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Dental Health Month is Here!

Dental Month

By: Dr. Ben Davidson DSC_0963

February is National Pet Dental Health Month, and Baring Boulevard Veterinary Hospital is joining in.  You may ask “Are you serious?”.  Yes we are.  Pet dental health is very serious.  You take care of your own teeth multiple times every single day, but most of us can’t or don’t give the same kind of attention to our pets teeth.   Because of this, 85% of household pets suffer from dental disease.  Once pets have reached this point, a professional dental cleaning is necessary to address the disease.

CJSo what does a professional dental cleaning entail?  It is an anesthetized procedure in which a team of our doctors, veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants evaluate and treat whatever problems are present.  The evaluation includes a full dental charting and periodontal diagnostics including radiographs of any questionable or affected teeth.  The teeth are then cleaned using an ultrasonic device to clean the visible surface of the teeth, but most importantly below the gum line where the most serious disease occurs.  If any teeth need advanced procedures, such as periodontal antibiotic infusion, sealing and bonding, or extraction, those are performed at this time.  The teeth are then polished to complete the procedure and your pet is recovered in our post anesthesia ICU.

These procedure are performed at BBVH every weekday, year round, but if you schedule during February you will imagesreceive a $35 discount off the cost of the dental cleaning, dental health kit (valued at about $15). If you have any questions about these procedures or would like to schedule your pets dental evaluation, please call our office.  We also are happy to have you swing your dog or cat by for what we call a “flip of the lip” exam, where one of our doctors or technicians will do a free check on your pets teeth to better tell you if a dental procedure is necessary, and if so, what it will likely entail.

Parvovirus

What is Parvovirus?

By: Dr. John Crumley DSC_0303-001

Parvoviruses are a large group with almost every mammal species (including humans) seems to have its own parvovirus. Fortunately, each virus is specific for which animal species it can infect (i.e. the canine parvovirus will not infect people). However, the canine parvovirus will affect most members of the dog family (wolves, coyotes, and foxes).

While the parvoviruses of other species have been well known for decades, the canine parvovirus is a relative newcomer. The original canine parvovirus, discovered in 1967, lead to a series of infections in the 1970’s and unfortunately still to this day.

Golden Retriever puppyThe most common form of the virus is called CPV-2b, but there is a new particularly virulent strain of parvovirus (CPV-2c) which is rapidly becoming the second most common form of canine parvovirus. Fortunately, currently available vaccines cover all variants of canine parvovirus including CPV-2c, as do all the commercially available diagnostic test kits.

After a 3-7 day incubation period, the disease manifests itself with vomiting, diarrhea, and poor appetite. If untreated, death from dehydration and sepsis is most commonly the end result. If treated with aggressive care, up to 80% of patients will survive and go on to lead normal lives after infection. Since the treatment is extensive, often times requiring isolation in a veterinary hospital for many days, we must be prepared for significant expense of treatment (often times over $1,000).

Treatment for parvovirus infection centers on supportive care. This means that the clinical problems that come up in the course of the infection are addressed individually with the goal of keeping the patient alive long enough for an immune response to generate. We do not have effective antiviral drugs and must rely on the patient’s immune system for cure. Puppy on Fluids Intravenous fluids, anti-nausea medication, anti-diarrhea medication, antibiotics, and pain medication are paramount if the pet is to survive infection.

The sad truth of canine parvovirus is that we could eradicate it with simple vaccination as we have with other terrible diseases (ever heard of small pox? ) Vaccination must be done at an early age (as early as 6-7 weeks of age), then repeated every 3-4 weeks until the pet is 16 weeks of age, then every 1-3 years into adulthood.

The difficultly lies in the robust nature of the virus; it can live on surfaces (pavement, grass, dirt, bottom of shoes and the SAMSUNGlike) for months to years. A sick pet’s feces and/or vomit can spread thousands to millions of viral particles into the environment. If an unvaccinated, or undervaccinated, dog sniffs or licks up viral particles, they can become infected.

So, if you have a new puppy, make sure you get him or her vaccinated at the correct times with your veterinarian and avoid areas where dogs congregate until the vaccine series is finished.

Does a wet nose mean my dog is healthy? If it is dry is he sick?

