Final Blog of 2023

Where has 2023 gone? Long ago I was told that time goes faster as we age. I now understand that concept. Of course, we know that scientifically time is consistent but boy there are times I swear hours turn into minutes. This blog will cover multiple items since lots has happened since the last blog.

FIRST, let’s have a quick note on the mysterious canine respiratory disease. I believe the news has covered this well over the last few weeks. Unfortunately, we do not have an exact cause or cure at this time. The veterinary community is working on cases and diagnostics and treatment for this new condition. What we do know is that dogs in close contact with other dogs can spread this by sharing bowls, coughing, sneezing, licking another dog. Therefore, activities where dogs gather in close proximity to one another can spread the disease. They believe it is not a virus so finding the right antibiotics for treatment is crucial going forward. Dogs cough for lots of reasons. Please do not jump to conclusions that your dog has this disease just because it coughs. The disease does cause lethargy, fever, nasal discharge, cough, and potentially pneumonia. These dogs are sick. The cough is persistent it does not come and go. For instance, there are dogs that cough only when they get excited or only when they have been laying down. This would not correlate with this mystery respiratory disease. If you are concerned about your dog’s cough, please contact your veterinarian to find out how they want to proceed with diagnostics and treatment. Give the veterinary profession time to explore this new disease and we will surely share our findings once we have concrete information about it.

SECOND,  we have had a successful launch of the Librela osteoarthritis injection. The November blog goes into more detail about this new mode of treatment. We have had a few clients that have returned for the 2nd injection and have been pleased with the positive changes in their aging dogs. Comments such as – my dog is running and playing with the other dogs more, I saw my dog jump onto the couch again, my dog is getting up off the floor easier, etc. Our goal is to help dogs age more gracefully and with less pain. If you have seen changes in your dog’s mobility please consider a course of injections to see if LIbrela can help them. Let’s make life as easy as possible for them in their senior years.

THIRD, please continue flea and tick medication year-round. I realize in the past once the cold weather arrived we stopped. Well, this last summer we had 11 positive lyme disease cases. Compare that to only 1 case in 2022. A significant increase. Why you might ask? Our winters do not have snow on the ground like years ago. If there is no snow, the deer ticks are out and active. Our dogs are out in the woods and tall grasses with them. Let’s stop the spread of these tick borne disease by protecting our dogs all year long. Once a dog gets lyme disease, it’s body does not clear it after that. We see kidney disease in older dogs related to positive lyme cases. Protect your pets and keep them on flea and tick prevention.

FOURTH, with holiday gatherings our pets are at higher risk of poisonings. Finding chocolate goodies or packages with edible items is a common reason for a emergency call during this time of year. We also see higher cases of stomach issues from vomiting and diarrhea because of eating items we normally would not feed our pets. Please refrain from offering different food items to your pets during the holidays. No one wants to spend the holidays in the ER with your dog.

FIFTH, and final thought for 2023….




Osteoarthritis in Dogs

A few months ago, I wrote a blog introducing a new product for cats with osteoarthritis. This month I want to introduce a product for dogs with osteoarthritis. This product is called LIBRELA. It is a monoclonal antibody that blocks the receptors that lead to chronic pain in arthritic joints. The product for cats is called Solensia. We have had that for almost a year. Our clients have indicated their cats do feel better and are more active after receiving their monthly injections for arthritis.

We are excited to offer this new product. It is a more natural form of therapy in relation to our non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs like carprofen or tramodol. This monthly injection does not have the same side effects that NSAID’s are known to cause over the months and years of usage. We will not have an immediate response on day 1 but over the course of the next 5-7 days improvements have been noted. The literature indicates the best benefits have been seen after 3 monthly consecutive dosages. It is important to commit to doing 3 months in a row to evaluate the positive changes seen in your dog’s mobility.

The following checklist is used to determine if your dog may be a good candidate for Librela. Sometimes these changes are so gradual that we do not recognize our dog may be dealing with arthritis. It is well noted that dogs are great at covering up their pain because they have such a high desire to bring joy to our lives. This product may be the right choice for you to bring back some pain free joy to their lives.

We are requiring lab work for our patients that have not had blood work in the last year prior to starting the Librela injections. Once we have done that, the injections are available to you monthly for as long as you feel your dog benefits from them. Most of our cat customers are showing signs of needing the next shot by 3.5 weeks. They get the injection and quickly start showing an interest in jumping up and down, climbing stairs, and zooming around once again. If you are tired of offering daily medications for joint pain or do not feel the medications are completely helping, maybe it is time to try a new approach. The research indicates most dogs and cats have some form of osteoarthritis by age 3-5. Imagine what the senior pets are dealing with in relationship to join pain and stiffness.

If you are interested in this new form of treatment for arthritis for your dog or cat, please reach out to us to set up an appointment. Let us help your pet have a more enjoyable holiday experience this year and be more active in 2024.

