By Heather Harner
Flea & Tick FactsMay 9, 2017
We all know that fleas and ticks cause a lot of harm to our beloved pets, but how much do you really know about these dangerous parasites? Here are a few scary facts about fleas and ticks to keep you informed and knowledgeable.
Fact 1: A female flea will lay at least 20 eggs a day. Half of the eggs will be female, which can eventually produce about 20,000 new fleas in 60 days.
Fact 2: Fleas can jump 110 times their length. A flea jumping several inches is like an average-sized human jumping over a 30 story building.
Fact 3: When a flea jumps, it accelerates 20 times faster than a space shuttle.
Fact 4: Fleas have been on the earth for at least 165 million years.
Fact 5: Winter does not always kill fleas.
When a flea jumps on your pet, it will start feeding within 5 minutes and may suck blood for up to 2 1/2 hours. Female fleas are the most greedy, consuming up to 15 times their own body weight in blood. A single flea can live on your dog or cat for almost 2 months!
Fact 6: Ticks are arachnids, which means they are more closely related to spiders and scorpions than insects.
Fact 7: Ticks do not fly, jump or fall from trees. Since they don’t fly, the easiest way for them to get on your pet is when they’re walking through grass.
Fact 8: In many hard ticks, the saliva also acts like cement, helping to keep the tick in place and making it harder for a person to remove it.
Fact 9: There are more than 850 species of ticks on earth.
Fact 10: Bites from a Lone Star Tick can cause rare allergies to red meat in humans. Dogs can also develop this allergy and will react with itching, skin lesions and hair loss if their diets contain beef, lamb or pork.
If you spend time outdoors or have pets that go outdoors, you need to beware of ticks. Ticks are small bloodsucking parasites. Many species transmit diseases to animals and people. Some of the diseases you can get from a tick bite are Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia.
Some ticks are so small that they can be difficult to see. Ticks may get on you if you walk through areas where they live, such as tall grass, leaf litter or shrubs.
Tick-borne diseases occur worldwide, including in your own backyard. To help protect yourself and your family, you should:
- Use a chemical repellent with DEET, permethrin or picaridin
- Wear light-colored protective clothing
- Tuck pant legs into socks
- Avoid tick-infested areas
- Check yourself, your children and your pets daily for ticks and carefully remove any ticks you find
While outdoor pets are more prone, your dog or cat may be exposed to fleas or ticks anywhere: in your own backyard, on walks or even in your own home. When it comes to fleas and ticks, the faster you get rid of them, the better!
April is National Heartworm Awareness MonthApril 19, 2017
By Lindsey Gambler
Heartworm is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets in the United States and all around the world. The most common household pet infected with heartworms is dogs.
What exactly is a heartworm you ask? A heartworm is a foot-long worm that lives in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of affected pets. It can cause severe lung disease, heart failure, and damage to other organs in the body. Mosquitos play an essential role in the heartworm life cycle. When there is an adult heartworm present in a pet, it will produce microscopic baby worms. Once the mosquito takes a blood meal from the infected pet, it picks up these baby worms, which develop and mature into infective larvae over 10 – 14 days. When the infected mosquito bites another animal, the larvae are deposited on to the surface of the animal’s skin, and enter in to the new host through the bite wound. The larvae then develop in the animal’s tissues over 6 – 7 months, to the adult stage, which is present in the heart and large blood vessels in the lungs.
Signs of Heartworm:
- Mild persistent cough
- Reluctance to exercise
- Fatigue after moderate activity
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
- Asthma-like attacks
- Periodic vomiting
- Lack of appetite
- Weight loss
Unfortunately, the first sign in cats in some cases is sudden collapse or even death.
We can’t detect an infection until the adult worms are present, so we recommend testing pets on heartworm prevention every 2 years. Take the first step in heartworm prevention today and have your dog tested and started on monthly heartworm preventative. Here at the office we carry Interceptor Plus that prevents heartworm disease. Interceptor Plus also treats and controls common intestinal parasites, including roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. Perks of purchasing Interceptor Plus today: $5.00 rebate with the purchase of a 6 month supply, and a $15.00 rebate with the purchase of a 12 month supply.
Pet Dental CareFebruary 9, 2017
Dental care for pets is just as important as it is for people!