By: Dr. Jackie Pulver Dr. Jackie Pulver

Most dogs have a cold, wet nose-we have all felt this when they nuzzle our hand for a pet. The nose is wet for multiple reasons. Inside of the nose there are glands that secrete watery fluid to help cool the dog through evaporation. The nose is also an area that a dog sweats from 250_Seven_s_Nose(much like the foot pads). Tears travel from the eyes through the nasolacrimal duct to the nose and provide moisture. The moisture in the nose may also make the dog more sensitive to odors. Dogs also constantly lick their noses!

Dogs will have different moisture content to the nose that varies day by day, hour by hour, dog by dog. The nose may be wet and cool one moment, then warmer and drier the next. The nose wetness (or lack thereof) also changes with the humidity.

A dry nose in a dog is therefore not an indicator of health in our pet. We cannot accurately determine fever from a nose. If Golden Retriever puppyyour dog has a dry nose but is otherwise showing no signs of illness, this may be a normal nose for your dog at that time. If your dog’s nose is cracked, scaling, bleeding, or your dog is having any changes in his normal routines or behaviors, he should be examined by your veterinarian.

It’s the Cat or a Baby?
By: Dr. Jackie Pulver DVMDr. Jackie Pulver
If you are pregnant, you can’t have a cat…..This is a common worry with women when they first find out they are having their first human baby. Luckily, this myth is not true.  The concern for pregnant women and cats is a parasitic disease called toxoplasmosis. This parasite is not transmitted by direct contact with a cat, but by contact with Japanese_litter_boxcat feces.  When humans are infected with toxoplasmosis, most do not get sick. Some people may get swollen glands or fell like they have flu like symptoms.  When you are pregnant, if you become infected with toxoplasmosis it may infect the fetus and cause malformation or abortion.
Pregnant women can safely be around cats with a few simple precautions. The easiest way to prevent any contamination is to have another person in the household daily clean the litter box. Pregnant women should wash their hands after handling cats. Gloves should be worn anytime pregnant women 06-pregnant-woman-cat-couch-lgnare handling dirt (cats will defecate in gardens and other loose soil). Cats that are kept indoors only are less likely to be shedding toxoplasmosis. Lastly, toxoplasmosis can also be passed to people from eating under cooked meat-especially pork, lamb and deer meat.

Don’t Worry Purr When Happy?

Dr. Jackie Pulver DVMDr. Jackie Pulver

Most people feel that cats only purr when they are happy. While it is true they do purr when happy, this is not the only reason.  Cats will purr when injured, while giving birth, when nursing, when threatened, even when dying. British zoologist Desmond Morris has observed purring as a “sign of friendship”-whether that be a cat  content with a friend or in need of a friend.  Dr Margie Scherk, a board-certified specialist in feline health likens a purr to a human smile. Much like people smile when happy, people also smile when nervous or faced 99059361-choose-cat-litter-632x475with a threat.  The purr and smile can be used a signal that says “I’m nice, please don’t hurt me”.

Although we know some reasons why cats purr, experts still do not know how.  The most common explanation is that it originates in the vestibular folds or “voicebox”.  Passing air over these structures likely causes the pleasing sound. Domesticated cats have the advantage on purring over their large feline cousins. Tigers and lions can rumble, but can never get their motor running like your household kitty.bandit

Holiday Pet Hazards

By: Bob Baker,DVM Dr. Baker

The Holiday season brings out many potential problems for your pet.

Chocolate exposure and ingestion can cause anything from mild stomach upset to life threatening medical emergencies. If you are giving chocolate as a gift, it is best it does not get put under the tree. The nose of a dog will be able to sniff through the package and gain access to the goodies.

Sugar free treats made with an artificial sweetener called Xylitol can cause liver failure in the dog, Picture 217but is safe for humans. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. Macadamia nuts are also toxic to dogs. Some dogs will like the taste of eggnog, and the optional alcohol can be a real problem.

Other dietary misadventures with bones, fatty leftovers, candy etc. can cause significant gastrointestinal upset. Bones can cause obstruction and require surgery, there can be an association of high fat foods and pancreatitis that can be life threatening.

Decorative plants such as poinsettias, holly, mistletoe and lilies can cause mild to severe gastrointestinal upset and holly mistletoe_dogand mistletoe can cause rhythm disturbances in the heart.

