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RATS!

During the summer a lot of people in this part of Vermont go to their camp houses for vacation. Often these camps are used for only a few weeks out of the year and can have mice move in when they are not occupied. People will use mouse and rat poisons (known as rodenticides) in these homes not realizing it can be harmful to pets. We have seen a few cases of rodenticide poisoning in dogs recently when they have been at camp. The most commonly used rodenticides work by preventing blood from clotting.  These compounds are called anticoagulant rodenticides.  Examples of anticoagulant rodenticides include d-CON® and Talon®. They are often consumed by dogs straight out of the package or wherever they were left out because they taste good. Cats can ingest the poison by eating a mouse that has died from the active ingredient. Animals that consume anticoagulant rodenticides lose blood into the environment or internal body spaces such as the lungs.  If they do not receive veterinary attention, they will become sick and can die from the consequences of continuous bleeding. Usually pets do not show symptoms for the first 72 – 96 hours after they consume anticoagulant rodenticides. If it suspected that they have eaten them even without showing symptoms they should start treatment at their veterinarian immediately.

Symptoms include:

Unusual bleeding.  Pets may bleed from their skin, gums, ears, nose, eyes, or other locations.  Blood may be noted in urine, feces, or saliva.  Blood can be sometimes be seen on carpet or furniture in areas where the pet spends time.

Bruising of the skin.

Weakness, lethargy, and decreased appetite from blood loss. Bleeding into the lungs may cause coughing or trouble breathing.

Pale or white gums in animals that have lost significant amounts of blood.

Signs of shock, including collapse, loss of consciousness, decreased respiratory rate and decreased heart rate occur when blood loss is severe.

If caught early treatment is usually successful. Diagnosis is confirmed with a blood test. The antidote to anticoagulant rodenticides is vitamin K1.  All pets that are diagnosed with anticoagulant rodenticide toxicity must receive treatment once or twice daily for a period of 4 – 8 weeks. Vitamin K1 can be administered orally or by injection. Any pet that shows severe symptoms of blood loss may require hospitalization and supportive care until its condition stabilizes. During treatment owners should limit their pet’s activity to minimize chances of bruising and bleeding. It is important to finish the full course of vitamin K1 and have your vet perform a follow-up blood test to ensure the efficacy of the treatment. Here are some photos of dogs with symptoms of rodenticide poisoning:

Bleeding from gums

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Bleeding from nose

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Bruising 

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Pale gums

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Despite being the most popular pet in the United States cats visit their veterinarian a lot less often than dogs. All pets should get a physical exam at least once a year, appropriate vaccines and routine treatments such as deworming and preventative medications. Some of the reasons people give for not bringing their cat(s) are:

My cat doesn’t act sick.

My cat isn’t due for any vaccines.

My cat doesn’t go outside.

Cats are very stoic animals. They will often hide their illnesses until they are quite advanced and are more of a challenge to treat. Weight loss is one of the subtle signs that your cat may have a problem. A one to two pound loss of weight may not seem like much but in a 10- 12 pound cat it is significant. A yearly trip to the vet which will include a physical exam and weight check keeps track of these changes in your cat’s health.

Vaccines are an important part of your cat’s wellness protocol. They protect against diseases such as rabies and feline distemper. Your cat still needs to visit their doctor for exams, and routine medications like dewormer and flea control. Other tests such as blood counts, blood chemistries and urinalysis should be performed before your cat gets ill to get a baseline of your cat’s health so you will know if something changes when there is a health concern.

Inside cats are not immune from disease. Cats that are inside only often will live longer than cats that go outside because of predators, cars etc. Cats that live to an older age can get common “elderly” cat illnesses including but not limited to kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, and diabetes. These conditions are usually chronic which means they develop over time. Early detection is the key to avoiding secondary complications from these diseases and therefore making treatment as successful as possible.

Cats are well loved members of the family and can live long and happy lives when they receive regular veterinary care!

