|Deworming (Tapeworm)||by weight|
|Rattle Snake Vaccine||$25.00|
|3Dx (Heartworm, Ag, E. canis, Ab, Lyme Ab)||$34.00|
|4 Dx (Heartworm, Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis,
Heartworm is a parasitic roundworm that is spread from host to host through the bites of mosquitoes. The heartworm is a type of filarid, a small thread-like worm. The definitive host is the dog but it can also infect cats, and other animals, such as ferrets and even, under very rare circumstances, humans. The parasite is commonly called “heartworm” because the adult reproductive stage of its lifecycle resides primarily in the right ventricle of its host where it can live for many years. Heartworm infection may result in serious disease for the host. Heartworm disease is preventable with such products as Heartgard Plus! Protect your dog or cat from heartworm disease by giving medication once monthly, year-round or as directed by your veterinarian. Contact us for pricing.
Don’t let your animal be infected by fleas and ticks. It can happen. Fleas and ticks can silently invite themselves onto your pet and into your yard and families home. These pests can then harm your pet by laying eggs and maturing into adult fleas and ticks. Ticks in some cases carry such diseases as Lyme Disease which can infect both you and your pet. A simple to use once a month spot on or tablet can help kill fleas and ticks on your dog or cat and prevents re-infestation. Please contact us for pricing to help with controlling an infestation before flea and tick season hits!
Not all pet microchips are created equal. There are important differences to consider when selecting a microchip. That’s why TLC we only use ISO-compliant technology. Using these microchips safeguards pets and helps to increase the chance that the pet will be reunited should it ever become lost, compared to pets that only wear collar tags. There are several different pet microchip systems in use today in the United States. They differ according to the frequency of the microchip and whether the microchip is encrypted. Encrypted microchips are not ISO-compliant, and can be read only by a scanner designed to read that specific, encrypted microchip. If a veterinarian or animal shelter does not own that specific scanner, it limits the chance of that microchip being read and the possibility of that pet being reunited with its owner. At TLC we only use microchips that contain an individual, preprogrammed code that is permanent, unique worldwide, and cannot be altered. Our microchips are unbreakable, do not require a battery, and are designed to last the pet’s lifetime. Microchipping is only $24.99.
All dogs should be vaccinated for Distemper, Parvovirus, Corona virus, Bordetella and Rabies. Vaccinations can begin at 6 weeks of age or older. Ultimately, these vaccinations are given yearly, except Rabies that is given every 3 years after one year of age. An older dog that is overdue for its yearly shots should always get a booster in three weeks, and then back to the yearly program. Puppies less than 13 weeks of age are vaccinated, and then boostered in three-week intervals until they are over 16 weeks old, then once yearly.
|6 – 8 weeks||DA2PPv + Round/Hook Deworming|
|9 – 11||DA2PPv + Round/Hook Deworming + Bordetella|
|12 – 14 weeks||DA2PPv + Round/Hook Deworming + Bordetella|
|16 weeks (or older)||DA2PPv + Rabies|
|*First time 16 weeks and older||DA2PPv +Round/Hook Deworming + Bordetella + Rabies|
H3N8 – Canine Influenza Virus
***Recently you may have head about Dogs getting Canine Influenza Virus or the “Dog Flu”. It is a contagious respiratory disease caused by specific Type A influenza Virus. H3N8 is transmitted from dog to dog through direct contact, or through uninfected dogs that have come in contact with contaminated objects or even clothing that has been in the presence of an infected dog. Some of the symptoms of the dog flu include coughing, runny nose and fever, and in very rare cases can cause death. If you have any questions about this disease or vaccinating to help prevent it, please inform the veterinarian on staff.
Ask about getting the Rattlesnake Vaccine on dogs 8 weeks and older and Lyme Disease for dogs 10 weeks and older.
For an animals’ first time vaccinations at 16 weeks and older, vaccines may be required to be split up at veterinarian’s discretion for the safety of your animals’ health.
Since puppies are born with roundworms they received from their mother, and can be transmitted to humans, we automatically de-worm them instead of doing a fecal exam. All a negative fecal test indicates is that there was no evidence of worms seen at the time.
Canine Distemper – Adenovirus Type 2 – Parainfluenza – Parvovirus Vaccine, Modified Live Virus, Dogs 6 weeks and older.
Canine distemper virus (CDV) is a contagious, incurable, often fatal, multisystemic viral disease that affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems. Fortunately, vaccines are very effective in reducing its presence to very small numbers in well cared-for dogs. Stray dogs can be a source of the virus, as well as ferrets, skunks, and raccoons, which can also be affected by this disease. It is possible for humans to contract an asymptomatic CDV infection. Anyone who has been immunized against measles, which is a related virus, is protected against CDV as well.
