Heartworm Guidelines

The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) has altered guidelines after evidence of preventive-resistant Diofilaria immitis strains was presented at the American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists Conference at the end of July in Chicago.

Researchers have now identified heartworm isolates from the Mississippi Delta region that develop in adult dogs receiving routine monthly heartworm preventives.

  1. This means treatment of heartworm positive dogs should be immediate and aggressive, as noted in the newly revised CAPC guidelines (for details, see capcvet.org).
  2. The “slow kill” therapy sometimes prescribed by veterinarians is no longer appropriate, as researchers have demonstrated that using this modality –repeated macrocyclic lactone administration over a period of time — increases the proportion of circulating microfilariae that possess resistance markers.
  3. Dogs should be tested for heartworms once a year. Existing infections should be aggressively treated with an approved adulticide and microfilariae should be eliminated.
  4. CAPC recommendations for year-round prevention with a broad-spectrum parasiticide should be followed.
  5. Pet owners should be encouraged to reduce exposure to mosquitoes as much as possible.

Specialists emphasize that evidence of resistance does not mean abandoning current protocols but that they be followed even more rigorously. The new evidence confirming heartworm resistance underscores the importance of protecting pets year-round without gaps in prevention.

Preventions are still the best protection we have and consistently administering them is key to maintaining pet health.


Protect your pet!

Fleas and ticks– if you have wildlife or stray animals around your home then your pets should be protected.

Heartworm disease– standing water around your home is a breeding ground for those pesky mosquitoes, which can cause heartworms

Canine topical flea prevention

  • Vectra 3D-Provides a 6-way protection: repels and kills fleas, ticks mosquitoes, biting lice, sand flies and mites.

Canine oral flea/ tick prevention

  • Simparica- prevents fleas/ticks for 30 days
  • Bravecto – prevents fleas/ ticks for 12 weeks

Canine oral flea/heartworm disease/ intestinal parasite prevention

  • Trifexis- Kills and prevents fleas, prevents heartworms and controls intestinal parasites (hookworms, whipworms, and roundworms).

Feline topical prevention

  • Revolution- Controls and prevents flea infestations, prevents heartworm disease, controls ear mites and intestinal parasites for 30 days.
  • Catego- prevents flea/ ticks for 30 days.

Pets should be protected year round for complete effectiveness.
All oral preventions are given monthly and by prescription only.
Revolution is a feline monthly topical prevention that is by prescription only.

CALL FOR PRICING & ANY OTHER QUESTIONS YOU MIGHT HAVE
Office: 936-564-4341         E-mail: info@wardanimalhospital.com
3825 NW Stallings, Nacogdoches, Texas 75964
Monday- Friday 8AM-6PM
Saturday 8:30AM- 12:30PM


Summer Tips

Here are a few tips to keep your pet safe during the long hot dog days of summer

Avoiding heatstroke
Limiting and supervising time outdoors during the hottest hours of the day is also important for your pets because when it’s hot for you, it’s probably even hotter for them. Dogs aren’t as efficient at cooling down as we are, since they release most of their body heat only through the pads of their feet and by panting.

Water
Have it in multiple locations for your pet. Water bowls can turn over easily, get dirt in them or grow bacteria and your pet can be left without cool, fresh, clean water. When you travel (or hike), take water with you for your pet.

Parasite prevention
Mosquitoes (heartworm), ticks, and other bugs and parasites are out in full force in the summer, and they can infect your dog or cat and cause potentially serious medical issues. Your pet might also carry these bugs and parasites into your home, so be sure to talk to your veterinarian about a preventative like Bravecto, Simparica and Trifexis.

– Be especially sensitive to older and overweight animals in hot weather. Brachycephalic or snub-nosed dogs such as bulldogs, pugs, Boston terriers, Lhasa apsos and shih tzus, as well as those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.

– Good grooming can stave off summer skin problems, especially for dogs with heavy coats. Shaving the hair to a one-inch length never down to the skin, please, which robs Rover of protection from the sun helps prevent overheating. Cats should be brushed often.

 


Top 5 Holiday Dangers for Pets

Preventive Measures Can Save Pets

The holidays are a festive time for us and our pets. However, due to ongoing activities and constant distractions, we can easily overlook potential dangers to our four-legged family members.

Take preventive measures to protect your pets this holiday season. Being aware of these top five dangers could save you a trip to the veterinary emergency room.

