Does the thought of worms make you cringe? What if you knew that certain types of worms are actually “zoonotic”, meaning that they can be transmitted to dogs, cats and people? Hookworms are one of these parasites that while common, are easily prevented and treated.

What do hookworms look like?

See here:

Yuck, right?

How are our pets infected by hookworms?

It’s actually quite common for puppies to be infected with hookworm. Hookworm infection can pass from a mother to her offspring, or through the environment. As puppies are out and exploring they may come into contact with soil containing hookworm larvae. Once a young puppy ingests the larvae, or if the larvae penetrate skin coming into contact with the ground, the chance of hookworm infection is high. It’s imperative that deworming medication is given to your puppy on a 2, 4, 6 and 8 week regimen.

How do people get hookworms?

Unfortunately, hookworm infection is possible in humans, and can actually be quite dangerous. Walking barefoot in areas where pets have defecated is one of the most common ways hookworms penetrate human skin. Since hookworm is zoonotic, it's also possible to pass to humans from an infected pet. Without treatment, hookworm damage can cause blindness and other damage to internal organs. 

How do I know if my pet has hookworms?

It’s a good idea to note changes in your pet’s behavior - and noticing signs of hookworm infection is one of these situations. Be on the lookout for the following:

  • Lethargy 
  • Weight Loss
  • Diarrhea (especially if dark or bloody) and/or Constipation
  • Poor Appetite

As these symptoms may be indicative of other diseases, it’s important to bring your pet into Battletown Animal Clinic to find out the cause of the symptoms your pet is experiencing.

What type of prevention do I have for my pets, my family and me?

For humans, simple hand-washing can go a long way in prevention of the transmission of hookworm. For our pets, having them on a heartworm preventive protocol is the most effective way to prevent infection. Heartworm preventives also kill hookworm, roundworms and whipworms. It’s easy to see how providing your pet a one time per month chew goes a long way in preventing several nasty parasitic infections, in ALL of your family members, both two and four-legged. In addition to monthly preventive medications, monitor where your pet is exploring, and keep them away from pooled water where hookworm and other parasites may be lurking.

Please feel free to call us anytime if you have questions or concerns regarding your pets' health. As always, we look forward to providing the quality health care you deserve. Call us to make your pet’s appointment today: (540) 955-2171.

Photo Credit: GlobalP / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Spring and Easter Safety

The snow is melting and the sun feels stronger…spring has officially arrived to Battletown! As we seek out new adventures with our families and pets, taking inventory of a few potential springtime hazards will help you avoid an unexpected veterinary visit.

Spring cleaning

It seems once spring arrives we open our windows, air out our homes and can’t wait to embark on spring cleaning activities. It’s important to see your home through the eyes of your pet. Cleaners, especially oven cleaners, kitchen sprays, toilet bowl cleaners and floor sanitizers left in view of your pet may invoke his or her curiosity. These can cause chemical burns and discomfort to your pet’s skin, and severe illness or death if ingested. Make sure to keep them high up off the floor, and preferable out of reach within a cabinet.

Parasites

Warmer temps mean the parasites come out in full force. This means mosquitoes potentially carrying heartworm larvae can infect your pet. Fortunately, a once-monthly chew kills these larvae before they can grow into worms and travel to your pet’s heart, repeating a cycle of reproduction and infestation.

Mighty Mosquito

It’s not just mosquitoes that are out. Fleas and ticks seem to burst into action this time of year, as well. Fleas and ticks carry a variety of diseases which can cause mild to severe health issues in your dog or cat. Once again, preventive medication stops the cycle of these nasty parasites. Each option of prevention works in a slightly different way, but for most, once biting a pet that is on a preventive medication, the tick or flea will die. For some oral flea control medications, the adult flea will not die, but not have the ability to produce viable offspring, thus stopping the life cycle.

Spring Florals

Easter will be here in a few weeks, and one of the most common florals is Easter Lilies. Keep these out of your cat’s reach, or even better yet, not even in your home if you have feline companions. Lilies are highly toxic to cats. Call us immediately if your cat ingests any part of any plant from the lily family.

