What Is Canine Influenza Virus?

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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

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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/

The Importance of Pet Dental Care

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Animal Clinic of Milford stresses the importance of ongoing pet dental care for the health of your best friend. We advocate ongoing preventive care to help provide longer, healthier, and happier lives for our companion animals. Dental disease is a very common concern for pets and it often goes untreated for far too long. We believe in proactive dentistry to help our veterinarians identify signs of oral health concerns.

A pet’s complete dental will include the following treatments:

  • Scaling
  • Polishing
  • Tartar and plaque removal
  • Extraction of diseased teeth, if necessary

During your pet’s complete dental care, we’ll strive to eliminate bad breath through the scaling off of tartar and the removal of bacteria from below the gumline. Bacteria beneath the gumline is especially dangerous as it can get into the bloodstream and affect other organs such as the liver and kidneys!

Help keep your pet healthier and safer, with ongoing dental care.

5 Ways to Have Fun with Your Pet This Winter

Having Fun with Your Pet This Winter

Brr! It’s chilly out, but that doesn’t mean your pet has to mope around the house, waiting for a warm day to play outside. In fact, keeping your pet active and stimulated is important in every season so they can stay healthy. Consider Animal Clinic of Milfords’ list of five ways you can have fun with your pet in the winter, and give us a call if you have any questions.

Take a Walk with Your Pet

As long as it’s not TOO cold out, you can still take your dog for a brisk walk. This will provide some great cardiovascular benefits for both of you and even help you bond with your canine companion. Just be sure to wipe off any salt from your dog’s paws when you come inside.

Go for a Jog

If your dog is the active type, and you want to get a better winter workout for yourself, why not turn that walk into a jog? Of course, increasing your speed will help you both stay warm, too. You may also want to try intervals for a more intensive routine.

Play Tag

Who said tag is just for people? Yes, dogs can enjoy it, too! If you have a large yard or plan to visit a park, you can play tag with your dog. After you tag your dog, let them run around and chase you. Then, let your dog chase you! You may be surprised how much fun you’ll both have.

Teach Your Pet a New Trick

Dogs, cats, rabbits, and other pocket pets can learn tricks, so instead of sitting around inside, why not teach your furry friend a new trick? Training your pet can strengthen your bond with them and improve their overall behavior, so it’s certainly worth the effort. Of course, always reward your pet for doing the trick, and limit the training sessions to about 15 minutes a day.

Play Hide and Seek

Who doesn’t like a good game of hide and seek? You can play this game with your dog, cat, and even your pocket pets. Simply hide your pet’s favorite toy or treat in a place where your pet can see. Then, let them have fun retrieving it. And if your pet will cooperate and is well trained, YOU can be the one to hide and let your pet find you. This game works great for herding dogs.

If you’d like to schedule an appointment at Animal Clinic of Milford, give us a call at 230-882-8311, and have a happy, safe winter with your pet!

5 Holiday Pet Safety Tips

Holiday Pet Safety Tips in Milford, CT

It’s that time of year again! As you’re busy trimming the tree, planning the parties, and making the egg nog, we want to make sure your pet is safe from some of the potential holiday hazards. Consider the following five pet holiday safety tips from the team at Animal Clinic of Milford, and contact us if you have any questions. We hope you and your four-legged friend have a wonderful holiday and a prosperous new year!

Real Christmas Trees

Considering getting a real Christmas tree this year? Although having a real Christmas tree has its perks, it can also have some drawbacks if you have a pet. To a thirsty dog or cat, a bucket of Christmas tree water is just an oversized bowl of drinking water, but if that water contains any chemical preservatives, drinking it can be very dangerous. Another potential hazard are the pine needles, which are considered mildly toxic if ingested. So unless your pet is well trained to stay away from the tree or if the tree area is blocked off from your pet, it’s safer to opt for an artificial tree.

Holiday Plants

Unfortunately, real Christmas trees aren’t the only plants that can be hazardous to pets. Mistletoe, holly, and lilies are a few of the other seasonal plants on the “dangerous” list. If ingested, these plants can result in vomiting, diarrhea, and even kidney failure if treatment isn’t sought. To keep your pet safe from these toxic pets, keep them high and out of your pet’s reach, choose artificial plants instead, or simply choose a different, more pet-friendly decoration.

Tinsel and Garland

They’re shiny, they’re sparkly, and they make our trees beautiful, but that tinsel and garland might not be the best decoration choice if you have a curious pet—especially if that pet is a cat. Many cats are naturally drawn to stringy items like yarn and ribbons, so that tinsel and garland is likely going to attract Kitty, too. If ingested, these decorations can pose a choking or obstruction hazard, which may require surgery to correct. So if you have a curious pet, either avoid buying these decorations altogether or keep them high on your tree, where your pet can’t easily access them.

Holiday Foods

Tempted to share some of your holiday dinner with your four-legged friend? Before you do, consider the fact that some “people food” is actually toxic to pets. Some of the most common toxic foods to pets include chocolate, raisins, macadamia nuts, and the sugar substitute xylitol. If ingested, these foods can leave your pet feeling very sick or worse. Other potentially dangerous foods are those that are high in fat, such as sausage, bacon, and poultry skin. Avoid feeding your pet any of these foods to prevent sickness and weight gain.