The virus is spread primarily by direct contact to a susceptible dog from a dog with the disease. Coughing can spread the virus. The discharge from the nose is highly concentrated with the virus.
As with many infections, the clinical signs can vary from one dog to the next. The main signs are fever, loss of appetite, a thick yellow discharge from the nose and eyes, coughing, and seizures. There are many diseases that cause coughing, fever, loss of appetite, or seizures. However, this combination is unique to canine distemper. If the diagnosis is in doubt, a blood test should be performed for confirmation. Dogs usually develop encephalomyelitis, which is an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, the symptoms of which are variable and progressive. Most dogs that die from CDV, die from neurological complications.
Antibiotics can be used because to treat secondary bacterial infections that may occur. Intravenous fluids, cough suppressants, and drugs to control seizures may be used. Intensive nursing care is essential as there are no drugs to kill the virus. This is best accomplished with the dog in the hospital.
A very effective vaccine is available to protect dogs against distemper. It is given to puppies, as young as 6 weeks of age, in a series of 3-5 injections. An annual booster vaccination should be given for life.
Canine parvovirus (CPV) causes fever, severe vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. The disease often kills. The virus is especially lethal to puppies. The main source of the virus is the feces of infected dogs. CPV is stable in the environment and is resistant to the effects of heat, detergents, and alcohol. CPV has been recovered from dog feces even after three months at room temperature. Due to its stability, the virus is easily transmitted via the fur or feet of infected dogs, contaminated shoes, clothes, and other objects. Direct contact between dogs is not required to spread the virus. It is transmitted by contact with parvovirus-infected dog feces or with an object that has come into contact with infected dog feces. Dogs that never leave their home or have no direct contact with other dogs should still have the parvovirus vaccination. The disease does not affect people or cats.
Certain breeds of dogs are resistant to parvovirus vaccination and can be more susceptible to parvovirus infection. These breeds include Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Pit Bull breeds, and German Shepherds. It is recommended that puppies of these breeds be given an additional parvovirus vaccination at 20 weeks-of-age. Individual dogs of those breeds that go to dog shows, dog classes, dog parks, or dog runs or visit any location which dogs have frequented may benefit from receiving a parvovirus vaccination every six months rather than just annually.
The symptoms of CPV disease are somewhat variable, but generally take the form of severe vomiting and diarrhea. The diarrhea may or may not contain blood. Affected dogs often exhibit a lack of appetite, depression, and fever. Many dogs may not show every clinical sign, but vomiting and diarrhea are the most common signs; vomiting usually begins first. Parvo may affect dogs of all ages, but is most common in dogs less than one year of age. Young puppies less than five months of age are often the most severely affected and the most difficult to treat.
There is no treatment to kill the virus once it infects the dog. The virus does not directly cause death; rather, it causes deterioration of the lining of the intestinal tract. This results in severe dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and infection of the bloodstream. When the bacteria that normally live in the intestinal tract are able to get into the blood stream, chances are greater that the animal will die.
Dogs with CPV infection can recover if aggressive treatment is used and if therapy is begun before severe septicemia and dehydration occur. Some breeds, notably the Rottweiler, have a much higher fatality rate than other breeds. The first step in treatment is to correct dehydration and electrolyte levels. This requires intravenous fluids containing electrolytes. Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs are given to prevent or control septicemia. Antispasmodic drugs are used to reduce the diarrhea and vomiting that perpetuate the problems.
Vaccination of puppies should begin at six to eight weeks-of-age and be repeated every two to four weeks until 16 weeks-of-age. An annual booster vaccination should be given for life.
This virus is airborne and passed from dog to dog. Corona virus is highly contagious and may cause vomiting, diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite, and occasionally death. The disease is similar to parvovirus disease. Corona virus disease is a viral intestinal infection of dogs, which is usually of short duration. However it causes considerable discomfort to the dog for a few days. Corona virus does not affect people or cats. The virus is usually ingested from contaminated food bowls or by direct contact with the infected dog. Crowding and unsanitary conditions can also increase transmission. The incubation period from ingestion to display of symptoms is one to five days.
There are many causes of diarrhea in dogs, all of which may appear similar to corona virus disease. Severe cases of corona virus can be easily confused with parvovirus, and they may occur together. See your veterinarian promptly if your dog has diarrhea that does not resolve in a few days or is associated with significant loss of appetite or energy.
Many infections are mild and transient. Infections and outbreaks are more severe in young puppies. Mixed infections, for instance with parvovirus, may intensify the disease. Diarrhea is sudden in onset, accompanied by lethargy and decreased appetite. The stool is loose, mushy with a strong odor, and red-orange tinted. It may contain blood or mucus.
