, hyperactivity, salivation, difficulty walking, and a fast heart rate. In severe cases there may be muscle rigidity, urinary incontinence, tremors, and even convulsions.
  • There are many more substances that can cause problems in our small animal companions during the holidays. Cats commonly like to play with Christmas tree decorations such as tinsel and string. Dogs maybe interested in playing with, and potentially eating, the ornaments from your tree. Ethylene glycol (antifreeze) intoxication is common during colder months and is very life threatening if not addressed immediately. Feeding your animals a lot of meals from the table can cause a wide range of intestinal illness.
  • Many of the plants, substances, and foods most commonly encountered during the holidays can present similar clinical signs. If you think your family pet may have ingested something harmful, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Together, you can develop the appropriate treatment plan.
    Have a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year!

 


Is Your Dog At Risk from Leptospirosis?

  • Leptospirosis is an emerging infectious disease affecting our canine companions. Leptospirosis, or "lepto," is a deadly zoonotic bacterial disease spread by wildlife and domestic animals. Zoonotic diseases are those that can be transmitted to people and cause disease. There are different strains (serovars) of leptospirosis. Leptospirosis is transmitted among animals by direct contact (i.e., infected urine, venereal secretions, animal bites, and ingestion of infected tissue) and indirect contact (i.e., contaminated water, soil, food, and bedding). Stagnant or slow-moving warm water provides a suitable habitat for leptospirosis.
  • Clinical signs associated with leptospirosis depend on the age and immunity of the animal, environmental factors affecting the organisms, and the aggressiveness of the individual serovars. Some of the more-common clinical signs are vomiting, diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, bloody urine, and anorexia. The number of canine leptospirosis cases has risen dramatically in recent years. Boulder County appears to have a higher incidence and therefore poses a higher risk to our canine companions. Today, leptospirosis is the number-one cause of acute kidney failure in dogs. Virtually every dog that ventures outdoors is at risk to leptospirosisinfection.
  • Dogs playing outside may have exposure to or contact with wildlife (raccoons, skunks, possums), and dogs that drink from ponds or puddles in high-risk areas clearly have higher risk of infection. Raccoon urine is a known, consistent source of leptospirosis.
    After entering the body, leptospirosis rapidly invades the bloodstream and spreads to multiple sites, including the liver, spleen, kidneys, eyes, central nervous system, and urinary tract. Leptospirosis preferentially invades the kidneys of affected animals, causing significant kidney disease leading to kidney failure. Animals presenting with kidney failure secondary to leptospirosis demonstrate lethargy, depression, anorexia, dehydration, and vomiting.
  • There are many steps you can take to protect your dog. Remove food, garbage, and nesting materials from your yard that may attract wildlife. Discourage your dog from drinking from ponds. Most importantly, ask your veterinarian about annual protection with updated leptospirosis vaccines. There are vaccines for the most common lepto serovars that can provide protection from this terrible disease.

 


The Heat is ON!!!