Watch this video:

Chocolate and other Easter Candy

Easter egg hunts, easter baskets, and other candies seem to be very prevalent in the weeks before and after Easter. Dark chocolates or candies and gums containing Xylitol can present toxic dangers to your pets. Make sure both the food items, as well as wrappings and Easter grasses adorning baskets are quickly disposed of after use.

If you experience an emergency with your pet, please call us at 540-955-2171. We wish you a very Happy Easter and safe spring season!

Photo Credit: adogslifephoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus

When humans vomit, it’s usually because we’re either sick or because we’ve eaten something that "doesn't agree with us". For animals, it’s mostly the same. Pets such as dogs are prone to eating things they really shouldn’t, and this results in vomiting as a defense mechanism to get the “thing” out of their system.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to distinguish between times when vomiting is beneficial to your pet and when vomiting is a sign of a pressing underlying issue. So in this post, we’re going to take a look at why your pet is vomiting and also when to consider it a pressing issue that you should contact your vet about.

What causes my pet to vomit?

Pets vomit for a variety of different reasons.

In dogs, vomiting occurs as a defensive mechanism to expel anything in the body that shouldn’t be there. If your dog has been out exploring and eats something bad, then they’re going to vomit it back up and should feel fine afterwards. This shouldn’t be a cause for concern and you’ll need to clean up the mess, but your dog should feel absolutely fine once it’s over.

You may want to consider monitoring your dog especially when they’re allowed to roam free. Keep all sources of food out of reach so your dog doesn’t overeat and make sure you keep miscellaneous objects hidden as well so that your dog doesn’t try to chew on them and end up swallowing something.

For cats, it’s a slightly different story.

Cats will also vomit if they eat something bad or strange, but they’re less likely to do so especially if you’re raising a house cat. They do, however, vomit up hairballs. While they can be disgusting to even look at, they’re actually a part of your cat’s grooming routine. When your cat grooms itself, the small hooks on their tongue will latch on to dead hairs and will be swallowed. Most of this hair will pass without an issue, but if it stays in the stomach it will form a hairball which will be vomited out.

Hairballs aren’t a major cause for concern, but if your cat suffers from a lack of appetite, diarrhea or ongoing vomiting after the hairball has been coughed up, then you’ll want to contact your vet and bring your cat in for an examination.

Should I bring my pet to the vet?

In most cases, you won’t need to bring your pet to the vet for vomiting. They should feel fine after their stomach settles. But if they continue to vomit on a fairly frequent basis, or show other symptoms such as a lack of appetite then you'll want to contact our veterinary team and ask for advice. Regular vomiting also isn’t normal, so this should be a cause for concern and one reason why you’ll want to get in touch with us.

If you feel that your pet is in pain or feeling unwell, then get in touch with Battletown Animal Clinic at 540-955-2171 to book an appointment with us.

Photo Credit: GlobalP

What do you think of when you hear the word “February”?  It is the month of Valentine’s Day, and with the extra opportunity for treats and decorations, we wanted to share four Valentine’s Day hazards to be mindful of in keeping your pets safe during this sweet holiday!

Xylitol

A sugar substitute that is found in many candies and gums, xylitol is highly toxic to dogs, even in the smallest of amounts. Be sure to keep any of these items up out of reach of your curious canine. If your pet ingests any items containing xylitol, it’s imperative that you call Battletown Animal Clinic immediately. When xylitol poisoning is recognized early, treatment is possible and increases the likelihood of a better outcome for your dog.

Chocolate

It’s fairly well known that chocolate can present dangers to our dogs, and is potentially fatal. However, certain types of chocolate are more hazardous than others - typically the darker the chocolate, the greater the risk. Keep all chocolates far out of reach of your pets, and especially items such as cocoa, baker’s chocolate, and dark chocolate.

This chocolate toxicity meter can be helpful in knowing when it’s critical to seek veterinary attention. When in doubt, it’s always good to give us a call if you have concerns.

