By Chanel Baron, DVM
You know that saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” If there was a disease to which this phrase most pertains, it is heartworm disease. Just like it sounds, heartworm disease is a dangerous condition in which worms set up an infestation in a dog or cat’s heart. Contrary to popular belief, the Pacific Northwest is not free of heartworm disease. In 2016, an average of 20 cases of heartworm disease was diagnosed per clinic in the Portland/Vancouver region alone. Due to changes in climate and the moving of stray animals to Washington from Texas, Mexico, Southern California and other areas of the southern United States, we are experiencing heartworm disease with an ever-increasing incidence.
Dogs and cats contract heartworm disease by being bitten by a mosquito carrying microscopic heartworm larva in its saliva. When the mosquito bites the animal, it injects a small amount of anti-coagulant impregnated saliva to help the pet’s blood from clotting, and with it, any heartworm larvae currently living in the mosquito. These larvae then travel through the animal’s blood into its heart, where the larvae live and develop into adults.
A dog or cat can take up to six months between being infected with heartworm disease and showing symptoms of the infection. Symptoms include coughing, difficulty exercising, difficulty breathing, loss of appetite and weight loss. If left untreated, heartworm disease can cause heart failure and death.
Luckily, there are preventatives that can be given monthly in order to protect your pet against heartworm disease. We recommend monthly administration of a heartworm preventative in addition to a quick annual blood test to ensure your dog or cat shows no signs of a developing heartworm infection. Preventing heartworm disease can be as inexpensive as $60 a year, while the treatment for heartworm disease can cost thousands of dollars, and is potentially fatal if treatment fails.
For these reasons, my dog never misses a dose of her heartworm preventative (and it comes in a tasty chew form too)! During your pet’s next annual exam, please ask about heartworm disease and the best preventative for your pet.
Julie Morris, ASPCA senior vice president for community outreach, named March after these small furry friends “… to encourage future adopters to think of shelters and rescue groups first!”
Here at East Padden, we treat guinea pigs, also known as cavvies, several times each week for reasons ranging from appetite loss and lethargy, to spay and neuter surgeries. These pets are commonly adopted out of businesses such as Petco or PetSmart into families who have every intention of providing them with a safe and happy home. Sadly, these pet’s pre-adoption lives are rarely ideal, and sometimes do not satisfy their basic needs to thrive. Pocket-sized pets sold by these large corporate businesses are initially raised in breeding facilities before being transported, sometimes cross-country, to retail stores to be sold.
Here’s some of our team’s favorite holiday recipes they wanted to share with you!
CHRISTMAS STYLE STACKED ENCHILADAS
from Veterinary Receptionist Lissa
Introducing Vivienne Elise Young. Born: 8/7/16 at 8 lbs 2 oz 21 1/4 inch long.
I wanted to tell you about this puppy, Mocha, who visited us quite often, almost every day for four weeks, for splinting of her broken toe. I really thought Mocha just wanted to see me, since I am so incredibly irresistible, but our wonderful staff assured me her visits were in fact because of the broken toe. Every doctor at East Padden Animal Hospital had the pleasure of working with her and hearing the creative ways she would remove her cone and bandage. Not even cayenne pepper, lick guard (she licked that up like peanut butter, YUM!), or any of the many other ways her creative family tried to keep her off it worked. This puppy is one of the most special bandage chewers we have ever seen. Thankfully, her owners kept with her, and the fracture is starting to heal. Every day, I see many owners with pets that resist bandages and e-collars, but a healed puppy or kitty is always worth the healing time, even if it’s over four weeks long!
Whew! That story took it out of me. I must now go and visit Amy in her office for a kitty snack.
Halloween is a fun, spooky time for us and our kids, but it shouldn’t be spooky for our pets, too! Many things associated with Halloween put our pets’ health at risk. Here are a few important safety tips to follow to make sure your pets are safe and happy on this eerie holiday.
- Chocolate and xylitol—a sweetener often found in peanut butter and chewing gum—are extremely toxic to pets. Chocolate can cause upset stomachs, heart arrhythmia, kidney failure and seizures, and xylitol can cause hypoglycemia, seizures and even liver failure and death if large amounts are consumed. It is important to tuck all candy away so it stays out of your pets’ reach. Make sure your children know not to feed candy to pets, too.
- Keep pets away from the front door, especially pets with social anxiety or pets that are territorial. Trick-or-treaters will be knocking and ringing the doorbell all night, which can make any pet anxious, so keeping pets in a secure place will lower their anxiety. Plus, you’ll be opening and closing the door frequently, so keeping them away from the door limits their ability to attempt an escape.
- Black cats are often pestered on and around Halloween because of superstitions. If you have a black cat that spends part of his time outside, consider letting him be an indoor-only cat for the week around Halloween. It will ensure that he stays safe.
Need more assistance preparing for Halloween with your furry friends? Contact East Padden Animal Hospital!
East Padden Animal Hospital is proud to announce we have started carrying Medipaw products for cats and dogs. This line of wearable rehabilitation equipment comes in boot and suit forms, helping your pet recover more quickly from surgical incisions or dermatological conditions by comfortably preventing your cat or dog from licking, scratching or biting the affected area.
We highly recommend Medipaw products for patient recovery. In addition to speeding up recovery time, these products help reduce the probability of infection and other serious complications. Medipaw products are worn over bandages, splints and casts, adding an extra protective layer and making your pet unable to interrupt the healing process.
If your cat or dog is scheduled for an upcoming veterinary procedure, please ask your veterinarian if Medipaw can enhance their recovery.