The most common holiday related hazard for pets is all the extra holiday foods they ingest. From fatty mashed potatoes and gravy, to rich casseroles with cream and butter, to chocolate desserts and candies, pets are either being offered or perhaps stealing some of these stomach upsetting foods. However, pets are not supposed to eat these fatty foods as they are the most likely to cause vomiting and/or diarrhea. A more advanced disease can develop from an inflamed pancreas called pancreatitis. Most pet owners know that chocolate is toxic to pets, but some don't know that the darker the chocolate the more toxic it is. Do not give the family dog the bone from a ham because the bone can lodge in the mouth and around the teeth or in the esophagus and/or intestines. Bones can also fracture teeth. The cost of an upset stomach, a GI foreign body, or fractured tooth can range from a couple hundred dollars to several thousands of dollars depending on the severity of the disease. So ask family members and guests to kindly not give the family pets holiday foods and scrape the plates in the trash not in the dog bowl.
Decorations and gift wrap
Holiday decorations and gift wrapping are essential to making memories and celebrating the season. The more the better! However, decorations that are low on the tree especially glass ornament balls and tinsel can be irresistible to cats. Electrical cords are also fun for some puppies and cats to chew on. While wrapping gifts, cats often like to play with the ribbons that they sometimes ingest. All sorts of decorations can be ingested by unsupervised pets and can get lodged in various parts of the stomach/intestines. Just think about the placement of some of these decorations so your furry friend does not try to redecorate for you and get hurt.
Many families will be traveling with their family pet this holiday season or going to visit families with pets. Family pets have a high incidence over the holidays of being lost due to fleeing from unfamiliar people or surroundings. Before greeting guests, take extra care to place a fearful or anxious pet into a quiet room in the house. While traveling, make sure to secure pets in carriers or pet safety belts. Ensure your pet is microchipped and you have updated the database to the microchip especially if have moved in the past 6-12 months. One last thing that will delay a trip, if you are traveling with a family pet on an airplane, make sure you find out if you need a health certificate. Health certificates can be obtained from veterinarians for a small fee and usually are only valid for up to 10 to 30 days prior to the travel date.
Have a safe and healthy holiday with your pets!
Canine Influenza: What is it?
Canine influenza (CIV or dog flu) is caused by the canine influenza virus. It is highly contagious and easily spread from infected dogs to other dogs by direct contact, nasal secretions (through barking, coughing or sneezing), contaminated objects (kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes), and by people moving between infected and uninfected dogs. Dogs of any breed, age, sex or health status are at risk of infection when exposed to the virus.
Currently, two strains of CIV have been identified in the U.S.
Canine H3N8 influenza was first identified in Florida in 2004 in racing greyhounds. It is thought this strain developed from an equine H3N8 influenza strain that jumped from horses to dogs. Since being detected in 2004, canine H3N8 influenza has been identified in dogs in most U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
Canine H3N2 influenza was first identified in the United States in March 2015 following an outbreak of respiratory illness in dogs in the Chicago area. Prior to this, reports of canine H3N2 influenza virus were restricted to South Korea, China and Thailand. It was initially identified in dogs in Asia in 2006-2007 and likely arose through the direct transfer of an avian influenza virus – possibly from among viruses circulating in live bird markets – to dogs.
Following the initial diagnosis in Chicago, additional cases of canine H3N2 influenza were reported in a number of states. In early 2016, a group of shelter cats in Indiana were diagnosed with H3N2 canine influenza. It is believed the virus was transmitted to them from infected dogs.
In May 2017, canine H3N2 influenza was diagnosed in dogs in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Louisiana, and Illinois. This was the same strain of H3N2 involved in the 2015 outbreak in Chicago.
There is no recent evidence that either strain of canine influenza (H3N8, H3N2) can infect humans. Canine influenza can occur year round.
Canine influenza symptoms and diagnosis:
The symptoms of a CIV infection resemble those of canine infectious tracheobronchitis ("kennel cough"). Dogs infected with CIV develop a persistent cough and may develop a thick nasal discharge and fever (often 104-105oF). The most common clinical sign is a cough that persists for 10 to 21 days despite treatment with antibiotics and cough suppressants. Other signs can include lethargy, eye discharge and reduced appetite. Canine influenza infections can cause mild to severe illness in dogs. Some infected dogs may not show any signs of illness, but can still be contagious and able to infect other dogs.
