McQueen Blog

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Leptospirosis Vaccine for Dogs

Posted: 2019-08-20 Permanent Link
Leptospirosis Vaccine for Dogs

Leptospirosis is a potentially serious disease caused by the bacterium Leptospira interrogans. It affects dogs but can also infect a wide variety of domestic and wild animals as well as humans.

The organism is usually spread through infected urine, but contaminated water or soil, reproductive secretions, and even consumption of infected tissues can also transmit the infection. Introduction of the organism through skin wounds can also occur. Common carriers of the organism include raccoons, opossums, rodents, skunks, and dogs.

The leptospirosis organisms rapidly advance through the bloodstream leading to fever, joint pain, and general malaise. Because the organism settles in the kidneys and actually reproduces there, inflammation and even kidney failure may develop. Unfortunately, liver failure is another common sequel to infection. Kidney and liver failure both have deadly consequences.

Vaccine Characteristics
Prevention of leptospirosis via vaccination is complicated by the fact that Leptospira interrogans has more than 200 subtypes that can cause illness in animals and people. The available vaccines protect against only a handful of the most common subtypes that infect dogs, which limits their protective value. Nevertheless, the available vaccines are effective and safe when used as directed, and the vaccination is recommended for dogs at risk for exposure.

Vaccine Indications
The leptospirosis vaccine is a non-core vaccine, which means it is an optional vaccine that dogs can benefit from based on risk for exposure to the disease. Veterinarians will recommend this vaccine based on a dog’s lifestyle and reasonable exposure risk.

Vaccination Schedule
Vaccination decisions should always be made in consultation with a veterinarian so they can be tailored to meet a dog’s individual needs.

For pups, the initial vaccine is administered at 12 weeks old and repeated two to four weeks later.
For older puppies (over four months old) or adults receiving the leptospirosis vaccine for the first time, two doses two to four weeks apart are recommended.
Annual re-vaccination is recommended for dogs at sustained risk of exposure to the leptospirosis disease-causing organism.

Contraindications
Administering a vaccine is a medical procedure, and there are times when a vaccine may not be recommended. For example, your veterinarian may advise against vaccinating an animal that is currently sick, pregnant, or may not have adequate immune system functioning to respond to a vaccination. These and other issues are evaluated when deciding what is best for your dog.

Other Considerations
Exposure to leptospirosis can be reduced by preventing your dog from drinking from puddles of standing water or from swimming in lakes, streams, or other bodies of water that may be contaminated. Unfortunately, for dogs that are accustomed to an active outdoor lifestyle that includes swimming, these precautions may not be practical.

Humans can also become infected with leptospirosis, so handle dogs suspected of having the disease with care. Adhere to good hygiene techniques, such as frequent hand washing and avoiding contact with potentially contaminated urine.

This blog was written by McQueen Animal Hospital, an animal clinic (vet hospital/vet clinic) in Brampton committed to providing only the highest level of veterinary care to our beloved pets.

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Conjunctivitis in dogs and cats

Posted: 2019-08-15 Permanent Link
Conjunctivitis in dogs and cats

Dogs and cats alike can be affected by conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the tissues surrounding the inner eyelids and white part of the eyes that sometimes accompanies a respiratory infection or eye injury. It can also be brought on by airborne irritants, dry eye, or a more serious illness such as canine distemper or feline herpesvirus.

Symptoms include goopy or bloodshot eyes, swollen eyelids, and rubbing of the eyes. Treatment ranges from eye drops and ointments to surgery in rare cases.

Overview
Conjunctivitis is the medical term used to describe inflammation of the conjunctiva — the soft tissues that line the inside of the eyelids and the white portion of the eye.

Conjunctivitis can occur as part of an upper respiratory tract infection, a condition that resembles a common cold. It can also be associated with a localized problem that causes trauma to or irritation of the eyes. Causes include:

Airborne irritants, such as cigarette smoke, dust, and perfumes
Systemic illnesses (illnesses that affect the whole body), such as feline herpesvirus, feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), canine distemper, and bartonellosis (infection with the bacteria that cause “cat scratch disease” in humans)
Dry eye (aka, keratoconjunctivitis sicca) a medical condition characterized by inadequate tear production)
Entropion (a malformation of the eyelids that causes the edges of the lids to roll inward; the hairs on the eyelids scrape against the eye and cause irritation)
Trauma to the eye, such as a blow
The severity of conjunctivitis will vary dramatically from case to case. Only rarely will blindness result.

Symptoms and Identification
The clinical signs of conjunctivitis vary depending on the severity of the inflammation. Signs include:

Discharge from the eyes (can be pus, watery, or thick, like mucus)
Swollen eyelids
Red, “bloodshot” eyes
Squinting
Rubbing the eyes with a paw or against other objects, such as furniture or the floor
If the conjunctivitis is severe, permanent damage to the cornea (the clear covering on the surface of the eye) can occur.
The medical history and physical examination findings can provide valuable information for your veterinarian. The medical history may include trying to determine how long the conjunctivitis has been going on and whether any other signs of illness have been observed. Physical examination findings may reveal evidence of underlying illness. For example, a cat with an upper respiratory tract infection may have a runny nose, sneezing, and a fever in addition to conjunctivitis.

Diagnosis of conjunctivitis is usually based on physical examination findings. If a pet is squinting because his/her eyes are painful, a veterinarian will often begin the examination by applying a drop of liquid topical anesthetic directly to the eye. This is not painful, and after a few minutes, it numbs the surface of the eye so the examination can proceed. During the examination, the veterinarian will likely look for foreign material, wounds, or other causes of conjunctivitis. Entropion can also be diagnosed during the physical examination.

