Fall 2016 Clinical Trials NewsletterNovember 3, 2016
ParasitesOctober 18, 2016
By Dr. Amy Twardzik
Did you know that you can get parasites from your pet? It’s gross, but true. Parasites such as roundworms and hookworms are more common than you think, and can cause serious issues such as blindness, skin lesions, and gastrointestinal illness in the people they infect. Some parasites, like roundworms, transmit to people through the ingestion of the eggs from environmental contamination with feces. Others, like hookworms, can transmit through the skin. While children and the immunosuppressed are at the greatest risk of picking up these diseases, healthy adults can also be infected.
Parasites can also cause serious illness in the pets they infect, such as vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and even death. However, many pets carrying parasites can look and act completely normal, all the while shedding parasite eggs into their environment. Unfortunately, just observing your pet’s stool for signs of infection isn’t enough — parasite eggs are too small to see with the naked eye. The best way to identify what parasites your pet may be carrying is through an intestinal parasite screening, which involves looking at a specially prepared stool sample under a microscope.
To protect your family and your pets from diseases caused by parasites, we recommend:
- Having intestinal parasites screens performed every 6-12 months on every pet. Even indoor cats can get parasites!
- Removing feces from the environment immediately and disposing of it appropriately. Once in the soil, parasite eggs can persist in the environment for years and serve as a source of infection for pets and people
- Encouraging frequent hand-washing, especially after gardening, playing in the yard, handling waste, and prior to eating/putting hands in the mouth. This is especially important for children
- Deworming your pets as recommended by your veterinarian. For dogs, heartworm preventatives, such as Sentinel also act as dewormers and can be excellent options for long-term control
- Avoiding sandboxes
- Contacting your physician if you are concerned about possible human infection with parasites
Halloween Photo ContestOctober 14, 2016
Send us a photo of your pet in a costume and you could win a $50 gift card to our hospital!
Like our Facebook page and send us a direct message on Facebook with your pet’s photo by Sunday, October 23rd.
On Monday the 24th we will post all of the photos in an album and then voting will begin! Vote for your favorite photo(s) by “liking” them or using your favorite reaction. The photo with the most “likes”/”reactions” will be our winner and will be announced on October 31st!
We encourage you to share your picture, or the album, with your friends and family to increase your chances of winning.
Good luck and may the best costume win!
2015 Halloween Contest Winner – Merlot
National Animal Safety and Protection MonthOctober 18, 2015
October was deemed National Animal Safety and Protection Month by the PALS Foundation to promote treating animals with kindness and care. We encounter animals in our everyday lives even if we don’t own any. Whether it is a wild or domestic animal, please treat them all with the same respect and courtesy you would to a human. They can’t speak up for themselves so we have to do it for them. There are many ways you can participate in National Animal Safety and Protection Month. Some are as simple as bringing your pet to the veterinarian regularly to ensure they live a long, healthy live. Others are more in depth and require you to create an evacuation/disaster plan should an emergency occur. Other ways you can participate in this event include: • Microchipping your pet • Making your pet wear a collar with identification tags on it • Calling and getting help for injured wildlife • Volunteer at your local animal shelter • Pet-proofing your home (electrical wires, small toys/clothing items they can choke on or that may obstruct their bowels, candles, toxic foods and plants) • Adopt a pet (but please do not adopt a pet for someone else. Owning a pet is a big responsibility and must be a decision the owner makes for him or herself) • Donating money or supplies to a shelter (blankets, pet food, pet beds, etc) • Educate your children and family on how to properly treat an animal • Have a pet first aid kit • Getting pet insurance. Having to choose between getting your pet good veterinary care and maintaining financial stability is never something we want you to experience. Visit our Trupanion page for information on getting a free 30-day trial • Securing your pets properly when traveling • Giving your pet a nutritious and balanced diet The list goes on and we hope you’re able to come up with some creative ideas on your own!
Warm Weather Care for Exotic PetsJuly 2, 2015
As our weather turns to hot and humid it is important to remember that our exotic friends need to be kept cool just like a dog or a cat would need to be. In fact, guinea pigs and chinchillas are much more prone to heat exhaustion than a dog or a cat because they originated from the cold Andes Mountains of South America. If you take your pet outside in the summer, please make sure they are in a cool, shaded environment with access to plenty of cool, fresh water and a place to hide. If your pet is allowed to graze on the lawn, be aware of any neighbors spraying chemicals on their lawn as this may wash into your yard and cause the grass and clovers to become toxic. Also be aware of any potentially poisonous plants that you have growing on your property. For a list of plants that may be toxic, please check here. If you house your rabbits outside in a hutch, it is important to clean their cages daily. You should also make sure that there are no feces or plant material stuck in their fur as this attracts flies that will lay eggs on your pet’s skin. Be diligent to ensure that they have access a cool, shaded place to hide and fresh, cool water. Summer often means traveling. If you are transporting or traveling with your exotic pet, keep their cage or carrier out of direct sunlight and in a cool, shaded part of the car with the air conditioner running. You may want to cover the cage or carrier with a towel/blanket and place a few ice packages against the cage to keep it even cooler. As with all pets (and children), avoid leaving your pet in the car unsupervised, especially if the car is not running. The temperature in your car can rise more than 10 degrees in just minutes. If you ever have any questions about the care or health of your pet, do not hesitate to give us a call at 410-744-4224.