Some dogs are more severely affected and exhibit clinical signs of pneumonia, such as a high-grade fever (104°F to 106°F) and increased respiratory rate and effort. Thoracic radiography (chest x-rays) may reveal consolidation of lung lobes. Although most dogs recover without incident, deaths due to H3N2 have been reported (less than 10%). Anyone with concerns about their pet’s health, or whose pet is showing symptoms, should contact us. Laboratory tests are available to diagnose both H3N8 and H3N2 CIV.
Transmission and prevention of canine influenza:
Dogs infected with CIV are most contagious during the 2-4 day virus incubation period, when they shed the virus in their nasal secretions but do not show signs of illness. The virus is highly contagious and almost all dogs exposed to CIV will become infected. The majority (80%) of infected dogs develop flu-like illness.
To reduce the spread of CIV, isolate dogs (21-24 days) that are sick or showing signs of a respiratory illness and dogs known to have been exposed to an infected dog. Practice good hygiene and sanitation, including hand washing and thorough cleaning of shared items and kennels. Influenza viruses do not usually survive in the environment beyond 48 hours and are inactivated or killed by commonly used disinfectants, such as bleach (1:30 dilution) solutions.
Vaccines are available for both the H3N8 and H3N2 strains of canine influenza virus. The CIV vaccination is a "lifestyle" vaccination, recommended for dogs at risk of exposure due to their increased exposure to other dogs – such as boarding, attending social events with dogs present (Dog Shows, Daycare), grooming and visiting dog parks. We can provide you with additional information about the vaccines and whether you should consider vaccinating your dog. Please call our office with questions or concerns you may have.
According to new survey data released this month, the incidence of heartworm positive cases has increased in the United States. Heartworm positive animals have been found in all 50 states, no state is immune from heartworm or the mosquitos that carry it. Tennessee has been upgraded to be in the top 5 states in the country with number of reported cases of heartworm.
The life cycle of the heartworm begins with an infected mosquito bite, if left untreated with prevention, will develop into an adult worm in 3-5 months. These adults cannot be treated with prevention alone, they must be killed with a series of injections which will slowly kill them as they are already in the bloodstream and heart. A pet that is taken off prevention for longer than 2 months is at risk of being exposed.
Heartworm prevention is the only proven method of protecting your pet from heartworms. Prevention is not expensive in comparison to the risks and cost of treating an actively infected pet. Remembering to give prevention is also no longer a problem thanks to injectable options that are given twice a year, instead of monthly. Monthly oral options are easily given as treats and also deworm for intestinal parasites which can be transmitted to other pets or humans. Topical alternatives also offer the added protection from fleas. Due to our upgraded status, we highly recommend giving 12 months of prevention to every pet, even if you travel to cooler climates during the winter. If you need help finding the type of prevention that is right for your pet and you, please contact us, we would love to help you and your pet find the right option. Heartworm prevention cannot be purchased without a Veterinarians approval.
It’s time to schedule their yearly checkup today and find out.
Dental disease is the most common disease in dogs and cats, affecting 78% of dogs and 68% of cats over the age of three. Although most dogs and cats will develop some sort of dental disease, small dog breeds, are more prone to developing periodontal disease than larger breeds. Though, as with people, no one is immune to dental problems.
If your pet has bad breath, it may mean there is a problem with their teeth and gums. This can also contribute to more severe medical conditions. If dental issues are left untreated, you may put your pet at risk for problems in their mouth (periodontitis) or with internal organs (heart disease). The challenge most pet owners face is that even if their pet’s breath smells fine, some dental issues are hard to spot.
Early preventive measures, such as at-home care and in-clinic teeth cleanings will help to reduce the frequency and severity of dental disease later in life. At our hospital, we will perform a comprehensive examination of your pet’s teeth and gums. Just like when you visit your dentist, we use special tools to remove tartar from below the gum line and smooth the surface of each tooth to prevent tartar buildup.