Dental care for your pet is extremely important. Periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition occurring in adult dogs and cats and is entirely preventable. Here are a few facts about dental pain and disease so you can make an informed decision about a dental visit for your pet.
What is periodontal or dental disease? Periodontal disease is a progressive inflammation of the supporting structures around the teeth.
What causes periodontal disease? Periodontal disease starts when bacteria form plaque on the teeth. Within days, minerals in the saliva bond with plaque to form tartar, a hard substance that adheres to the teeth. The bacteria work their way under the gums and cause gingivitis, which is an inflammation of the gums. These bacteria can then travel in the bloodstream to infect the heart, kidneys, and liver.
How is dental disease diagnosed? Dental disease is diagnosed by examining the teeth and supporting structures while the pet is under anesthesia. Some dental disease can be reversed such as gingivitis through dental cleaning and polishing. Loss of tooth attachment and bone loss cannot be reversed.
Here are some signs of Dental Disease or Pain:
- Bad breath
- Redness or bleeding along the gum line
- Drooling, which may be tinged with blood
- Difficulty chewing
- Facial swelling, especially under the eyes
- Loose or missing teeth
Schedule your pet’s dental consultation with one of veterinarians now to see if your pet qualifies for our 20% OFF Routine Dental Promotion http://bit.ly/LeesportDental. It’s a quick, easy and important way to prevent serious problems.
Keeping Your Pet Safe at ThanksgivingNovember 22, 2016
While it’s wonderful to include your pets in your holiday traditions, it’s important to remember that our canine companions cannot indulge in the same feasts that we prepare for ourselves. Some of the common Thanksgiving foods that fill our plate can actually be very dangerous for your pooch to ingest.
- Turkey bones are small and can become lodged in your dog’s throat, stomach, or intestinal tract. They may also splinter and cause severe damage to the stomach or puncture the small intestine.
- Fat trimmings and fatty foods like turkey skin and gravy are difficult for dogs to digest. In fact, consuming turkey skin can result in pancreatitis. Symptoms for this serious disease can include vomiting, extreme depression, reluctance to move, and abdominal pain.
- Dough and cake batter contain raw eggs, so the first concern for people and pets is salmonella bacteria. What’s more, dough may actually rise in your dog’s belly, which can lead to vomiting, severe abdominal pain, and bloating.
- Mushrooms can damage your dog’s internal organs, including kidneys, liver, and central nervous system. Symptoms can include seizures, coma, vomiting, and possibly death.
- Raisins and grapes, although the causes of their toxicity are unknown, can cause kidney failure in dogs.
The best way for your pet to partake in the holiday cheer? Stick with traditional treats that are safe for dogs! Food puzzles and interactive toys like a Kong filled with peanut butter are a great way to keep your canine entertained and feeling satisfied all holiday long.
Please keep our number handy in case of an emergency. Leesport Animal Hospital 610-926-8866. Should your pet get ill and we are not open please refer to Animal Emergency Service of Berks County 610-775-7535 or Valley Central Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center 610-435-1553.
Love is AgelessNovember 1, 2016
Most senior animals are surrendered by owners who could no longer keep them due to health or financial reasons. Though they may not know every trick, they are usually already housebroken and leash-trained.
The transition into your home will likely be easier and less destructive. While younger pets need constant supervision and training, most senior pets are already housebroken. They may even understand several commands already.
While an older pet can still have a lot of energy, they tend to have more stable personalities and require less excessive attention than younger animals. This makes them an ideal choice for the elderly and young children.
Senior pets seem to know that you saved them and are grateful for the second chance at life that you have given them. There is no better gift than adopting a senior pet and giving them the best last years of their life. Unfortunately, they are most often passed up for puppies or kittens and spend far too long looking for a home to live out the rest of their golden years.
This November, please consider adopting one of our wonderful senior pets at Berk’s ARL or Hillside S.P.C.A. There are many sweet animals waiting to be your next best friend! To find a senior pet see all the adoptable animals at these local shelters’ websites at: Berk’s Animal Rescue League (ARL) http://www.berksarl.org/ or Hillside S.P.C.A. http://www.hillsidespca.com/
Halloween Photo ContestOctober 17, 2016
Send us a photo of your pet in a costume and you could win a $25 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 – Leo
Happy Cat MonthSeptember 16, 2016
In case you didn’t know, September is Happy Cat Month. This was created by the CATalyst Council to improve cat wellness by focusing on happiness. Studies have been shown that a happy cat is a healthier cat. Providing opportunities for your cat to act on these feline instincts is a core component of an enriching environment.
