When is the best time to treat for fleas?

Flea season is here!  There are a number of great products that pevent infestations from establishing.  The time to “treat” for fleas is before your pet has a problem.  A single flea can lay hundreds of eggs which fall onto your carpets and floors and before you know it fleas are established in your house.  Once this occurs it can take months to get them gone.  Fleas are insects and once they form the pupa stage they can be dormant for several months until moisture and temperature conditions or just right and then they hatch out in your house.  THERE IS NO PRODUCT THAT KILLS/CONTROLS THE PUPA STAGE OF THE FLEA LIFE CYCLE.  This is why keeping them out of your home is critical.  I recommend comfortis for dogs.  It is a once monthly chewable tablet that kills fleas for 30 days.  It is also available in combination with heartworm prevention in a product called Trifexis.  There are topicals available as well.  These too can be found in a heartworm/flea combination product.  What about cats?  Even if your cat is indoors, fleas can be carried in on your clothing or they can also hop into the home from outside.  Opossums and ferral cats are the number one source of fleas for dogs and cats.  They raom at night and the flea eggs drop from them and the next thing you know, you have fleas around your home.  If you have dogs and cats then your dog can carry fleas inside and they hop off and then feed on your cat.  Even if your dog is on flea control products, the flea is not instantly killed and those that hop onto your cat can feed and lay egss and once again you have a flea infestation.  ALL CATS AND DOGS IN THE HOME NEED MONTHLY FLEA CONTROL PRODUCTS!   So, the time to “treat for fleas” is all year long to keep them out of your home and to protect you and your pets from flea bits.

Leptospirosis–A Very Real Threat

Leptospirosis continues to be a very serious threat to dogs and their owners.  I consider it one of the core vaccines your dog should have yearly.  This is a disease that you can contract from you dog as well and it can cause serious illness, permanent kidney damage and death in both dogs and humans.  There is a very good article from Michigan State University regarding a recent outbreak in the Detroit area.  The information applies to our area as well.  Go to  http://news.msu.edu/story/9952/  .  I hope this is useful for every one.

Winterizing Precautions

Once again cold weather is on the way and, as always, there are potential hazards for our pets.  First of all, this time of year many people are adding antifreeze to their vehicles.  This is highly poisonous to pets (and people too) in that it destroys the kidneys.  Most antifreeze has a sweet smell/taste so animals and children will readily drink it.  Anther potential source for antifreeze is in the garage where you store your car.  When the engine is turned off, occasionally a small amount of antifreeze/radiator coolant can drain from the overflow from the car and leave a small puddle under the car where you may not notice it.  Your cat or small dog can find this and consume it.  Small amounts consumed over time will results in kidney damage as well so it is important to not let your pets roam the garage unattended. 

Secondly, even though colder weather is approaching, fleas are still a threat.  They can harbor in leaves, etc and it takes a really hard freeze to kill them.  It has to get cold and STAY cold.  Even then there are sources of fleas for our pets such as stray cats, opossums, raccoons, coyote, etc.  It is best to protect your pets year round in order to keep your house flea free.  Remember, all pets in the house have to be on prevention.  Mixed pet households (dogs and cats) often think to only treat the dog since it is the one usually going outside.  Fleas are not instantly killed and if they jump off the dog and onto the cat that does not have flea protection, this is a source of food and the fleas will establish themselves inside the home.  Once established, it can take MONTHS to rid the house of the fleas.  There is no medication that will kill the pupa stage of the flea cycle.  These can remain dormant for several months and then hatch when temperature and moisture conditions improve.  Therefore, it is best to keep all your pets on year round prevention so that you don’t end up with a flea infested home. 

Another cold weather related problem can occur when the weeds mature and produce their seeds.  Many of these seeds have thorns or stickers that adhere to clothing and pet fur.  This is a favorite time of year to take our dogs for romps in the woods and fields.  Always check their paws, pads and toes for any weed seeds and remove them.  Another area to watch is the eyes.  Tiny seeds and plant awns can be trapped under the upper and lower eyelids as well as the third eye lid (the fleshy membrane at the inner part of the eye).  Always check the eyelids and if you see weed seeds, gently flush them out with a sterile saline eye wash.  If you see persistant squinting of the eye or excessive eye discharge immediately have your pet examined.  There could be a penetrating object in the eyeball or a scratch or an ulcer to the cornea of the eye.  These should not be ignored and should be treated immediately to prevent serious damage as well as relieving the extreme pain associated with these conditions.

So, enjoy the coming season.  I hope this information has been helpful and helps keep your pets safe and healthy.

