Tag Archives: cats

FLEA AND TICK PREVENTION: Moncton area

This blog was updated in April 2017 and is intended as a flea/tick/heartworm/parasites product guide for our clients that live in the area of Moncton, Dieppe, Riverview, Salisbury, Scoudouc, Bouctouche, Shediac, Amherst, Memramcook, Cap Pele, etc.

2 lyme disease is just one

Ticks, these little critters are so small, yet can cause such large issues, and their numbers just keep rising. Ticks can give you lyme disease!  Help us reduce the tick population by treating all pets that go outdoors. Here is a 2012 Map about location of ticks submitted in Canada for testing. We have seen the numbers rise yearly in the past 2-3 years in NB. Cases of lyme disease in pets and people are on the rise!

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Ticks can be found in tall grasses like those in parks, wooded areas and even the unkempt lawn of your home. Ticks do not jump but instead grab a hold to anything walking by from the tallest grasses they perch on. When a tick bites is is virtually unnoticeable and neither animal nor human will feel it, but the danger lies in the possible infections they can carry in that bite. Usually it takes 24-48 hours for an already attached tick to potentially transmit such diseases as follows.

  • Lyme disease (transmitted by the deer tick)
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever
  • Tularemia
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Relapsing fever
  • Colorado tick fever
  • Babesiosis

A great way to do prevention at home for yourself and pet is to do a quick shake down of your pet, feel for any lumps that are new or unusual . If a tick is found, there are few safe options/tips for you to follow.

    • Never place any type of product or attempt to burn the tick, this will cause them to regurgitate which causes transmission of any disease we are avoiding in the first place.
    • You can use a Tick twister/remover ( found at a clinic or pet store)
    • To remove a tick, you must remove it from its attachment site, i.e. the head. By placing a tight grasp with your Tick Twister on the closet part to your animal’s skin, and slowly pulling while twisting at the same time should loosen and remove the tick. ( think of it as removing a nail with a hammer end)
    • Wash your hands and if possible wear gloves! We are easily the next target for infection and disease.
    • If you are unsure/uncomfortable with removing a tick, don’t hesitate to call your vet hospital. Our Veterinary technicians understand how to remove them and it is free of charge.
    • Deer ticks are carriers for Lyme disease, if you remove a tick and are concerned in any way, bring it in to the clinic so we can send it away to test if it is a carrier.
    • Once a tick (s) is removed it is a proper to clean the area and dispose of the tick in the correct fashion. If you wish not to send it away for analysis, make sure to kill the tick to keep others safe and control the population. Submersing the tick in alcohol is advised. In the long run, Keep an eye on the area the tick latched onto, there can be irritation and/or redness. If anything more arises such as lethargy, fever or any signs of sickness in your pet , you need to bring them in for an exam. Lyme especially can incubate in your pet and only show 6-8 weeks after the initial attachment. If your pet is exposed to ticks, there is a blood test that we can do 6-8 weeks after exposure to see if your pet has been exposed to lyme disease. The blood test cost is 67+tax and tests for 4 diseases: Canine Heartworm, Anaplasma, Borrelia and Lyme disease).  The results of the blood are available the same day within 10-20 minutes. If you are concerned that your pet has been exposed to ticks,  schedule a blood test with one of our technicians today!

HOW TO REMOVE A TICK DIAGRAM BELOW!Picture

Always check with your own veterinarian about what they recommend for your pet. Recommendations may vary depending on where you live. 

PRODUCTS FOR TICKS IN DOGS: Advantage Multi DUO  combo of Advantix and Advantage multi (for dogs only), Revolution (dogs and cats), Bravecto (dogs), Simparica (dogs) and Nexgard (dogs) are some products commonly used in Canada for ticks. Advantix is the only product that we sell that repels ticks, biting flies and mosquitoes. Advantix Multi DUO and Revolution are in a form of a liquid that is applied on the skin on the back. Bravecto, Simparica are pills.

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The Advantage DUO consists of  2 tubes ( one tube of Advantage Multi and one tube of Advantix) that need to be applied at least 2 days a part and applied to 4 spots on the back. If you are applying Advantage Duo products, you apply in 4 spots on the skin on the back.

how to apply advantix

Advantix is very toxic to cats. We recommend applying the Advantix at night and separating cats and dogs from each other overnight until the product is dry. Once the product is dry, it is safe for cats and dogs to be in contact, the issue is the wet form of the product. On the other hand,  Revolution is safe for cats and there is no need to separate your pets overnight unless they are licking the product off each other which would decrease its potency but not cause toxicity. Revolution does not repel ticks and does not kill ticks as fast as Advantix/Advantage Multi Duo.

