Yearly Archives: 2015

Vet Blog | Winding Hill Veterinary Clinic: Ticks 101

By: Dr. Patty Gabig

Tick Talk

I grew up during the 60’s in a small coal mining town on the edge of the Poconos. The veterinarian nearest to us was 12 miles away and he mainly did dairy work. Dogs and cats ran free in our neighborhoods and parasite control was limited to mainly flea baths, powders, and sprays. I honestly never recall hearing about a tick until many years later. Fleas, worms, and rabies shots were what we cared about in the 60’s. Oh my, how things have changed! If I had known then what I know now as a veterinarian, I would have not rolled down all those grassy hills as a kid. Good thing I didn’t know because it was a lot of fun!

So now that I’m a veterinarian and am better informed about many of the potential dangers that lurk in our surroundings, it’s my duty to educate you so that you can make the best decision for your family (pets included, naturally 🙂 ). I’ve included a list of facts about ticks below:

Tick Facts

• Don’t try removing ticks with a match—it will encourage the tick to spread the disease before it comes off. Try removing the tick with tweezers. Grasp it as close to the skin as possible and pull. If you don’t have any tweezers you can cut a slit in an index card or an old credit card and push the slit up under the tick continuing to move forward until it comes off.

• Every tick in the United States can carry diseases. We recommend a 4dx blood test to be done every year. You may hear it called the “Heartworm Test” but it does much more than check for heartworm. It also tests for exposure to tick borne diseases such as Lyme, ehrlichia, and anaplasma. The last two you may never have heard of but we see positive tests quite frequently. You can learn more about them by going to the Veterinary Partner website and searching for “ticks” in the search bar.

• Even if you don’t live near the woods you can still have a tick problem. Ticks crawl on the ground and up grass blades. Even pets living in New York City have gotten Lyme disease because ticks are everywhere.

• April through November are high tick incidence months but we recommend to use tick preventative year round. I’ve personally seen pets that have Lyme disease in the middle of January. Quite a few of these Lyme positive pets are mainly indoor pooches that only go outside when nature calls. Usually these pets have not been on a preventative.

• Be careful where you buy your flea/tick preventative, especially if you are buying it online. I have seen firsthand identical packaging of a popular flea/tick product that was confirmed by the company’s representative as counterfeit. The only difference in the packaging was a tiny orange dot that was strategically placed by the real manufacturer in order to determine it was theirs. This is why many preventative manufacturers won’t stand behind a product that is represented as theirs but was bought on a website through a third party.

• When buying a flea/tick preventative, if it’s on sale check the expiration date to make sure it won’t expire before you can use it all. Expired product won’t necessarily harm your pet, it just may not work as well.

• Laboratory tests for tick-borne disease in people are usually negative the first time around and usually require a second test two to three weeks later.

• Ticks are only second to mosquitos in the number of diseases they transmit.

• Cats can get ticks too. They can’t groom them away because the tick practically buries its mouth parts in the skin

• Ticks can survive in less than ideal environments. We still see live ticks on pets in the dead of winter.

if you would like more information about ticks, please visit either the Veterinary Partner or DVM 360 websites. And if you ever have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to call us at 717-697-4481.

Vet Blog | Winding Hill Veterinary Clinic: Animal Safety & Protection Month

October was deemed  Animal Safety and Protection Month by the PALS Foundation to promote treating animals with kindness and care. We encounter animals in our everyday lives even if we don’t own any. Whether it is a wild or domestic animal, please treat them all with the same respect and courtesy you would to a human. They can’t speak up for themselves so we have to do it for them.

There are many ways you can participate in National Animal Safety and Protection Month. Some are as simple as bringing your pet to the veterinarian regularly to ensure they live a long, healthy live. Others are more in depth and require you to create an evacuation/disaster plan should an emergency occur.

Other ways you can participate in this event include:
• Microchipping your pet
• Making your pet wear a collar with identification tags on it
• Calling and getting help for injured wildlife
• Volunteer at your local animal shelter
• Pet-proofing your home (electrical wires, small toys/clothing items they can choke on or that may obstruct their bowels, candles, toxic foods and plants)
• Adopt a pet (but please do not adopt a pet for someone else. Owning a pet is a big responsibility and must be a decision the owner makes for him or herself)
• Donating money or supplies to a shelter (blankets, pet food, pet beds, etc)
• Educate your children and family on how to properly treat an animal
• Have a pet first aid kit
• Getting pet insurance. Having to choose between getting your pet good veterinary care and maintaining financial stability is never something we want you to experience. Visit our Trupanion page for information on getting a free 30-day trial
• Securing your pets properly when traveling
• Giving your pet a nutritious and balanced diet

The list goes on and we hope you’re able to come up with some creative ideas on your own!