Dr Walsh

Office Safety and Common Courtesy

When you bring your pet to the veterinary clinic, safety is a concern.  Many times I see cat owners carry in their pets in their arms, no collar or leash.  We have had 2 occasions where a cat, loose in the car, escaped from the car upon arrival at our clinic.  The cat never made it into the clinic.  In one instance the cat found its way home after 5 days.  Sadly, the other cat was never found.  Cats loose in a car are also a driving hazard. You never know when they may become excited thus distracting you and causing a traffic accident.  Please have your cats secure in a carrier.  This protects it in the car if there is an accident.  Secure the carrier with a seat belt so that it does not become an airborne object during a crash.  Having a carrier prevents escape from your auto.  Additonally I have had clients holding their cat on their lap or shoulder in the waiting area when a dog shows up for its appointment.  The cat, already on high alert, freaked out and bit the owner on the neck.  You must remember that your usually sweet, affectionate cat from home is now in a totally new environment and will not act the same as he/she does at home.  So, for everyones safety and peace of mind, ALWAYS have your cat in a carrier anytime he/she is transported outside the home.

For our dog owners,  always have your pet on a leash and collar, under control.  This does not include a 16 foot flexilead that allows your dog to explore the waiting area while you are answering questions at check in or check out.  You never know what will be coming through the door and your pet could be injured or injur another pet entering the area.  It is just common courtesy to not let your pet run all over the area.  Not every dog or person is comforatable with strange dogs running up to them.  Keep your dog on a short leash, by your side.  If you have a highly excitable dog, one prone to barking at other dogs or strangers then try to position your pet out of eyesight of other dogs.  Controlling the vision lines of dogs is the easiest way to prevent them from becoming excited and barking at other dogs, especially in a strange environment. 

We love your pets and want only the best for them.  This includes a safe and enjoyable visit to our facility.  So please keep these tips in mind to protect your pets and to make your fellow clients visit to our facility a safe so that everyone has a pleasant visit.

Beware of "Dog"

Submitted by Danny Misch

      Although it is very likely many people have never seen a coyote near their home before, or anywhere in real life for that matter, coyotes are actually lurking everywhere.  The point of this blog post is not to care anyone but is to inform the reader.  Coyotes, like many wild animals, are losing their lifelong homes due to development in once forested areas.  This forces the coyotes to find somewhere else to live, usually right in your own neighborhood.  There has been one confirmed death from a coyote attack to a person meaning coyotes will probably not target you but your household pets are a different story. 

     Coyotes are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals.  They will go after anything from small rodents to even deer.  This blog was brought to our attention after Dr. Walsh saw a rather large coyote (which can range in size form 20-50 pounds) running through the backyard of our clinic.  We have also received a few reports of coyote attacks to family pets, a big target for coyotes in Northwest Indiana!  When letting your dogs out at night, especially small dogs, stay with the dog and be sure you know your surroundings.   Coyotes do not only carry the threat of attacking your animals, but they can also carry rabies, heartworm, leptospirosis, intestinal parasites and mange to name a few (a good reason to be sure to protect against heartworm all year round!!!)  There are also several ideas floating around of ways to protect other outdoor pets such as cats.  Giving cats escape routes such as planks in trees for them to use as a safe place from the coyotes are great ways to provide safety.  Please remember to provide safety for your pets, especially at night!

Ticks are on the prowl again!

Just a reminder that ticks are still present and are becoming active again in the autumn months.  Just today a Labrador presented with a deer tick (this tick transmits Lyme’s disease) attached and the skin was inflamed.  Ticks are carriers of many diseases some of which are Lyme’s disease, Anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted fever, and Ehrlichiosis.  This can make your dog very ill and in some cases cause death.  It is very important to continue your tick control program this time of year.  There are actually some ticks that live in your house year round and serve as a source of infection for your pets as well as your family so for best protection, use monthly tick control product all year long.

Leptospirosis–What you don't know could kill you!

Oak Hill Animal Clinic is committed to the highest standards of care for our clients and their pets.  Veterinary medicine isan ever changing science that requires us to reevaluate our policies and procedures on an ongoing basis in order to provide you and your pet with the best possible care.

Leptospirosis is the most common zoonotic disease in the world and can cause debilitating kidney, liver disease and even death.  A zoonotic disease is defined as a disease that can be spread from animals to people.  This disease is prevalent in the midwest states including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisocnsin.  Leptospirosis is easily spread from animal to animal via contaminated urine.   ANYWHERE an animal urinates can be a potential for Leptspirosis exposure. This disease can live for months in the soil or water and still cause infection.

Based on recommendations from several industry leading human and medical organizations (please see listed below), and in light of new research on this topic, Oak Hill Animal Clinic recommends Leptospirosis  vaccination for all dogs!  It is simple, inexpensive and it could just save your life!

American Animal Hospital Association;   JAVMA, vol 230, No.11, June 2007; Center for Disease Control and Prevention  www.cdc.gov/eid, vol12, No3, March 2006; Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine;