What Is Canine Influenza Virus?

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There are many causes of kennel cough, both bacterial and viral. Canine influenza virus (CIV) is one of the viral causes of kennel cough. This highly contagious respiratory disease has affected thousands of dogs in the United States. Because CIV is a relatively new virus, most dogs have not been exposed to it before. Dogs of any age, breed, and vaccine status are susceptible to this infection.

How Could My Dog Catch Canine Influenza Virus?
CIV is easily transmitted between dogs through a combination of aerosols, droplets, and direct contact with respiratory secretions. The virus does not survive for a long time in the environment, so dogs usually get CIV when they are in close proximity to other infectious dogs.

Which Dogs Are Prone to Canine Influenza Virus? 
Any dog who interacts with large numbers of dogs is at increased risk for exposure. Pet owners should consult their veterinarian for information about the canine influenza vaccine.

What Are the General Signs of Canine Influenza Virus? 
While most dogs will show typical signs of kennel cough, but a small percentage of dogs will develop a more severe illness. Signs of canine influenza virus include:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Variable fever
  • Clear nasal discharge that progresses to thick, yellowish-green mucus
  • Rapid/difficult breathing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

Can Dogs Die From Canine Influenza Virus?
If CIV is quickly diagnosed and treated, the fatality rate is quite low. Deaths are usually caused by secondary complications, such as pneumonia. It is important that dogs with CIV receive proper veterinary care.

How Is Canine Influenza Virus Diagnosed?
Veterinarians will typically conduct a thorough physical examination and run a series of tests to diagnose the illness.

How Is Canine Influenza Treated?
Because CIV is a virus similar to the flu in humans, there is no specific antiviral medication available. However, supportive care and appropriate treatment of secondary infections are important. Your veterinarian may advise the following to soothe your dog while the condition runs its course:

  • Good nutrition and supplements to raise immunity
  • A warm, quiet, and comfortable spot to rest
  • Medications to treat secondary bacterial infections
  • Intravenous fluids to maintain hydration
  • Workup and treatment for pneumonia

Be advised, while most dogs will fight the infection within 10 to 30 days, secondary infections require antibiotics and, in the case of pneumonia, sometimes even hospitalization.

What Should I Do if I Think My Dog Has Canine Influenza Virus? 
If you think your dog has canine influenza virus, immediately isolate him or her from all other dogs and call your veterinarian.

Can I Catch Canine Influenza From My Dog?
So far there has been no evidence to indicate that dogs can transmit CIV to humans.

How Can I Help Prevent My Dog From Spreading the Disease? 
Any dog infected with CIV should be kept isolated from other dogs for 10 to 14 days from the onset of signs. Dogs are most infectious before signs are apparent, and can continue shedding the virus for approximately 10 days. This means that by the time signs of the illness are seen, other dogs may have already been exposed.

Source: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/canine-influenza-viruscanine-flu

Easter Pet Poisons

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The veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline receive hundreds of calls this time of year from pet owners and veterinarians concerning cats that have ingested Easter lilies.

“Unbeknownst to many pet owners, Easter lilies are highly toxic to cats,” said Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS assistant director at Pet Poison Helpline. “All parts of the Easter lily plant are poisonous – the petals, the leaves, the stem and even the pollen. Cats that ingest as few as one or two leaves, or even a small amount of pollen while grooming their fur, can suffer severe kidney failure.”

In most situations, symptoms of poisoning will develop within six to 12 hours of exposure. Early signs include vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy and dehydration. Symptoms worsen as kidney failure develops. Some cats will experience disorientation, staggering and seizures.

“There is no effective antidote to counteract lily poisoning, so the sooner you can get your cat to the veterinarian, the better his chances of survival will be,” said Brutlag. “If you see your cat licking or eating any part of an Easter lily, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately. If left untreated, his chances of survival are low.”

Treatment includes inducing vomiting, administering drugs like activated charcoal (to bind the poison in the stomach and intestines), intravenous fluid therapy to flush out the kidneys, and monitoring of kidney function through blood testing. The prognosis and the cost – both financially and physically – to the pet owner and cat, are best when treated immediately.

There are several other types of lilies that are toxic to cats as well. They are of the Lilium and Hemerocallis species and commonly referred to as Tiger lilies, Day lilies and Asiatic lilies. Popular in many gardens and yards, they can also result in severe acute kidney failure. These lilies are commonly found in florist bouquets, so it is imperative to check for poisonous flowers before bringing bouquets into the household. Other types of lilies – such as the Peace, Peruvian and Calla lilies – are usually not a problem for cats and may cause only minor drooling.

Thankfully, lily poisoning does not occur in dogs or people. However, if a large amount is ingested, it can result in mild gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Other Dangers to Pets at Easter Time

Pet Poison Helpline also receives calls concerning pets that have ingested Easter grass and chocolate.

