Are your pet’s protected?
March brings us Lungworm Awareness Month – are you aware?
What is Lungworm?Lungworm otherwise known as Angiostrongylus Vasorum in dogs, and Aelurpstrongylus Abstrusus in cats. This parasite resides in the heart and pulmonary arteries and can therefore be fatal. There has been an increase in recorded canine Lungworm cases, but it is still less common than other dog parasites such as fleas, ticks and worms that inhabit the gut. Feline lungworm cases are currently rare, but more cases are confirmed each year.
How can your pet get lungworm?Dogs become infected by this parasite through the ingestion of infected slugs and snails. You may not necessary see your pet ingest any slugs or snails, as they may do it accidently when eating grass or drinking from outdoor water bowls. Cats who hunt birds and rodents will be at a higher risk of ingesting this parasite.
How will your pet be affected?Canine symptoms can vary between cases, the most common signs are: coughing, lethargy, weight loss, poor appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, excess bleeding from minor wounds and seizures. Felines may never show signs that they are affected by Lungworm, however if symptoms do occur they can include coughing, difficulty breathing and poor body condition.
How can it be diagnosed?Lungworm can be diagnosed by:
- Blood test
- Faecal test
What’s the treatment?Treatment is available for Lungworm cases in the form of a monthly prescription spot on treatment, which kills the L4 Lungworm larvae as well as other intestinal worms and fleas. However, in severe cases, this condition may be hard to treat.
PREVENTION IS KEY with this parasite. Here are some tips to help
- Pick up the poop – Lungworm larvae is passed out in your pets faeces and therefore picking up after our pets prevents spread of the parasites
- Pick up their toys – Toys that left outdoors will be exposed to slugs and snails, increasing the risk of parasite spread
- Don’t leave their food and water bowls outside – These will be exposed to slugs and snails increasing risk to your pet
- Monthly prescription spot on worming treatment will protect your pet against Lungworm and reduce its spread. Not all spot on treatments treat against Lungworm, so please contact us for advice. This treatment is included in our Dog Pet Health Care plans.
If you have any questions, our staff will be willing to help.
What is Thiamine deficiency?
Thiamine is also known as Vitamin B1. This water-soluble vitamin is necessary for normal carbohydrate metabolism in cats, and is present in all high quality, well balanced diets. Thiamine deficiency is, therefore, often closely linked to diet, and can occur as a results of prolonged loss of appetite, or from feeding a diet which has inadequate levels of the vitamin present (commonly due to preservation, storage or production methods). Thiamine deficiency can also be seen in cats fed on raw fish diets.
What are the symptoms?
Early signs of Thiamine deficiency are generally non-specific, and can include anorexia, lethargy, excess salivation or vomiting. Further development can include neurological signs (including incoordination, circling, head tilt or abnormal gait), rapid onset of impaired vision, dilated pupils, vestibular signs, and even tremors or seizure activity.
Diagnosis and treatment for cats
Diagnosis is based mainly on the presence of clinical signs, specific changes in the brain seen on MRI scans, rapid clinical improvement once Thiamine supplementation has been administered, or evidence that cats have been fed a Thiamine deficient diet. Prognosis for cats with suspected deficiency is excellent if the disease is treated early. Treatment of suspected Thiamine deficiency is with administration of injectable Thiamine, followed by transition to oral supplements for one month, alongside changing the diet to a different high quality commercial food.
What to do if you think your cat might have thiamine deficiency
If you have been feeding your cat the recalled diet and your cat is not showing any clinical signs, stop feeding the diet and switch to another good well balanced food. If your cat is showing clinical signs contact your vet immediately as early treatment is key.
It’s our policy not to comment on food recalls, but you can find more information on the RVC website here
As the winter draws to a close and the days become warmer pets start to spend more time outside enjoying the Spring sunshine (hopefully!) and longer daylight hours.
However Spring brings some unexpected problems for our pets:-
- Chocolate – keep all those Easter eggs well away from dogs as the theobromine in chocolate can be toxic at relatively small amounts especially dark chocolate or those with a high cocoa solids content
- Lilies – many people decorate their house with lilies at Easter time. However the leaves, flowers and pollen can cause kidney failure in cats and is often fatal. Please avoid bringing these into your house if you have cats.
- Hot Cross buns – raisins and grapes can cause acute renal failure in dogs. It does not affect every dog but it is impossible to know which dogs are susceptible and in those dogs that are affected even a small amount can be fatal.
- Gardening – bulbs can be poisonous in dogs and cats so if digging up a flowerbed make sure you dispose of any carefully! Also take extreme care if using ANY pesticides.
- Slugs and snails – they love the wet, warm weather Spring brings and in this area they can carry Lungworm. This parasite infects dogs causing blood clotting problems as well as coughing and other symptoms and can be fatal. Dogs are infected by eating the slugs or snails. Regular treatment with an anti-lungworm insecticide such as Advocate can prevent it.
- Grasses and pollens – as the garden springs into life skin allergies can be more common. Watch out for itchy skin, rashes and sore eyes. Ears can also be affected.
- Lamb bones – we enjoy a lovely roasted leg of lamb at Easter, but dogs should not have cooked lamb bones as they splinter, and any fatty left-over meat could cause an upset tummy.
This month we have been looking at Pet Diabetes in conjunction with My Petonline, an interactive portal hosted by the manufacturers of Caninsulin. During Pet Diabetes Month, practices across the country are working to raise awareness and offer clients a chance to have their pets tested for this increasingly common problem.
Unfortunately, like people, pets can develop diabetes and it is estimated that that as many as 1 in 200 pets suffer from the condition. Once diagnosed, diabetes can be successfully treated and managed, giving your pet a new lease of life. Sadly, if left untreated, it can cause serious clinical signs and even death.
Diabetes occurs because the body stops making or responding to insulin, which is a hormone that controls the amount of sugar in the blood. Being overweight, having an inactive lifestyle and getting older all increase the risk of developing diabetes. Symptoms can include excessive drinking, increased urination, with weight loss. Whilst these symptoms may actually tie in with many illnesses, diabetes can initially be picked up by detecting glucose in the pets’ urine. We recommend the easy to use urine test kits which are being offered at no charge from the practice to test your pets’ urine. If no glucose is detected, the test kits will be available every year to monitor your pets’ levels. If glucose is detected, further blood tests will be taken and a treatment plan will be put in place.
A diagnosis of diabetes does not spell disaster for our pets. With the right care, veterinary medicine and diets, dogs and cats with the disease can live long and happy lives.
How much do you and can you recognise the signs? Take our test HERE
The test kits will be available until the end of December from all of our branches. If you would like to participate, please feel free to call in to collect a test kit.