1. Holiday Tinsel and Ornaments

Tinsel, while not toxic, is very attractive to pets, particularly cats. The shiny, dangling decoration reflects light and can move in the slightest draft — appearing to come alive to watchful critters.

The problem with tinsel is that once it’s consumed, it can cause serious injury to your pet. If not caught in time, this foreign body ingestion could actually be fatal as it twists and bunches inside your pet’s intestines. Immediate veterinary care is required.

In addition, bright and colorful tree ornaments can attract your pet’s curiosity. Place glass, aluminum and paper ornaments higher up on the tree. Pets can chew and swallow these fragile objects and not only can broken pieces form sharp edges that may lacerate your pet’s mouth, throat, and intestines, they could also create a choking hazard.

2. Holiday Lighting and Candles

Twinkling, shiny and dangling holiday lights — such as the icicle, netting, garland, curtain, rope and candle varietal — may be another source of danger to your curious pets.

Got a pet that likes to chew? Electrical shock may occur when a pet chomps down on an electrical cord, causing tongue lacerations and possible death. Check your holiday lights for signs of fraying or chewing and use a grounded three-prong extension cord as a safety precaution.

If you have candles on display, place them in a hard-to-reach spot so that your pets can not access them. Not only can pets seriously burn themselves, but knocking over candles creates a fire hazard and may leave a trail of hot wax that will easily burn the pads of paws and more.

3. Gift Wrap Ribbon

You may be tempted to fashion your pet with a decorative ribbon “collar” but beware that this could become a choking hazard.

Also, it’s best to quickly discard ribbons and bows wrapped around holiday gifts so that your curious companions won’t be enticed to chew or swallow them. Ingested ribbon can cause a choking hazard and ultimately twist throughout the intestines, leading to emergency surgery and even death.

4. Food Hazards

Festive events often mean edible treats — and lots of them. Unfortunately, some of the most popular holiday goodies, such as chocolate, bones and nuts, can be extremely toxic or fatal to pets.

  • Different types of chocolate contain various levels of fat, caffeine and the substances methylxanthines. In general, the darker and richer the chocolate (i.e., baker’s chocolate), the higher the risk of toxicity. Depending on the type and amount of chocolate ingested, dogs might experience vomiting, diarrhea, urination, hyperactivity, heart arrhythmias, tremors and seizures.
  • Fat trimmings and bones are dangerous for dogs. Fat trimmed from meat, both cooked and uncooked, may cause pancreatitis. And, although it seems natural to give a dog a bone, a dog can choke on it. Bones can also splinter and cause an obstruction or lacerations of your dog’s digestive system.
  • Abundant in many cookies and candies, certain nuts should not be given to pets. Almonds, non-moldy walnuts, and pistachios can cause an upset stomach or an obstruction of your dog’s throat and/or intestinal tract. Macadamia nuts and moldy walnuts can be toxic, causing seizures or neurological signs. Lethargy, vomiting, and loss of muscle control are among the effects of nut ingestion.

Keep your pet on her regular diet and caution visitors against giving your pet special treats or table scraps.

5. Toxic Holiday Plants

They may be pretty, but some holiday plants are poisonous—even deadly. As little as a single leaf from any lily variety is lethal to cats. Others to avoid:

  • Christmas tree pine needles can produce oral irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, trembling and posterior weakness.
  • Holly, commonly found during the Christmas season, can cause intense vomiting, diarrhea and depression.
  • Mistletoe, another Christmas plant, can cause significant vomiting and diarrhea, difficulty breathing, collapse, erratic behavior, hallucinations, and death when ingested.
  • Poinsettias can cause irritation to the mouth and stomach and sometimes vomiting.

Taking precautions with pets during these festive times can help ensure that you and your family will enjoy a happy — and healthy — holiday season!


Winter pet care

Cold weather can be hard on pets, just like it can be hard on people. Sometimes owners forget that their pets are just as accustomed to the warm shelter of the indoors as they are.

Some owners will leave their animals outside for extended periods of time, thinking that all animals are adapted to live outdoors. This can put their pets in danger of serious illness. There are things you can do to keep your animal warm and safe.