Vet Blog | Winding Hill Veterinary Clinic: World Rabies Day

By: Naomi Hedrick, Veterinary Technician

As someone working in the veterinary field, I can tell you that there aren’t too many animal-related things that scare us. But there is one word that can stop us all in our tracks. The Big Bad, Grand-daddy fear of them all…rabies. Now, I know some of you are thinking that this is a pretty heavy topic for September’s blog. The kids are back in school, football is on TV, and pumpkin everything is coming. Good times! The reason for such a serious topic is that September 28th is World Rabies Day. Co-sponsored by the CDC and the Alliance for Rabies Control (ARC), this date is a global health observance that seeks to raise awareness about rabies and enhance prevention and control efforts. It’s been celebrated in the U.S. and many other countries since 2007. In honor of this, I thought it would be a good idea to address the topic of rabies and perhaps answer any questions you may have in regards to this deadly and deadly serious disease.

Rabies is found on every continent right now which means that no matter where you go, you have a chance of encountering an animal with rabies. So let’s delve into the nitty-gritty of what rabies is, how it is transmitted, and what the clinical signs and symptoms are. Rabies is a virus, specifically a rhabdovirus, that is relatively unstable in the environment and that can affect the central nervous system of any mammal. The usual suspects for rabies are raccoons, coyotes, skunks, bats, and foxes, with the raccoon being the most commonly affected mammal in the Eastern United States.

The most common method of transmission is through the saliva of an infected animal – typically from a bite, but there are cases of transmission via inhalation of infected particles and organ transplants with infected tissue. Once in the body, the virus incubates for a few months to up to a year while it slowly travels up the nervous tissue to the brain. After reaching the brain, the virus quickly starts replicating in vast quantities and spreads to the salivary glands first, and then to other tissues. At this point, symptoms begin to show and treatment becomes impossible.

Infected animals may exhibit two forms of rabies. Dumb rabies presents with paralysis or loss of coordination. Animals infected with furious rabies (think Cujo) will show aggression, lack of fear, or excitability. Furious rabies may then progress into dumb rabies. Once animals enter into the dumb rabies phase they will eventually lapse into a coma and die. Onset of symptoms to death usually takes 1 to 10 days. Once symptoms start to show, in us and in animals, it is nearly impossible to treat. The Pennsylvania Game Commission, which has some great information on their website, says that only “1-3 individuals are thought to have survived in recent years”. Not very good odds.

But there is good news. Prevention has been successful in domestic animals through vaccination and through limiting contact with wild life. For those of you, like me, who have indoor only cats, you might wonder about the need for the vaccine. My cats never go outside, but twice in the last 2 years I have had bats get into the house. Also, it’s the law in Cumberland County. “All dogs and non-feral cats 3 months of age and older must be vaccinated against rabies”. What all of this boils down to is to get your pet regularly vaccinated against rabies and try your best to limit their contact with wildlife and other animals of unknown vaccine history. Because with rabies, prevention is really the name of the game.

If your pet is overdue for a rabies vaccine, give us a call at 714-697-4481 to schedule an appointment.

Student Initiatives at Winding Hill

Students in middle school begin to seriously entertain career options. In high school that exploration continues often in earnest. Students make course decisions, choose activities and often work place based on their career path. Throughout college and veterinary school; preceptor, intern and externships are completed by students engaged in the field of veterinary science and other biology and animal related fields.

Here at Winding Hill we actively participate in career day presentations at area middle schools. We welcome students from middle school age through veterinary medical school as they begin and continue their educational experience.

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Carolyn Bolden above visits Winding Hill for job shadow experiences. This is offered for both middle and high school students.

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Brittany Lee is completing her senior project with us for the entire 2015-2016 school year. We have hired her as well as an assistant. Here she holds Milo the pug for a procedure.

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Allison Frankowski, a recent graduate from YTI’s Veterinary Technology Program, completed her externship with us here at Winding Hill. She has proven to be an excellent addition to the staff and is now an employed Veterinary Technician with us. Here she prepares to take a radiograph on a less than willing participant.

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Typhani Hite, a student in the Veterinary Technology Program at YTI, prepares to assist with a procedure. Typhani is employed as an assistant with us.

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Linda Heller does her internship here before graduating from Messiah College with a degree in Biology.

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And this summer we enjoyed having Sarah Keller with us. Sarah is a student at Oklahoma State’s Veterinary Medical School.

We welcome this opportunity to share the field of Veterinary Medicine that we all embrace!

Cats Are Different!