Like Us on Facebook and Feed Animals in NeedDecember 10, 2014
Help us fill an animal’s food bowl and spread some holiday cheer this season! From December 9th to January 9th, every time we get a like on Facebook we will donate a scoop of food in partnership with Hill’s Pet Nutrition to the Baltimore Humane Society – an animal shelter in our area. Please help us by spreading the word! When we post on any of our social media accounts, please share, retweet, or create something on your own. We’re aiming to get 1,000 likes (that equals about 10 40-lb bags of dog food!) and we can’t do it without you! So please let all your friends, family, coworkers, and anyone else know so we can make this holiday season just a little bit better for these animals in need. Visit our Facebook page to make a difference! Baltimore Humane Society’s mission is to provide a temporary home, a safe refuge, and care for unwanted and homeless animals. We work aggressively to place each animal that comes to our shelter in a loving, permanent home. We also strive to end the euthanasia of healthy, adoptable animals by promoting and offering affordable spaying and neutering to control the population of unwanted animals in our area and addressing the issues that cause people to give up animals. We work to advance the cause of the humane treatment of animals and increase awareness of animal issues through public education and ensure a peaceful final resting place for beloved pets through the operation of a beautiful and well-maintained cemetery for companion animals.
Thanksgiving Dinner and Your PetNovember 24, 2014
Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away and soon enough you will be sitting down for your big dinner and your pet will place himself next to you and just stare at you—waiting and begging for you to drop just a morsel of turkey on the floor. A poll of petMD readers showed that 56% of people share Thanksgiving food scraps with their pets. We do not encourage families to feed their pets from the table as it can be unhealthy and can cause negative behavior, but we also know that sometimes the temptation is too great. If you know that you are one of these families, please follow these tips and keep your animals safe! The YES List: Turkey can be a great lean protein for your pet. Remove any skin or fat from the meat and only offer your pet dry, white meat. Turkey gravy often has ingredients that can be bad for animals. Unless your pet is used to table scraps, keep the serving sizes small to avoid gastrointestinal issues. As long as they’re plain, green beans are actually a healthy and good treat for pets. Do not feed your pet green beans if they are marinated or in a green bean casserole. If you want to feed your pet mashed potatoes, be very careful of any additional ingredients. Cheese, butter, garlic, onions, gravy, and more should not be a part of your pet’s diet. When served in a small portion, cranberry sauce can be enjoyable for your pet but careful with the amount of sugar in it. As long as you know that your pet’s stomach is okay with dairy, macaroni and cheese is another okay option. If you are at all unsure, only give him or her plain macaroni. The NO List: Along with gravy, also make sure your pet does not eat any alliums (onions, garlic, leeks, scallions, etc). These can be toxic to your pet. If you have grapes at your meal, do not let your pet eat them. Grapes and raisins have been shown to cause kidney failure in dogs. Do not give your pet any food with xylitol or artificial sweeteners. While you may be trying to make your meal healthier by not using real sugar, sweeteners containing xylitol are poisonous to pets. Chocolate is an absolute no. Be aware of what contains chocolate and keep it out of reach of pets. Especially if the food contains baking chocolate. Keep your alcohol to yourself. Even small amounts of alcohol can cause alcohol poisoning in animals. Make sure to throw away all packaging, wrappers, bones, and other items properly. A pet can easily get into the garbage and choke on something. Educate your guests on what they can and cannot give your pet. Also make sure that there is somewhere for your pet to escape to if they are overwhelmed or stressed. Most importantly, enjoy your holiday! We will be closed on Thanksgiving Day but if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask!
