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MVAH Blog

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Xylitol Poisoning

Posted: 2016-06-15 Permanent Link

Xylitol Poisoning in Dogs, Wait what is Xylitol?
How many packages of gum do you have lying around your house? You head to Costco and buy the multi-pack because it’s cheap and conveniently you can have one in your purse, one in your car, another lying on the counter etc. Now besides the obvious calorie issue would you have a chocolate bar in all the same places? Most people know that chocolate is toxic to dogs so they keep it out of reach, but a lot of us don’t know that xylitol, a sugar substitute in chewing gum is even more harmful to dogs at smaller doses. One piece of gum contains approximately 0.3 to 0.4 grams of xylitol so that means you could see toxic side effects in a 4.5 kg (10 lb dog) by as little as 1.5 pieces of gum. At smaller doses the first clinical signs you could see are weakness, vomiting, incoordination, tremors and potentially seizures. This is due to the hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) effect that xylitol causes in the body. At higher doses xylitol can cause hepatic necrosis (destruction of the liver) followed by acute liver failure which can then result in death. To see the more severe toxic effects the 10lb dog mentioned above would have to eat an entire pack of gum.
How many of us put peanut butter in Kong toys for our dogs? They love it right?! Well another significant fact is that xylitol is now being found in other products such as peanut butter so it is important to read the ingredients list. If you are going to take that extra step and actually brush your dog’s teeth it is important you use dog specific toothpaste because xylitol is found in human toothpastes due to its antibacterial qualities. Listed below are three links to articles that go into much more detail about xylitol toxicity in dogs.

Millbrook Valley Animal Hospital Pet Health Library Xylitol Poisoning
Type xylitol in Search Window
Xylitol The sugar-free sweetener your dog NEEDS you to know about

Or go to www.veterinarypartner.com and type “xylitol” in the search window.

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The Menace Among Us - Keeping you and your pet safe against TICKS this Fall!

Posted: 2015-09-22 Permanent Link

FEATURED STORY
Lyme Disease: Pets, Prevention and You.

It’s high time for ticks to strike in Canada, and incidents of Lyme disease are on the rise. Staying informed about ticks, knowing the risks and focusing on prevention can help keep your pet – and your family – safe from Lyme disease this season.

First, get to know their habitat; ticks love to dwell in wooded, grassy areas, especially thick underbrush. Some outdoor jobs and recreational activities, like landscaping, farming, hiking, hunting and fishing, can put you or your pet at a higher risk. When it comes to the transmission of Lyme disease, Ixodes scapularis, or “deer ticks”, are the usual suspects. Adult deer ticks are especially active in mid-to-late fall. These pests cannot jump or fly, but are skilled at latching onto a host at ground level and crawling upward to find exposed skin. And despite what many people think, dogs do not give Lyme disease to people; humans are at risk only if bitten by an infected tick.

While all Canadians are at risk for Lyme disease, eastern Canada has reported the highest rate of infection across the country. Lyme disease is often misdiagnosed, during the stage when it’s easiest to treat. Infection risk is present year-round, but be aware that you and your pet are most prone to Lyme disease from May through September. In addition, keep in mind that ticks are more than just a springtime hazard. If fall temperatures remain mild, ticks can peak again in October or November.1

In fact, certain species of ticks may display increased activity at different times throughout the spring, then again in the fall. In particular, a study from Ontario shows primarily I. scapularis ticks peaking first in the spring months, then a second time in November.2

Climate change is also projected to be a factor in the overall tick prevalence. It is speculated that in the next 80 years, the total area of land suitable for ticks and their hosts will increase by 68.9% in North America.3 In Canada, that number is estimated at a 212.9% increase.3 This means that warmer temperatures will invite an influx of ticks well into the fall months over a greater geographic area, creating an even more urgent need for vigilance and yearly pet vaccination.

To protect yourself from ticks, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts, and tuck your pants into your socks. Wearing light coloured clothing makes ticks easier to see. It may also be helpful to walk with a partner who can watch for ticks on you or your pet. Try to stay on clear, unobstructed trails, and away from the fringe area between the woods and open land. Spraying an insect repellant on your body and clothing can also deter ticks however consult product caution statements before using, especially on young children. Immediately after being outside in tick-infested areas, check your clothes and body, as well as your pet’s body, for ticks. If you discover one or more ticks attached, proper removal is essential.