As with most viruses, there are no medications to treat this disease, it will run its course in a few days. Antibiotics are used because secondary bacterial infections are common. Withholding food until 24 hours after the diarrhea has ceased and gradually reintroducing it may be sufficient. Dehydration may occur and must be corrected with intravenous fluids. It is best to seek veterinary assistance in treating this disease.
Vaccination of puppies should begin at six weeks-of-age and be repeated every two to four weeks until 16 weeks-of-age. An annual booster vaccination should be given for life.
Vaccination Minimum age – 6 weeks: Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease affects the blood, liver, or kidneys. Canine leptospirosis is a bacterial disease which attacks the kidneys and the liver, causing uremia, jaundice, and death. The disease is highly contagious. It is carried by many species of wild and domestic animals, including rats. It is transmitted to dogs and people via contact with infected animals or through contaminated drinking water. Ingestion of infected urine is the most common means of transmission, but some forms of the bacteria can penetrate damaged or very thin skin. The incubation period is usually 4-12 days. Cats are extremely resistant to leptospirosis.
Many infections go undetected, but other cases can be life threatening. There are three main forms of the disease: hemorrhagic (bleeding), icteric (liver), and renal (kidney). In the hemorrhagic disease there is high fever with lethargy and loss of appetite. Multiple small hemorrhages occur in the mouth and on the whites of the eyes. Bloody diarrhea and vomiting may occur. This form is often fatal. The jaundice form begins much like the hemorrhagic form, and many of the signs are the same. It differs in the presence of a yellow color in the mouth and whites of the eyes. In severe cases in dogs with white hair, the skin will turn yellow. The renal form causes kidney failure. These dogs are very lethargic, anorectic, and experience vomiting. Their mouth may have a very bad odor, and the ulcers often develop on the tongue. This form may be fatal, but recovered dogs often have chronic kidney disease.
If medical treatment is begun promptly, antibiotics are reasonably effective. For dogs that are extremely sick hospitalization for treatment with intravenous fluids, is necessary.
The vaccine for leptospirosis should be included in the routine vaccination program by veterinarians. Vaccination of puppies should begin at six weeks-of-age and be repeated every two to four weeks until 16 weeks-of-age. An annual booster vaccination should be given for life.
The portion of a dog’s annual vaccinations, for leptospirosis is the most likely to cause a reaction. This usually results in lethargy for several days and possibly loss of appetite. These dogs recover and are then protected against the disease.
The Bordetella organism causes inflammation of the tubes in the lungs and bronchi, making infectious bronchitis a much better term. This air born virus attacks the upper respiratory tract and is passed from dog to dog. If you plan to board your dog, the kennel may require this vaccination. Several viruses and bacteria may cause it. These include the adenovirus type-2 virus, the parainfluenza virus, and the bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica (Bb). The infection, an extremely contagious respiratory disease of dogs spreads rapidly from dog to dog in kennels, grooming shops, shows and training classes. The disease is spread by direct contact and via airborne transmission. Bordetella is characterized by a dry, hacking cough that sounds like a smoker’s cough. Other symptoms include discharge from the eyes and nose, swollen tonsils, wheezing, lack of appetite, and lethargy. Although coughing is usually mild, it may persist for several weeks.
Bordetella is often a complicating secondary part of other diseases such as canine distemper.
Bordetella vaccine is given once yearly, except for the first time when it is given injections, two to four weeks apart until 16 weeks-of-age, and then once a year for life. Intranasal (drops in the nose) vaccines give faster and better protection than do injectable vaccines.
The disease is treatable but may last for up to eight weeks, during which time the affected dog is highly contagious to other dogs. If untreated, the disease can progress to pneumonia and death.
There are two types of kennel cough vaccines: injectable and intranasal (in the nose). The injectable type comes in two forms; first against the parainfluenza virus as part of the 6-in-1 vaccine and secondly as a separate anti-bordetella vaccine. The intranasal type of kennel cough vaccine is best of all. We recommend this vaccine especially for dogs that are to be boarded within a week or so of vaccination and thus do not have enough time to get the two bordetella injections two to four weeks apart.
Viruses must run their course, which may take 2-3 weeks. Antibiotics are useful against the bacteria involved, although some resistance to some antibiotics has occurred. Cough suppressants are used to break the cycle of coughing.
Epidemiological evidence shows that the isolation of Bordetella bronchiseptica (Bb) from cats is frequently associated with the presence, in the same household, of dogs with recent respiratory tract disease. Bb infection in cats has been reported following outbreaks of kennel cough in dogs within the same households. There have been cases that prove molecules from both cats and dogs were shown to be identical. This suggests that infectious bronchitis may be transmitted between dogs and cats.