Keeping your pet healthy from toe to tooth shows the world how much you love them. The best way to keep your pet in tiptop shape is to schedule your pet’s yearly checkup with us. We’re committed to your pet’s well being every step of the way. (Because we love them too!)
The first ever Bark-O-Ween was a huge success! Some of our costume winners won prizes up to $250 worth of pet care. So as a fun time, I thought we'd show off some of our clients, and their costumes for you to enjoy. Certainly, a good time was had by all, and the pupcakes were delicious. So in a few weeks, when you take your pet to the Blue Oasis Pet Hospital, stop by and get some pupcakes from the Three Dog Bakery, which opens up in just a few weeks right behind the hospital.
It's a lot cheaper with a preventative care plan.
Veterinarians are the experts in keeping pets healthy. We have the expertise to prevent disease and detect illness early. Often veterinarians make recommendations to pet owners that include semi annual exams, vaccines, heartworm testing, fecal exams, annual bloodwork, and flea/tick/heartworm prevention. All these recommendations cost more and more each year. However, we recommend these because we know these services and products keep our patients healthy. As a result preventative care plans have been developed to help our pet owners afford the best care for their pets. Some veterinarians have developed plans that take all the annual services we recommend then discount those services and split them into easy monthly payments. As a pet owner you can feel confident you can provide the best care and afford it as well.
Blue Oasis Pet Hospital has customized our own preventative care plans called BluePaw Plans. Please call us to discuss how we can make optimized pet care more affordable or answer any questions about your let's health. We are here for Loving Care. Support. Knowledge.
Ah, the physical exam.
Ever wonder exactly what your veterinarian is looking for when she looks into your cat's eyes or your dog's ears? Just wonder what your pet is thinking! The physical exam is the routine assessment of a patient's body from nose to tail. Veterinarians need to touch and feel a patient in order to be able to collect a vast amount of information about your pet. However, statics show that people are getting more pets but fewer pets are visiting veterinarians. Some of the reasons include more people have access to Dr. Google and go to the internet to get medical advice and medications. The cost of veterinary care continues to increase making pet owners limit visits to their family vet. However, visiting your veterinarian more frequently with your pet actually can save more money in the long run and help pets live longer healthier lives. Skipping wellness care can mean subtle problems are not diagnosed early before pets feel sick. Early diseases usually do not make a pet feel ill and therefore, do not have symptoms of illness, but can be found on a physical exam or annual blood work.
Veterinarians spend 4 years learning to look, feel, smell, hear, and see diseases in pets. Our education can not be replaced by an internet search. So what are we looking for when we do a seemly "routine" physical exam. The following is a summary of the different things vet's are evaluating your pet for on an exam:
Eyes- Signs of disease; discharge or tearing; abnormal movement or reaction to light, eyelid abnormalities, retinal disease
Ears- Signs of ear infection including pain, gland swelling, redness, odor, mites, ear canal tumors, and ear drum disease and rupture
Mouth- Bad breath, level of calculus on teeth, gingivitis, oral tumors, gum color, tonsils, dehydration
Heart- Heart rate, arrhythmias, murmurs/valvular disease
Lungs- Wheezing, crackling, muffled heart sounds, increased airway sounds
Abdomen- Increased abdominal organ enlargement-liver, spleen, and kidneys; bladder size, pain, or stones; intestinal thickness or gas; discomfort on palpation; excessive fluid
Legs- Muscle symmetry, grinding sounds or feel in the joints; limitations in range of joint motion, painful bones or joints, lameness
Coat, Skin, and Nails- Overall condition and quality of coat; lumps and bumps; excessive dander; saliva-stained fur; fleas/ticks; skin rashes and infections; overgrown nails; tapeworms, fecal matting, or anal gland disease around bottom
Lymph nodes/Thyroid- Any irregularities or changes in size
How can I afford more preventative care for my pet when I am on a budget?
Veterinarians realize that pet owners need help affording quality care. Some progressive small animal veterinarians are offering wellness plans or preventative care plans. These plans include a comprehensive package of preventive services based on the pet's age and health needs, then the total cost is discounted. The plans benefit pets and pet owners because they do the following:
Summertime is a wonderful time to add a new puppy or kitten to your family. The weather is beautiful and puppies make outdoor activities more fun and kittens are happy distractions in the house.