  • Take your animals for a winter check-up before winter kicks in. Your veterinarian can check to make sure they don’t have any medical problems that will make them more vulnerable to the cold.
  • Keep your pets inside as much as you can when the mercury drops. If you have to take them out, stay outside with them. When you’re cold enough to go inside, they probably are too. If you absolutely must leave them outside for a significant length of time, make sure they have a warm, solid shelter against the wind, thick bedding, and plenty of non-frozen water. Try leaving out a hot water bottle, wrapped in a towel so it won’t burn your pet’s skin.
  • Some animals can remain outside safely longer in the winter than others. In some cases, it’s just common sense: long-haired breeds like Huskies will do better in cold weather than short-haired breeds like Dachshunds. Cats and small dogs that have to wade shoulder-deep in the snow will feel the cold sooner than larger animals. Your pet’s health will also affect how long she can stay out. Conditions like diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and hormonal imbalances can compromise a pet’s ability to regulate her own body heat. Animals that are not generally in good health shouldn’t be exposed to winter weather for a long period of time. Very young and very old animals are vulnerable to the cold as well. Regardless of their health, though, no pets should stay outside for unlimited amounts of time in freezing cold weather.
  • Cats will curl up against almost anything to stay warm–including car engines. Cats caught in moving engine parts can be seriously hurt or killed. Before you turn your engine on, check beneath the car or make a lot of noise by honking the horn or rapping on the hood.
  • If you light a fire or plug in a space heater to keep your home toasty warm, remember that the heat will be as attractive to your pets as to you. As your dog or cat snuggles up to the warmth, keep an eye out to make sure that no tails or paws come in contact with flames, heating coils, or hot surfaces. Pets can either burn themselves or knock a heat source over and put the entire household in danger.
  • It’s a good idea to have your furnace checked for carbon monoxide leakage before you turn it on, both for your pets’ health and your own. Carbon monoxide is odorless and invisible, but it can cause problems ranging from headaches and fatigue to trouble breathing. Pets generally spend more time in the home than owners, particularly in the winter, so they are more vulnerable to monoxide poisoning than the rest of the family.
  • Pets that go outside can pick up rock salt, ice, and chemical ice melts in their foot pads. To keep your pet’s pads from getting chapped and raw, wipe her feet with a washcloth when she comes inside. This will also keep her from licking the salt off her feet, which could cause an inflammation of her digestive tract.
  • If left alone outside, dogs and cats can be very resourceful in their search for warm shelter. They can dig into snow banks or hide under porches or in dumpsters, window wells, or cellars, and they can occasionally get trapped. Watch them closely when they are loose outdoors, and provide them with quality, easily accessible shelter.
  • Keep an eye on your pet’s water. Sometimes owners don’t realize that a water bowl has frozen and their pet can’t get anything to drink. Animals that don’t have access to clean, unfrozen water are more likely to drink out of puddles or gutters, which can be polluted with oil, antifreeze, household cleaners, and other chemicals.
  • Be particularly gentle with elderly and arthritic pets during the winter. The cold can leave their joints extremely stiff and tender, and they may become more awkward than usual. Stay directly below these pets when they are climbing stairs or jumping onto furniture; consider modifying their environment to make it easier for them to get around. Make sure they have a thick, soft bed in a warm room for the chilly nights. Also, watch stiff and arthritic pets if you walk them outside; a bad slip on the ice could be very painful and cause a significant injury.
  • Go ahead and put that sweater on Princess, if she’ll put up with it. It will help a little, but you can’t depend on it entirely to keep her warm. Pets lose most of their body heat from the pads of their feet, their ears, and their respiratory tract. The best way to guard your animals against the cold is keeping a close eye on them to make sure they’re comfortable.

When you’re outside with your pets during the winter, you can watch them for signs of discomfort with the cold. If they whine, shiver, seem anxious, slow down or stop moving, or start to look for warm places to burrow, they’re saying they want to get back someplace warm.

You can also keep an eye out for two serious conditions caused by cold weather. The first and less common of the two is frostbite. Frostbite happens when an animal’s (or a person’s) body gets cold and pulls all the blood from the extremities to the center of the body to stay warm. The animal’s ears, paws, or tail can get cold enough that ice crystals can form in the tissue and damage it. The tricky thing about frostbite is that it’s not immediately obvious. The tissue doesn’t show signs of the damage to it for several days.