  • Every summer, our animal companions are exposed to the increasing danger of heatstroke. Heat stoke is caused by exposure to extreme environmental temperatures resulting in elevated body temperature.
  • There are several diseases or physical conditions that could perpetuate such an event in dogs, but heatstroke most often occurs after exercise or confinement in an enclosed area with poor ventilation, such as in an automobile.
  • The regulation of body temperature, called thermoregulation, is simply the balance between heat production and dissipation. In humans, sweating dissipates heat. Dogs do not sweat similarly to humans and, therefore, rely primarily on panting to cool down. Another significant cooling mechanism in dogs involves the continuous movement of cooler air adjacent to the skin, which allows conduction of heat away from the body.
  • There are many factors that could predispose dogs to severe elevations in body temperature: humidity, confinement/poor ventilation, water deprivation, obesity, heart disease, age, and certain drugs. Heat production in dogs, leading to hyperthermia and heatstroke, can be exacerbated by drug toxicity, macadamia nuts, exercise, infections, hyperthyroidism, and seizures.
  • Heatstoke is an acute, life-threatening emergency with a complex pathophysiology. The most-common clinical sign in dogs with heatstroke is excessive panting. The oral cavity and gums are usually tacky due to panting and extreme dehydration. Dogs may be unable to walk, lose consciousness, become blind, suffer seizures, or lapse into a coma. Normal body temperature in dogs is between 101? F to 102.5? F. Any dog with a temperature of 106? F or higher should be seen by a veterinarian immediately. Dogs with heatstroke may also have blood in their stools or vomit. Prolonged elevations in body temperature can ultimately cause significant, permanent damage to several organs and ultimately lead to organ failure.
  • Heatstroke is a medical emergency, and you should begin treatment immediately by progressively cooling the animal to normal body temperature. If possible, spray the dog with water before transporting it to the veterinary hospital. Evaporation can be enhanced by driving with car windows open or placing the dog by the air conditioning vent. In a 1996 study, dogs that were not cooled by their owners prior to transport had a 49% mortality rate, versus a 19% mortality rate for dogs that were cooled.
  • The prognosis for dogs suffering from heatstroke depends of a number of variables. Dogs that die from heat-related illness usually die during the initial 24 hours of treatment. Animals that recover are usually those whose temperatures were returned to normal early in the course of the treatment.
  • To prevent heatstroke, limit confining or exercising your dog in hot environments. Heatstroke induced by increased outdoor activity can be prevented by exercising your dog during the cooler parts of the day. Heat stress can be prevented by simply providing your dog adequate ventilation, a place to get out of direct sunlight, and free access to cool drinking water.
  • It is my hope that this article brings to light the importance of taking simple steps during the upcoming spring and summer seasons to prevent such a life-threatening situation from occurring. Please contact your family veterinarian to discuss safety and other questions or concerns you may have for your family pet.

 


Pets and Pain

  • This article will discuss the concept of animals and pain. Hundreds of thousands of animals are presented to veterinarians annually for surgery or for evaluation of a painful disease. Although there continues to be an increase in the care and standards for animal pain management, owners are reluctant to recognize and/or treat pain as a clinical condition.
  • Both short-term (acute) pain and long-term (chronic) pain occur on many different levels. The underlying challenge facing owners and veterinarians remains the assessment of pain and how to intervene. Animals and people have different perceptions of pain from different injuries or procedures. Just as people have varying levels of pain and the ability to tolerate different pain levels, pets experience the same variability. For example, when animals receive vaccines, many will not feel a thing while others scream at the top of their lungs.
  • Pain is initiated on multiple levels and involves many different pathways and signals. Pain can be initiated by temperature, chemicals, injuries, arthritis, cancer, inflammation, trauma, or surgery, to name a few. Chronic pain as well as short-term pain can be very debilitating, not only physically but psychologically. Animals are known to stop eating, lose weight, have a higher risk of infection, and take much longer to recover from injuries when experiencing pain. Animals instinctively don't want to show weakness to their owners, and many times animals can sufficiently mask the pain they are experiencing. Something as simple as skipping meals can be subtle sign of discomfort. As our animals age they increasingly begin to experience more chronically painful problems. Given the complexity of pain perception, behavioral signs of pain are unique for each animal and may be best identified by the animal's owner. Just as people often report mood disturbances, irritability, helplessness, and depression our family pets can experience similar behavioral characteristics.
  • Over the past 10 years many advances have been made in treating both acute and chronic pain. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen have been known to cause significant problems in animals when used chronically for pain. Cats metabolize these drugs differently than dogs and can face potentially life-threatening situations if given. Dogs have a much higher risk for intestinal bleeding and kidney problems when using these drugs.
  • The movement to isolate different aspects of pain and treat with more-specific medications has provided the veterinarian and owner the ability to provide better pain control. Many newer medications are providing an overwhelming comfort to pets and providing them with an improved quality of life. Pain management is done on varying levels and should be individualized on an animal-to-animal basis with consultation from your pet's veterinarian.. There are many alternatives to treating pain; everything from joint supplements to acupuncture to medications can be used to provide relief.
  • Your veterinarian takes an oath to use their scientific knowledge and skills for a variety of constructive purposes, including "the relief of animal suffering." Administering pain medications should be mandatory, and every animal that undergoes a potentially painful procedure deserves to receive pain medication at appropriate times and dosages. Please consult with your veterinarian to establish a sufficient pain-management protocol for your pets, so you can continue to give your them a happy, healthy quality of life.