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PILL FORM PRODUCTS FOR TICKS (given by-mouth):  Bravecto, Simparica and Nexgard are three types of pill products that areavailable. Bravecto kills ticks and fleas and it is a pill you give once every 3 months.  If you want to use a pill form product, we do recommend combining Bravecto with Interceptor in order to cover fleas/ticks/heartworm and intestinal parasites.

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** PRODUCT FOR TICKS IN CATS-CATS that go outdoors: At this time, because of the increase in ticks in New Brunswick, we do recommend that any outdoor cat be treated with Revolution to help reduce the population of ticks and human exposure to lyme disease. 

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PRODUCTS FOR FLEAS IN DOGS:

AdvantageRevolution(Selamectin),Program(Lufenuron),Advantix,Bravecto,Nexgard and Sentinel (Milbemycin oxime/Lufenuron). From the following, you can see there are numerous products to chose from , each with their own benefits.

There are also many products available at Walmart as well as different pet stores in the area, as an animal health care provider we do not recommend any of these products for flea treatment. Be in mind we have seen many pets being treated with these pet store products coming in for an exam as they are still being attacked by fleas. Unfortunately we also have seen many adverse reactions with pet store/Walmart products, they are not regulated and are pesticides, not medications. Just to have this is mind to know and be careful, if anything, please call your veterinary practice for information and tips.

PRODUCTS FOR FLEAS IN CATS:

Some vets will use Program injectable (Lufenuron) which requires a visit to the office. The veterinarian will administer an injection that lasts for 6 months and will prevent fleas from developing (Insect Growth Regulator). Otherwise, monthly topical products like Advantage Multi for fleas/skin mites/ear mites/intestinal worms or Revolution for cats to cover fleas/skin mites/ear mites/intestinal worms and ticks are available during the flea and tick season. To cover for tapeworms if your cat eats or hunts mice then Cestex, Milbemax or Profender are two options for tapeworms. Revolution and Advantage Multi do not treat for tapeworms.

HOW LONG TO TREAT OR PREVENT FOR?

In Moncton and surrounding areas, the flea season has changed in the past few years. It is now earlier than ever. We started to recommend Flea and Tick prevention products as early as April 1st this year. We do recommend treating until at least the end of November and possibly into December depending on how mild it is. We are now looking at a tick and flea season extending from 6 months and really going to almost 9 months of duration. Changes in the weather and seasons have impacted the risks of exposure to fleas and ticks.  

New studies in Canada have shown that if the temperature gets above 4 Celsius, we can now see ticks. A tick will take about 24-48 hours to transmit Lyme disease to your pet, so if you do a daily check on your pet and pull the ticks before its attached for more than 2 days, you are reducing the risk of Lyme disease. If your pet goes to daycare, some are now advocating the year round deworming protocols and prevention of fleas and ticks. 

If you have pets that go outdoors and some cats that stay inside, We would recommend you treat the ones that go outside only with a product that covers for fleas and ticks. If you do that, it reduces the need to use preventive products on your indoor furry friends!

PRODUCTS TO PREVENT HEARTWORM IN DOGS AND CATS:

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Heartworm is transmitted by mosquitos.

Heartworm is transmitted by mosquitos.  It is considered endemic in other provinces, in the USA and we are seeing more and more positive cases in the past year or so. We do recommend preventive measures for it. it is just a matter of time before it becomes a problem in our city.  It is preventable by using products like Advantage Multi, Interceptor, Heartguard and Revolution. 

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The SNAP 4DX test we use to detect exposure to Lyme disease also tests for Heartworm. So, if you travel a lot with your furry friends, you should consider testing them for their previous exposures. Want to know if your pet has been exposed before using a preventive product, call us at 506-858-9900 to schedule a Lyme/Heartworm test with one of our veterinary technicians. Results are available within 20 minutes. 

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General guidelines in addition to using products. 

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Keep washing your pet’s bedding in hot water, or replace it regularly.

