Posts from April, 2015

Is your pet on heartworm medication?

heartworm medication

Heartworms in dogs have been diagnosed in all 50 states, but if you live in the Southern portion of the United States your dog is at high risk for this preventable disease.  Dr. Anna Coffin discusses the basics about heartworm disease and heartworm medication available.

Heartworms are actual worms that live in a dog’s heart.  The adult heartworm is about 12 inches long.  They are transmitted from dog to dog by mosquitoes.  Once the mosquito injects the larvae under the skin, it takes six months to mature into an adult worm and reach the heart.  Dr. Anna Coffin diagnosis approximately 30 cases every year. [Tweet “Heartworms are actual worms that live in a dog’s heart. The adult heartworm is about 12 inches long.”]

Symptoms:

  • Coughing
  • Weight loss
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Anemia
  • Collapse

Diagnosis:

Diagnosis of heartworms is made with a blood test.  Most of these blood test can be performed in the veterinary clinic and take eight to ten minutes to complete.  These tests detect the adult worm in the heart.  A blood smear can also be evaluated for microfilaria (baby heartworms).  Dr. Anna Coffin recommends heartworm testing every year even if your dog is on heartworm prevention all year around.

Prevention:

Heartworms are preventable with the routine use of heartworm medication.  Heartworm medications are available as tablets, topical, and one six-month injectable.  Missing one single dose of heartworm medication can put your dog at risk for getting heartworms.

Heartworm medication:

1.  Ivermectin:  This is the most common heartworm medication available.  This heartworm medication is a chewable tablet that must be given every 30 days.  Heartgard, Iverhart, and Tri-Heart are examples of this type of heartworm medication.

2.  Milbemycin oxime:  This heartworm medication is also a chewable tablet that must be given every 30 days.  Interceptor, Sentinel, and Trifexis are examples of this type of heartworm medication.

3.  Moxidectin:  This heartworm medication is available as a topical product called Advantage Multi and needs to be administered every 30 days.  ProHeart 6 is another example of this type of heartworm medication.  It is unique in that it is an injection that protects your dog for six months.

4.  Selmectin:  This heartworm medication is available as a topical product called Revolution.  It needs to be administered every 30 days.  This product also treats fleas, ear mites, Sarcoptic mange and a few intestinal parasites.

Recent studies have found a strain of heartworms that is resistant to heartworm medication.  To prevent further resistant strains, it is important to test annually and treat adult heartworms immediately.

heartworm medication

Treatment:

The goal of heartworm treatment is to eliminate adult heartworms that cause disease and eliminate microfilaria that is infectious to mosquitoes that then transmit the disease to other dogs.

Immiticide (melarsomine) is the heartworm medication that kills the adult heartworms.  It is fifteen times more expensive to treat adult heartworms than it is to prevent.

 

Consistency is key to pet weight loss #PerfectWeight

pet weight loss

Excess weight can lead to health issues, and a decreased life span.  It’s important to address weight issues early before these issues arise.  Pet weight loss is possible with a plan that includes a consistent routine.

With more than 50% of the pets being overweight, it’s important to be able to recognize the signs of an overweight pet.  Recognize the signs and develop a plan for pet weight loss.

  • Is it difficult to feel or see your pet’s ribs?
  • Is it difficult to see your pet’s waist?
  • Is your pet’s abdomen sagging?
  • Does your pet’s face look rounder with larger cheeks?
  • Is your pet tired or lazy?

This post is sponsored by Hill’s. Dr. Anna is being compensated for helping spread the word about Hill’s® Science Diet® Perfect Weight 10 Week Turn Around, but Dr. Anna only shares information she feels relevant to her readers. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.

Keys to be consistent with pet weight loss:

  • Avoid feeding people food and too many snacks.  A piece of cheese or a hot dog may bepete weight loss a snack to us, but it’s like a whole meal to a pet.  Check out the treat translator!
  • Determine an amount of food to feed at each meal.  Every bag of food has a feeding chart that helps you determine the amount of food to feed/day.  This amount is based on your pet’s weight and may need to be adjusted depending on your pet’s lifestyle.
  • Use a measuring cup at each feeding to ensure the proper amount is being fed. pet weight loss
  • Be consistent and feed at the same time every day.  Dr. Anna recommends feeding your pet twice daily, about 12 hours apart.
  • If you have more than one pet, feed them separately. 
  • Feed a diet designed to help your pet lose weight. 
  • Regular exercise and training to keep your pet’s mind stimulated.  Don’t forget to use the 10 Week Turn Around Calendar to help you develop a consistent routine and keep track of your pet weight loss.

The best thing you can do for your pet’s health is feed proper nutrition every day. The Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Formulas® are proven to aid in pet weight loss in just ten weeks.  [Tweet “The best thing you can do for your pet’s health is feed proper nutrition every day.”]pet weight loss

Why should you choose Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Formulas for pet weight loss?