By Dr. Carol Edwards

Cats are unusual, mysterious, and fascinating. They are both predator and prey in the wild, and therefore their communication can be very subtle…body language and facial expression. They also hide symptoms of illness as long as possible as an instinctive defense mechanism.

Therefore, if you notice ANY change in your cat’s behavior, it is usually significant.

Cats are crepuscular – having periods of increased activity at dawn and dusk. They often start racing around the house at these times of day, which is when their prey outdoors are most active. At our house, we call it having a case of the “scampers”, and enjoy how seriously our cats take themselves.

Unlike dogs who see only black and white, cats have a limited ability to see color, which they use primarily to see movement of prey in low light. They are farsighted, so when they are looking at your face, your features are blurry to them. It also is why they often don’t see treats up close on the floor right away.

Cats are desert animals. They look for their water in their food. Leading feline nutritionists are now recommending feeding canned food to cats. Like their prey, canned food is about 70% water. This also makes it significantly lower in calories than dry food. Additionally, it is higher in fat and protein, which tells a cat he or she is satiated, leading to lower calorie consumption and a healthier weight. Cats strictly on dry food have an increased risk of weight gain and urinary issues.

Additionally, cats are neophilic. Ever wonder why they only like the first serving or two of a new food? If fending for themselves, they might have a crunchy grasshopper for breakfast, a mouse for lunch. Many cats like a varied diet. (Some cats will only eat one thing, though.) It is a good idea when your cats are kittens to change their diets regularly to encourage acceptance of different foods.

Cats possess keen hearing. For instance, if you are in the kitchen turning on your blender, your cat can hear the current passing through the cord before the appliance comes on! This explains why cats can be so responsive to noises.

Cats certainly have a different way of experiencing our world, and to me, it makes them all the more endearing!

Meet Lily

Meet Lily the Berger Picard!
Berger Picard

The Berger Picard (pronounced Bare-Zhay Pee CARR) is a rare breed that hails from France and is now enjoyed in the United States as well. We had the pleasure of meeting Lily when she came in for her first puppy exam with us. She’s a very engaging and adorable puppy and she won the hearts of all of us immediately.

Also known as the Picardy Shepherd, this breed is utilized for herding and companionship. Like most herding breeds, with exercise and training, the Picard can be a loyal and wonderful addition to any active family.

For many years, efforts to establish this breed in North America were unsuccessful. But thanks to the internet there is now an influx as American buyers can easily communicate with European breeders. They are becoming more and more known as time goes on. In fact, the star of the movie, Because of Winn-Dixie (2005), was a Picard!

As this is being published, the breed is being added to the AKC herding group. For more information about this breed you can visit the Berger Picard Club of America at picards.us.

The Human-Animal Bond

By Dr. Dailey

Our human journey has always included animals, companion, livestock, and wild. Research has shown the first domesticated animals were not a food source but a companion, the wolf. It is postulated highly social wolves and highly social humans started walking, playing, and hunting together and never stopped. The dog is literally the wolf who stayed.

Evidence of the bonds between people and animals throughout the ages is easily found, such as literature, cave paintings, and archeological sites. The close relationship between animals and people date from the dawn of civilization. In Ancient Egypt, cat owners shaved their eyebrows when their cat died, signifying feline loss and mourning.

Many cave paintings throughout the world depict symbolic animal representation including Chauvet Cave, France, (32,00 years old), Goyet Cave, Belgium, (31,700 years old), Blombos Cave, South Africa, (20,000 years old), Grotte de Pigeons, Morocco, Stehul, Israel, Australia and probably the the most well known Lascaux Cave, France (17,000 years old). What intrigues many people about Lascaux Cave is the child’s footprints left in the mud and alongside them a paw print of the child’s dog!

Saint Joan of Arc and Florence Nightingale recognized the health benefits animals provided. In understanding this bond, science has progressed from intuition-based thoughts, to anecdotal ideas and finally in the 1970’s, to evidence based research.

The animal human bond cannot be underestimated. This bond is extremely powerful, mutually beneficial, and affects our mental, social, and physiologic health. Our pets are valued members of our family, 62% of American households have a pet (47 million dogs and 41 million cats). Pets are good for us. Pets encourage touch, conversation, laughter, increase exercise, teach responsibility, nurture kindness, decrease blood pressure, and boost immunity. Pets can be better medicine than medicine.

Our animals are an antidote to loneliness, anxiety and depression. The therapeutic value of animals for socially isolated individuals in nursing homes, hospitals, hospice, and prison is documented. The one year survival rate after a heart attack is 94% among pet owners and 74% among non-pet owners. The aid and service working dogs provide is immeasurable and cannot be underestimated.