Now is the time to start your pet(s) on flea and tick control. Fleas can cause serious skin conditions in dogs and cats that are allergic. Ticks can transmit Lyme Disease and other illnesses. Prevention is the key to avoiding problems associated with fleas and ticks. Most products are absorbed into the bloodstream of the pet. When the flea or tick bites the pet it ingests the active ingredient and dies. This prevents the fleas from reproducing to the point of an infestation. And in most cases, infected ticks must be attached for at least 36 hours in order to transmit Lyme disease so a good tick product is important. We have many products available for dogs and cats here at the Hardwick Veterinary Clinic. In April, May and June we also offer a 10% discount. We are happy to help you find the best choice for you and your pet!

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Happy Spring!

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Spring is a wonderful time to bring home a new puppy or kitten. To be protected against disease young pets should have core vaccinations starting at 8 weeks. They should be given 3-4 weeks apart with the last one at 4 months of age. These vaccines protect against serious diseases such as distemper and parvovirus in canines and distemper and upper respiratory viruses in felines. Rabies should be given after 12 weeks of age. There are a few additional vaccines available to both cats and dogs based on their lifestyle. Dewormer should be given at 8 and 12 weeks with a fecal check after the last dose. It is important to socialize your young animals but make sure it is with pets that are healthy and have been vaccinated. The warmer weather makes house training much more pleasant for people with puppies. Routine and consistency is the key. Establishing good bathroom habits is easier when it is not cold and snowy outside. Most pets that are adopted from rescue groups have been spayed or neutered before they go into their new homes. If this hasn’t happened yet than the best time for this procedure is around 5- 6 months of age (although it can be done earlier). When they are young it is less traumatic to the pet and can prevent undesirable behaviors such as spraying in cats and territorial marking in dogs. Many cats love to go outside and explore or hunt during the warm weather months. Getting your cats used to coming in at night will keep them safer from predators. This can be accomplished by feeding a little wet food at a certain time each evening. Many facilities offer training classes for puppies and dogs throughout the spring and summer. This is a fun way to learn and bond with your new pup. The warmer months with more daylight are great for spending lots of quality time with your pets!

Ouch!

Sometimes a lump that a dog has had for a long time suddenly becomes painful.  These lumps will often ulcerate and create an ugly wound.  The dog will become obsessed with chewing or scratching it. We have seen some cases of this happening with older dogs. It becomes a quality of life issue for the dog because of the pain and discomfort associated with the lump. The dilemma for the owner is whether it is safe to put their senior dog under anesthesia to remove it. While there is always a risk with anesthesia many older animals do very well with modern day anesthetic protocols. Most veterinarians use a combination of injectable pre-surgical medications and inhalation anesthesia so that smaller amounts of each can be used. This decreases the danger of overdose. Supportive care with intravenous fluids and close monitoring are ways to increase the chance of a successful procedure. There are many factors to consider before putting a pet under anesthesia but old age does not necessarily mean it should not be done. Here is a photo of a lump removed recently from the leg of a 15 yr old dog. This dog was very uncomfortable and wanted to constantly lick and chew. His owners decided they did not want him to spend the rest of his days in discomfort and have an open, oozing wound to manage so they had us remove it. He did very well under anesthesia and the leg healed up.

 

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This is a map representing all of the cats that the Floyd Fleaflicker Fix’em Fund has helped and where there is still assistance needed. The fund focuses on spaying or neutering, deworming and core vaccinations. However, there have been other conditions and illnesses that have been tended to also. The many unowned cats in the area are either fending for themselves or being fed by good samaritans. They can be wandering on their own or living with other cats like them. Some cats are truly feral and do not want anything to do with humans. These cats are released back to the same vicinity where they were caught. Other cats have had human handling at some point in their lives and were abandoned or lost. These cats are brought to local animal rescue groups or taken into foster care until a permanent home is found. It is a group effort from many generous people in our community to take care of the cats that need it the most! Thank you!

The next fundraiser will be held on April 30th, 5 pm at the American Legion in Hardwick.

Seasons Greetings

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Wishing everyone and their pets a wonderful holiday and a happy, healthy new year!