Veterinarians are here to help our local community select and raise great canine and feline citizens. We want you to get the right pet for your family. Before you make a quick decision to add a new pet, please take some time to think about if that pet is right for your family and the cost both in time and food/vet care it will take to raise. If you have determined that a new puppy or kitten is for you, then consider the many wonderful sources to find your new pet. New pets can be found online, breeders, Craig's List, want ads, and pet stores. Plenty of new babies in need of a forever home can be found at our local shelters or rescues. More than 4 million abandoned pets are euthanized each year in the US and many are less than 6 months of age, a heartbreaking statistic so please consider adopting before buying.
Once a new pup comes into your house, they will want to explore and play. They also have no idea where they are supposed to go potty. Most new puppy owners need some advice on how to house train them successfully. Here a few tips.
5 puppy potty training tips
Tip 1: Prevent undesirable accidents when you're not able to supervise your new pup by confining your puppy to safe area or carrier when away or asleep.
Tip 2: Feed a measured amount at routine times every day and allow the puppy to eat until they wander away or as much as they want for 10-15 minutes.
Tip 3: Take puppies outside within 5 to 30 minutes after eating. If the pup does not eliminate, take back out every 15 minutes until successful.
Tip 4: Offer a small special treat and praise immediately for proper eliminations. Consider an Adaptil collar to help as a calming aid to make the pup feel more comfortable in his new surroundings. See www.ceva.us for more information.
Tip 5: Do not punish a pup for going in the house. Simply clean and disinfect the soiled area. It is your responsibility to prevent accidents! Preventing accidents requires close supervision and knowledge of how often your pup needs to go potty.
With close supervision, positive rewards, and frequent trips outside your new pup will get the idea and be a potty training success!
Not everyone would like to have a dog. In fact, cats out-number dogs as the favored pet in the US. Often a new kitten is coming into a house with other established cats because it is hard to have just one of these wonder creatures. Here are a couple tips for adding an additional kitten.
3 tips to introduce a new kitten into a multiple cat household.
Tip 1: Give the new kitten its own room and allow this to be a safe haven for the youngster. Swap the kitten into the rest of the house when the other cats are placed in another room to let the new cat smell around and then allow the established pets into the kittens room. Use treats and praise for good behavior.
Tip 2: Start with your new kitten having its own litter box and food/water station. Adding another litter box seems unappealing but so does cleaning accidents off carpet. An extra box helps reduce the risk of all the cats in the house from having inappropriate eliminations.
Tip 3: Consider Feliway plug-in diffusers or sprays to help produce a calming environment for all the cats in the house. See www.Feliway.us for more information.
Both puppies and kittens should visit a veterinarian within a few days after you get them. Why? Veterinarians will screen your pet for congenital problems such as heart murmurs, umbilical hernias, and cleft palates. We will screen your pet for parasites both internally and in the fur, determine when immunizations need to be started and deworm them, educate you on nutrition and proper toys, discuss when spaying and neutering are done and start preventatives to keep heart worms, fleas, ticks, and GI parasites away from your pet. A lot of early care is needed for these little guys and veterinarians are great allies in ensuring they start out on the right paw.
Consider a puppy or kitten preventative care plan offered at Blue Oasis Pet Hospital that combines the costs for the first year of care then splits the cost into 12 equal payments to help budget cost and provide the best care. Go to Wellness Plans to read more about our BluePaw Wellness Plans.
Does your dog wake you up at night licking their feet or scratching? Does your cat have daily sneezing episodes or intermittent vomiting? Well, these are just a few of the symptoms your pet may have as an allergy sufferer. Pet allergies are common but frustrating for pets and for pet owners. Unfortunately, no quick fix exist and making a diagnosis can take several vet visits and tests to get to the final diagnosis. It is up to veterinarians to have good communication with pet parents and it is important for the pet parent to be mindful that often allergies are not cured, but managed.
