What Is Canine Influenza Virus?

iStock_000010868657_Medium

There are many causes of kennel cough, both bacterial and viral. Canine influenza virus (CIV) is one of the viral causes of kennel cough. This highly contagious respiratory disease has affected thousands of dogs in the United States. Because CIV is a relatively new virus, most dogs have not been exposed to it before. Dogs of any age, breed, and vaccine status are susceptible to this infection.

How Could My Dog Catch Canine Influenza Virus?
CIV is easily transmitted between dogs through a combination of aerosols, droplets, and direct contact with respiratory secretions. The virus does not survive for a long time in the environment, so dogs usually get CIV when they are in close proximity to other infectious dogs.

Which Dogs Are Prone to Canine Influenza Virus? 
Any dog who interacts with large numbers of dogs is at increased risk for exposure. Pet owners should consult their veterinarian for information about the canine influenza vaccine.

What Are the General Signs of Canine Influenza Virus? 
While most dogs will show typical signs of kennel cough, but a small percentage of dogs will develop a more severe illness. Signs of canine influenza virus include:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Variable fever
  • Clear nasal discharge that progresses to thick, yellowish-green mucus
  • Rapid/difficult breathing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

Can Dogs Die From Canine Influenza Virus?
If CIV is quickly diagnosed and treated, the fatality rate is quite low. Deaths are usually caused by secondary complications, such as pneumonia. It is important that dogs with CIV receive proper veterinary care.

How Is Canine Influenza Virus Diagnosed?
Veterinarians will typically conduct a thorough physical examination and run a series of tests to diagnose the illness.

How Is Canine Influenza Treated?
Because CIV is a virus similar to the flu in humans, there is no specific antiviral medication available. However, supportive care and appropriate treatment of secondary infections are important. Your veterinarian may advise the following to soothe your dog while the condition runs its course:

  • Good nutrition and supplements to raise immunity
  • A warm, quiet, and comfortable spot to rest
  • Medications to treat secondary bacterial infections
  • Intravenous fluids to maintain hydration
  • Workup and treatment for pneumonia

Be advised, while most dogs will fight the infection within 10 to 30 days, secondary infections require antibiotics and, in the case of pneumonia, sometimes even hospitalization.

What Should I Do if I Think My Dog Has Canine Influenza Virus? 
If you think your dog has canine influenza virus, immediately isolate him or her from all other dogs and call your veterinarian.

Can I Catch Canine Influenza From My Dog?
So far there has been no evidence to indicate that dogs can transmit CIV to humans.

How Can I Help Prevent My Dog From Spreading the Disease? 
Any dog infected with CIV should be kept isolated from other dogs for 10 to 14 days from the onset of signs. Dogs are most infectious before signs are apparent, and can continue shedding the virus for approximately 10 days. This means that by the time signs of the illness are seen, other dogs may have already been exposed.

Source: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/canine-influenza-viruscanine-flu

Easter Pet Poisons

iStock_000058647528_Medium

The veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline receive hundreds of calls this time of year from pet owners and veterinarians concerning cats that have ingested Easter lilies.

“Unbeknownst to many pet owners, Easter lilies are highly toxic to cats,” said Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS assistant director at Pet Poison Helpline. “All parts of the Easter lily plant are poisonous – the petals, the leaves, the stem and even the pollen. Cats that ingest as few as one or two leaves, or even a small amount of pollen while grooming their fur, can suffer severe kidney failure.”

In most situations, symptoms of poisoning will develop within six to 12 hours of exposure. Early signs include vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy and dehydration. Symptoms worsen as kidney failure develops. Some cats will experience disorientation, staggering and seizures.

“There is no effective antidote to counteract lily poisoning, so the sooner you can get your cat to the veterinarian, the better his chances of survival will be,” said Brutlag. “If you see your cat licking or eating any part of an Easter lily, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately. If left untreated, his chances of survival are low.”

Treatment includes inducing vomiting, administering drugs like activated charcoal (to bind the poison in the stomach and intestines), intravenous fluid therapy to flush out the kidneys, and monitoring of kidney function through blood testing. The prognosis and the cost – both financially and physically – to the pet owner and cat, are best when treated immediately.