Rabies is a disease caused by a virus that attacks the brain. It can affect any warm-blooded animal, including dogs and humans. It is almost always fatal. It is primarily transmitted from animal to animal and from animal to man through the bite of an infected animal. In order to control the spread of rabies, all pets must be vaccinated routinely.
Rabies is a viral disease which affects all species of warm-blooded animals, including dogs, cats, and humans. It is transmitted by the bite of a rabid animal that has rabies virus in its saliva. Rabies virus travels in the nerves from the site of the bite to the brain and spinal cord. Rabid animals undergo personality changes during the course of the disease; these changes may include aggression and biting or increased friendliness and affectionateness.
Rabies is ever present in the South West in wild animals such as skunks, raccoons, and bats. Law in all states requires rabies vaccination of dogs. Rabies vaccination of cats is not, but should be, because there are more reported case of rabies in cats than dogs, which also expose more humans to the disease.
Puppies and kittens should be vaccinated against rabies at four months-of-age. The absolute minimum age is 16 weeks. If in doubt about the exact age of a puppy or kitten, wait until tooth eruption indicates that the patient is at least 16 weeks-of-age. Dogs and cats that are under one year-of-age when they receive a rabies vaccination will be protected for only one year. The next rabies vaccination must be given one year after the initial one. Dogs and cats that are over one year-of-age when they receive a rabies vaccination will be protected for three years. A booster vaccination should be given every three years except one year after the initial puppy/kitten rabies vaccination.
There are three stages of the disease. The first is the prodromal phase in which there is a marked change in temperament. The quiet dog becomes agitated, and the active dog becomes nervous or shy. Other symptoms include dilated pupils, excessive drooling, and snapping at imaginary objects. After 2-3 days, the second phase begins. It is called the excitatory phase. There is an exaggerated response to any stimulus. Dogs may experience changes in appetite including eating and swallowing sticks, stones, and other objects. The dog may roam aimlessly, inflict trauma upon himself, and have a change in voice. There will often be vicious, aggressive behavior, even towards his guardian. Seizures may occur. Sometimes there is a third form, the “dumb” form, in which the dog becomes extremely depressed. His mouth may gape open with the tongue protruding. A progressive paralysis sets in resulting in total body paralysis.
There are a number of diseases that can cause some of the signs of rabies. A few conditions can be very similar. Confirmation of rabies can only be made with special tests performed on brain tissue. This requires that the dog be euthanized and its head sent to a special diagnostic laboratory.
Rabies is only transmitted by the bite of a rabid animal to another mammal. But even then, the virus is present in saliva of the infected animal for a limited time. If you are bitten by any animal of which you do not know the rabies vaccination status, you should immediately wash the wound with soap and water. Try to establish who owns the animal and whether the pet is currently vaccinated for rabies. In any case, seek the advice of your physician. Post-exposure rabies treatment with serum or vaccine may be recommended. This is very successful when begun quickly.
Rabies vaccines are very safe and very effective. It is recommended for all dogs, and, required by law in many locales. The public health concern is so significant that even totally indoor dogs should be vaccinated. Vaccination for rabies is usually performed at three to four months of age, and then every one to three years (depending on the vaccine and the local laws) thereafter.
Giardia infections can cause significant gastrointestinal disease including diarrhea, weight loss and poor weight gain despite normal appetite. Giardia is a parasite that lives in many unexpected sources. Your pet can be infected with Giardia simply by drinking contaminated water or by licking its paws after walking in an infected area. Once ingested, Giardia lives in the intestines of the pet, and is returned to the environment through feces.
This disease frequently occurs in dogs and cats, and is the most prevalent protozoal disease in humans according to Centers for Disease Control reports. Symptoms of giardia in humans and pets include diarrhea, weight loss and poor weight gain despite normal appetite. Many pets contract the disease and do not show signs of it. However, they can pass the parasite to other animals. Although the potential for pain in infected pets is not known, humans with giardia can suffer from intense abdominal pain and cramping.
Dogs and cats are susceptible to disease caused by Giardia, especially puppies and kittens. Their maturing immune system often leaves them unable to protect themselves from diseases. As a result, puppies and kittens are considered among the highest risk groups. Pets with an increased risk of exposure include: outdoor dogs/cats, households with multiple pets; kenneled dogs/cats and adopted dogs/cats. Certain areas also pose a high risk of exposure for pets, including: dog shows; parks; campgrounds; suburbs/cities; beaches; kennels; pools; playgrounds.
Most dogs that are infected with Giardia do not have diarrhea or any other signs of illness. When the eggs are found in the stool of a dog without diarrhea, they are generally considered a transient, insignificant finding. In puppies and debilitated adult dogs, they may cause severe, watery diarrhea that may be fatal.