Floral Arrangements

As beautiful as they are, floral arrangements can be toxic to our four-legged friends. Lilies, tulips, azaleas, and Sago Palm are extremely hazardous, and can cause vomiting, kidney failure, and even death. If you receive an arrangement with any of these species, be sure to put them far out of reach from pets, and instead in a place where you can enjoy without worry of the flowers presenting a danger.

Bags & Wrapping

Everyone loves to get gifts, and once the treasure is unwrapped, the ribbon, bag, or wrapping is often cast aside. Your pets may be tempted to play with these items, or even to ingest them. Not only can this present a choking hazard, but also creates an opportunity for an intestinal blockage or other complications. 

Having snacks along with a quiet movie night? Be sure to keep the chip or other snack bag out of your pet’s reach. Pet suffocation can occur in less than five minutes. This infographic shows how quickly and often this accident occurs.

We know you love your pet, and since this is a holiday celebrating love, be sure to spend some extra time with him or her. Giving our furry friends in our lives a little extra love is just what our doctor ordered!

References:

“Poisonous Plants.” ASPCA, www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants.

Photo Credit: Vvvita

A pet’s oral health usually provides a sign of her overall health, nonetheless many of us pet owners overlook the importance of a brushing and regular dental exams. Due to this, about 75% of dogs and cats have some stage periodontal disease before the age of three. How can you keep your pet from being part of these statistics?

Nutrition.

A nutritious diet can help to significantly impact overall dental health.  This starts with the food you buy. Our veterinary team can provide insight on the best type of food for your pet’s age, current health needs, and level of overall dental health. Our online store features many options for improving dental health through nutrition, and these items can be shipped FREE to you with a minimum of a $38 purchase.

Brushing.

Dental chews will help scale back tartar and plaque in dogs, however pets still must have their teeth brushed on a frequent basis. It’s best to begin this routine when your pet is a puppy or kitten.  Even if you didn't already begin this routine when your pet was small, or if you've adopted and older pet, your pet will be able to learn to accept it as a part of the conventional routine with lots of gentle persistence, praise and treats from you. Select a toothbrush that's appropriately sized for your pet’s breed and life stage, as well as a tasty (to them) toothpaste that will encourage them to enjoy the brushing routine (These items are also available in our online store.).

If you think that your pet is going to be reluctant, let him or her sniff the toothbrush before placing it near the mouth for small intervals of time. Each day add a bit more time to the process and gradually place the toothbrush topped with dog-friendly/cat-friendly toothpaste inside your pet’s mouth. As you progressively increase the amount of teeth you clean day by day, your pet will even begin looking forward to this time spent with you, especially if given frequent and tasty rewards (TREATS!).

Regular Professional Cleanings

Besides proper nutrition and routine at-home dental care, we encourage you to schedule a professional dental cleaning at Battletown Animal Clinic each year. Our staff uses anesthesia during your pet’s cleaning session to ensure that he remains comfortable and cooperative and also conducts a thorough oral exam. We also take a dental radiograph during this appointment, which provides us with a clear image of your dog or cat’s teeth, mouth, and jaw. This gives us with a baseline as well makes it easier to plan treatment, if needed.

Identifying Dental Health Issues

Complaints of their pet having foul  breath is common among pet owners. However, it’s often taken a bit lightly. If your pet has this symptom, it’s necessary for you to schedule an appointment with us. This may be an indicator of periodontal disease or another  oral health issue. Other symptoms include:

  • Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
  • Persistent bad breath despite your tooth brushing efforts
  • Excessive drooling
  • Reluctance to eat
  • Stains on the teeth that appear yellow or brown

If you've been unaware of the significant importance of oral hygiene for dogs and cats, it’s time for a fresh new view of how care of the teeth has tremendous impact on your pet’s overall health. Schedule your pet’s dental exam today by calling us at Battletown Animal Clinic: (540) 955-2171

Photo Credit: BCFC