There are several other types of lilies that are toxic to cats as well. They are of the Lilium and Hemerocallis species and commonly referred to as Tiger lilies, Day lilies and Asiatic lilies. Popular in many gardens and yards, they can also result in severe acute kidney failure. These lilies are commonly found in florist bouquets, so it is imperative to check for poisonous flowers before bringing bouquets into the household. Other types of lilies – such as the Peace, Peruvian and Calla lilies – are usually not a problem for cats and may cause only minor drooling.

Thankfully, lily poisoning does not occur in dogs or people. However, if a large amount is ingested, it can result in mild gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Other Dangers to Pets at Easter Time

Pet Poison Helpline also receives calls concerning pets that have ingested Easter grass and chocolate.

Usually green or yellow in color, Easter grass is the fake grass that often accompanies Easter baskets. When your cat or dog ingests something “stringy” like Easter grass, it can become anchored around the base of the tongue or stomach, rendering it unable to pass through the intestines. It can result in a linear foreign body and cause severe damage to the intestinal tract, often requiring expensive abdominal surgery.

Lastly, during the week of Easter, calls to Pet Poison Helpline concerning dogs that have been poisoned by chocolate increase by nearly 200 percent. While the occasional chocolate chip in one cookie may not be an issue, certain types of chocolate are very toxic to dogs. In general, the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the greater the danger. Baker’s chocolate and dark chocolate pose the biggest problem. The chemical toxicity is due to methylxanthines (a relative of caffeine) and results in vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, an abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and possibly death. Other sources include chewable chocolate flavored multi-vitamins, baked goods, or chocolate-covered espresso beans. If you suspect that your dog ate chocolate, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately.

Spring is in the air and Easter is a wonderful holiday. Remember that your pets will be curious about new items you bring into your household like Easter lilies, Easter grass and chocolate. Keep them a safe distance away from your pets’ reach and enjoy the holiday and the season.

 

SOURCE: http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-owners/seasons/easter/

Why Your Pet Needs Dental Care

Pet Dental Care in Colorado Springs

Dogs and cats obviously can’t brush their own teeth, so it’s up to their owners to maintain their oral health for them. Did you know that over time, the tartar that accumulates on your pet’s teeth can eventually lead to gum disease? In fact, more than 60% of all dogs and cats show signs of gum disease when they’re just 3 years of age. Left untreated, this disease can leave a pet in a great deal of pain or even worse. Animal Hospital of Colorado Springs wants to be proactive about dental health to help lower the number of pets that are affected by gum disease every year. We offer comprehensive dental services to help prevent dental disease, so your four-legged friend can be around to keep you company for as long as possible.

What Exactly Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease in pets is very similar to that in humans, both in how it starts and how it progresses. In pets, it includes four stages of progression, which are detailed below:

Stage 1 Gingivitis: At this stage, there is light plaque accumulation on the teeth and minor gum inflammation. These conditions are reversible with professional dental treatment at Animal Hospital of Colorado Springs.

Stage 2 Early Periodontitis: This is when a pet is likely to start feeling pain, due to the inflammation of the entire gum area. Another common symptom at this stage is bad breath. Luckily, professional dental treatment and at-home dental care can still reverse these effects.

Stage 3 Moderate Periodontitis: This is the first phase of gum disease. When early periodontitis is allowed to progress to this stage, the bacterial infection and tartar start to destroy the gums, resulting in bone loss, sore mouth, and persistent bad breath. Typically, the mouth soreness affects a pet’s eating habits. Stage 3 may or may not be reversible.

Stage 4 Advanced Periodontitis: At this stage, the infection continues to break down the gum and bone tissue as well as the tooth itself. This is the most severe case because the bacterial infection can now enter the blood stream, potentially leading to liver, heart, and kidney disease.

How to Prevent Pet Gum Disease

Remember, we at Animal Hospital of Colorado Springs are pet owners, too, so we want your pet to be disease-free, just as much as you do. One of the easiest ways to prevent gum disease is by bringing your pet in at least once a year for a wellness exam. During these exams, we examine your pet’s mouth to look for any signs of gum disease, such as those mentioned above. If we think a dental cleaning is necessary, we schedule a separate appointment so we can perform a full cleaning and dental exam under general anesthesia. We can also give you our recommendations for at-home dental care, including tooth brushing techniques. Our pet dental services are both safe and effective, and they can help eliminate the risk of gum disease, so schedule an appointment today by calling 719-579-9488.