Giardia is diagnosed by performing a microscopic examination of a stool sample. Occasionally, the parasites may be seen on a direct smear of the feces. A blood test is also available for detection of antigens (cell proteins) of Giardia in the blood. This test is probably more accurate than the stool exam, but it requires several days to get a result from the laboratory performing the test.
The antibiotic drug used to kill Giardia is metronidazole. Medication should be given for 5-7 days. Other drugs are also used if diarrhea and dehydration occur. Giardia can also cause diarrhea in humans. Environmental disinfection is very important. The use of chlorine bleach, one cup in a gallon of water, is effective if the surfaces and premises can be safely treated with it.
This disease is carried by ticks, so any dog you will be taking camping, hunting, or anywhere ticks are found should be vaccinated.
Lyme disease (not Lymes) is a bacterial disease transmitted through tick bites. It takes 24 hours-or-so after attachment to your dog for an infested tick to transmit the disease. The disease can damage many body systems but most often causes fever, loss of appetite, arthritis, and lameness. Lyme disease is contracted via the bite of an infected tick. Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in the United States, and it continues to spread to new areas.
The signs of Lyme disease include a bulls eye rash at the site of the tick bite, flu-like symptoms, fever, fatigue, joint and muscle aches, and lameness. Complications of this disease can include heart and nervous system. Treatment with antibiotics is usually effective if begun early, but diagnosis of the disease is difficult, so treatment is commonly started too late to be fully curative.
Lyme disease can affect people; however they do not get it directly from pets. They get it from being bitten by the same ticks that transmit it to cats and dogs. Therefore, preventing exposure to ticks is important for you and your pet. Many people with Lyme disease notice a rash at the site of the bite within 3 to 30 days. For these people, the disease can be easily diagnosed at an early stage. Symptoms of Lyme disease are more difficult to detect in animals than in people. This rash does not develop in dogs or cats. Because the other symptoms of the disease may be delayed or not recognized, and because they are similar to those of many other diseases, Lyme disease in animals is often not considered until other diseases have been eliminated. Some pets are affected with the Lyme disease organism for over a year before they finally show symptoms. By this time, the disease may be throughout their whole body.
Pets with lameness, swollen joints, and fever are suspected of having Lyme disease. Other diseases may also cause these symptoms. There are two blood tests that may be used for confirmation. The first is an antibody test. This test does not detect the actual spirochete in the blood but detects the presence of antibodies created by exposure to the organism. A test can be falsely negative if the pet is infected but has not yet formed antibodies, or if he never forms enough antibodies to cause a positive reaction. This may occur in animals with suppressed immune systems. Some pets that have been infected for long periods of time may no longer have enough antibodies present to be detected by the test. A positive test is meaningful, but a negative is not.
The second test is the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. This is also known as DNA testing. It is very specific and sensitive. Not all pets have the spirochete in their blood cells. If a blood sample is tested, a false negative may occur. The best sample for testing is the fluid from an affected joint.
The initial antibiotic selected to treat an infected pet may not be effective against the disease, especially if the infection is long-standing. In this situation, a switch to another antibiotic is often effective. Occasionally, the initial infection will recur, or the pet will become reinfected after being bitten by another infected tick.
There is no vaccine available for cats. A vaccine is now available for protecting dogs against Lyme disease. This vaccine is initially given twice, at two-week intervals. An annual booster vaccination should be given for life.
Rattlesnakes live a variety of habitats. They are found in wetlands, deserts and forests, from sea level to mountain elevations. Rattlesnakes are most active in warmer seasons, from spring to fall.
Dogs can encounter a rattlesnake anytime they are in rattlesnake habitat. You and your dog may live in rattlesnake habitat. Perhaps you travel through or frequently visit places where rattlesnakes are found. Maybe rattlesnakes are around when you take your dog hiking, camping or hunting. Like people, dogs may stumble over the location of a snake by accident. Curiosity or a protective instinct can place your dog at risk. In each case, vaccination helps to protect her.
The damage caused by a rattlesnake bite can be serious. When injected into an unprotected dog, the toxic components of snake venom are very painful and can have serious consequences. Even if your dog survives the immediate effects of a rattlesnake bite, she can be permanently injured.
The treatment of a rattlesnake bite is expensive. The treatment of snakebite may include antivenom injections that can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. Use of antivenom is associated with an increased risk of adverse effects that can complicate a dog’s recovery. Other costs of snakebite treatment may include hospitalization, intravenous fluids or other medicines. Vaccination is safer than antivenom treatment. Vaccination can reduce the overall effects of snakebite, reduce or eliminate the need for antivenom, and decrease other treatment costs as well.
The first year your dog is vaccinated, she should receive two doses of vaccine spaced one month apart. Subsequent booster doses are recommended annually in the Spring, or about a month before you take your dog into rattlesnake habitat.