Pay attention to potential re-­infestations due to contact with untreated animals.

Try to keep untreated animals out of your home living areas.

Vacuum and thoroughly dust your house regularly, paying particular attention to the areas where your pets eat, play and sleep.

 

Written by Dr Cindy Lizotte, DVM, MBA, CVFT (CHI institute), CVA (IVAS), Grad Dip Vet Western Herb Med (CIVT) Grad Dip Vet Chinese Herb Med CVHM (IVAS/CIVT)

 

Is aspirin safe for pets ?

Dangers of Aspirin

by Cindy Lizotte

For many people, a quick and simple pain relief is a dose of aspirin or similar pain medicine. So, when a dog is in pain, some owners assume that aspirin may be safe for their dog as well. Although aspirin isn’t necessarily deadly to dogs, it is not typically recommended due to dangerous side effects. Most veterinarians will warn against aspirin for this reason, as well as the fact that there are other more effective and safer alternatives created especially for dogs. Even if your dog is sore from romping in the beautiful spring weather, don’t give aspirin. There are plenty of alternative options for pain relief.

About Aspirin

Aspirin is an analgesic drug, commonly used as a minor pain relief and an anti-inflammatory medication. Aspirin belongs to a class of drugs known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, often denoted as NSAIDs. Almost all NSAIDs irritate the stomach and can cause stomach ulcers.

NSAIDs for Dogs

Pain control and relief is a popular issue for many owners with dogs suffering from either acute or chronic diseases and disorders. As an owner, you are aware of when your dog is in discomfort, whether it be a bit of soreness from excessive playing or severe pain in an emergency situation. Regardless, finding safe and effective pain relief options for your dog is an important, and ongoing, search for many owners.

NSAIDs generally work well for dogs and most are relatively safe when recommended dosage is given. However, almost all NSAIDs do come with a range of side effects. Usually, side effects occur when excessive amounts of the drug are given too frequently or for too long, but side effects can still pop up despite following instructions.

One major issue with NSAIDs is the ill-effect that they have on your dog’s digestive tract. The stomach and the intestines are sensitive areas of the body and particularly at risk. This upset can then lead to ulcers. Ulcers can be dangerous, especially if the wall of the stomach perforates.

NSAIDs also reduce blood supply to the kidneys. In an older patient with unknown kidney disease or border-line kidney disease, NSAIDs can push borderline patients into kidney failure.

There are other cells in the body that NSAIDs can adversely affect. Platelets are the little ‘sticky’ cells that cause blood to clot. When NSIADs are given, especially over time, platelets become less ‘sticky’ and are essentially deactivated. This translates to delayed clotting times and potential for excessive bleeding.

Sometimes patients do require NSAIDs for pain control. especially if nothing else works. If this is the case for your dog, your veterinarian will recommend a full blood profile be performed before starting the drug or shortly after a trial run. This will check liver and kidney function at a minimum. Many veterinarians require rechecking these blood values every 3-6 months after the NSAID is started.(1,2) Some clinics recommend yearly blood panels before refilling prescriptions.

If your dog takes NSAIDs, be aware of the warning signs of side effects, such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Change in appetite
  • Stool changes (very dark in color, diarrhea)
  • Urine changes (color or smell change)
  • Jaundice (yellowing) of the eyes, skin
  • Change in water consumption
  • Change in skin color, such as redness or a rash

Common NSAIDs for Dogs

  • Rimadyl (carprofen)
  • Metacam (meloxicam)
  • Deramaxx (deracoxib)
  • Previcox (firocoxib)

Alternatives for Pain Management in Dogs (3)

If your dog is in any kind of pain, consult your veterinarian first before giving any sort of pain medication, especially pain medications designed for humans. Dogs have different metabolisms, so many options, such as aspirin which is relatively safe for us, yet can cause major side effects in our canine counterparts. Therefore, it is always best to consult your veterinarian for a canine option that is both safe and effective.

References

(1) Sharkey, M. et al. Advice to Dog Owners Whose Pets Take NSAIDs. Office of New Animal Drug Evaluation FDA Veterinarian Newsletter. 2006. Volume XXI, No I.

(2) Shell, Linda. Aspirin Toxicosis. Veterinary Information Network Associate Database. 2006.

(3) Dodds, Jean. Alternative Therapies for Pain Management. Holistic Veterinary Medicine Club Symposium Proceedings. 2013.