3 Fun Winter Activities to Do with Your Pet This Season

Fun Winter Activities to Do with Your Pet This Season

During the winter months, it’s easy to get a little cabin fever. And you know what? Our pet’s aren’t immune to that same feeling! That’s one of the reasons it’s important to try and stay active and energized. The Animal Hospital of Colorado Springs would like to help keep your pet healthy and happy, which usually means active and entertained! Check out some of the fun pet-friendly activities we suggest:

  1. Take a hike. Going out one a park trail, whether paved or not, can be a fun wintertime activity for you and your pet! Even if it’s just a half hour hike, it gets the blood flowing and muscles moving.
  2. Play a game inside. It can be fun to play games inside with your pet. When your pet is inside the house, you have the benefit of being able to practice training with them without all kinds of distractions. After all, out in the yard passing cars, pedestrians, and animals can be very distracting! A fun game can be hiding treats around the house like an Easter egg hunt for your pet!
  3. Strengthen your pet’s brain. Cognitive games for pets are very popular right now and can really benefit your pet. Plus, they can be quite fun! You can pick up some interesting cognitive games at your local pet supply store or online. It can be fun to see what your pet is capable of!

No matter what life stage your pet is in, they can benefit from physical activity, bonding with you, and cognitive exercise. It’s easy to squeeze these activities into our day during the summer, but in the winter it can be a lot easier to let things slip. Add daily pet time to your to-do list this winter and watch your pet get healthier and happier. Who knows, it might benefit your health too!

How Safe is Your Pet this Season?

Holiday Pet Safety Tips in Colorado Springs, CO

The veterinary team at the Animal Hospital of Colorado Springs wants to ensure that your best friend is safe all season long. There are many new dangers that pets may encounter around the holidays. We’re always here to answer your questions about your pet’s needs.

Top 5 Most Common Holiday Dangers for Pets

These are some of the most common dangers that we often see during the holiday season:

  • Alcohol. While we can handle having a few drinks in celebration of the season, our pets cannot. It’s important to always keep alcoholic beverages out your of your pet’s reach to ensure that they’re safe from the danger of alcohol poisoning.
  • Christmas trees. It isn’t the holiday season without a festive tree! However, these lovely decorations can also cause a few hazards in the home. Christmas trees can be knocked over by overly adventurous and curious pets, causing damage to the home and injury to the animals!
  • Electrical cords. Does your best friend like to chew? The sight of all those new cords under the tree may be too appealing for your pet, so we recommend disguising and hiding electrical cords to prevent your pet’s curiosity. It’s also important that they never be left unattended around the decorations!
  • Holiday meals and sweets. You hear all year round that there are foods your pet should never consume, but during the holiday season we have so much more of those dangerous foods around the house! Traditional holiday meals contain so many of those dangers, like poultry bones, onions, garlic, grapes, and more. In addition, we often do a lot of baking during the holidays, introducing our pets to even more potential dangers with chocolate, sugar, macadamia nuts, raisins, and more. Keep those foods and treats out of your pet’s reach at all times!
  • Poinsettias and other holiday plants. For some odd reason, the most popular plants to bring inside the home at the holidays are toxic to your pet! Poinsettias, amaryllis, and lilies of all kinds are dangerous and we recommend keeping them out of your pet’s reach at all times so that your pet doesn’t have access to the leaves or berries that may fall off. You may also want to consider purchasing silk flowers for the look of the festive plant without the dangers.

If you have any questions about your pet’s safety and well-being this holiday season, the veterinary team at the Animal Hospital of Colorado Springs can help! Please contact us today to ask us all of your pet safety questions. That’s what we’re here for! Have a happy and safe holiday with your pet this year.

Cold Weather Safety Tips

iStock_000051976300_Medium

Exposure to winter’s dry, cold air and chilly rain, sleet and snow can cause chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin, but these aren’t the only discomforts pets can suffer. Winter walks can become downright dangerous if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off of bare paws. To help prevent cold weather dangers from affecting your pet’s health, please heed the following advice from our experts:

  • Repeatedly coming out of the cold into the dry heat of your home can cause itchy, flaking skin. Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he comes inside, paying special attention to his feet and in-between the toes. Remove any snow balls from between his foot pads.
  • Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. If your dog is long-haired, simply trim him to minimize the clinging ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry his skin, and don’t neglect the hair between his toes. If your dog is short-haired, consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.
  • Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals—and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.
  • Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If your pooch must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse.
  • Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents.Booties provide even more coverage and can also prevent sand and salt from getting lodged between bare toes and causing irritation. Use pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible.
  • Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
  • Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help keep her well-hydrated and her skin less dry.
  • Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
  • Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside. If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or killed. In addition, don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death.

