I Can Has Cheezburger?

Just something fun and cute for your Thursday night from Icanhascheezburger.com! 😀

Published in: on May 31, 2012 at 10:14 pm  Comments (2)  
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‘Myth’conceptions About Fleas

Since we talked about ticks in the previous post, we may as well talk about fleas and some common ‘myth’conceptions people have about them.

Myth: A couple of fleas are no big deal.

Fact:A few fleas can turn into a massive infestation in no time. In as little as 3 weeks, a flea can lay up to 1000 eggs. In 6 weeks, those fleas hatch, lay 1000 eggs of their own, and so on. It only takes 6 weeks to have a million fleas.

The percentages are the number of fleas in that particular life cycle in your house during an infestation. So, for example, only about 5% of the fleas in your house are adults.

Myth: Pets only need flea control for a few months out of the year.

Fact: Fleas can thrive year-round in warm, humid climates. In the more seasonal climates, fleas can still live up to 10 months out of the year and a warm spring or fall can help keep them going. Also, don’t forget that fleas can live inside on your pets at any time of the year!

Myth: My pet doesn’t have fleas because I’ve never seen any.

Fact: Fleas are often very hard to see. Sometimes the only trace of their presence is the flea ‘dirt’ (digested blood that looked like granules of dirt) that they leave behind. A flea comb is specially designed to snag fleas and flea dirt so you can see them in the teeth of the comb.

Myth: I can get flea stuff at the pet store. I don’t need to get it from my veterinarian.

Fact: I know no one likes to hear this because sometimes things are more expensive at the vet’s office, but the truth of the matter is, the stuff in the store is not as strong or effective as the stuff from the veterinarian. So, you may save a few bucks at the grocery store, but you’re not getting your money’s worth. The flea prevention and treatments at your vet’s office have much better chemicals to take care of the flea problem. They are also much safer and, by asking a few questions and knowing your pet, the veterinarian can make sure you get products properly tailored to your pet’s lifestyle. (i.e. does your pet swim, hunt rodents, etc.)

Myth: I only need to treat the pet that has fleas, not the ones that don’t.

Fact: All the pets in your household need to be treated, especially cats (the cat flea is actually the most common flea of BOTH cats and dogs). A single untreated pet can continue to reinfest the other pets, not to mention your very home itself! Flea eggs drop to the carpet where they hatch. Larva like your carpet very much.

Myth: My pet stays in the backyard, so I don’t need to worry about fleas.

Fact: Unless your yard is a wildlife and stray animal free zone, your pet can pick up fleas out there.

Besides being bloodsucking parasites, fleas are just no fun to have. Some pets even have an allergic reaction to them that can cause serious and uncomfortable itchiness and loss of hair. Vectra is an excellent and safe once monthly flea preventative and is what we sell at my clinic.

Let’s keep our pets flea free this year! Enjoy life’s journey!

Published in: on May 30, 2012 at 2:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Happy Memorial Day

I hope everyone had a fun and safe Memorial Day weekend with their furry friends. I’d like to take a moment to say thank you, not only to the men and women who serve our country and protect us, but to the animals, as well. I came across this picture on my facebook newsfeed and I think it speaks volumes.

Published in: on May 28, 2012 at 7:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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‘Myth’conceptions About Ticks

In my neck of the woods (Midwest Michigan), tick season this year pretty much started in January. It never got cold enough to really freeze the little arachnids (they are not insects, they are related to spiders, ugh). So, this year the ticks have been in full swing for months already! With that in mind, I’d like to go over some common myths about ticks and dispel them for you so you can be prepared to face them on behalf of your feline and canine friends.

Myth: A lit match, fingernail polish, or petroleum jelly are the best ways to remove a tick.

Fact: These methods can actually cause the tick to deposit more of its disease riddled saliva into the wound, making things worse and increasing the risk of infection. The best way to remove a tick is to grasp it with tweezers as close to the head as possible and roll it off to the side off the skin with a steady motion. Wear rubber gloves if possible while doing this to avoid the risk of Lyme disease to yourself. Dispose of the tick in alcohol or by flushing it down the toilet. DO NOT SET IT FREE! Ticks are carriers of diseases other than Lyme disease and all of them are nasty. Also, do not attempt to stomp it to death as this rarely works to kill a tick. 

Myth: Lyme disease is the only illness that ticks can transmit to dogs and humans.

Fact: As mentioned above, ticks carry other diseases that they easily share with both our dogs and us. Lyme disease is the most widely known and most common tick borne disease, but ticks can also carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis (or ‘dog fever’), ehrlichiosis, and other still emerging diseases. CDC tick borne diseases

Myth: If I find a tick on myself or another human in my family, Lyme disease and other diseases can be easily ruled out with a blood test.

Fact: The CDC states that lab results for tick borne diseases in people are often negative the first time around. A second test needs to be done two or three weeks later to confirm infection.

Myth: Ticks aren’t a problem in the winter because it’s too cold for them to live outside.

Fact: Tick season usually runs April to November in most areas of the United States, but experts recommend year-round preventatives. Why? In the winter, some tick species actually move indoors with you and your pets while others create a sort of ‘antifreeze’ that helps them survive during winter. Also, if the freeze of winter isn’t long enough ( as was the case this year with our mild winter in my area), ticks can survive outside just fine, thank you very much.

Myth: Ticks live in trees, so if I stay out of the woods, I should be fine.

Fact: Regardless of locale, ticks live on the ground. They crawl up to the top of grass blades and find a host where they then crawl to the top of the host. This is why they are often found in the head area. They do like any dark, warm spot, though, so be thorough with your tick checks!

Armed with this information, what can you do to protect your dogs or cats from ticks?

My clinic sells Vectra 3D for dogs. This is an excellent preventative not only against ticks, but also against fleas, mosquitoes, mites (except mange), sand fleas, and lice. It is a once monthly topical product, meaning it is applied along the back of the spine of the dog once a month and needs a few hours to dry. There is no oral tick preventative for dogs. It HAS to be topical.

Frontline Plus is a once monthly topical tick preventative for cats, but most of the chemicals used to prevent ticks are lethally toxic to cats, so be careful and ALWAYS make sure you have a product made for cats.

So, as you head out this summer with your bug spray, don’t forget the tick preventative for your furry pals!

Enjoy life’s journey with your furry friends!

Published in: on May 27, 2012 at 11:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
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It’s a hazardous job, but somebody has to do it!

I’m usually pretty aware of the hazards I face at work on a daily basis. I stab myself with needles more times than I can keep track, step on the clinic cats and send us all staggering, get scratched or bitten by cats and dogs, poke myself with a scalpel blade cleaning a surgical pack…you name it, I’ve probably done it. This, however, is something I hadn’t really thought about before.

Published in: on May 7, 2012 at 8:11 pm  Comments (1)