 


Senior Wellness For Your Family Pet

  • Our pets are living longer and healthier lives, with an increased life expectancy due to advances in veterinary medical care and nutrition, vaccination and heartworm prevention programs, a lower incidence of traumatic injuries, and better care provided by more-informed pet owners. Today's pet owners want better veterinary care for their pets, as pets provide not only happiness and unselfish loyalty, but also companionship, physical contact, attention, protection, and stimulus for exercise. Pet owners benefit both physically and emotionally when veterinary care provides a meaningful and better quality of life for their aging pets.
  • Seventy-five percent of pets in the United States are over six years of age. These senior pets undergo changes in organs and tissues the same as elderly humans do. Older animals have a higher incidence of major organ failure, benign and malignant tumors, arthritis, and loss of hearing and vision. Older animals also develop dental disease as they increase in age.
  • A comprehensive evaluation of your senior pet, performed on a regular schedule, is clearly the best way to detect sub-clinical diseases or increased risk of disease. Many chronic disorders and disease processes seen in older pets can be medically controlled, and in some cases resolved, if they are detected early enough. Earlier detection and prompt treatment of medical conditions improves the chances that older pets will live longer, happier, and quality lives.
  • Pets entering their senior years go through a great deal of changes:
    • Metabolic effects:
      • Decreased metabolic rate plus decreased activity indicates a reduced caloric intake of 30%-40%.
      • The immune system becomes weaker, making the animal less effective in fighting off infections.
      • Diseases of the immune system can develop, which results in the animal's own immune system attacking the body.
      • There is a decreased function of most endocrine organs (thyroid, reproductive, pancreas).
    • Physical effects:
      • Percentage of body fat increases.
      • Skin becomes hyperpigmented and loses elasticity.
      • Footpads become thick and claws become brittle.
      • Loss of bone, muscle, and cartilage leads to development of arthritis.
      • Dental disease leads to significant infection and progressive destruction of both teeth and gums, which can affect the whole body.
      • Liver changes occur over time may develop into irreversible liver damage and liver failure
      • The kidneys' ability to filter the body's waste products and toxins decreases over time, leading to renal failure and multi-organ collapse. Urinary incontinence may occur.
      • Intact male dogs are more likely to develop changes with their prostate (abscess, cancer, inflammation). Female dogs undergo reproductive changes that can lead to life-threatening conditions (breast cancer, ovarian cancer, infection).
      • The heart loses its ability to deliver blood to the body.
  • The effects of aging are fairly complex. However, with advances in veterinary medicine and regular preventative care the senior years can be enjoyable for the animal as well as the entire family. Taking a proactive approach to senior wellness, instead of a reactive approach, will prolong the life of your senior companion. Contact your family veterinarian to establish senior wellness exams

 


