It’s starting to feel a lot like winter! So, in addition to the holiday safety tips posted earlier, we would like to remind everyone about potential cold weather hazards to guard against.
One of the most common toxicities seen this time of year is to antifreeze. It has a sweet taste that can attract both dogs and cats, and very small amounts can be lethal. All automotive products should be stored in areas that your pet cannot access, and any spills should be cleaned quickly. There are antifreeze options which are less toxic and are recommended for use in households with pets.
Another common cold weather toxicity is to rat and mouse killers. These products can also be deadly, and can cause a variety of signs including bleeding, weakness, and seizures. Be sure any baits are placed well away from areas your pets frequent or their food storage areas.
Ice melting products can cause irritation to the skin and mouth via direct contact or grooming, or can cause significant illness if ingested. Liquid potpourris are also popular this time of year, and can cause severe damage to the mouth, skin and eyes.
If you think your pet has been exposed to any of these items, please contact our office or the Pet Poison Helpline 1-800-213-6680 or the ASPCA Poison Center at 1-888-4-ANI-HELP.
We at Winding Hill wish everyone a safe and happy 2016!
By: Dr. Patty Gabig
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
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:
• 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.
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!
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.