Usually green or yellow in color, Easter grass is the fake grass that often accompanies Easter baskets. When your cat or dog ingests something “stringy” like Easter grass, it can become anchored around the base of the tongue or stomach, rendering it unable to pass through the intestines. It can result in a linear foreign body and cause severe damage to the intestinal tract, often requiring expensive abdominal surgery.

Lastly, during the week of Easter, calls to Pet Poison Helpline concerning dogs that have been poisoned by chocolate increase by nearly 200 percent. While the occasional chocolate chip in one cookie may not be an issue, certain types of chocolate are very toxic to dogs. In general, the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the greater the danger. Baker’s chocolate and dark chocolate pose the biggest problem. The chemical toxicity is due to methylxanthines (a relative of caffeine) and results in vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, an abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and possibly death. Other sources include chewable chocolate flavored multi-vitamins, baked goods, or chocolate-covered espresso beans. If you suspect that your dog ate chocolate, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately.

Spring is in the air and Easter is a wonderful holiday. Remember that your pets will be curious about new items you bring into your household like Easter lilies, Easter grass and chocolate. Keep them a safe distance away from your pets’ reach and enjoy the holiday and the season.

 

SOURCE: http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-owners/seasons/easter/

The Importance of Pet Dental Care

Pet Dental Care in Amesbury, MA

Merrimac Valley Animal Hospital stresses the importance of ongoing pet dental care for the health of your best friend. We advocate ongoing preventive care to help provide longer, healthier, and happier lives for our companion animals. Dental disease is a very common concern for pets and it often goes untreated for far too long. We believe in proactive dentistry to help our veterinarians identify signs of oral health concerns.

A pet’s complete dental will include the following treatments:

  • Scaling
  • Polishing
  • Tartar and plaque removal
  • Extraction of diseased teeth, if necessary
  • Complete oral radiographs to check for underlying signs of decay

During your pet’s complete dental care, we’ll strive to eliminate bad breath through the scaling off of tartar and the removal of bacteria from below the gumline. Bacteria beneath the gumline is especially dangerous as it can get into the bloodstream and affect other organs such as the liver and kidneys!

Help keep your pet healthier and safer, with ongoing dental care.

Stress-Free Veterinary Visits for Your Pet

Stress-Free Veterinary Visits for Your Pet

At our animal hospital, we are always looking for ways to make veterinary visits less stressful for our patients. We want our patients to be relaxed and comfortable, not stressed and anxious! One of the ways we seek to combat this problem while your pet is at our animal hospital for a visit is by offering your pet a distraction during a treatment that might ordinarily cause them stress or discomfort.

Relieve Stress with a Special Treat 

Vaccines are often nerve-wracking for our companions as pets may associate the sight of the needle itself with the pain they felt last time they had a vaccine. Also, if a series needs to be administered, the pet may feel the first shot and become anxious about the rest.

At Merrimac Valley Animal Hospital, we like to distract our patients with a little treat to pique their interest. Our team places a treat on a plate just out of reach of your pet during their vaccines, using it to hold their interest and give them something else to think about. And we don’t use just any old treat, we use squeeze cheese, special treat for most pets. Trust us, it really keeps them occupied as they get to lick the plate while we’re vaccinating them!

We like to call ourselves the “Less Stress Vets,” because your pet’s comfort is always on our minds! We’re constantly looking for new ways to make sure our patients are relaxed and stress-free. Most of our dogs think this particular stress-relief method is quite gouda. (Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves.)

Halloween Pet Safety Tips

Halloween Pet Safety Tips in Amesbury, MA

Halloween may be an exciting season for us and our children, but it can be dangerous for our furry friends! There are a number of dangers that can affect them at this time of the year. We recommend that all pet owners keep an eye on their pets at Halloween and ensure that they are protected. Some common Halloween concerns are detailed below:

Hazards to Pets in During the Halloween Season

  • Halloween is characterized by delicious treats and lots of candy, but it’s important to remember that candy is toxic for our pets to eat! Chocolate and sugar free candy is especially hazardous for them. If your pet gets a hold of Halloween candy, be sure to contact the Merrimac Valley Animal Hospital team immediately so we can determine whether emergency medical treatment is necessary.
  • If you’re dressing your pet up in a Halloween costume, make sure they are always supervised while in costume. Clothing is not natural for animals so they may become stressed or even struggle to remove it. Keep an eye on your pet all the time they’re dressed up and use your best judgement. If they look uncomfortable, they should have the costume removed.

Jack-o-lanterns are well-loved Halloween decorations, but they can be dangerous ones! If they are lit with a candle and they’re tipped over the hot wax or the flame could cause severe burns or a fire.

 

If you have questions about your pet’s safety this season, please contact our team for assistance. We’re committed to helping each pet lead a long, healthy, and happy life!

Heatstroke

Did you know that many people AND pets can be affected by heatstroke? The best way to prevent heatstroke is to allow your pet to relax in a cool or shady area, always with access to the inside, and plenty of fresh, cold water for drinking. And remember to never leave your pet in an enclosed vehicle either!

Fan and Dog

Fan and Dog