Fungal skin infections in dogs

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Freddie has a fungal infection. The poor thing has had to wear this cone of shame to keep from scratching around his eye.

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The doctor wasn’t sure exactly what kind of fungal infection it was, but she was able to discover that that’s what was causing his malaise by using a blacklight. Fungal infections will sometimes show up under those and poor Freddie lit up like a Christmas tree. He’d gotten into a tiff with a cat earlier and we believe that may be where this started…

One fungal infection I read about was Malassezia Dermatitis.  It’s apparently more common in some breeds of dogs, including dachshunds.  It’s caused by an overgrowth of yeast and can cause symptoms like scaly skin and redness.  The doctor gave Freddie’s parents an anti-fungal shampoo to use and some medication as well.

Always trust your gut when it comes to your pet.  You know better than anyone how your dog or cat usually acts, and if you notice something abnormal, there’s probably a good reason.  We’re lucky Freddie’s parents are so dedicated to him because it took 3 trips to 2 different vets to figure this one out!

Ear Infections

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Is there an odd odor around your dog’s ears?  Is he or she pawing at them more than usual? You may be looking at a dog with an ear infection.

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Ear infections occur because of an overgrowth of bacteria or yeast in the ears.  This is more common with dogs with floppy ears, dogs who swim, and dogs with allergies.

How can you make sure your dog’s ears stay clean and free of mites and bacterial overgrowth? You could try using a cleansing wipe.  These are available and could be a good solution if your dog is ok with you messing with his ears.

For other dogs, sometimes the best way to stop an infection is with a solution or liquid product like Ark Natural’s Ears All Right.  It’s an all-natural cleaning lotion made with premium botanicals. It helps to breakdown and remove wax, dirt and debris.  It also reduces inflammation and irritation and treats ear mites.

Some say that nutrition can play a role in improving your dog’s overall health, including that of his or her ears.  Whether or not premium dog food leads to better ear health is debatable, but we all know that feeding a dog a premium all-natural diet will make them healthier overall.

Stop in to J&M Aquatics and Pet Center today to find Ark Natural’s products and premium pet foods!  2851 North Avenue, Grand Junction, CO.

Understanding Heartworms

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07/18/14
Understanding the difference between heartworm disease in dogs and cats and why it is fatal in cats. By: Michael Fleck, DVM

Heartworm Disease in the canine has been well documented and, until
recently, has been seen exclusively in the domesticated dog and
canine-related species. Only in recent years has there been mutation of
Heartworm, allowing the disease to be transmitted to other species,
primarily cats. In all Heartworm infected pets, the mosquito is the
vector that transmits the disease from one infected animal to another.
Pathology from Heartworm infection in the dog results primarily from
disruption of heart and liver function or from anaphylactic reactions.
The pathology of Heartworm infection in the cat is very different from
the dog. In the feline, the larvae of Heartworm migrate to the blood
vessels in the lungs where it transforms to an adult worm resulting in
lung disease rather than heart disease. The damage to the lung with cats
infected with feline Heartworm is so specific that pathologists
describe it as Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease or “HARD.”
Canine pet owners recognize the threat of Heartworm disease and have
their dogs tested annually followed by the administration of monthly
preventative medication. Without prevention, their pet may become
infected and eventually die from the disease if untreated. Fortunately,
the current treatment for Heartworm infected dogs is very safe and
effective, resulting in most treated dogs surviving and living normal
lives.

As a result of Heartworm disease being a relatively new feline issue,
the general cat owner may not even know that Heartworm can be
transmitted to cats. What adds seriousness to feline Heartworm Disease
is that once infected, unlike the canine, there is no effective or safe
treatment currently available and the mortality or death rate for feline
Heartworm Disease is very high. The American Heartworm Society and The
Heartworm Symposium predict that 10% of all new Heartworm cases will be
in the feline. They also have shown that 25% of Heartworm infected cats
reside exclusively inside.
To prevent transmission of Heartworm in cats, the practice of
administering monthly preventative medication similar to Heartworm
preventative medication administered to the dog is an absolute must.
Currently, debate exists within the veterinary community on the need for
testing before scripting preventative meds. Consulting with your
veterinarian will determine the best Heartworm prevention protocol. Your
veterinarian will recommend the monthly Feline Heartworm preventative
medication that they favor. At the Animal Medical Center of Bradenton,
we are beginning to diagnose Feline Heartworm Disease with zero rate of
recovery.
We don’t encourage debate this year on the necessity of testing before
administering feline heartworm prevention. It is too important to
immediately establish all cats on heartworm prevention. At AMC, without
delay, my recommendation is for all feline pet owners to stop by the
office and pick up doses of Advantage Multi which protects the cat from
both heartworm disease and flea/tick infestation.
Feline Heartworm Disease is only one of many new and existing diseases
forcing pet owners to keep abreast of pet health news. It’s a whole new
world with climate changes, a rapidly growing population, environmental
challenges, drug resistant microbes and the mutation of once known
harmless microbes to infective pathogens that threaten our pets and
mankind. Take that first step as a responsible cat owner and fill that
prescription for Feline Heartworm protection.


Biospot will
protect your pet from fleas, ticks and the mosquitos that cause
heartworm disease. Stop by today and pick some up. It’s more
affordable than the vet brands; check out the chart below to see how it
compares.

