Helpful Tips For Pet Owners

Leptospirosis (updated 8/15/2021)

We are experiencing an outbreak of leptospirosis in dogs within the Los Angeles area. Leptospirosis is a disease caused by the Leptospira bacteria that often resides in water or  water or moist soil and can be carried by wild animals. Human disease most often occurs through contact with these sources,but can rarely be transmitted from infected pets. See below for more information on leptospirosis in people. If you have symptoms or questions about leptospirosis in people, please contact your physician. Infection in cats is rare and often asymptomatic or with mild clinical signs. 

Signs of leptospirosis in dogs are non-specific from gastrointestinal signs, to fever and lethargy or increased thirst and urination. If diagnosed early, leptospirosis is treated with antibiotics and supportive care which may include hospitalization. If infection goes undetected and untreated, it can lead to kidney and/or liver failure.  Despite the low risk of transmission from pets, leptospirosis (“lepto”) is zoonotic and thus a public health risk.

The good news is that there is an effective vaccine. The vaccine has been around for a long time, but with the general low risk in the area has not often been needed. At this time, we are recommending the leptospirosis vaccine to ALL dogs. We carry the quadrivalent leptospirosis vaccine which protects against 4 virulent leptospirosis serovars. Your dog would need 2 doses, administered 3-4 weeks apart to complete the initial series. Annual revaccination with a single dose is recommended thereafter. 

If your dog is healthy without a history of vaccine reactions or immune mediated disease, and their annual exam is up to date, please schedule a technician appointment. If your pet’s annual exam is due or you have any question regarding their health or the vaccine itself, please schedule an exam. 

If you are an existing client, click here to schedule:https://mohawkalley.usw2.ezyvet.com/external/portal/calendar

If you are a new client, please call us to discuss details

More information on Leptospirosis:

Dogs (AVMA): https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/petcare/leptospirosis 

People (CDC): Leptospirosis Fact Sheet | Resources | Leptospirosis

Influenza (updated 8/15/2021)

We are also seeing an outbreak of canine influenza. This is the doggy ‘flu’ from the influenza virus. Influenza is not zoonotic and therefore not known to be a risk to people, but can be spread on hands and feet of caretakers or through close contact with other dogs. 

Clinical signs in dogs include coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, lethargy, fever and sometimes a decreased appetite. Symptoms often subside in 2-3 weeks, however more severe or fatal cases of pneumonia can occur. We are recommending vaccination to dogs who are at risk including dogs that go to daycare, boarding and dog parks. Your dog would need 2 doses, administered 3-4 weeks apart to complete the initial series. Annual revaccination with a single dose is recommended thereafter. 

If your dog is healthy without a history of vaccine reactions or immune mediated disease, and their annual exam is up to date, please schedule a technician appointment. If your pet’s annual exam is due or you have any question regarding their health or the vaccine itself, please schedule an exam.If you are an existing client, click here to schedule: https://mohawkalley.usw2.ezyvet.com/external/portal/calendar
If you are a new client, please call us to discuss details

More information on Canine Influenza:

AVMA: Canine Influenza: Pet Owners’ Guide

Nutrition

There has been a lot of information circulating about grain free diets and pet nutrition in general. The hard part is most pet stores and employees are not well informed, which makes for a bit of confusion!! We want you to be well informed to make your own choices, so here is what we know: 

-Grain Free Diet link to canine heart disease  (updated 8/15/2021)

Grain free diets have flooded the market for years and our pets really like them! Unfortunately, they often substitute in legumes, in particular peas, instead of grain. These substitutes have been linked to a heart disease in dogs called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Some large breed dogs are predisposed to DCM, but an alert from our cardiology specialist said we had a problem as they were seeing a high number of DCM cases in non-predisposed breeds. Studies have since linked grain free diets, in particular legumes and peas, to dogs developing DCM.

We have since moved away from grain free diets.. There are some ideas floating about that grains are an allergy or not healthy – this is all false. Grains actually do have nutritional benefit and are not the source of food allergens, proteins are. Grain free made headlines due to marketing and the high availability of grain substitutes, along with owners willing to spend a little more for small batch expensive food. Expensive is not always the best, but there are a couple things we can look for to make sure we are feeding our loved ones a quality diet: 

  • Check the label! It should state that the diet meets the requirements of the American Association of Fee Control Officers (AAFCO) meaning that it is complete(contains all nutrients required) and balanced (in the correct ratios).
  • Check for approval from the WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association https://www.wsava.org/
  • Diets should be formulated by a veterinary nutritionist (this is a specialty, not just any veterinarian)
  • Diets we know fit this list include: Royal Canin, Hill’s, Purina, Eukanuba, Iams, Just Food For Dogs, Fresh pet, or Nom Nom Now.

Great reads on grain free diet: 

Grain free information from our local veterinary nutritionist Dr. Weeth: In Defense of Grains | weethnutrition  

AVMA: Canine heart disease may relate to legumes, potatoes   

Scientific study linking DCM to peas: Investigation of diets associated with dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs using foodomics analysis | Scientific Reports

-Raw Food  (updated 8/15/2021)

Raw food is another trend that comes with risks to both pets and their caretakers. Human grade meat comes off of the processing line with a small percentage of bacteria. The level allowed is acceptable for storage and elimited with proper cooking. However, if left in the raw form it can transmit food borne pathogens such as Salmonella, Campylobacter, E.coli, Clostridium, Listeria, and Staphylococcus. Cats and Dogs may develop foodborne illness from being fed a contaminated raw diet. Secondary transmission of these pathogens have passed to humans leading to not only gastrointestinal signs but hospitalization. This poses a higher risk in immunocompromised individuals including children, elderly and pregnant women. 

In addition raw meat can transmit a parasite called toxoplasma. This parasite is carried by cats and shed in their feces. It poses a health risk to people and especially pregnant women and their unborn baby.  

Have a read below about raw food and toxoplasmosis:  

Raw food stories from our local veterinary nutritionist Dr. Weeth: 

Campylobacter, Salmonella, E. coli, oh my! Why I Don’t Recommend Raw Meat for Pets 

AVMA and raw food:  Raw or undercooked animal-source protein in cat and dog diets 

FDA and toxoplasma (toxoplasmosis): Toxoplasma from Food Safety for Moms to Be 

Heartworm (updated 8/15/2021)

Heartworm disease is transmitted between animals by mosquitos. In the past couple of years new mosquito species that can transmit heartworm disease have been discovered. If pets are infected, adult worms grow in the heart within 6 months. They then inade blood vessels and the lungs. Heartworm disease can be fatal, but the good news is that there are several forms of prevention! 

Have a read below and if you have questions or want to start prevention for your pet make an appointment with your veterinarian, we would love to chat!!

More information on heartworm disease: 

AVMA:Heartworm Disease   American Heartworm Society Incidence Map:Heartworm Incidence Maps