SOURCE: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/cold-weather-safety-tips

 

Missing the litter box

A tabby cat walking away from his litterbox.

You have a problem. Your cat is thinking outside the box, and not in a good way. You may be wondering what you did to inspire so much “creative expression.” Is your cat punishing you? Is Fluffy just “bad”? No, and no. House soiling and missing the litter box is a sign that your cat needs some help.

According to the Winn Feline Foundation, house soiling is the number one complaint among cat owners. The good news is that it is very treatable.

An accredited veterinarian can help you determine if the problem is medical or related to social or environmental stressors. In addition to a complete physical exam, the doctor will ask you specific “where and when” questions.

Health factors

Tony Buffington, DVM, PhD, a specialist in feline urinary disorders at The Ohio State University, and founder of the Indoor Cat Initiative says that many veterinarians recommend a urine test for every cat with a house soiling problem. The urinalysis will determine if blood, bacteria, or urinary crystals are present — signs that your cat might have feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD).

FLUTD is very common and can cause painful urination. Cats that begin to associate the litter box with pain will avoid it. Other medical possibilities include hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, diabetes, and arthritis and muscle or nerve disorders that might prevent your cat from getting to the litter box in time.

Environmental factors
If there is no medical cause, the next step is to look at environmental factors. Start with the litter box. Your cat might be avoiding the litter box because it is not cleaned well enough, you’ve changed the type of litter you use, or there is only one box for multiple cats.

Another possibility is that your cat is “marking” — spraying urine, typically on vertical objects such as walls and furniture, or in “socially significant” areas near doors or windows. Both male and female cats mark. The most common offenders are cats that have not been spayed or neutered.

Buffington says that stress can cause elimination problems too. For example, subtle aggression or harassment by other house cats or neighborhood cats may be an issue.

Even unremarkable changes in your home can make your cat anxious or fearful. Look around. Did anything change right before your cat started having problems? Did you get a new pet? A new couch? Maybe you just moved the old couch to a different part of the room, or had a dinner party. Cats are sensitive creatures and changes that seem small to you can throw your cat off his game. Check with your veterinarian about finding solutions that work for both you and your cat

SOURCE: https://www.aaha.org/pet_owner/pet_health_library/cat_care/behavior/missing_the_litter_box.aspx

 

Three Tips for New Pet Owners

0005_preventive_coloradosprngs

Did you recently bring home a new pet? If so, congratulations on the new addition! We know this is an exciting time for you and your family, and the team at Animal Hospital of Colorado Springs wants to help you be prepared. Whether you’re a first-time pet owner or an experienced one, your new “fur baby” is going to need a health care regimen established as soon as they become a member of your family. Consider the following three things that every new pet owner needs to know, and schedule your pet’s first appointment with us today!

 

  1. Bring Your Pet in for a Wellness Exam

 

Pets of all ages need regular healthcare and preventive care in the form of a comprehensive wellness exam. During the wellness exam, we evaluate your pet from nose to tail to ensure that all of their bodily systems are functioning properly. We also assess their weight, body temperature, and skin/coat. These exams can be conducted annually, bi-annually, or even more frequently, depending on your pet’s age, lifestyle, and health status. If we detect any abnormalities or conditions that could indicate a health problem, we can either recommend treatment or one of our diagnostic services, including digital X-rays, EKG, laboratory services, and ultrasound. We can discuss our recommendations for YOUR pet during the appointment.

 

  1. Vaccinate Your Pet

 

Just like human vaccines, dog and cat vaccines protect against a number of potentially-fatal diseases by helping equipping the body’s immune system to fight off any disease-causing organisms. For dogs, we typically recommend vaccines for rabies, parvovirus, distemper, and adenovirus. For cats, we typically recommend vaccines for rabies, herpesvirus 1, calicivirus, and panleukopenia. We can discuss your pet’s lifestyle, age, and medical history to customize a vaccine schedule specifically for them, as vaccine recommendations can vary for pets of the same species and breed. Although it’s best to establish a vaccination schedule when your pet is a puppy/kitten, it’s never too late to start.