Preventative Measures to Assure a Healthy Quality of Life for Your Pets

  • Feline Diseases Controlled by Vaccinations:
    • Panleukopenia virus is an intestinal virus and is generally widespread. Natural exposure is common, with infection of young kittens being most frequent. Clinical signs include fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, depression, diarrhea, dehydration, and other complications that can result in death.
    • Calicivirus is a major, feline upper-respiratory virus that is widespread and highly contagious. Clinical signs include fever, pneumonia, and ulcers or blisters on the tongue. Cats that recover from this virus become carriers for life and may or may not exhibit signs of disease. They will, however, shed virus continuously.
    • Feline viral rhinotracheitis (herpes virus) is the most-severe and widespread upper respiratory virus to which cats are susceptible. While this virus is highly contagious and very serious in young kittens, cats of all ages are at risk. Clinical signs include fever, tearing, discharge from the eyes and nose, mouth breathing, coughing, and salivation.
    • Chlamydia is a bacterium that causes feline respiratory disease and is extremely contagious, especially in young kittens. Clinical signs include mild-to-severe eye infections, excessive tearing, sneezing, heavy salivation, and coughing.
    • Feline leukemia is a leading cause of disease and death in cats. In addition to being fatal unto itself, the disease can break down the cat's protective immune responses so the cat cannot fight off infections it normally would be able to resist. Transmission depends on cat-to-cat contact, since the virus dies quickly outside the cat's body, unless it is in a moist environment such as feeding bowls and litter boxes. Outdoor cats have the highest risk.
    • The feline AIDS virus (FIV) is transmitted from one cat to another primarily through bite wounds caused by fighting. Unlike HIV, this virus is spread in high levels through saliva. But, like the human form of the virus, FIV can be a deadly disease in cats as it weakens the animal's immune system. FIV is most-common among cats that are exposed to the outdoors and multiple cat households.
  • Canine Disease Controlled by Vaccinations:
    • Parvovirus , more commonly known as Parvo, is a highly contagious intestinal disease that causes diarrhea, vomiting, and a decreased ability to fight off infection. Although Parvo is most common in puppies, dogs of any age may be susceptible. The most common way Parvo is transmitted from one dog to another is via contaminated feces. Parvo can also be carried on the dog's hair and feet, as well as on contaminated cages, shoes, and other objects. Parvo is very resistant and can remain in the environment for long periods of time. If left untreated Parvo is fatal. This disease can be treated and is dependent on the status of the pet.
    • Distemper is a highly contagious, respiratory viral disease. It affects the respiratory and nervous systems, causing fever, lethargy, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and, eventually, death.
    • Kennel cough is an acute, highly contagious, respiratory disease. Several organisms can cause kennel cough, ranging from bacteria to viruses. Symptoms include severe coughing spells, sometimes followed by vomiting and gagging.
    • Hepatitis is a contagious disease of the liver. Clinical signs include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Hepatitis can also cause severe kidney damage.
    • The parainfluenza virus does not survive long in the environment and is easily inactivated by disinfectants. This virus is highly infectious and is easily transmitted in the air. It causes localized infections of the respiratory tract, and it replicates in both the upper and lower respiratory tract.
    • Leptospirosis is a water-borne, bacterial disease carried by many wild animals. A dog can contract the disease from infected animals or by drinking contaminated water. Symptoms include kidney problems, high fever, jaundice, and bloodstained feces.
    • Giardia can be found in nearly any water source, including untreated swimming pools. Most commonly, pet infection occurs when cysts are ingested by drinking contaminated water. Giardia infections can cause anorexia, lethargy, diarrhea, and weight loss. The giardia vaccine will not prevent your pet from acquiring the disease. The vaccine is tailored to reduce to duration of the disease.
    • Heartworm disease is a transmitted by mosquitoes. Heartworm disease has been reported in every state, with certain geographic regions having a greater number of cases. Living in Colorado does not exclude your pet from having this disease. A number of cases are diagnosed in Colorado every year. This horrible disease can be and should be prevented by regular, year-round heartworm prevention. Dogs that are on heartworm prevention only six to eight months of the year require yearly testing. Giving the heartworm prevention without knowing the test results can ultimately be harmful to the pet. Clinical signs include lethargy, exercise intolerance, weight loss, and loss of appetite.
    • Rabies - Rabies is a fatal viral disease affecting the central nervous system of all mammals, including humans. It is commonly spread by contact with saliva from an infected animal, through bite wounds or through a break in the skin. Not all animals affected with the virus foam at the mouth and appear mad. Infected animals can be very calm and tame.