Pet allergies cover a wide range of symptoms. Dogs often are foot lickers, head shakers, belly scratchers, bottom scooters and/or face rubbers. Cats can have small scabs around their necks and head, bald bellies, vomiting, coughing, and/or chronically sneezing. The underlying cause of the symptoms can be hard to uncover and require careful investigation. Veterinarians can help uncover the cause of your pets allergies thus leading to a happier pet and pet parents.
The top three causes of pet allergies includes parasites, food allergies, and atopic dermatitis.
The most common cause of itchy skin is still the flea. If your pet has a lot of fleas, you'll find them. However, many pets that have a flea allergy dermatitis have no evidence of fleas on them at all. Pets can be so sensitive to flea saliva that only 1-2 fleas have to bite to ignite the skin to be itchy, leaving you totally confused and frustrated. Once the scratching starts, secondary skin infections can occur and cause the pet to remain itchy. One surprise to indoor cat owners is that fleas are often the cause of their cats itchiness. Indoor cats occasional escape even for a couple minutes and can pick up a flea, indoor cats often have a dog companion that a flea may hitch a ride indoors on, or fleas can get through some screened-in porches or windows. So the first thing an owner with an itchy pet should be doing is ensuring that the pet has been treated with a safe and effective flea control and repeating it as directed, often every 30 days. All the pets in the household should be treated with effective flea control to avoid infestation.
After flea allergy dermatitis has been ruled out, veterinarians usually move onto food allergy or environmental allergy. Food allergy patients are typically younger and some will have intermittent stomach upset or softer stools. Food allergies often are associated with recurrent ear infections starting early in life. Cats with food allergies will intermittently vomit. Remember pets are not allergic to specific diets but rather ingredients in the diet. If you ask around, everyone seems to be an expert on diets for pets. An over-the-counter hypoallergenic diet recommended by a well intentioned, local pet store employee is not typically going to improve the problem. Recent studies have shown that over-the-counter diets claiming to have specific or limited ingredients, when tested, actually had several other unlisted proteins and carbohydrates. This can lead to a worse response to the food and pet owners believing their pet may not have a food allergy when they still may. A pet owner that is concerned that their pet may have a food allergy needs to work with their veterinarian to select the correct diet and go through a monitored food trial to determine if this is the cause of your pets allergy symptoms.
Grass pollen and molds
Atopic Dermatitis is an itchy skin disease associated with environmental allergens, such as pollens and molds. Atopic dermatitis is commonly diagnosed based on a thorough history and elimination of parasites. As more studies are conducted, vets are finding a higher percentage of atopic patients also have food allergies. So some itchy pets may need a hypoallergenic diet as well as atopic dermatitis management.
Management of atopic dermatitis often includes therapeutic shampoos and adding fish oils to the diet that contain a high amount of omega 3 fatty acids and EPA. Antihistamines may help some mild allergy sufferers but these meds can sometimes be too weak. New medications (some new in the past 2 years) have revolutionized control of allergies. They include Atopica, oral allergy serums, and Apoquel. In many cases, these medications have worked wonders for pets.
Don't let your pet suffer from long term allergies. Please contact your veterinarian, or schedule a consultation at Blue Oasis Pet Hospital if you are frustrated with her pet's allergies and need better control. You're not alone in this, and your pet can live a healthier and happier life.
As a whole, our family pets are living longer and healthier lives. As our pets age, they develop very similar age related diseases as we do. One of the most common diseases in aging dogs and cats is osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease (DJD). Osteoarthritis is a slow erosion of the cartilage that lines the joints. As this cartilage erodes, bone rubs on bone and inflammation develops. As the disease advances, boney points (osteophytes) develop in the joint. We can see this on X-rays of the affected joints. Veterinarians are faced with managing the chronic pain and we want you to help recognize the problem and know of all the options for managing this painful disease.
Recognizing chronic pain in pets-
Pain in pets is often difficult to recognize because they are naturally inclined to hide their pain so that they don't draw attention to their weakness. But as osteoarthritis advances slowly, the signs of pain may be subtle, but constant. In order to help determine if your pet may be suffering in silence, look for these signs at home.
Management of Osteoarthritis in pets
A multimodal (using several methods or medications) approach to managing chronic joint disease is currently the most effective and safest way to manage a pet's pain. Often focusing on only one therapeutic method will not be as helpful as doing many at the same time.