RABIES Don’t be Complacent

 

RABIES!   We are not joking, it is HERE!

Truthfully, it has been here all along. Nothing has changed, except that we’ve become more aware of it. We love Bats, they are an important part of our ecosystem and I love that they eat Mosquitoes.         BUT, a certain percentage of Bats do have Rabies. 10% of Bats that are tested, are positive for Rabies.     That does NOT mean that 10% of the Bat population has Rabies, it means that 10% of the Bats THAT ARE TESTED are positive. (usually no one would test a Bat unless something seemed unusual, for example = Bats are not usually out in the day and if someone found a sickly one on the ground they might carefully catch it and have it tested)

 

 

We had first hand experience with a Rabid Cat recently.  It was an indoor and outdoor cat that we believe came into contact with a Rabid bat. When they tested it for Rabies, they were able to identify that it had a strain of Rabies that is found in Bats. (There are other strains found in Foxes, Raccoons, etc – that would be new to our area).

The sad part is that this cat had to be euthanized. The owner had a second cat from the same household and had the difficult choice of either putting that cat into isolation for an extended time or euthanasia. Due to limited resources, the owner had to have the second cat euthanized.

 

 

The owner brought the first cat to us because it was just acting abnormal. In our exam, it was evident that the cat had neurological abnormalities. We hospitalized it for lab work and further monitoring. Unfortunately, the cat bit one of our technicians. It wasn’t a typical grouchy/ reactive bite. This cat went from being fairly calm to suddenly very aggressively attacking and tenaciously hanging on with it’s fangs and all 4 claws. It was genuinely scary! Because our technician was bitten, and because the cat had never been vaccinated for Rabies – – we had to report the bite, have our technician get Rabies post-exposure prophylaxis injections, euthanize the cat, and have the cat tested for Rabies.

Cat’s testing positive for Rabies are very rare in Oregon, so we thought that the testing was just a formality. But the lab got back to us quickly and alerted us that the test was positive. We were very glad that our technician had received Rabies post-exposure prophylaxis injections. One other team member and the owner of the cat had questionable scratches, so to be on the safe side, they went through Rabies post-exposure prophylaxis injections too.

 

 

Fortunately, all the humans involved have fully recovered. Sadly, the two cats had to be euthanized. We are relaying this event because we are adamant that your pet have its Rabies vaccine updated. It is very sad to see the pet’s have to go through illness and end up euthanized, but there is also a very real and very scary risk to humans as well.

Again, we cherish that Bats are an important part of our ecosystem – but a certain percentage do have Rabies. Once those Bats are affected by Rabies, they become neurologic and sickly – becoming easy prey for roaming cats or dogs.  Cats especially cannot resist a mouse sized creature moving around on the ground and any cat “worth its weight” is going to attack (or play) with that bat. At that point, they can contract Rabies. Best to prevent Rabies in your Cat (or Dog), by vaccinating. The vaccines are not ‘benign’, there is always a chance of reaction, etc – but it is rare. Protecting your pet by keeping their Rabies vaccine up to date is a priority.

Salmon Poison

Salmon Poisoning
Salmon Poisoning can be a life-threatening disease to dogs, coyotes, and foxes. The classic symptoms are enlarged lymph nodes, fever, diarrhea, and vomiting. However, they do not always follow this classic pattern and cases are sometimes tricky. The disease is diagnosed by visualizing fluke eggs in a stool sample. In some cases, the stool is so watery that even getting a stool sample is difficult and the diagnostic procedure can be prone to false negatives. Having a history of the dog having eaten raw salmon or trout within the last 1-2 weeks also helps make the diagnosis.
The disease process is interesting because the fish itself doesn’t cause the disease. There is a parasite within the fish known as a fluke (specifically Nanophyetus salmincola), BUT the fluke itself also doesn’t cause the disease, rather bacteria (Neorickettsia helminthoeca) within the fluke THAT CAUSE the DISEASE. Once the larval flukes reach the dog’s intestinal tract, they embed in the dog’s duodenal mucosa, and release the rickettsiae. The rickettsial organisms then spread through the bloodstream to the liver, lungs, brain, and lymphoid tissue.
If it is caught at a reasonable stage it can be treated. Most cases require hospitalization, intravenous fluid support, and intravenous antibiotics. Dogs that survive salmon poisoning will be immune to re-infection with the same strain. However, infection with an alternate strain can occur because there is no cross-protection.