 

  1. Spay/Neuter Your Pet

 

If your new pet is a puppy or kitten, one of the most important aspects to consider is whether or not to spay/neuter them. At Animal Hospital of Colorado Springs, we recommend spaying/neutering for all pets, unless they planned to be used for breeding. These procedures can result in a number of health benefits for your dog or cat. For females, this includes decreasing the risk of uterine infections and breast cancer (when done before the first heat cycle). For males, this includes preventing testicular cancer (if done by 6 months of age) and reducing aggressive behavior. Spaying/neutering can also help with pet overpopulation.

 

Our goal is to partner with you in helping your new pet live a long, happy, healthy life, so by following these three tips, we can do just that! Schedule your new pet’s appointment at Animal Hospital of Colorado Springs today by calling (719) 579-9488. We look forward to meeting them!
 

 

Stop Fleas and Ticks, and Earn Cash Back!

0001_preventive_animalhospitalofcoloradosprings_ad

As we welcome summer back, unfortunately, we have to also deal with the return of fleas and ticks. These parasites are more than just pesky; they can cause a number of health problems for your pet. Fleas can cause allergy dermatitis while ticks can cause Lyme disease—both of which can you leave your dog with some serious discomfort. In extreme cases, these conditions can even be fatal if left untreated.

Animal Hospital of Colorado Springs is pleased to offer Bravecto, a revolutionary product to combat fleas and ticks, and for a limited time, we’re offering two rebate specials. If you purchase two doses (tablets) of Bravecto, you can earn $15 cash back. If you purchase four doses, you can earn $35, so the more you buy, the more you save!

What Is Bravecto?

Bravecto is the only chewable tablet for dogs that provides up to 12 weeks of flea and tick prevention. With just one dose, fleas are killed within hours, preventing any future infestations. One dose also kills lone star ticks for up to eight weeks. These tablets are easy to administer, are safe for dogs of all sizes, and of course…they’re tasty, so your dog will love them!

Once your dog get a dose of Bravecto, the active insecticide ingredient immediately reaching their skin, and you know what that means for fleas and ticks. If any of these critters try to feed on your dog, they’ll also ingest the insecticide and die.

Take Advantage of Our Bravecto Rebate

Animal Hospital of Colorado Spring’s “buy one, get $15 back or buy two, earn $35 back” Bravecto rebate offer is available for a limited time, so give us a call at (719) 579-9488 to purchase your box(es). Your dog will love the taste, and you’ll love the extra cash in your pocket!

Stop Fleas and Ticks, and Earn Cash Back!

As we welcome summer back, unfortunately, we have to also deal with the return of fleas and ticks. These parasites are more than just pesky; they can cause a number of health problems for your pet. Fleas can cause allergy dermatitis while ticks can cause Lyme disease—both of which can you leave your dog with some serious discomfort. In extreme cases, these conditions can even be fatal if left untreated.

 

Animal Hospital of Colorado Springs is pleased to offer Bravecto, a revolutionary product to combat fleas and ticks, and for a limited time, we’re offering two rebate specials. If you purchase two doses (tablets) of Bravecto, you can earn $15 cash back. If you purchase four doses, you can earn $35, so the more you buy, the more you save!

 

What Is Bravecto?

 

Bravecto is the only chewable tablet for dogs that provides up to 12 weeks of flea and tick prevention. With just one dose, fleas are killed within hours, preventing any future infestations. One dose also kills lone star ticks for up to eight weeks. These tablets are easy to administer, are safe for dogs of all sizes, and of course…they’re tasty, so your dog will love them!

 

Once your dog get a dose of Bravecto, the active insecticide ingredient immediately reaching their skin, and you know what that means for fleas and ticks. If any of these critters try to feed on your dog, they’ll also ingest the insecticide and die.

 

Take Advantage of Our Bravecto Rebate

 

Animal Hospital of Colorado Spring’s “buy one, get $15 back or buy two, earn $35 back” Bravecto rebate offer is available for a limited time, so give us a call at (719) 579-9488 to purchase your box(es). Your dog will love the taste, and you’ll love the extra cash in your pocket!