Tree tinsel and gift wrapping ribbon can be very entertaining to a curious cat, unfortunately cats can swallow these objects creating a linear foreign body which are incredibly dangerous. They cause a plication (accordion movement) of the intestine on itself and can saw right through multiple areas of intestine. It is very important your cat be seen as soon as possible if you suspect a linear foreign body. People will sometimes put a bow or ribbon around an animals neck which if equipped with a breakaway safety feature could result in choking

The Christmas tree itself can be a hazard, the water in the base can be a source of bacteria or can contain toxic substances to maintain freshness of the tree . We have also seen the curious pet try to climb the tree causing it to fall.

dog-christmas-lights 1Christmas lights have their associated electrical cords are another hazard. Chewing electrical cords can cause painful oral burns.

If you have any questions, just give us a call at (775) 358-6880.

Happy Holidays !

With all the high winds and gusty weather one would think we were in Kansas. There have been a lot of fences that have been falling over which in return has led to many lost dog reports. With no fences to hold them in many of the dogs that have been getting out started wandering away from home. Yesterday we are happy to report that we had several reunion stories.

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One of our employee’s Jeremy was on his way to class when he noticed a couple of dogs wandering out in Spanish Springs. As he was trying to catch those dogs that he saw, he noticed a couple more and so on and so on. Jeremy ended up saving 6 dogs yesterday. He brought them in Baring and thanks to their microchips we were able to reunite all of these dogs with their owners. What a wonderful start to the Holiday Season.

Rabies

Written by Dr. Bob Baker Dr. Baker

Rabies is a viral infection that targets the central nervous system of warm blooded animals. Rabies is worldwide in distribution and causes about 55,000 human deaths each year. Tragically, most of these deaths could be prevented if domestic animal vaccination programs were in place. We are fortunate in the United States in that we see very little rabies in our pets, and subsequently in humans because we have very effective vaccines that are readily available. Rabies does exist in the United States, primarily in wildlife. Exposure risks become evident when wildlife interacts with humans or our pets. In our area, the most common vector or carrier of rabies is the bat. Skunks, skunk_710_600x450racoons, and foxes are also vectors in out area. Unfortunately we cannot be with our pets 24-7 and sometimes then find dead things to play with or eat, or in some situations may predate on bats and this is a risk for exposure. There are documented events of rabid bats getting into peoples homes as well.
What can we do to protect our pets and families? First of all, there are extremely effective vaccines against rabies for dogs and cats. ALL dogs and cats should be vaccinated against rabies. Even indoor cats that do not go outside have the potential for rabies exposure should a rabid bat gain entry to the home. Dogs are vaccinated as puppies as young as 12 weeks of age. They need another vaccination at a year of age, and then every three years after that. Cats follow the same protocol, except that there are two different vaccines used to booster the older cat, one is labeled for every year and another is labeled for every three years.DSC_0854 Your veterinarian can help you decide which product is right for your pet. Rabies vaccinations are also required by Nevada law. NAC 441A.435
If you or a family member do come across a sick or dead bat, or for that matter any animal, do not approach or handle them. If the animal is a potential rabies vector, and there is any human or animal exposure you should contact Washoe County Vector Control to have the animal tested for rabies.

How to Help Your Pet Age Gracefully

By Sara Hogle, DVM use sh

The majority of dog breeds have reached their golden years by 7 to 10 years old with large and giant breeds becoming seniors earlier than small breed dogs. Cats are typically considered seniors around 10 years of age. Many dogs will experience some graying of the coat (especially around the muzzle or face) as they age but there are many, more subtle signs of aging to watch for.  Some owners will report diminished hearing in their geriatric dogs and cats. Often times older animals are noted sleeping more and tiring more easily when playing. These changes in activity tend to be very gradual in the healthy older dog or cat. Rapid changes in activity level, or excessive lethargy/sleepiness are often indicators of health problems and a visit to your veterinary is strongly recommended if this is noted at home.

senior dogsOther aging changes to watch closely for include excessive thirst, unexpected weight loss or gain, large changes in activity level or ability, and any signs of pain or discomfort. I recommend regularly evaluating your pets ears and mouth for odor or debris, feeling the belly for tenseness, pain, or bloating/distention, running your hands through the coat to feel for masses or lumps, and to screen for any eye or nasal discharge. Additionally, monitor your pet’s activity level and abilities on a daily basis. For example, if you start to notice hesitation, difficulty or reluctance to sit down, climb stairs, get in or out of the car, go for walks, changes in how they are posturing to urinate or defecate, or with a cat, difficulty or inability to get into or out of the litter box, these may all be indicators of pain and possible underlying arthritis, back problems (e.g. disc disease), or even cancer. If any of these changes in odor, activity, etc. are noted at home we strongly recommend a visit to your veterinarian as soon as possible. Many of the problems that our senior pets face can be managed and/or resolved more easily early in the course of disease, making early diagnosis very important.