The vaccine stimulates your dog’s own immunity. This process makes vaccination safer than antivenom treatment. Protective antibodies made by your dog in response to the vaccine start neutralizing venom immediately. Antibody levels in recently vaccinated dogs are comparable to treatment with three vials of antivenom. This means vaccinated dogs experience less pain and a reduced risk of permanent injury from rattlesnake bite.
Snakebite is always an emergency.
Even after your dog is vaccinated against rattlesnake venom, it should be immediately taken to a veterinarian for evaluation and care as soon as possible following snakebite. Even bites by non-venomous snakes can lead to serious infections and antibiotic treatment may be needed. A veterinarian can determine if your dog is sufficiently protected for the specific type of snake involved and the amount of venom injected, or whether additional medical treatment would be helpful.
Because there are many different poisonous snakes, Red Rock Biologics is developing a variety of vaccines to provide the best protection against poisonous snakes for dogs in each part of the country. Ask your veterinarian which available vaccine formulation is best for your dog.
You may have already heard that worms often infect puppies and kittens as well as older pets. The most common types of these parasitic worms are roundworms and hookworms. They are both intestinal parasites that live and grow in the intestines of your pet. Most pets show no sign of infection, however, some may vomit, lose their appetite, sustain severe weight loss and heavy infections in puppies and kittens may be fatal.
These roundworms and hookworms can also infect people and are known as zoonotic infections. People get roundworm and hookworm infection with direct contact with infected feces that are often found in soil, sand or plant life and hookworms can actually penetrate the skin. Children are more vulnerable than adults as they are more likely to put dirty objects in their mouth and play on the ground with dirt that may be contaminated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate more than 10,000 cases of human infection with roundworms alone per year. Inside the human body, roundworms may cause damage to tissue and sometimes cause permanent nerve or eye damage and even blindness. Hookworms typically move about within the skin of humans, causing inflammation or can penetrate into deeper tissues and cause more serious damage to the intestine and other organs.
Tender Loving Care Veterinary Services recommends HEARTGARD PLUS / ADVANTAGE MULTI as a monthly treatment to eliminate roundworms and hookworms in your dog/cat and to help reduce the risk of your dog/cat exposing your family to these worm infections.
Heartworm disease (dirofilariasis) is a serious and potentially fatal disease in dogs. A worm called Dirofilaria immitis causes this disease. Heartworms are found in the heart and large adjacent vessels of infected dogs. The female worm is 6 to 14 inches long and 1/8 inch wide; the male is about half the size of the female. One dog may have as many as 300 worms.
Adult heartworms live in the heart and pulmonary arteries of infected dogs. It is unusual, however they have been found in other areas of the body. They survive up to five years and, during this time; the female produces millions of young (microfilaria). The microfilaria lives in the bloodstream, mainly in the small blood vessels. The immature heartworms cannot complete the entire life cycle in the dog; the mosquito is required for some stages of the heartworm life cycle. The microfilaria are not infective (cannot grow to adulthood) in the dog – although they do cause problems.
There are many as 30 species of mosquitoes can transmit heartworms. The female mosquito bites the infected dog and ingests the microfilariae during a blood meal. The microfilariae develop further for 10 to 30 days in the mosquito and then enter the mouthparts of the mosquito. The microfilariae are now called infective larvae because at this stage of development, they will grow to adulthood when they enter a dog. The mosquito bites the dog where the hair coat is thinnest, but having long hair does not prevent a dog from getting heartworms. When fully developed, the infective larvae enter the bloodstream and move to the heart and adjacent vessels, where they grow to maturity in two to three months and start reproducing, completing the full life cycle.
Most dogs infected with heartworms do not show any signs of disease for as long as two years. By the time symptoms are observed, the disease is well advanced. Adult worms cause disease by clogging the heart and major blood vessels leading from the heart. They interfere with the valve action in the heart. When the main blood vessels become clogged, the blood supply to other organs of the body is reduced, particularly the liver, kidneys and lungs, which leads to the malfunction of these organs. The signs of heartworm disease depend on the number of adult worms present, the location of the worms, the length of time the worms have been present, and the degree of damage to the dogs organs.
The most obvious signs are a soft, dry, chronic cough, shortness of breath, weakness, nervousness, listlessness, and loss of stamina. All of these signs are most noticeable following exercise, when some dogs may even faint.
Listening to the chest with a stethoscope will often reveal abnormal lung and heart sounds. In advanced cases, congestive heart failure may be apparent and the abdomen and legs will swell from fluid accumulation. Severely infected dogs may die suddenly during exercise or excitement.