Talk with Your Veterinarian

  • This article provides a basis for developing a plan for which vaccinations and preventable measures are needed in order to give your pet the best chance for a long and healthy quality of life. A pet's chances of being infected by a disease are based on several factors. Vaccinations should be tailored to your pet and established with your veterinarian in order to provide the best chance for immunity and protection from these diseases.
  • In future articles, I will discuss the human-animal bond, as well as many issues facing our daily lives in terms of contagious disease and how such diseases can affect our lives and the lives of our small-animal family members.

 


Spaying and Neutering Your Family Pet

  • It is well-known that thousands of dogs and cats are without homes and are euthanized throughout the United States each year. With all the efforts across the country in terms of controlling pet population,this article is focused more on the medical importance of performing the elective procedures of spaying and neutering.
  • Spaying refers to removing the ovaries and uterus of a female animal.
    Neutering refers to removing the testicles of a male animal.
  • Our small-animal companions age at an accelerated rate compared to our lives. Pet owners must keep in mind that when intact dogs and cats get older, they may develop many medical problems we face as humans. Dogs and cats are universally considered senior pets once they become seven years of age. Therefore, many illnesses can develop fairly quickly and can go completely unnoticed until our
    pets cannot handle them any longer.
  • As intact (not spayed) female dogs and cats grow they become much more susceptible to a number of problems. Breast cancer continues to affect the lives of our female small-animal companions. Studies show that the percentage of dogs and cats that are likely to develop breast cancer significantly grows as they age and are allowed to experience repeated heat cycles. Female dogs that are left intact are also under continual hormonal influence that can ultimately make them prone to uterine cancer, ovarian cysts, ovarian cancer, and uterine infections known as "pyometra." Pyometra is a condition where the dog's uterus becomes full of pus. Having such an infection will certainly affect the overall health of your pet and can certainly become a life or death situation. Behavioral problems and skin conditions are also known to occur more often in intact female dogs and cats as they age.
  • As male dogs and cats continue to grow and are left intact (not neutered) they too become much more susceptible to a number of problems.
  • Male dogs have prostates very similar to male humans. In turn, male dogs are likely to develop the same conditions with their prostate that humans do. Keep in mind that our male small-animal companions are aging so much faster than we are and therefore can develop problems at younger ages. Male dogs that are left intact are under the continual influence of testosterone. The longer the animals are under the influence of testosterone the greater the risks for developing illnesses. Diseases of the prostate include prostatic cancer, prostatic abscesses, and prostatic hypertrophy (accelerated symmetrical growth), all of which can develop into potentially life-threatening situations. Prostatic problems are certainly not the only issues?male dogs develop more unfavorable behavioral problems when left intact.
  • Many pet owners are reluctant to spay or neuter their pets because of the fear of changing the pet's behaviors. They ask me, once the animal is spayed or neutered, will my male dog become more female?
  • Will my dog be less protective of the house? Will my male dog squat like a female dog? Family pets are not likely going to be any different once they are spayed or neutered in terms of male vs. female behaviors. Male dogs should not be left intact for cosmetic reasons alone.
  • Many detrimental behavioral problems may very well be stopped once neutered or spayed. Urine marking in dogs and cats is more prevalent in intact animals. And many types of aggression in dogs and cats are thought to be a result of leaving the animals intact and under hormonal influence.
  • Spaying or neutering should be done at a certain age; discuss the procedure with your veterinarian so he or she can explain the variables involved. When making the decision to have your dog or cat spayed or neutered, hopefully you will keep in mind the importance of such procedures. They will allow the best opportunity for a longer quality of life for your family pets.
  • Pet Overpopulation:
    • An intact pair of dogs and their offspring are capable of producing 4,372 puppies in seven years; an unsterilized pair of cats and their offspring may produce as many as 420,000 kittens in the same amount of time!
    • Cats are what is known as "induced ovulators", like rabbits-- this means that the act of mating stimulates ovulation. A female cat can literally have a litter of kittens every 63 days.
    • In the United States, millions of unwanted dogs and cats are put to death in shelters annually. Often these are wonderful animals--but there are just too many animals and too few caring homes for them. Please, please don't add to the already huge number of unwanted dogs and cat--spay or neuter your pet!