If you suspect your pet may have frostbite, bring her into a warm environment right away. You can soak her extremities in warm water for about 20 minutes to melt the ice crystals and restore circulation. It’s important that you don’t rub the frostbitten tissue, however–the ice crystals can do a lot of damage to the tissue. Once your pet is warm, wrap her up in some blankets and take her to the veterinarian. Your veterinarian can assess the damage and treat your pet for pain or infection if necessary.

Hypothermia, or a body temperature that is below normal, is a condition that occurs when an animal is not able to keep her body temperature from falling below normal. It happens when animals spend too much time in cold temperatures, or when animals with poor health or circulation are exposed to cold. In mild cases, animals will shiver and show signs of depression, lethargy, and weakness. As the condition progresses, an animal’s muscles will stiffen, her heart and breathing rates will slow down, and she will stop responding to stimuli.

If you notice these symptoms, you need to get your pet warm and take her to your veterinarian. You can wrap her in blankets, possibly with a hot water bottle or an electric blanket–as always, wrapped in fabric to prevent against burning the skin. In severe cases, your veterinarian can monitor her heart rate and blood pressure and give warm fluids through an IV.

Winter can be a beautiful time of year. It can be a dangerous time as well, but it certainly doesn’t have to be. If you take some precautions, you and your pet can have a fabulous time taking in the icicles, the snow banks, and the warm, glowing fire at the end of the day.


Winter Tips For Your Pets

Winter is on its way and now is the time to start preparing for the cold months ahead.

  • Don’t leave your pet outside for long periods of time.
  • Towel or blow-dry a wet pet.
  • Don’t leave your pet alone in a car for long periods of time. The car can hold in the cold.
  • Antifreeze is poisonous to pets, although they like the smell.
  • Leave your pet’s hair long for the winter months so he doesn’t get too cold. If it is a short-haired pet you should think about getting him a sweater.
  • Make sure your pet has a warm place to sleep away from windows or doors and be careful with your pet around the fireplace.
  • Wipe your pet’s feet and stomach before they come inside, in case they pick up any dangerous chemicals on their feet and stomach. He can ingest rock salt or antifreeze when he cleans himself off.

If you have any questions about anything during the winter months that may concern your pet feel free to call us at 936.564.4341.


Digital X-Ray Machine

Ward Animal Hospital uses a fully digital x-ray machine. It has been ideal in determining lameness and checking the closure of joints on young horses. It is also used for almost every small animal case to identify fractures or intestinal problems.

The greatest feature about the digital x-rays is that there is no developing of pictures required. The x-rays are accessible immediately after capture and then uploaded to the internet within 24 hours. After which you can view your animal’s radiographs online for your own reference or that of another veterinary specialist. We can also transfer your exam to a CD!

Digital X-Ray Taking and X-Ray

 


Canine Heartworm and Intestinal Parasites

Heartworm disease

Heartworm is a parasitic disease that can affect any dog regardless of age, sex or habitat. It is found in virtually all parts of the United States and many parts of Canada. Heartworm is spread by mosquitoes and tends to have a higher incidence in areas heavily populated by mosquitoes. Dogs are considered the most common host for heartworms, however, heartworms may also infect more than thirty species of animals (including coyotes, foxes, wolves, domestic cats, ferrets) and even humans, though transmission from animal to human (zoonotic infection) is extremely rare.

What are heartworms?

Heartworms are parasites that live in the blood of a dog’s heart and adjacent blood vessels. They can grow from four to twelve inches in length, reach maturation one year after infection and live for approximately five to seven years. Adult heartworms living in the heart produce offspring, known as microfilariae, which circulate in the animal’s blood. When a female mosquito bites an infected animal, it sucks out the blood containing the microfilariae. When the mosquito bites another pet, the infected larvae are transmitted. In many cases the infected dog will not show symptoms in the early stages.

Heartworm is the most serious common parasite for dogs because it stresses the dog’s heart by restricting blood flow and also damages other internal organs. The heart may enlarge and become weakened due to an increased workload, and congestive heart failure may occur. Left untreated, the disease can be fatal to dogs.

Blood screening tests can verify the presence of heartworms. Radiographs and x-rays are used to detect the disease in its later stages. Prompt detection prevents needless suffering.

Heartworm treatment and prevention

The good news is that most dogs with heartworms can be successfully treated, usually with drugs (immiticide) that kill adult heartworms. But prevention is the best cure – it’s safer, less expensive, and better for your pet!