Most commonly, ticks can be removed using fine-pointed tweezers or a tick removal device, grasping the tick as close as possible to the skin surface, and pulling straight outward. Once the tick is out, it’s important to wash the bite with soap and water and treat it with an antiseptic.
If the tick that bit you or your pet is a Lyme-carrying species or if you are unsure, consult your doctor or veterinarian immediately. Symptoms of Lyme disease may not present right away, but early detection can aid in a successful treatment. If you experience headaches, body aches, fever or congestion, or notice your dog behaving differently, seek medical or veterinary care immediately. If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause irrevocable damage to the joints, nervous system and more.
Remember, Lyme disease cannot be easily cured – but it can be prevented. Stay informed, follow these simple steps for prevention, and ask your veterinarian about protecting your dog(s) from Lyme disease by starting them on a tick prevention.

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Flea Control in Dogs - What can I do?

Posted: 2015-06-15 Permanent Link

Flea Control in Dogs
My dog always seems to have fleas. What can I do?

Successful flea control involves both eliminating fleas from your dog and controlling fleas in your environment. Dogs and cats share the same fleas, and fleas can travel from one animal to another. Thus, it is important that all pets in your home are on a flea preventive program.

Treating your pet for fleas has never been easier. With the many choices we have today, we can provide you with the safest and most effective flea preventive for your pet’s needs.

However, when it comes to environmental control, it is important to understand the flea life cycle.

What is the life cycle of the flea?

There are four stages to the flea life cycle, namely the egg, the larva, the pupa and the adult.

Flea eggs are whitish and about 0.5 millimeter (mm) (1/32”) in length. They are unlikely to be seen without a magnifying glass. Adult fleas lay eggs after taking a blood meal. The eggs are initially laid on the dog’s skin but fall off into the environment to continue their life cycle. Flea eggs constitute approximately 50% of the total flea population. Eggs may hatch in as little as 14 to 28 days, depending on environmental conditions. High humidity and temperature favor rapid hatching.

Flea larvae are about 2-5 mm (1/8” to 1/4”) in length. They have a whitish body and a black head. They feed on organic debris found in their environment and on adult flea feces. They dislike bright light and move deep into carpet fibers or under furniture, organic debris, grass, branches, leaves and soil. Flea larvae prefer warm, dark and moist areas. Outdoors, larval development occurs only in shaded, moist areas where flea infested pets spend a significant amount of time. Our climate-controlled homes offer an ideal environment for the flea larvae to thrive.

The flea pupae produce a protective silk-like cocoon that is sticky. It quickly becomes coated with grime and debris, which acts as a useful camouflage. With warmth and humidity, pupae become adult fleas in 5-10 days. The adults do not emerge from the cocoon unless stimulated by physical pressure, vibrations, carbon dioxide or heat. This is important since once fleas emerge from the cocoon they can only exist for a few days unless they are able to feed. Pre-emergent adult fleas can survive within the cocoon for up to 9 months. During this time they are resistant to insecticides applied to the environment. This is important to remember because adult fleas may emerge from their pupae into the environment a considerable time after you apply insecticides in your home.

Once it emerges, the flea adult, unlike the larvae, is attracted to light and heads to the surface in order to encounter a passing host to feed upon. Two days after the first blood meal, female fleas begin egg production. In normal circumstances the adult female will live up to three weeks, laying approximately 40 eggs per day. The entire life cycle, from egg to adult flea can be completed in as little as 14-28 days depending on environmental conditions.

Apart from irritation, are fleas particularly harmful?

Fleas can cause anemia in heavy infestations, especially in young or debilitated dogs. A single female flea can consume up to 15 times her body weight in blood over the several weeks of her adult life. In addition, fleas can carry several diseases, including plague, and act as vectors (hosts) to spread one of the most common tapeworms of the dog and cat, Diplylidium caninum.

How do I prevent fleas on my dog?

Successful flea control includes treating both your pet(s) and the environment.

What should I put on my dog?

Shampoos, sprays, powders and topical preparations are all available. There are also very effective products designed for monthly administration that are available through your veterinary clinic; some of these products are conveniently combined with medications to prevent heartworm and intestinal worms. Be sure to consult your veterinarian to choose the most effective and safe flea products for your home and pet.

What about the environment?

Environmental preparations are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Most “quick kill” products are only effective against the adult flea. Your veterinarian can provide you with flea products that contain Insect Growth Regulators (IGR) that will prevent maturation of the flea eggs and larvae in addition to chemicals that will kill the adult fleas.

Before applying any environmental product, we recommend vacuuming your carpet to stimulate the pre-adult fleas to emerge from their protective cocoons. Be sure to discard the vacuum cleaner bag after its use.

My dog lives most of his life outside. What should I do?

Concentrate on dark, shaded areas and the areas he sleeps in, including his bedding. Spray a product containing an IGR and repeat every 14-21 days for three to five applications.

The newer topical and oral flea preventives will greatly assist you in solving your flea problem. And, by understanding the flea life cycle and following our advice, you and your pet will be flea free in no time.
Ernest Ward, DVM
© Copyright 2009 Lifelearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.

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