Seizures in dogs and cats

What are Seizures?

Seizures occur when your dog’s brain causes the body to experience sudden, uncontrolled physical attacks, with or without loss of consciousness. Some seizures are a result of genetic abnormalities, while others occur for unknown reasons (idiopathic).

What are the symptoms?

Seizures manifest in different ways, however there are normally three phrases: the “pre-ictal” phase, the actual seizure, and “post-ictal” phase. In the pre-ictal phase, dogs usually start acting agitated or stressed. They may become extra clingy to their owner or they may seek solitude. This phase can last mere minutes or a few hours. Directly before the onset of the actual seizure, the dog may experience trembling, loss of vision, and unresponsiveness. During the seizure, the dog may stiffen, fall over, and convulse. Some will kick their legs in a running motion, foam at the mouth, or lose control of bladder and/or bowels. In the post-ictal phase, the dog may be lethargic, disoriented, and confused. Some dogs may experience temporary blindness.

Watching your dog experience a seizure can be a scary thing to witness, however it’s extremely important to remain calm, clear the area around your dog, and speak gently to him/her. Never place your hand near your dog’s mouth, as your dog may be unaware of your presence and may bite unknowingly. Do not try to pet or calm them because sometimes external stimuli may actually worsen the signs and prolong the seizures.

What is the cause?

There are two types of seizures: primary and secondary. Primary seizures (idiopathic) have no known source, while secondary seizures have a known source (disease process).

If the dog is less than one year, the most common cause of seizures is low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). This is more common with puppies and toy-sized breeds. However, dogs with liver disease, diabetes, or pancreatic tumors may suffer from hypoglycemia as well. Puppies with distemper or congenital issues (hydrocephalus) may also experience seizures.

Seizures in dogs aged one to five are normally considered to be idiopathic.  Idiopathic Epilepsy is considered a genetic condition in some breeds such as the Beagle, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Collie, and Boxer. Brain tumors and head injuries may also be the cause of seizures, as the pressure on the brain tissue can result in loss of vision, loss of coordination, and seizures. Senior dogs with seizures may be experiencing a symptom of neoplasia or liver or kidney disease.

We have found that a lot of the times, it seems that seizures are induced by stress like a visit to the groomer, kennel stays, visit to the vet, etc. Sometimes if we can identify the seizure triggers, they can be avoided and this may help with their management.

What are the treatment options?

For epileptic seizures, treatment varies by the severity of the condition. For dogs that experience less than two seizures per month, traditional treatment is not often recommended. However, for dogs who experience frequent and long seizures, anticonvulsant medication may be an option. Phenobarbital is the usual prescribed drug — unfortunately, it does have some side effects, including sedation and stimulation of hunger/thirst. Phenobarbital also directly impacts the liver and if your dog is on Phenobarbital long-term, liver damage can occur. Potassium bromide, Gabapentin and Kepra (Levetiracetam) may also be used or added to phenobarbital for dogs that fail to respond to the initial therapy. In emergency situations, drugs like valium (diazepam) or propofol may also be used. There are also newer drugs available so the agent used will depend on the veterinarian in charge of the case. In some cases, one drug is needed and it other cases it may take up to three drugs to get the seizures under control. Control is considered achieved when a pet does not have a seizure more often than every 6-8 weeks. That means that some pets will still have seizures but at an acceptable frequency (no more often than  every 6-8 weeks).

There are many holistic and alternative approaches to help control seizures and epilepsy, ranging from supplements to flower essences, that have had great success in minimizing the frequency of seizures.

More information on specific holistic treatment methods below:

  • Acupuncture

Acupuncture is the ancient Chinese practice of inserting safe needles into specific acupuncture points to move and unblock energy. Acupuncture can offer great results for epileptic patients.

  • Diet

For humans that suffer from seizures, a Ketogenic diet is often recommended. A Ketogenic diet contains no carbohydrates, low to moderate amounts of fat, and high levels of protein. While the Ketogenic diet has no proven efficacy in dogs, it may be worthwhile to consult with a veterinary nutritionist about using diet as part of anti-convulsant therapy. In dogs, switching to low carbohydrate and higher protein diets or raw diets should be considered

Dogs suffering with Hepatic encephalopathy should NOT BE FED A HIGH PROTEIN DIET / Raw diet.