Your Dog and Allergies

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We all know the symptoms: sneezing, runny nose, watery and itchy eyes.  Our own allergies are affected every year by pollen, dust in the air and even grass.  But did you know your dog can be affected by these same allergens?

Just like in humans, a dog’s body builds up antibodies to protect against various allergens. When a dog is then exposed to a particular allergen the body goes into overdrive trying to get rid of the allergy.  That’s why we (and our pets) get watery eyes and sneeze. Our body is trying to get rid of the allergen.  So how will you know if your pet has allergies?

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Look for red, watery eyes, excessive scratching, chewing of paws or face rubbing. These can all be signs of allergies.  It’s important, if you believe your dog has allergies, to talk to your vet and to also figure out what your dog is allergic to.  Some dogs are allergic to grass while others are allergic to the saliva from fleas.  Talk about a double whammy! Your poor pet doesn’t just itchy because the flea bit him, but because he might be allergic to it!

Shampooing can often help with the itching.  Rinsing off a dog’s paws and legs after he’s been outside can also help because it gets rid of offending pollens.  Finally, feeding your dog a premium dog food with fatty acids can help to protect his skin and coat and keep them healthy even during allergy season.

Joint Supplements: What should you know?

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These days there are lots of products out there designed to provide your pet with healthier joints or “happy hips.” How can you determine which products are best for your pet? What information should you look for to make sure the supplements you’re buying are reputable?

First, for joints especially the two ingredients most often used are glucosamine and chondrotin. Both are building blocks of cartiledge. This covers the ends of bones and helps them to move smoothly against one another.  When there is less cartiledge, there is more pain during movement. Chondroitn is also present in joint fluid which again helps everything to move smoothly and easily.

Joint supplements with these two ingredients are available for both cats and dogs and have been effective in helping both sets of animals move easier and with less pain.  It takes about 6 weeks for the cartiledge to start to rebuild, so you’ll need to wait that long to really notice improvement.  After that your pet will most likely need to stay on the supplements for the rest of his or her life.

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You should always give your pet joint supplements that have been created for dogs; never give them human supplements.  The ones created for dogs are often flavored to make them tastier, have asorbic acid to increase absorption and have been dosed correctly for your sized pet.

Finally, when looking for a specific supplement, consider the following:

  • Check with your vet before giving your dog supplements. What seems like a simple case of arthritis could be something more.
  • Look for a brand that specializes in supplements for pets.
  • Read the labels to make sure you know what you’re giving your pet.
  • Look for lot #s on the bottles; this shows that the manufacturer is following quality control standards.
  • Try choosing treats that have added glucosamine or chondrotin.  Some vets believe these are a better option than basic supplements. Stop by J&M Aquatics and Pet Center and try one like Old Mother Hubbard’s 20316122_lgHip & Joint formulas. These may be just what your pet needs!

Flea and Tick Control: Not just a summer problem

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 Fleas and ticks don’t just cause uncomfortable itching for your dogs and cats; ticks in particular can cause serious diseases like Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.  Even out here in the desert we have fleas (from the prairie dogs) and ticks, so it’s best to protect both your yard and your pet from disease causing insects like these.  And yes, fleas CAN survive inside during winter months, so use these tips to protect you and your pet year-round.

For your yard, try to find an eco-friendly spray that will kill fleas and ticks.  Make sure that the spray won’t directly run off into lakes or streams.  If you tend to find quite a few ticks in your yard, you’ll want to do this every few weeks right through early winter.  That’s right, ticks are around even then!

If ticks or fleas become problematic in your house you’ll most likely need to fog it.  Fog bombs are easy to use and will take care of any fleas or ticks living there.  As a preventative measure, make sure to wash your pet’s bedding often.

For your pet, first make sure that whatever product you use on your cat does not contain permethrin. It can be deadly to cats.  Be careful with products containing its natural counterpart, pyrethrin, as well, as they can cause problems in small dogs.  There are a variety of products out there that you can use to keep ticks and fleas under control on your pet.

  • Probably the easiest to use and longest lasting product is a once-a-month topical solution like BioSpot.  They also make a yard and garden spray.  These solutions are usually applied at the back of the neck.  They last a full month and are minimally invasive to your pet.
  • Sprays can be used as well; cats will prefer a pump spray vs an aresol spray.  If you use a spray it is sometimes best to spray a cloth and then rub your pet with the cloth.  Around their eyes you can do this or use cotton balls to wipe the substance on so that you avoid getting the spray in your pet’s eyes. Make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area when you spray your pet.  Many sprays contain permethrin, so be sure to check for that before using this product on your cat.
  • Powders, while messy, are easy to use.  They should be used in a well-ventilated area and shouldn’t be used on dogs with asthma.
  • Dips and rinses are effective as well, but you’ll need to make sure to avoid getting the product in your pet’s eyes or ears.  Some people put cotton balls in their pet’s ears to help with this.
  • Shampoos usually only rid pets of fleas and ticks that are already present. Many of these contain pyrethrin, so make sure to just read the labels carefully and only use approved products for cats, small dogs, puppies, etc.
  • Collars are effective if used properly.  Make sure you can fit two fingers between the collar and your pet’s neck.  Clip off any excess material so that your pet won’t chew on it.

If you have any questions about what products are best for your pet feel free to stop in and see us at 2851 North Avenue in Grand Junction, or call us at 245-2526.