Destruction of lung tissue leads to coughing. Cirrhosis of the liver causes jaundice, anemia, and general weakness because this organ is essential in maintaining a healthy animal. The kidneys may also be affected and allow toxins to buildup in the body.
In most cases, diagnosis of heartworm disease can be made by a blood test that can be run in the veterinary hospital or by a veterinary laboratory. Further diagnostic procedures are essential, in advanced cases particularly, to determine if the dog can tolerate heartworm treatment. Depending on the case, your veterinarian will recommend some or all of the following procedures before treatment is started.
Blood tests are the most widely used test because it detects antigens (proteins) produced by adult heartworms. It will be positive even if the dog does not have any microfilaria in the blood; this occurs about 20% of the time. Dogs with less than five adult heartworms will not have enough antigens to turn the test positive, so there may be some false negative results in early infections. Because only the female worm produces the antigen detected, a pure population of male heartworms will also give a false negative. There must be at least five female worms present for the most common test to be positive.
A blood sample is examined under the microscope for the presence of microfilariae. If microfilariae are seen, the test is positive. The number of microfilariae seen will suggest the severity of the infection. However, the microfilariae are seen in greater numbers in the summer months and in the evening, so these variations must be considered. Approximately 20% of dogs do not test positive even though they have heartworms because of an acquired immunity to this stage of the heartworm. Because of this, the antigen test is the preferred test. Also, there is another microfilarial parasite that is fairly common in dogs; on the blood smear, these can be hard to distinguish from heartworm microfilariae.
There is some risk involved in treating dogs with heartworms, although fatalities are rare. In the past, the drug used to treat heartworms contained arsenic so toxic effects and reactions occurred somewhat frequently. Now a newer drug is available that does not have the toxic side-effects of the old one. Veterinarians are able to successfully treat more than 95% of dogs with heartworms.
An injectable drug to kill adult heartworms is given for two days. It kills the adult heartworms in the heart and adjacent vessels. Complete rest is essential after treatment. The adult worms die in a few days and start to decompose. As they break up, they are carried to the lungs, where they lodge in the small blood vessels and are eventually reabsorbed by the body. This can be a dangerous period so it is absolutely essential that the dog be kept quiet and not be allowed to exercise for one month following treatment. The first week after the injections is very critical because the worms are dying. A cough is noticeable for seven to eight weeks after treatment in many heavily infected dogs.
Approximately one month following treatment to kill the adults, the dog should return to the veterinian for administration of a drug to kill microfilariae. Seven to ten days later another blood test is performed to determine if microfilariae are present. If they have been all killed, the treatment is complete. If there are still some present in the blood, treatment for microfilariae is repeated.
Although a dog has been successfully treated for heartworms, the dogs can be reinfected. It is essential to begin a heartworm prevention program. Several options are available to prevent heartworm infection. One is a daily, chewable tablet; the others are chewable tablets that are given only once monthly. There is also a 6-month injection. All these products are very safe and very effective. One of these should be started immediately after the treatment is completed.
As their name implies, these are worms that have round bodies. On average, they are about 3-5 inches long. They live in the dog’s intestines and consume partially digested food. Unlike hookworms, they do not attach to the intestinal wall; instead they swim in their food. Roundworms pass numbers of microscopic eggs that are found in the dog’s stool. Like hookworm eggs, they must be found with a microscope.
Puppies born to mothers that have had roundworms at any time in the past can transmit them to puppies before birth. This is true even if the mother tests negative for roundworms because roundworm larvae encyst in the mother’s muscle tissue and are not detected by tests for adult worms. Another source of roundworm infection for puppies is the mother’s milk. Roundworm larvae may be present in the mother’s milk throughout the period of nursing the puppies.
Swallowing roundworm eggs that contain infective larvae may infect both puppies and adult dogs. The larvae hatch out in the dog’s stomach and small intestine and migrate through the muscle, liver, and lungs. After several weeks, the larvae make their way back to the intestine to mature. When these worms begin to reproduce, new eggs will pass in the dog’s stool, and the life cycle of the parasite is completed.
They are not highly harmful to adult dogs, but large numbers can cause weight loss and a pot-bellied appearance to puppies and weak adults. Decreased appetite, vomiting or diarrhea will be observed on occasion. Roundworms can be fatal to puppies.
Roundworms are diagnosed by a microscopic examination of the dog’s stool. They pass a moderate number of eggs, so examination of more than one stool sample may be necessary to find them. Occasionally, the mature worms can be found in the dog’s stool or vomit.
Treatment is very safe and effective drugs are available to kill roundworms in the intestine. Some of these drugs temporarily anesthetize the worms so that they pass out of the dog with a normal bowel movement. The live or dead worms are found in the stool. Because of their large size, they are easily seen. At least two or three treatments are needed; they are typically performed at 2-4 week intervals. None of these treatments will kill the immature forms of the worm or the migrating larvae.