Below is a list of the top 10 ways owners can keep their cats happy:
- Provide toys. One of the easiest ways to make a cat happy is with a new toy. Not all toys have to be store bought. Paper sacks, wadded up paper and empty boxes will entertain cats for hours.
- Train your cat together. Cats are smart as well as food oriented and can be trained to do fun tricks–the mental and physical stimulation is great for felines. Training your cat can strengthen the bond between you and your feline buddy.
- Make your cat work for food. Feline obesity is a huge problem in this country and one way to combat it is to make cats work for their food. Food toys are available to channel a cat’s natural hunting instincts. The toy releases kibble in small amounts as the cat play with it. Another option is to hide a cat’s food in different places so that they have to find it.
- Acclimate your cat to the carrier. Many cat owners find that the worst part about taking their cat anywhere is getting it into the carrier. The time to work with your cat on making their carrier seem like a safe, secure and inviting place to be is prior to veterinary visits or family vacations – not when you’re ready to get into the car.
- Visit the veterinarian. Healthy cats are happy cats. Many veterinary practices are cat-friendly or have doctors who specialize in cats. Yearly wellness visits can help catch medical problems early.
- Microchip your cat. In addition to a collar and identification tag, microchipping provides permanent identification in case your cat becomes lost.
- Go outside (appropriately). Yes! There are ways owners can safely take their cats outside to allow them to broaden their horizons. Cats can be walked on a leash with a harness or confined in a special outdoor area—always under supervision, of course—so they can periodically and safely experience the world outside their window.
- Provide proper scratching posts. Scratching is an important aspect of feline behavior. Cats should have places they are allowed to stretch and care for their claws. Providing a long and sturdy scratching post in a vertical, horizontal or angled position is a good way to keep your cat happy.
- Provide preventive medications. No one likes fleas, ticks, mites or heartworms, especially your cat. Even if your cat is kept strictly indoors, they can still be attacked by these little creepy creatures. A parasite-free cat is a happy cat and preventive care will keep your family healthier, too.
- Think about getting another cat. Cats are social animals, so you might want to consider visiting the shelter and adopting a best buddy for your current kitty. Cats love to play, and a playmate will make them happy—provided they are properly introduced and have the right places to eat, hide, play and go the bathroom.
National Take Your Cat to the Vet DayAugust 19, 2016
In case you didn’t mark your calendar, August 22nd is Take Your Cat to the Vet Day and it is a great time to remind everyone about the importance of preventive care. You wouldn’t dream of skipping your kids’ doctor appointments, so why should your cat’s veterinary check-ups be any different?
The fact is cats get sick too! While they are masters at hiding illness, they also suffer from many of the same disease as their canine and human counterparts.
Here are the top 5 reasons routine vet visits are a vital part for your cat to live a long, healthy life. You might not know that:
1. Cats age more rapidly than humans.A cat reaches the approximate human age of 15 during its first year, and then 24 at age 2. Each year thereafter, they age approximately four “cat years” for every calendar year. So your 8-year-old cat would be 48 in human years. Veterinary care is crucial because a lot can happen in four “cat years,” which is why yearly visits are so important.
2. Cats are masters at hiding illness.Cat’s natural behaviors make them excellent at hiding how they feel when they are sick or in pain. Your cat could be developing a health condition long before you notice anything is wrong. Veterinarians are trained to spot changes or abnormalities that could be overlooked and detect many problems before they advance or become more difficult to treat.
3. Over 50% of cats are overweight or obese.Your veterinarian will check your cat’s weight at every visit and provide nutritional and enrichment recommendations to help keep your cat at an ideal weight. Just a few extra pounds can put cats at risk for diabetes; heart, respiratory, and kidney disease; and more.
4. Preventive care is better than reactive care.Information discussed, along with a thorough physical examination, provides you and your veterinarian with a plan to help your cat remain healthy. Regular exams can help avoid medical emergencies since veterinarians can often detect conditions or diseases that may affect your cat’s health long before they become significant, painful, or more costly to treat.