Veterinary Pet Insurance – Is it right for you?

 

Have you considered pet insurance for your dog? Is it right for you? What do you need to consider?

The word “insurance” often evokes feelings of stress in many of us. Insurance companies seem to have confusing policies with a variety of rates and sometimes it is difficult to determine whether we need it, what we need, and if it is a good value. I’ll try to help you determine if pet insurance is right for you.

 

 

First, let’s step back and consider…”what is insurance?” Insurance is a form of risk management used to minimize the risk of financial loss. Pet insurance pays costs if your dog needs veterinary care.

The purpose of pet insurance is to ensure you can properly care for and treat your dog when an unexpected medical problem occurs. Pet insurance offers you the security of knowing that you can do the best you can for your dog without the burden of financial considerations. Financial concerns often cause dog owners to make a decision to euthanize their dogs when unexpected and unaffordable expenses take place.

So…how do you decide if pet insurance is right for you and your dog?

It really comes down to a financial decision. If your dog was unexpectedly hit by a car and required emergency veterinary care estimated at, say…$2000.00, could you do it? If you could without a problem, then you probably don’t need pet insurance.

If the $2000.00 (or more) expense would be a big burden or you would need to consider euthanasia because you could not afford the care, then I’d strongly consider pet insurance.

I find dog owners with pet insurance often feel relieved when something does happen. They don’t have to make a tough life-or-death decision about what happens to their dog.

They can try to do the best thing by treating their dog without the pressure of financial considerations. I actually find it a relief as well because I know I can do the best for their dog without compromising care.

There are different types of policies. What are some of the differences in policies?

Some policies pay only for medical problems or accidents; others will also pay for preventative health care such as spays, neuters, parasite control, and vaccinations. The amount of benefits you receive will affect the premium.

Some policies will cap the total sum they pay out in a year or have a cap on a particular disease or accident/event.

Most companies will require that you pay the bill and then they reimburse you.

The number of dog owners with pet insurance is growing. The number of companies offering insurance is also growing. In the U.S., approximately 2 to 3 % of pets now have health insurance, which is up from just 1% a few years ago. Pet insurance is very popular in other countries such as the U.K. where more than half of all pets have pet insurance.

Pet insurance companies will give you basic information as well as estimates of your premiums for what you want and your specific pet. Policies are generally less expensive for puppies; conversely, premiums may increase for older dogs.

I hope this gives you a little more information about pet insurance and help you determine if it is right for you. Being able to afford medical care when they need it is critical to maintaining a healthy dog.

(Article from petplace.com)

At our clinic, we have a few clients that use insurance; the vast majority don’t. It is genuinely helpful in some cases. Like the article says, it can relieve a lot of stress when a big procedure is needed. The company that we’ve been most familiar with is called VPI (Veterinary Pet Insurance), their website is http://www.petinsurance.com

They are completely independent of us, if you have questions we are happy to answer what we can – but best to call them or check out their website.

 

Dog Park Related Conditions

As the weather improves, many people take there dogs to the dog park more often. DVM Magazine ran an article recently noting the most common maladies that occur associated with dog-park visits. Sprains and soft tissue injuries are the most common conditions. Not hard to imagine the dogs joyously running with reckless abandon and either running into something or straining themselves. Lacerations and bite wounds are second – also not hard to imagine that some people don’t realize their dog may not be appropriate for the dog park (and it ends up biting another dog). Hyperthermia, parasite infection, infectious disease are also on the list.

There are some general rules worth following to reduce illness and injury.

  • Obey posted park rules
  • Pay attention to your dog at all times. BE aware of other pets too.
  • Make sure the dog is up to date on vaccines and has a valid license.
  • Keep collar on dog
  • On very warm days, avoid pard during peak temperature hours
  • Look for sign of overheating (profuse panting, bright red tongue, thich drooling, lack of coordination).

 

They did a study of the top 10 cities for Dog Parks. I’m proud to say that Portland was rated #1 with 5.7 dog parks per 100,000 residents. San Francisco was a worthy 4th with 3.3 dog parks per 100,000 residents.  Though they didn’t include communities the size of Springfield/ Eugene, I’d like to think we are doing quite well too!