Tick Diseases on the Rise

During this season we love to go out walking in the woods or wandering off the beaten path to enjoy the fall colors. The temperatures are perfect for our pets to enjoy the great outdoors. The challenge is the threat for us and our pets when it comes to tick borne diseases. We all think of ticks and fleas in the spring -summer seasons but the deer tick have a very active fall cycle as well. In May 2017 I wrote a blog called “Spring has Come”. The main focus was on the tick borne diseases of Lyme, Erlichiosis, and Anaplasmosis. These are the 3 main tick diseases we currently see in our canine patients in this area. If interested in reading more about those diseases, please follow this link to my previous blog.

As I stated in the blog 5 years ago, year-round prevention for fleas and ticks is needed. Our climate changes are creating a perfect opportunity for deer ticks to spread disease in all seasons. January and February of 2023 we had many days with no snow on the ground. Now don’t get me wrong, I am happy when there is no snow, but the deer ticks are even more excited about that. They will continue to be active and searching out hosts to continue their life cycle. I spoke with a taxidermist who indicated he must leave the deer in his freezer for 1 month before the ticks will be killed. Do you know of any other living creature that could sustain 30 days in a freezer?

In 2023 checking our client’s dogs for tick borne diseases, we have had 10 positive cases. That is 10 more than last year. This tells me we need to do a better job of tick prevention. These 10 cases were dogs of all sizes and some live within the city limits. If you live in Madison County, ticks are everywhere all year-round. Do not be fooled into thinking the weather has changed and we no longer need to do flea/tick prevention. WE DO NEED TO PROTECT OUR FURRY FRIENDS FROM THESE TICK BORNE DISEASES. The following images show the 3 common infections in our country. It is obvious that we are not in the heaviest infected regions but we are not far behind. Please protect each and every pet!

I am often surprised by people who move to Iowa and are not familiar with the tick-borne diseases. They have been made to believe that these tick diseases are no risk for their pets if living in Arizona or Montana for instance. I look at these maps and disagree totally with those statements. With people traveling across our great nation with their canines we are going to see these diseases on the rise in all areas of the country. Here in Iowa ticks have always been a threat to our dogs. In the last decade we have been fortunate to have new products that work better than the topicals of the past. These new oral products cover from their nose to their tail. No more sticky substances on their skin. No more issues with bathing or swimming. No more issues with grooming or thick hair coats that make it difficult to get the product to the skin. No more skin reactions from the topical products. A new generation of products that really can protect our furry friends.

My favorite product is Bravecto for flea and tick prevention. It is a 12 week chewable or dermally absorbed topical, if your pet is finicky, that goes internally. It has been on the market close to 10 years with minimal side effects. Over 250,000 million doses have been sold worldwide in 90 countries. Bravecto starts killing fleas previously on dogs within 2 hours and ticks within 4 hours. If a dog has Bravecto already in place ticks rarely attach and if attached quickly dry up. A flea will only bite once before dying which is great for flea allergic dogs who have major skin reactions each time the flea bites them. The chewable product must be given with a meal of food to help break it down to assure proper absorption for the 12 weeks. The topical product is applied to the skin and dermally absorbs. Once dry it can be removed through bathing and combing. The dog product is available in both forms, but the cat product is only topical. I think they knew cats will not typically eat something new when it is presented to them.

The side effects of this new class of preventions, in the isoxazoline family, are few. Reports of seizure like activity are seen in 1 out of 10,000 dogs. Now don’t get me wrong- when that is your dog– you are worried. I had one of those dogs. I verified it with 2 doses of bravecto 3 months apart. Within 10-14 days after the dosage was given I saw a seizure. I then returned to a monthly topical. He was fine from that point forward. The seizures will not continue if you stop the product. I was disappointed I could not use the oral Bravecto since it has been such a great preventative for Winterset Veterinary Center for the last many years. My cats are on Bravecto and I love the 3 month duration. This makes it much easier to not miss a dose. We are all busy so the less we have to remember each month the better.

A close second to the Bravecto, is another isooxazoline product called Simparica Trio. It contains a heartworm and intestinal parasite prevention along with the flea and tick aspect of it. It must be given each month but is extremely successful preventing these tick borne diseases as well. It also is in a chewable format that dogs love.

I do not care what flea/tick prevention you use but please do it year-round in Madison County Iowa. If you find ticks on your dogs or cats that are attached and feeding, they are at risk for these tick-borne diseases. Once they are infected, they never clear the infection from their bodies. There are many other products besides those I have named here. Ask your veterinarian how to prevent tick borne diseases in your area. If we can stop the ticks from feeding on our pet’s we will stop the threat of tick-borne diseases in our furry friends as well. Do your part and start year-round flea and tick prevention. Enjoy the fall weather and beautiful colors.

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