The unique ability to connect and care for animals enriches our quality of life. To create and sustain a strong bond the pet must be easy to live with, behaviorally. Problems such as aggression, barking, destructiveness can erode the human-bond. It is important to match the breed characteristics with the personality and life style of the owner.

This wonderful bond is everywhere, past, present, and future. Our lives are forever intertwined. We are fortunate to enjoy the companionship and unconditional love our dear pets bring every day.

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House Training Your Puppy

Please understand that I am just a baby. I need to learn that the “potty” is outside. Be patient with me and I will learn. Keep me in a small confined area like a crate. If it is a size to be my bedroom only (like a crate), that will work – no room for a “potty.” As long as I am out of my crate often for exercise and bonding with you, my time in the crate will not be an issue. Whenever you get me out of my crate take me out right away.

I will need to go out often. Whenever I wake up from the night or a nap I will need to go to my potty place. Keeping that place consistent will assist me as I learn. You may want to tell me to “go potty” so I start to associate those words with the action. Feed me on a regular schedule. I will need to go out when I eat or drink. When I slow down after play I will likely need to go again and whenever I am excited about something.

If I do a good job with the potty outside you can give me some freedom in the house but only when you watch me. If I seem restless, start sniffing more around the floor or begin the potty position take me out right away. If you are not watching and I have an accident please don’t stick my nose in it. I really cannot connect that with the act of going “potty.”

Like any new baby I am a lot of work but I will repay you with tremendous amounts of loyalty and companionship. As I mature I can wait longer to use the potty. All puppies are different but a good rule of thumb is a puppy can easily wait the number of hours equal to how many months of age they are. There are certainly lots of precocious puppies that wait all night from the time they are released from their mom and go to their new home. Many need at least one middle of the night visit to the potty.

Gotta go now – it’s potty time again!

Contributed by anybody’s puppy with a little help from Terri Heck, CVT

Bee Stings

By: Terri Heck, CVT

Warmer weather brings much pleasure and has us and our pets enjoying the outdoors. But the warmer weather brings us some hazards as well. Bee and wasp stings can be a painful experience and in some cases a true emergency. Redness, mild localized swelling, and discomfort are common after a bee sting. Cold compresses on the site are recommended without putting too much pressure on the area. Baking soda can neutralize venom from bees but can make wasp stings more uncomfortable. If a stinger can be seen it can be pulled out with tweezers.

Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) at the dose of 1mg/pound is safe for most dogs and cats but not always effective in cats. Check with your veterinarian first to be sure there is not a contraindication before giving. Watch your pet closely for 12-24 hours after getting stung. If swelling continues to escalate, hives develop, or you notice any trouble breathing or vomiting then a bee sting becomes an emergency. Seek veterinary care immediately if any of those signs are seen.

Still want to know more? Take a look at this Bee Stings 101 article.

Over-the-Counter Medications

Venier portrait
by Dr. Tracy Venier

Over-the-counter medications are so commonly used by people for anything from allergy and pain relief to upset stomachs, diarrhea and constipation, but are they safe for our pets? While there are some “safe” OTC medications that can be administered to our dogs and cats, there are also many that can be ineffective and more importantly dangerous.

Did your dog play a little too rough or seems sore after going on that long hike with you? You noticed that your kitty seems to be favoring one of his legs? What to do now? While it may be tempting to reach into our medicine cabinets for some Ibuprofen (an NSAID) or Acetaminophen (Tylenol) just like you would take for aches and pains, these are two of the most common pet poisons.

Aspirin, once commonly recommended by Veterinarians is now on the “do not give” list of OTC medications as it had been found to potentially cause gastrointestinal (GI) ulcerations, bleeding or even kidney failure.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) also potentially toxic to our canine companions can be lethal if ingested by cats.
Even Pepto-Bismol which can be tempting to use for stomach upset and diarrhea contains bismuth salicylate which is similar to aspirin and can also cause toxicity in dogs and cats.

While most pain medications (NSAIDs and Tylenol) and most medications that are ingested orally are the most common culprits, even some topical medications can be problematic. Allergies are a very common ailment in our dog and cat patients and rashes/hives on skin often accompany allergies. Topical creams that contain steroids should be avoided as they can potentially make certain skin conditions worse, and can be problematic if your pet is able to lick the spot where the cream was applied.

Other things best to avoid are topical ear and eye medications, as many products contain additives that may not be safe, or can be alcohol based (ear cleaners) that can burn and make ears even more sensitive.

Pain management, allergy relief and soothing an upset stomach are very important but it’s always best to check with your Veterinarian before administering any medication-even if it’s something you’ve used before or had left over from another pet in the house.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!