Some of the non-toxic foods are apples and carrots (chopped in small pieces), cooked poultry (white meat with no bones or gravy), and green beans. Although these foods are safe and have several health benefits for your pet, make sure to limit the amount you give them. “Everything in moderation.”

With these tips, your pet can have a safe, happy holiday with you. However, if ever you suspect that your pet has eaten a toxic substance or is otherwise in need of emergency care, call Animal Clinic of Milford at (203) 882-8311.

Holiday Safety Tips

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The holiday season is upon us, and many pet parents plan to include their furry companions in the festivities. As you gear up for the holidays, it is important to try to keep your pet’s eating and exercise habits as close to their normal routine as possible. Also, please be sure to steer pets clear of the following unhealthy treats, toxic plants and dangerous decorations.

Be Careful with Seasonal Plants and Decorations

  • Oh, Christmas Tree: Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also prevent the tree water—which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset—from spilling. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria, and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he imbibe.
  • Avoid Mistletoe & Holly: Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.
  • Tinsel-less Town: Kitties love this sparkly, light-catching “toy” that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It’s best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.
  • That Holiday Glow: Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, put the candle out!
  • Wired Up: Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth and digestive tract.

Avoid Holiday Food Dangers

  • Skip the Sweets: By now you know not to feed your pets chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol, but do you know the lengths to which an enterprising pet will go to chomp on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.
  • Leave the Leftovers: Fatty, spicy and no-no human foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your furry friends. Pets can join the festivities in other fun ways that won’t lead to costly medical bills.
  • Careful with Cocktails: If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.
  • Selecting Special Treats: Looking to stuff your pet’s stockings? Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible. Long, stringy things are a feline’s dream, but the most risky toys for cats involve ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating surgery. Surprise kitty with a new ball that’s too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy or the interactive cat dancer.

Please visit our People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets page for more information.

Plan a Pet-Safe Holiday Gathering

  • House Rules: If your animal-loving guests would like to give your pets a little extra attention and exercise while you’re busy tending to the party, ask them to feel free to start a nice play or petting session.
  • Put the Meds Away: Make sure all of your medications are locked behind secure doors, and be sure to tell your guests to keep their meds zipped up and packed away, too.
  • A Room of Their Own: Give your pet his own quiet space to retreat to—complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle. Shy pups and cats might want to hide out under a piece of furniture, in their carrying case or in a separate room away from the hubbub.
  • New Year’s Noise: As you count down to the new year, please keep in mind that strings of thrown confetti can get lodged in a cat’s intestines, if ingested, perhaps necessitating surgery. Noisy poppers can terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears. And remember that many pets are also scared of fireworks, so be sure to secure them in a safe, escape-proof area as midnight approaches.

 

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

5 Halloween Pet Safety Tips

Halloween Pet Safety Tips in Milford, CT

Trick or treat! Halloween is just around the corner, and while this is a fun holiday for kids, it can be dangerous for pets if you’re not prepared. To make Halloween a fun, safe time for your canine and feline companions, Animal Clinic of Milford recommends the following five tips:

  1. Keep the Candy Away From Your Pet

Chocolate contains an alkaloid called theobromine that can actually be toxic to pets if ingested, and the darker the chocolate, the higher the toxicity. Symptoms of chocolate toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, and even seizures. Some candies also include the sugar substitute called xylitol, which can also be poisonous to pets, causing a rapid drop in blood sugar. So as a rule of thumb, keep all the Halloween treats out of your pet’s reach.

 

  1. Use Caution If Dressing Your Pet

We’ve all seen those cute photos of pets in costumes, so if you’ll be dressing your pet up this year, use caution. While some costumes are harmless, others might be poorly made and leave your pet feeling downright uncomfortable. Make sure there aren’t any parts of the costume that fit too tightly or that can injure your pet. If you plan to leave the costume on for an extended period of time, make sure there aren’t any loose or dangling pieces that can be chewed off. Try getting your pet used to the costume several days before Halloween to see if they’ll be comfortable enough to wear it on the big day.

 

  1. Keep Your Pet Indoors

Unfortunately, Halloween is a time when many people pull pranks and steal pets from yards, especially black cats. Some pets may also get startled by all the costumed trick-or-treaters walking by, so if you have an outdoor pet, it’s best to keep them indoors during Halloween week for their safety.

 

  1. Make Sure Your Pet Has ID

In the event that your pet becomes separated from you on Halloween, proper identification can help them return home to you. Make sure your pet has an ID tag and collar. You may also want to consider a microchip, which is a permanent form of identification that’s imbedded just beneath the surface of the skin near the shoulder blades.

 

  1. Keep Your Pet Away From the Front Door

Ding dong! Most pets know when they hear that doorbell that someone is at the front door and will run toward it to see who’s visiting, but seeing a stranger dressed in a costume might frighten them or cause them to misbehave. Some pets might even attempt to slip out of the open door. For your pet’s safety and for that of the trick-or-treaters, keep your pet away from the front door in a confined area during trick-or-treat hours.
If you have questions about these tips or need to schedule an appointment for your pet, feel free to contact us at (203) 882-8311. 

