Prevention is the Simple Way

With summer here again it becomes necessary to be on guard against fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. These little creatures can bring big problems to your pet and you, but have no fear they can be easily defeated with just a few steps and some awareness.

Each flea can lay up to 50 eggs per day and can be active in your area until freezing weather returns. Keeping fleas off of your pets helps to keep the fleas out of your home. Ticks are more of a challenge to prevent but there are great products available to kill the ticks once they have hitched a ride on your pet. They can be found throughout the year until freezing temperatures come. Mosquitoes carry diseases that can be devastating to your pet. They also are more active in the warmer season. Taking preventative steps to protect your pet from these parasites also protects you and your family.

Protect Your Dog
There are products available to protect your dog from fleas and ticks, and some also carry the added benefit of heartworm prevention. The top choices that are recommended by All Creatures Veterinary Clinic for protecting dogs are:
•Seresto Collar - kills and repels fleas and ticks, apply a new collar every 5-8 months
•Bravecto - kills, prevents and treats for flea and ticks, tablet given orally every 12 weeks
•Advantage Multi - prevents heartworm disease, kills and prevents fleas, treats and controls roundworms, hookworms and whipworms, treats and controls sarcoptic mange, topical application applied monthly
•Trifexis - prevents heartworm disease, kills and prevents fleas, treats and controls roundworms, hookworms and whipworms, chewable tablet given monthly

These recommendations can be found on our online pharmacy, along with many other flea, tick and heartworm products. For immediate relief for your dog from fleas, Capstar is available, which kills fleas within 30 minutes but only last 24 hours so a longer term product is needed after Capstar.

A simple way to help reduce the number of ticks, and other unwanted insects, is to keep all grasses cut short and clear brushy areas around your home. The mosquito population can be decreased by limiting their breeding grounds. Look for and drain areas of standing water: overflow dishes for plants, bird baths, pet dishes, wheelbarrows and children’s toys are all examples of places you may find standing water. It is important to give preventatives even with a well-kept yard as even one tick can transmit a disease to your dog. It is also important to give preventatives year around, as fleas, ticks and mosquitos can be active well into the winter months. Remember, it’s not uncommon to have warmer than average days in the winter.

Protect Your Cat
Whether your cat lives indoors full time, ventures out occasionally, or is an outdoor only cat, they can be susceptible to heartworm disease. Heartworm disease is carried by mosquitos, and although it is mostly thought of as a disease that affects dogs, it is possible for cats to be infected through an infected mosquito as well. Although cats are less susceptible to heartworms, according to novacatclinic.com for every 100 dogs that are positive there will be 10 positive cats. Heartworm disease in cats causes an immune response that damages the cat’s lungs. There is no effective treatment currently known so the best option is to give a heartworm preventative and make sure that your home and property have no areas that can be used for mosquito breeding.

As for fleas, you may not see live ones on your cat because they groom so much, but that does not mean they are not there. It is important to keep your cat on flea prevention so that they are protected from life-threatening diseases, and so that they don’t serve as a source of fleas for people and other pets. Though ticks and tick borne diseases are not as common in cats, preventative measures are still important. Just like the mosquito, ticks can carry diseases that are hard to treat.

The top choices that are recommended by All Creatures Veterinary Clinic for protecting cats are:
•Seresto Collar - outdoor cats, kills and repels fleas and ticks, collar has breakaway design, apply a new collar every 5-8 months
•Advantage Multi - prevents heartworm disease, kills and prevents fleas, treats and controls roundworms and hookworms, treats and controls ear mites, topical application applied monthly
•Comfortis - kills and prevents fleas, chewable tablet given monthly
•Vectra - kills and prevents fleas, topical application applied monthly

These recommendations can be found on our online pharmacy, along with many other flea, tick and heartworm products. For immediate relief for your cat from fleas, Capstar is available, which kills fleas within 30 minutes but only last 24 hours so a longer term product is needed after Capstar.

For Dogs and Cats
Prevention is the best way to ensure your pet has a long and happy life. Giving preventatives is easy and definitely brings a peace of mind about your furry companions.


Your Pet and the Zika Virus

By William C. Streit, DVM MS

Mosquitoes
Malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, Chickungunya and West Nile virus are already known to most of us and all are transmitted by mosquitoes. Now we must add a relatively new virus to the list. The Zika virus was discovered in 1947 in Uganda's Zika Forest in a monkey with a fever. It is not yet known how widespread that this virus can be in animals.

Symptoms of Zika virus infection include fever, headaches, joint pain, muscle aches, rashes and red eyes (conjunctivitis). Death is a rare occurrence with this virus. The most serious issue currently known about the Zika virus is that it may be associated with serious birth defects that are life threatening in babies born to mothers carrying the virus. The birth defect is known as microcephaly, or small head, which causes the fetal brain to be underdeveloped, and can be responsible for death or neurological deformation. During this past year in Brazil, there were over 3,500 cases of microcephaly diagnosed and reported. This has officials very concerned.

The website of the CDC contains helpful information about the Zika virus and cautions against traveling to foreign countries that are responsible for most Zika virus outbreaks, as this virus has been present in other countries for a longer period of time, and is more prevalent in those areas. This is especially true for pregnant mothers.

The Zika virus is spread primarily through the Aedes species mosquitoes, and according to Wikipedia, these mosquitoes are distinctive in that they have black and white markings on its body and legs. Another difference between the Aedes and other common mosquitoes is that the Aedes is active in the daytime, specifically early in the morning, and in the evening before dusk, making these the times to be extra vigilant.

Can your pet get the Zika virus?
As far as animals being infected by the Zika virus, all we know that it was originally found in a monkey. Three main points that we still have no evidence for include 1) whether other animals can get infected by Zika virus, show viral replication in the body after exposure to the Zika virus, 2) whether other animals can get sick following Zika virus exposure and 3) whether infected and either healthy or sick animals could be a reservoir for the virus to be passed onto mosquitoes.

As of this moment there is no vaccine for this virus, so prevention is the key. There are several things that people can do, such as wear mosquito repellent, and protective clothing, especially when outdoors during the early and later hours of the day. As for your pets, PREVENTION is the by word to remember, and taking care of your pets will have the added benefit of protecting yourself and your family. DEET, a common mosquito repellant, can cause neurological toxicity with symptoms including seizures in dogs, so it is not recommended to use on pets. K9 Advantage and Vectra3D have label indications to repel and kill mosquitos on dogs only.

An important thing to know is that the eggs of the Aedes can survive cold and dry climates for over a year, and when they come in contact with water they will hatch. This means that no matter where you live, except for the most extreme cold places on this planet, that you must remain vigilant.

How can I protect my pet(s)?
What do you need to do to implement safeguards? Keep your property, your home, including the basement and crawlspace areas, free of any standing water, and keep overgrown brushy areas trimmed back as much as possible, as these can potentially become areas of moisture collection. Letting the sun into shady or brushy areas is a great help in preventing "comfort zones" for mosquitoes. Another area that need attention are your gutters to make sure they are flowing properly and not holding water. Make sure there are no buckets or similar containers, and old tires, sitting around collecting water.

If you have birdbath(s) make sure to change the water frequently, or add an aerator or waterfall feature to it. You can also treat your property with boilogic insecticides that contain Bacillus Thuringiensis Israelensis, which kills mosquitoes, and is not harmful to birds, fish, or any other animals that may be around, including your precious pets. Check with your local garden center for help finding these products.

Another way to help protect your cats and dogs against other mosquito borne diseases, is to get a yearly heartworm test and give them heartworm preventatives throughout the year.