5. Kittens have 26 teeth, while adult cats have 30.That equates to a lot of dental care! Periodontal disease is considered the most prevalent disease in cats three years of age and older. Often there are no obvious signs of dental disease. Most cats with dental disease still eat without a noticeable change in appetite! Discuss your cat’s teeth at their routine preventive care veterinary visit.
Contact us at 610-926-8866 and schedule a routine exam today.
I Hate Ticks!July 26, 2016
I went for a walk with my pet. Now what?
The warm summer months lead to spending more time outside, which potentially results in more tick exposure. Many ticks harbor co-infections, meaning that they carry more than one disease such as Lyme disease. Did you know that only about 5% of dogs exposed will develop symptoms that are attributed to Lyme disease? In order to best protect your dog from Lyme disease, you should: thoroughly check your dog for ticks after they’ve been outside and remove any ticks that are found, utilize a veterinarian recommended flea & tick preventative year round & make sure your dog is current on his or her Lyme vaccination.
When checking your pet for ticks, brush or run your hands over your pet’s whole body, applying enough pressure to feel any small bumps or something the size of a pea. You may also use a brush or flea comb, stopping if you hit a bump or a snag to investigate. Most attachments occur in front of the shoulder blades, which includes the head, neck, and front legs. Make sure to also feel under the collar, under their armpits, between their toes, behind the ears, and around the tail. Ticks are attracted to dark, hidden areas and when attached can range in size from the size of a pinhead to a grape.
If you find an unattached tick, place it in alcohol and dispose of it. If you are uncomfortable removing the tick yourself, then call your veterinarian. While wearing gloves to protect yourself, use fine-tipped tweezers to grip the tick’s head as close to the skin as possible. Pull the tick straight out, slowly and steadily, without squeezing the body, then place it in alcohol and dispose of it. It is very typical for a small nodule to occur at the site of the attachment and persist for up to three weeks. Clinical signs of Lyme disease typically occur weeks to months following a bite and may include limping, lethargy, poor appetite, or fever. A very small percentage of dogs may also develop a fatal form of the disease that affects their kidneys. If the skin remains irritated or infected or you suspect something might be wrong, call us at 610-926-8866.
MicrochippingMay 13, 2016
National Pet ID Week – April 17-23, 2016Is your dog or cat microchipped? In a study of more than 7,700 stray animals at animal shelters, only 22% of dogs and less than 2% of cats that were not microchipped were reunited with their owners. The return-to-owner rate for microchipped dogs was over 52% and for cats it was about 38.5%. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) have joined together to create a day for reminding pet owners to have their pets microchipped and to keep the registration information up-to-date. “National Check the Chip Day” is this Friday, August 15th.
A microchip is a small, electronic chip enclosed in a glass cylinder that is about the size of a grain of rice. Instead of running on batteries, the microchip is designed to be activated by a scanner that is passed over the area and then it transmits radio waves that send the identification number to the scanner screen. Microchips are also designed to work for 25 years.
Implanting the microchip is as simple as a quick injection between the shoulder blades and can be done in a routine appointment as no surgery or anesthesia is required. An additional benefit to having your dog microchipped is that you can purchase a lifetime license for your dog. This eliminates having to remember to purchase a dog license annually.
You can take advantage of the day by making an appointment with us to have your pet microchipped where we will immediately register the chip. If your pet is already microchipped, you can check the chip’s registration information by going to the manufacturer’s database and making sure everything is up-to-date. Most of the time if an animal is microchipped and not returned to their owner, it’s because the information is incorrect or there isn’t any information provided.
A microchip does not replace identification tags or rabies tags. Identification tags are the easiest and quickest way to process an animal and contact the owner. If the pet is not wearing a collar or tags, or if either the collar or ID tag is lost, a microchip may be the only way to find a pet’s owner. Rabies tags allow to others to quickly see that your pet is vaccinated against the disease. It is more difficult to trace a lost pet’s owners with rabies tags as it can only be done when veterinary clinics or county offices are open. Microchip databases are online or can be reached through the phone 24/7/365.
You can use this useful flyer from the AVMA to keep a record of your pet’s microchip number and manufacturer.