The Importance of Senior Pet Care

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Pets age about seven times faster than humans, and for larger breeds, the rate is even faster. Once a pet reaches about 7 years of age, they are considered “seniors” in the pet world. Just as with humans, with age comes an increased risk for a number of conditions, such as arthritis, obesity, diabetes, dental problems, and kidney disease. There are also many other things to consider when caring for a senior pet, such as diet changes, exercise, and preventive care.

If you have a pet that’s around 7 years of age, you might be wondering how often you should bring your senior pet to see a vet. Animal Clinic of Milford in Milford, CT recommends that you bring your senior pet in at least twice a year for a comprehensive wellness exam and at least once a year for blood work. This allows us to determine if there are any health issues that need to be addressed.

 

About the Senior Pet Visit

During your senior pet’s bi-annual exam at our clinic, we perform a full, nose-to-tail evaluation, just as we would for a younger pet. We also examine the internal systems with a check of the nervous and respiratory systems, blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature. The results of these exams help us determine your pet’s health status and make any necessary treatment recommendations.

While the comprehensive physical exam allows us to detect symptomatic health conditions, oftentimes, an annual blood test allows us to detect conditions that may or may not have any physical symptoms. Also known as a senior blood panel, blood work for senior pets can show the presence of disease in its early stages. The sooner we catch an illness, the sooner we can treat it. The results of an annual senior blood test also lets us check your pet’s organ function.

Is Your Senior Pet Due for a Visit?

If your pet is due for their bi-annual wellness exam or annual blood test, we encourage you to schedule an appointment here at Animal Clinic of Milford in Milford, CT. We want your pet to enjoy their golden years, just as much as you do, so give us a call today!

 

Why Should I Vaccinate My Pet?

One of the most common questions that the Animal Clinic of Milford team hears from our clients is “why should I vaccinate my pet?” We understand why this question is asked. After all, pet vaccination is an ongoing concern that starts when your pet is very young and extends throughout their life. Pet owners want to know, is pet vaccination really necessary?

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The short answer is yes, pet vaccination is extremely important for your pet’s ongoing health.

What Happens When a Pet is Not Vaccinated?

When a pet owner chooses to not vaccinate their pet, or when they choose not to maintain a proper vaccination schedule, they put their pet as well as all animals (and sometimes people!) that their pet comes into contact with in danger!

In recent months, we have all heard about the ongoing outbreak of Canine Influenza, making this vaccine extremely important for all pets that come into contact with other animals. This disease can be easily spread to pets who are boarding, attending daycare, going to grooming visits, etc. It’s important to remember that even if the pet that is going to these activities is protected, they can also bring the disease home to pets that are not completely protected.

When a sick pet or unvaccinated pet spends time in a public place where other animals congregate, they are putting themselves and everyone else at risk!

How to Maintain a Vaccination Schedule

At the Animal Clinic of Milford, we recommend maintaining your pet’s vaccination schedule to ensure that they are never unprotected for any period of time. We can work closely with you to determine which vaccines are necessary for your pet, depending on their lifestyle, activities, hang-out spots, and more. Our team makes every effort to ensure that each pet is protected at all times…not just when they’re planning on going someplace new.

We invite you to call us today to schedule your pet’s next appointment. Remember, maintaining your pet’s vaccines and preventative schedule is the BEST way to keep them safe and healthy for life.

Ultrasound for Pets

Did your pet eat something he shouldn’t have? The batteries from your remote, perhaps? Although a standard physical exam is beneficial in evaluating a pet’s external symptoms, there are many conditions that require an internal examination. Animal Clinic of Milford is pleased to announce our new ultrasound machine to safely examine your pet internally, providing top-quality diagnostics.

Ultrasound is a non-invasive advanced imaging technique that uses a hand-held probe tool to record “echoes” of sound waves to provide a moving image of your pet’s internal organs in real time. In veterinary medicine, a 3-dimensional image is the most common to examine the internal organs, including the abdominal area and thoracic structures. It also serves as a valuable tool for various emergency situations.

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Ultrasound Preparation

In order for ultrasound waves to be reflected, they cannot pass through air, which means the probe must make direct contact with the skin. Therefore, before we can perform an ultrasound on a pet, we often have to shave the area being examined. This also helps the ultrasound images be produced with better quality. Some pet owners have questions about whether or not anesthesia is necessary for an ultrasound. The answer is no. Most pets can lie comfortably as the scan is performed, and since the image is produced in real time, results are available immediately.

Does Your Pet Need an Ultrasound?

 Our veterinarians may recommend an ultrasound for your pet for any of the following symptoms:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Abdominal fluid
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Change in urinary habits
  • A mass/tumor
  • Excessive vomiting or diarrhea

If you’ve noticed any of these signs in your pet, schedule an appointment to take advantage of Animal Clinic of Milford’s new ultrasound technology.