There are a variety of options for preventing heartworm infection, including an injectable, monthly chewable tablets. Preventative medications are extremely effective and when given properly, on a regular basis, can completely prevent your pet from contracting heartworm. But remember, year-round heartworm protection is as good as your diligence in remembering to give your pet the prescribed medication, as directed by your veterinarian!

Canine heartworm symptoms include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue, a dog that tires easily
  • Listlessness
  • Weight loss
  • Rough hair coat

Ask your veterinarian

Because of the regional and climate-dependant nature of the heartworm cycle, it is crucial to consult your veterinarian before giving any medication to your pet. Your veterinarian is your best reference, with expert knowledge of the heartworm cycle and transmission patterns in your region, along with the individual health and activity profile of your dog. Before starting a preventative program, all dogs that could possibly be affected with mature heartworms should be tested as preventative medicines may cause severe reactions in dogs that already host the adult heartworms. A dog that is on a preventative medicine should be tested routinely to ensure ongoing protection especially when a dose has been missed or forgotten.

Can you catch heartworm and other parasites from your pet?

Mosquitoes transmit heartworm, not pets. Humans are unnatural hosts for heartworm- therefore cases of infection are rare. Many heartworm preventative medicines for pets do eliminate other parasites such as hookworms, whipworms and roundworms, which are more commonly seen in humans. Parasitic infections that can be transmitted from animals to humans are known as parasitic zoonoses.

  1. Hookworms- In dogs, hookworm infection occurs through ingestion or skin penetration of hookworm larvae found in the stools or soil contaminated by feces of an infected animal. The larvae then develop and migrate to the intestines where they hook onto the intestinal wall and feast on the host’s blood. The larvae of hookworms can penetrate the skin and infect humans through contact with soil or sand contaminated by feces of host dogs or cats. In a human host, the hookworm larvae do not migrate to the intestines and become blood-sucking adults as they do in pets. Instead, they move around under the skin and eventually die causing an inflammatory skin reaction known as cutaneous larva migrans, or “creeping eruptions.” It is important to keep your pet free of hookworms with good hygiene, preventive medication and regular veterinary check-ups. Also, keep stray dogs and cats out of sandboxes and gardening areas.
  2. Roundworms– Roundworms are parasitic worms that are round in shape, live in the dog’s intestines and consume partially digested food. Unlike hookworms, they do not attach to the intestinal wall, but literally swim in their food. Adult worms resemble spaghetti and may come out in feces or vomit of an infected dog. Transmission to dogs is through eggs in feces, eating a prey animal that is a host (usually rodents), mother’s milk, or in utero. In dogs, roundworms cause diarrhea, vomiting and in extreme cases pneumonia and intestinal obstruction. In humans, roundworms can cause a serious condition known as vesceral larva migrans. Most victims are children who are infected when putting contaminated fingers into their mouths. Once ingested, the roundworm larvae, though not its usual host, tries to complete its lifecycle. The roundworm gets lost in the human body, usually in the eye, dies and generates an inflammatory reaction that can cause blindness. Proper hand washing can prevent infection. Pet deworming of puppies and preventative medicine will reduce environmental contamination.
  3. Whipworms- The only way a dog can contract whipworms is by ingesting the eggs. When a dog walks on ground infected by eggs, they are picked up on the paws and travel into the mouth when he licks his paws or any contaminated toys or food bowls. Whipworm eggs can survive extreme exterior conditions for months and even years. Within one to three months after the eggs are swallowed they hatch in the dog’s intestine, attach to the wall and begin to suck blood and lay eggs. In dogs, whipworms can cause diarrhea, weight loss and in some cases, anemia. Whipworm infections in humans is extremely rare.

Be safe, not sorry

Children are more prone to contracting zoonotic parasites, as they tend to kiss and play more readily with pets. Parasite larvae are shed in the pet’s feces and may contaminate soil and sand. When children play in the contaminated areas and place fingers in their mouths this allows the eggs to be ingested, causing infection. Hookworm larvae are capable of infecting a host through penetration of the skin. Be sure to pick up feces promptly and avoid eating while playing with your pet. Frequent hand washing, as well as good general hygiene for people and dogs, is recommended. Routine check-ups by your veterinarian – including a diagnostic test for worms and heartworm – as well as a physical exam along with medical prevention, will not only keep your dog healthy but will reduce any risk to you and your family.

Courtesy of Schering-Plough Animal Health