  • Breakthrough blend of natural ingredients
  • Prebiotic fibers for gentle digestion
  • 100% precisely balanced nutrition
  • 70% of dogs and cats lost weight in 10 weeks
  • Small and toy breed specific formulas are available

pet weight loss          pet weight loss            Photos courtesy of Hill’s

Pet weight loss is not an easy task, but it is possible with Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Formulas and a consistent routine of feeding and exercise.  Hill’s diets are available from your vet, favorite pet specialty store or online at Pet360.

If you need some extra motivation, enter Hill’s 10 Week Turnaround Sweepstake and you could win a 10-week supply of Perfect Weight for your dog or cat.pet weight loss

If you have an Ask Dr. Anna question you would like answered, please post them in the comment section. Stay up to date on all the latest by subscribing to my blog.  Also “like” me on Facebook.

Dr. Anna was born and raised in Guthrie, Oklahoma. As a teenager, Dr. Anna found her beloved pet dead on the side of the road left to die without any help. That was the moment she decided to become a vet and vowed to help other people and their pets. After a few years of practicing in New Hampshire, Dr. Anna became homesick and decided to return to Guthrie to be with her parents and five other siblings. Family and friends are a major part of our lives which is why we treat our clients at Guthrie Pet Hospital as family.  Dr. Anna and her husband do not have children but are very proud pet parents and, therefore, treat every four-legged friend as part of the family.

 

 

 

 

What’s your diagnosis #34

Urinary stones

These stones were surgically removed from a dog.  What’s your diagnosis?

Check back later in the week for the answer!  If you have an Ask Dr. Anna question you would like answered, please post them in the comment section. Stay up to date on all the latest by subscribing to my blog.  Also “like” me on Facebook

Dog’s best friend: It’s not who you think it is!

brown dog tick

Dogs are considered man’s best friend because of their close relationship, loyalty and companionship with humans.  Based on this definition, Dr. Anna Coffin says the brown dog tick should be considered dog’s best friend.

The brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanginueus) lives inside and around homes and kennels, including in colder regions of North America such as Canada and Alaska.  The brown dog tick is very tolerant to drought and thrives under conditions of high temperatures and low brown dog tickhumidity.

A female tick can lay 360-3000 eggs.  Ticks can complete their life cycle in 2 months under favorable conditions.  They hide in cracks and crevices within your house, garage and dog runs.  They can crawl up walls and are often found living in false ceilings.  Due to all these factors, the brown dog tick has been known to cause home tick infestations.

Watch this short, informative video from Dr. Susan Little from Oklahoma State University about the brown dog tick.

http://www.capcvet.org/expert-articles/brown-dog-tick/

The brown dog tick transmits a number of diseases including, Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichiosis, Babesiosis, Hepatazoonosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.   Unlike other ticks, every life stage of the brown dog tick feeds on your dog!  Dr. Anna Coffin says the brown dog tick, and many of these diseases are a threat to you and your dog here in Oklahoma.brown dog tick

The best way to prevent transmission of these deadly diseases to your dog is year-round protection with a tick control product.  Ask your veterinarian which product they recommend.  Dr. Anna Coffin prefers Seresto Collar for eight months of protection.  The Seresto Collar not only kills ticks but it also repels them so they can’t attach to transmit diseases.

Environmental control of brown dog tick:

  1. Keep grass short
  2. Remove brush piles and leaf litter
  3. Restrict the use of groundcover, especially in areas frequented by family and pets
  4. Discourage rodent activity
  5. Cleanup and seal stone walls and small openings around the home
  6. Move firewood piles and bird feeders away from the house because larvae and nymphs feed on small mammals and birds
  7. Keep dogs and cats out of the woods to reduce ticks brought back into the home
  8. Use plants that do not attract deer 
  9. Move children’s swing sets and sand boxes away from the woodland edge and place them on a wood chip or mulch type foundation
  10. Trim tree branches and shrubs around the lawn edge to let in more sunlight
  11. Widen woodland trails
  12. Consider a pesticide application around the perimeter of the yard

Become your dog’s best friend and protect him from the brown dog tick with all year tick control products.

If you have an Ask Dr. Anna question you would like answered, please post them in the comment section. Stay up to date on all the latest by subscribing to my blog.  Also “like” me on Facebook.

Dr. Anna was born and raised in Guthrie, Oklahoma. As a teenager, Dr. Anna found her beloved pet dead on the side of the road left to die without any help. That was the moment she decided to become a vet and vowed to help other people and their pets. After a few years of practicing in New Hampshire, Dr. Anna became homesick and decided to return to Guthrie to be with her parents and five other siblings. Family and friends are a major part of our lives which is why we treat our clients at Guthrie Pet Hospital as family.  Dr. Anna and her husband do not have children but are very proud pet parents and, therefore, treat every four-legged friend as part of the family.

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