Additionally, we recommend regular senior wellness exams, every 6 months ideally. Annual blood work, fecal examination Labwork when indicated, and urinalysis can allow for early detection of diseases. Many diseases can be managed and progression prevented by early detection and medical treatments. For example, cats may appear healthy and happy for a long period of time early in the course of kidney failure but kidney problems can be detected during this time by regular bloodwork monitoring in the older cat. If caught early kidney disease progression can be slowed or prevented keeping your cat healthy and happy at home. Once a cat is clinically sick from kidney disease it has progressed to a point where treatment is more challenging, more expensive, and the cat’s quality of life may be affected long term or altered due to the condition.

older-dogFinally, it is important to consider your aging pets changing dietary and exercise/comfort needs. We recommend feeding a complete and balanced, high quality diet specifically formulated for geriatric or senior pets. Some pets will require a specialty or prescription diet due to other concurrent illness, so we advise following your veterinarians dietary recommendations in these cases. Additionally, older dogs can have more difficulty effectively maintaining their body temperature, so keeping them comfortably warm (not hot) and dry is important. Arthritic dogs may benefit from ramps to get up steps and extra padding where they sleep and arthritic cats may require litter boxes with lower sides for easy access. If your older dog or cat is losing sight or hearing, removing obstacles and avoiding unnecessary movement of furniture, food/water dishes, etc. can help to reduce anxiety and maintain mobility and comfort in the home. If at any time you notice any unusual symptoms or evidence of pain/discomfort we strongly recommend an exam with your veterinarian as soon as possible. Ultimately, with you and your veterinarians tender loving care, support, and guidance we can keep your aging pet comfortable, happy, and healthy into their golden years.

West Nile Virus
Authored by: Centers for Disease Control and PreventionCDC-Logo

*A recent article (Austgen et al. Experimental Infection of Cats and Dogs with West Nile Virus, EID, Vol. 10, no.1 Jan 2004) in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases discusses WNV infection in dogs and cats in detail.

Can West Nile virus (WNV) cause illness in dogs or cats?

A relatively small number of WNV infected dogs (<40) and only 1 WNV infected cat have been reported to CDC during 2003. Experimentally infected dogs* showed no symptoms after infection with WNV. Some infected cats exhibited mild, nonspecific symptoms during the first week after infection–for the most part only showing a slight fever and slight lethargy. It is unlikely that most pet owners would notice any unusual symptoms or behavior in cats or dogs that become infected with WNV.

  1. How can my veterinarian treat my cat or dog if they are/may be infected with WNV?  
    There is no specific treatment for WNV infection. Full recovery from the infection is likely. Treatment would be supportive (managing symptoms, if present) and consistent with standard veterinary practices for animals infected with a viral agent.
  2. Does my dog/cat becoming infected pose a risk to the health of my family or other animals?
    There is no documented evidence of dog or cat-to-person transmission of West Nile virus. The evidence suggests that dogs do not develop enough virus in their bloodstream to infect more mosquitoes. Cats develop slightly higher levels of virus in their bloodstream, but it is unclear if this would be enough to infect mosquitoes. It is very unlikely that cats would be important in furthering the spread of the virus.  If your animal becomes infected with WNV, this suggests that there are infected mosquitoes in your area. You should take measures to prevent mosquitoes from biting you (use repellent and wear protective clothing.)

How do cats and dogs become infected with West Nile virus?  Dogs and cats become infected when bitten by an infected mosquito. There is also evidence that cats can become infected with the virus after eating experimentally infected mice. *

  1. Can I become infected with WNV if a dog with the virus bites me?  Preliminary studies have not been able to detect virus in the saliva of infected dogs. This suggests that dog bites pose a low risk, if any, of transmission of WNV from dogs to other animals or people.
  2. Is there a vaccine for cats or dogs?     No
  3. Q. Can I use insect repellent on my pets?   DEET-based repellents, which are recommended for humans, are not approved for veterinary use (largely because animals tend to ingest them by licking.) Talk with your veterinarian for advice about the appropriate product for use on your pet.

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