National Pet Diabetes MonthNovember 13, 2014
November is National Pet Diabetes Month. Are your pets at risk? The likelihood of your cat or dog developing diabetes is anywhere between 1 in 100 and 1 in 500 and experts say those numbers are increasing. Diabetes mellitus, the clinical name for “sugar diabetes,” is a disease that affects glucose in your pet’s blood and is caused by a shortage of insulin or when the body can’t process insulin properly. Diabetes in dogs is usually type 1 while diabetes in cats is usually type 2 but can progress to type 1. The food that your pet eats is broken down into small components that the body can use. One of the components, carbohydrates, is converted into sugar or glucose. If there is too little insulin or the insulin cannot be processed correctly, then the glucose is not able to enter the cells and provide energy. Because the cells cannot absorb glucose, a diabetic pet may always want to eat but still look malnourished. If your pet exhibits the following symptoms, he or she may have diabetes: -Excessive drinking or urination, -increased appetite (early stages) or loss of appetite (late stages), -weight loss, -lethargy or weakness, and -vomiting or other intestinal problems. If your pet has these symptoms then let us or your veterinarian know so we can get started on creating a plan for your and your pet. Although diabetes is not curable, it can be managed with daily insulin injections and changes in diet (and exercise for dogs). Oral medications have shown to be not particularly helpful. Successful management of your pet’s diabetes means that he or she can live a happy and healthy life. Making sure that your pet is eating a proper diet, gets regular exercise, and maintains a healthy weight can be a big help in preventing diabetes. For more information about pet diabetes, visit http://www.petdiabetesmonth.com.
Halloween Safety Tips for PetsOctober 29, 2014
Halloween is a holiday that humans and animals can enjoy together. There are many exciting aspects of Halloween but that doesn’t mean there are no risks. See below and read how to have fun while keeping your animal friends safe. CANDY – Don’t feed your pets Halloween candy! Chocolate in all forms, especially dark or baking chocolate, can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is found in most sugar-free candy and it is also toxic to animals. Also be sure to throw away all wrappers as they present a choking hazard. CANDLES – Make sure to keep any lit candles or jack-o-lanterns out of reach from pets. They are attracted to the bright light and can either burn themselves or cause a fire. CHIP YOUR PET – Make sure your pet is properly identified with a microchip and collar and tag. They can easily escape through an open door when you greet trick-or-treaters or while trick-or-treating. Only 22% of lost dogs and less than 2% of lost cats that are not microchipped are ever returned to their owners. COSTUMES – Make sure any costume you put on your pet fits properly and is comfortable. Also make sure that it doesn’t have any pieces that can be chewed off and doesn’t affect your pet’s seeing, hearing, breathing, or moving. You should also avoid any costumes with metal pieces. Some metals (like zinc) are dangerous if ingested. If your pet does not want to wear a costume, you should not force it. Never leave your pet unattended while he or she is wearing a costume. DECORATIONS – Make sure to keep all wires and electrical cords out of reach of pets. If they chew on them, they could suffer from cuts, burns, or receive a shock. Also keep pumpkins and decorative corn out of reach. While these are considered relatively nontoxic, they can produce stomach upset if ingested. GLOW STICKS – Although the liquid in glow sticks and glow jewelry has not been known to be toxic, it causes pain and irritation in the mouth and will make your pets salivate excessively and act strangely. KEEP YOUR PET INSIDE – There have been reports of pranks being played on pets that are outside. You should bring any outdoor cats inside a few days prior and a few days after Halloween as well. If you bring your pet trick-or-treating with you, make sure you keep them on a leash with a firm grip. Animals can be spooked by all the people and costumes they may see. While inside, put them in a safe space where they are comfortable. The constant motion of trick-or-treaters at the door can be stressful and upsetting to pets. We hope you have a wonderful and safe Halloween full of devilish dogs, cool cats, boo bunnies, and more!
Hot SpotsOctober 23, 2014
A “hot spot” (also known as pyotraumatic or moist dermatitis) is a skin condition that occurs when an animal constantly bites, licks, or scratches an area of itchy skin. The skin becomes inflamed and infected and often appears as a moist, oozing, reddened area that is painful and very itchy. If there is hair at the area, the hair will hold in moisture and irritate the skin more. The condition worsens if the animal continues to bother the area and it is common to notice a small affected area in the morning and a larger one in the evening. Because the lesions are warm to the touch, they are called hot spots. Hot spots are treatable but it is important to also identity the underlying cause to ensure the prevention of future hot spots. A visit to your veterinarian may be required depending on the severity of the lesion. Any hair in or around the lesion will be trimmed and removed so the area can be thoroughly cleaned and topical medications can be applied. Your veterinarian will prescribe oral antibiotics for about three to four weeks to treat the infection and may also prescribed corticosteroids (such as prednisone) to help with the itching and pain from the inflammation. One of the ways you can prevent hot spots is by removing exposure to allergens. Animals can have environmental allergies, such as grass, trees, or dust mites, or they can also be allergic to food. Avoiding fleas, mites, insect bites, and skin wounds in general will also help prevent your pet from developing hot spots. You can use an Elizabethan collar, or “e-collar,” to keep your pet from agitating the spot further.
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