Archives for posts with tag: dogs


Important reminder.  With all of the flooding we have had here in Texas the past month we expect the mosquito population to be massive.  With a high mosquito population comes a higher risk of your pet contracting heartworm disease which is transmitted by mosquitoes.  It is extremely important that your pet be on a monthly heartworm preventive medication year round to prevent this deadly disease.  If your pet has not been on regular heartworm preventive it is important to have your pet tested for heartworms prior to starting the preventive medication.  Please contact your veterinarian to discuss which heartworm preventive would be best for your pet as there are several options from which to choose.

Visit this link for more information on heartworm disease and prevention.



leptospirosisScanning electron micrograph of a number of Leptospira sp. bacteria

What is Leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis is a serious bacterial disease that infects domestic animals, wildlife and humans.  It is the world’s most common zoonotic disease, meaning it is a disease that can infect both animals and humans.  The disease-causing bacteria are spread through urine of infected animals and can survive from weeks to months in soil and surface waters such as lakes, streams, rivers and stagnant water like puddles.  Rodents, raccoons, skunks, opossums, cattle and swine can all carry and spread Leptospirosis.  Leptospirosis can cause fever, jaundice, kidney failure, abortion and even death.

When is your dog at risk?

Leptospirosis is typically spread when an opening in the skin or mucous membrane (eyes, nose or mouth) comes in contact with the infected urine.  Your dog may be exposed to this  bacteria by drinking, swimming or walking through contaminated water.  The curious nature of your dog, following their nose, may also bring them into contact with the infected urine.

The threat to humans.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 100-200 human cases of Leptospirosis are reported in the United States annually.  In people, the symptoms are often flu-like and in rare cases the disease can develop into a life-threatening illness.  Most human cases of Leptospirosis are treated with antibiotics.

Clinical Signs, Diagnosis and Treatment.

Signs of Leptospirosis infection in dogs may include fever, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and abdominal pain.  If you suspect your dog has been infected, contact your veterinarian, who may perform urine and blood tests to determine if your dog has Leptospirosis.  Antibiotics and fluid therapy may be necessary to treat the disease.  If left untreated, your dog could develop kidney or liver failure and the disease may even be fatal.

What can you do?

To give your dog the Leptosiprosis protection it needs, veterinarians recommend vaccination on a yearly basis.  Also, keep your dog from drinking, swimming or wading in water that might be contaminated with animal urine.

valentine puppies

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.  If you are sharing sweets with your sweetheart here are some things to remember.  Chocolate can sicken and even kill dogs and cats.  It is one of the most common causes of canine poisoning.

Chocolate contains two substances that are toxic to dogs and cats; theobromine and caffeine.  Dogs and cats metabolize these substances much slower than people do.  Both theobromine and caffeine are stimulants to the central nervous system.  If too much chocolate is ingested then the increased stimulus to the central nervous system can cause increase in blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms and possibly even death.

Dark and baker’s chocolate are the most dangerous.  Milk chocolate and white chocolate pose a much less serious risk.  Mild symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea.  More severe symptoms include hyper-excitability, hyper-irritability, restlessness, increased heart rate and muscle tremors.

Also, Macadamia nuts are commonly used in many cookies and candies.  However, they can cause problems for your canine companion.  These nuts have caused weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs.  Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and last approximately 12 to 24 hours.

Alcoholic beverages can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death.

If you think your pet has ingested any of these common Valentine treats contact your veterinarian immediately.  They can help you determine the proper treatment for your pet.

puppy and kitten2


Acetaminophen (Tylenol)

Human NSAID (Advil, Midol, Nuprin, Aleve)

Over the counter (OTC) medications are the 4th most common cause of poison exposure in small animals, either administered by owners who are unaware of their toxic effects in animals, or from pets eating dropped pills or chewing through medicine bottles.

Cats and dogs differ from humans in how they metabolize drugs; specifically, their livers utilize enzyme systems different from ours to process drugs.  Cats are especially sensitive to the toxic effects of the above drugs because their livers are extremely deficient in some of the enzyme pathways necessary to clear certain drugs from their bloodstream.  This buildup of drugs or their byproducts in the pet’s system may lead to destruction of blood cells, liver damage, kidney damage, and stomach and intestinal irritation and ulcers.

For example, which of the above pain killers would you think is safest in cats?  Would you reach for that dropper full of Baby Tylenol?  In fact, Acetaminophen has the narrowest margin of safety of the drugs listed above, and is deadly to cats, because it requires those exact enzymes lacking in cat livers to metabolize it.

“Well, Doc, I always heard a little baby aspirin couldn’t hurt anything.  Besides, my dog seems painful and I can’t get in to the vet until tomorrow.”

Whether regular, buffered, or enteric coated aspirin is given, it still enters the bloodstream, where it causes irreversible changes to the ability of platelets to clot the blood.  It also decreases blood flow to the stomach lining and kidneys, causing an increased risk of GI ulceration and kidney failure.  Even worse, its effectiveness as a pain killer is almost 100 times LESS than that of a prescription animal pain reliever such as Rimadyl or Deramaxx!

 “So what’s the difference between Advil and Rimadyl?  They’re both NSAIDs (NonSteroidal Anti-inflammatories), right?”

Newer classes of human NSAIDs were created to target pain receptors better, with fewer side effects than aspirin (the “original” NSAID).  The same is true in dogs and cats, but animal NSAIDs have been extensively researched and developed to be safe in animals: dog NSAIDs are made to be tolerated by dogs, at dosages that can be safely metabolized by the liver, and with metabolites that target pain receptors, sparing the GI tract and kidneys.  Cats have an even lower tolerance of these drugs, and must only be given cat-specific prescriptions.