HAMPSHIRE VETERINARY HOSPITAL
260 SNELL STREET
AMHERST, MA 01002
Late summer notes:
The Hampshire Veterinary Hospital is on call (available by telephone) 24 hours/day.
At the last meeting of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, the reason for failure of Lyme vaccination was explained. Simply put, the vaccine works well, but if there are a large number of ticks attached to a dog, the antibody produced by the vaccination is used up by the ticks ingesting the dog's blood and there is not enough antibody left to neutralize the borrelia organism. Therefore ticks must be controlled for the the vaccine to work effectively.
Lyme nephritis and arthralgia have now become common reasons for chronic sickness and death in dogs. Control of ticks can be realized with application of Frontline augmented with garlic added to the dog's food. It is very important to keep your dog away from areas known to be infested with ticks.
There are more flea-infested animals than usual this year. These are cat fleas that can live on many species, including people. Therefore there is a reservoir of these fleas available at all times. They are not resistant to Frontline or Advantage but their numbers can escalate to outrageous levels. If you run into such an outbreak, please call and we will guide you through the process of eliminating the fleas without bombing your house. Remember, fleas are the intermediate hosts for tapeworms in 90% of all tapeworm cases in cats and dogs. During the summer months, you should sit your dog or cat on a white piece of paper and scurf its hair to work up dandruff. The dandruff will fall onto the paper as white speaks, but flea stools will fall as black specks. Black specks indicate the infestation of fleas well before you see a black cloud of fleas in your house. Call us immediately for instructions in exterminating the fleas. Note that fleas can exist in houses without pets. Fleas can be carried into the house on you as well as on a pet.
Improved methods in the analysis of stools have made stool sample analysis into a more reliable tool for recognizing internal parasites. Moist areas and dog parks are a common source of parasites that may infest your dog. It is a good idea to bring in a stool sample for analysis at the HVH twice a year, especially if your dog frequents such areas. It is also a good idea to bring in a sample for analysis if you see repeated bowel movements surrounded by mucus. Parasites are more active in warm months. This is because, even though parasites live in the darkness of bowels, they are aware that longer days yield warmer soils in which their eggs can hatch to complete the life cycle. As stated above, parasites especially enjoy moist areas.
It is a good idea to stick your finger (gently) in each of your dog's ears twice each week. Smell the wax from each ear. You should be able to discern if the wax has a different odor. If the smell is “waxier” than normal, it is probably because of ear canal inflammation. A primary cause of ear inflammation is gastrointestinal inflammation, which can cause mild throat swelling leading to inflammation of the ear canal by way of static saliva in the Eustacian tube. If the ear smells “waxier,” this should remind you to give your dog Vaseline (the volume of 1-2 raisins) each day and increase exercise in order to help propel ingesta through the gut. If the ears seem to become rancid, please call us because it may be necessary to medicate the ear. If a lot of wax fills the ear canals, it can lead to anaerobic conditions and amplify the growth of yeast. Clean the ear by filling the ear canal with light mineral oil (baby oil), then gently massage the canal from the outside of ear on the side of the dog's head, then let the dog shake its head (preferably outdoors). A lot of wax and tissue debris and, possibly, old blood will come out fairly easily. If you have questions about this, please call us.
If your dog or cat itches excessively, and especially if it has scabs or sores, you need to attend to the skin inflammation as soon as possible, If itch, soreness and skin infection are allowed to continue for any length of time, the condition can become chronic, difficult to treat with medication, and very difficult to eradicate. Please call the hospital and we will be able to help you. We try to bring the problem under control as quickly as possible, then dispense medication that will allow you to remedy any future skin inflammation as soon as it arises. Again, remember to check for flea feces!