It is extremely important to consult with your veterinarian if thinking about a serious change in diet, as ‘seizure diets’ like the Ketogenic diet can have severe side effects in humans.

Some veterinarians has seen a reduction of seizure episodes when patients are switched to a hypoallergenic or ‘novel protein, novel carbohydrate’ elimination diet. In the past few years, a lot of holistic veterinarian have been discussing the fact that in some cases, allergies and seizures have gone hand in hand and that an elimination diet should be considered in every pet diagnosed with seizures.

  • Flower Essences

Bach Flower Essences makes a tincture called “Rescue Remedy”. It is a combination of five flower remedies all designed to combat stress, panic, and fear. The flower essences it includes are Star of Bethlehem (helps animals that have experienced abuse, shock, and trauma), Rock Rose (helps animals in stressful situations, such as thunderstorm, fireworks, going to the veterinarian, etc), Cherry Plum (helps animals who have lost control of their actions, exhibited by excessive barking or scratching), Impatiens (helps animals who are impatient, unable to wait), and Clematis (helps animals who seem to be sleeping excessively and have lost interest in their surroundings). The tincture provides a calming effect on the animal.  Some seizures are triggered by stress, such as new people in the house or thunderstorms. Consistent use of Rescue Remedy may reduce anxiety and prevent seizures in this manner.  Rescue Remedy can purchased at most health food stores and online. We will be writing a blog about Rescue Remedy in the near future so follow us!

  • Herbals, Supplements and TCVM

A diagnosis from a holistic veterinarian who practices Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) can be very helpful in the treatment of seizures. Some seizures are caused by patients having different Yin or Yang deficiencies, Triple Burner obstructions, Phlegm/Damp accumulation, Liver Yang rising, etc. A TCVM diagnosis can also identify and address other factors that may be contributing to seizure activity. Different tonics, herbs or even ‘cooling’ Western drugs such as phenobarbital may be used together as anti-seizure treatments.(1) There are a lot of Chinese herbal formulas that can assist the treatment of seizures like: Long Dan Xie Gan Tang, Ban Xia Zhu Tian Ma Tang, Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin, Xiao Chai Hu Tang, San Ren Tang, Bu Yang Huan Wu Tang, etc.

It is thought that the herb Skullcap may have positive benefits on epileptic animals. The plant is believed to moderate overactive synapses in the brain where seizures are triggered. Valerian, Kava, Saint John’s Wort, Corydalis, Gastrodia, Uncaria, Bacopa and many others may be beneficial as well. For dogs taking Phenobarbitol, Milk Thistle can be helpful as it is commonly used to protect and regenerate the liver. There are many western herbs that can benefit pets with seizures and a veterinarian trained in western herbal therapies can assist you in designing the appropriate formula for your pet. Each pet is different and a patient specific seizure herbal formula is always recommended vs a generic one. It is important to talk to your veterinarian before starting supplemental herbs, as some can interact with common seizure medications.

Dietary supplementation of omega-3 essential fatty acids are important in the development and maintenance of a healthy nervous system. In addition to a quality essential fatty acid supplement, you may wish to give your dog extra minerals (whole foods supplements), digestive enzymes, or probiotics to ensure the nervous system is as healthy as possible.

If seizures are related to allergies, keeping the gut healthy should in theory help with the management of seizures. We have to remember that 70% of the immune system is related to the gut ! Bowel health is an extremely important factor in seizure control and it is often forgotten by conventional veterinarians.

  • TTouch, Massage, and Reiki

These forms of energy and physical healing can help reduce anxiety in all dogs- suffering from seizures. Although your dog’s seizures may never be entirely eliminated, it is possible, with the help of alternative therapies, to reduce the frequency and severity of the attacks.

If you have any questions about seizures, feel free to email me for a consult.

If your pet suffers from seizures, please feel free to tell us about your experience in the comments section.

Written by Dr Cindy Lizotte, DVM, MBA, CVFT (CHI institute), CVA (IVAS), Grad Dip Vet Western Herb Med (CIVT) Grad Dip Vet Chinese Herb Med CVHM (IVAS/CIVT)

Resources

(1) Mitchell, Deborah. TCVM Diagnosis and Treatment of Seizures. Western Veterinary Conference Proceedings. 2012.