While examining the pet’s eyes, the veterinarian will often instill fluorescein stain. Fluorescein is a green-tinted dye that fluoresces (glows) under blue light. If the surface of the cornea is intact, the fluorescein dye will not stick to the eye. However, if there is a scratch, ulcer, or wound on the cornea, the dye adheres to the defect and can show your veterinarian where and how serious the injury is. Fluorescein staining is not painful and can provide valuable information about the condition of a pet’s eye.

Testing to determine if tear production is adequate is typical in cases where dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca) is suspected. Similarly, if a systemic illness (such as FIV) is suspected, blood testing or other diagnostic tests may be recommended.

Affected Breeds
Any dog or cat can develop conjunctivitis.

Treatment
Most cases of conjunctivitis are treated with drops or ointments applied directly to the eyes. If the conjunctivitis is associated with another illness, like an upper respiratory infection, antibiotics or other medication given by mouth may also be recommended. In many cases, the eye starts looking better after only a few treatments. However, all medications should be given as directed for the full course of treatment.

If the conjunctivitis is associated with entropion, surgery may be recommended to correct the deformed eyelid. Similarly, if a pet has dry eye, long-term management may be recommended to control the condition.

A veterinarian will typically recommend recheck exams during the course of treatment to monitor how well the condition is responding to therapy. Rarely, a pet will require surgery to remove the eye to prevent further pain, inflammation, and infection.

Prevention
Many causes of conjunctivitis are preventable. For example, minimizing exposure to airborne irritants like cigarette smoke, monitoring pets during play and exercise to reduce the risk of trauma to the eye, and keeping pets current on vaccinations against diseases that can cause conjunctivitis, such as feline herpes virus and canine distemper can reduce the likelihood of developing conjunctivitis associated with these causes.

This blog was written by McQueen Animal Hospital,vet Brampton, an animal clinic (vet hospital/vet clinic) in Brampton committed to providing only the highest level of veterinary care to our beloved pets.

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Helping Your Itchy Pet

Posted: 2019-08-14 Permanent Link
Helping Your Itchy Pet

What Causes Itching?
Itching is usually a sign of an underlying problem. For example, if your pet has an allergy, exposure to the allergen causes a series of events to occur within the animal’s body, including the release of histamine, a chemical that is very irritating and leads to itching. Allergic reactions also cause the release of several other chemicals that contribute to irritation, inflammation, and itching. Some bacteria and fungal organisms (which can be introduced into the skin when your pet scratches himself) also release chemicals that irritate nerve endings in the skin and cause itching. If an itchy pet doesn’t respond to an antihistamine (a medication that targets histamine), it may be because histamine isn’t the main cause of the itch.

Less commonly, some animals chew, itch or lick themselves excessively as a compulsive behavior, usually as the result of stress or boredom.

What Are Clinical Signs of Itching?
In addition to the scratching, your pet may also exhibit mild or severe:

Licking
Biting
Rubbing
Twitching of the skin
In addition to these symptoms, excessive scratching can quickly lead to skin damage, bleeding, hair loss, scabs, and secondary skin infections with bacteria or fungal organisms.

How Is Itching Diagnosed?
Itching is a response to another condition, so identifying the cause is as important as treating the itch. As a veterinarian we will likely take a complete medical history and do a physical examination of your pet. We may also recommend diagnostic testing that can include the following:

Combing your pet to look for fleas

  • Taking samples of hair and skin cells to look for mites and other skin parasites
  • Culture testing to identify bacteria or fungal organisms
  • Allergy testing
  • Blood work to look for underlying medical issues that can affect the skin.
    If the problem has been chronic or recurring, it will be likely asked what therapies you’ve already tried and whether they were successful. This information can provide useful information about the underlying problem.

How Is Itching Treated?
Managing an itchy pet can involve combining several approaches, because multiple factors can be contributing to the problem. For example, if your pet has an underlying allergy that’s complicated by a flea infestation in addition to a bacterial or fungal infection, all of these issues need to be addressed.

Treatment for an itchy pet can require a long-term commitment, since pets respond differently to medications. If a particular treatment doesn’t seem to be helping, or if your pet seems to be responding negatively, you should let us know so changes can be made as needed.

Topical products: A moisturizer, ointment, or lotion may be recommended if your pet’s itch is mild or confined to one spot, in addition to other medications. These products may need to be applied frequently—up to several times a day—to be effective. Be sure to follow all label directions, and consult us with any questions.

*Shampoos: *Medicated shampoos can help some pets suffering with itchy skin, and they can be effective for a few days per use. What’s more, some shampoos can be used along with a leave-on conditioner to make the effect last longer. If you’re unable to bathe your pet, ask about other treatment options.

Medications: For many pets, corticosteroids are the most effective treatment for itching. They come in pill, liquid, and injectable formulations, but the powerful drugs carry side effects, and not every pet is a candidate for this treatment. It will be determined if corticosteroids are a good option. Some pets with itching do well when given antihistamines, and other medications can heal bacterial or fungal skin infections.

Supplements: Fish oil, fatty acids and other nutritional supplements can help some pets, but the effectiveness of these products can vary. If your pet is not responding to therapy, contact us to see if modifications may be helpful. Sometimes a combination of several therapies for the best results. But every animal is different, so one may do very well receiving a combination of antihistamines with a shampoo and a nutritional supplement, whereas another pet may not.

This blog was written by McQueen Animal Hospital,vet Brampton, an animal clinic (vet hospital/vet clinic) in Brampton committed to providing only the highest level of veterinary care to our beloved pets.

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