The eggs are highly resistant to most commonly used disinfectants and to even harsh environmental conditions. Removal of the dog’s stool is the most effective means of preventing reinfection. A 1% solution of household bleach can be used to remove the sticky outer coating of the eggs, making it easier to rinse them away. This does not, however, kill the eggs.
The roundworms of both dogs and cats pose a health risk for humans. As many as 10,000 cases of roundworm infection in humans have been reported in one year. Children, in particular, are at risk for health problems should they become infected. A variety of organs may be affected as the larvae migrate through the body. In suitable environments, the eggs may remain infective to humans (and to dogs and cats) for years.
Most heartworm prevention products contain a drug that will prevent roundworm infections. These products will not kill the adult roundworms so they must be treated if present.
Hookworms are parasites that get their name from the hook-like mouthparts they use to attach to the intestinal wall. They are only about 1/8″ long and so small in diameter that you have to be looking very carefully to see them. Despite their small size, they suck large amounts of blood from the tiny vessels in the intestinal wall. A large number of hookworms can cause anemia. This problem is most common in puppies, but it will occasionally occur in adult dogs.
A dog may become infected when it swallows hookworm larvae (immature worm). The larvae may also penetrate the skin and migrate to the intestine to mature and complete its life cycle. If a pregnant dog has hookworms, the pregnancy may reactivate larvae. These larvae will enter the female’s circulation and pass to the puppy through the placental blood flow. Puppies may become infected through the mother’s milk while nursing.
The most significant problems appear related to intestinal distress and anemia. Blood loss results from the parasites attaching to intestinal capillaries. The presence of pale gums, diarrhea, or weakness might suggest the need to specifically determine the dog’s red blood cell count. Some dogs experience significant weight loss, bloody diarrhea, or failure to grow properly with hookworm infection. Skin irritation and itching can be one of the common signs of a heavy infestation. The larvae burrow into the skin and cause the dog a great deal of itching and discomfort.
Hookworms are diagnosed with a microscopic examination of a stool sample. Since there are so many eggs produced on a daily basis, they are rather easily detected. One adult female hookworm can produce as many as 20,000 eggs a day.
In puppies, large numbers of worms usually must be present before eggs are shed into the stool. For this reason, fecal examination may be less reliable in very young puppies than in adult dogs.
Since the dog’s environment can be laden with hookworm eggs and larvae, it may be necessary to treat it with a chemical to kill them. There are some available that are safe to use on grass.
Adult hookworms do not infect humans, although the larvae can burrow into human skin. This causes itching, commonly called ground itch, but the worms do not mature into adults. Direct contact of human skin to moist, hookworm-infested soil is required. Fortunately, this does not occur very often if normal hygiene practices are observed.
There are several very effective drugs that will kill hookworms. These are given by injection or orally and have few, if any, side effects. However, these drugs only kill the adult hookworms. Therefore, it is necessary to treat again in about 2-4 weeks to kill any newly formed adult worms that were larvae at the time of the first treatment. A blood transfusion may be necessary in some dogs because of the rather severe anemia that can be produced.
Puppies should be first treated at 2-3 weeks of age. A nursing female dog should be treated with her pups; nursing may reactivate infection in the female. Prompt deworming should be given when parasites are detected; periodic deworming may be appropriate for pets at high risk for reinfection.
Most heartworm prevention products contain a drug that will prevent hookworm infections. However, these products will not kill the adult hookworms, so dogs will need to be treated for adult hookworms first.
This parasite attaches to the small intestinal wall by hook-like mouthparts. Adult tapeworms may reach 8 inches in length. The adult worm is actually made up of many small segments about 1/8 inch long. As the tail end of the worm matures, the terminal segments break off and pass into the stool. Occasionally, the mobile segments can be seen crawling near the anus or on the surface of a fresh bowel movement. These segments look like grains of rice and contain tapeworm eggs; the eggs are released into the environment when the segment dries. The dried segments are about 1/16″, hard and golden in color. These dried segments can sometimes be seen stuck to the fur around the dog’s anus.
In order for a dog to become infected with the common tapeworm, the dog must swallow a flea that contains tapeworm eggs. The process begins when flea larvae swallow tapeworm eggs. Next, the dog chews or licks his skin as a flea bites; the flea is then swallowed. As the flea is digested within the dog’s intestine, the tapeworm hatches and anchors itself to the intestinal lining.
Tapeworms are not usually harmful to your dog. They may cause debilitation and weight loss when they occur in large numbers. Sometimes, the dog will scoot or drag his anus across the ground or carpet because the segments are irritating to the skin in this area. The adult worm is generally not seen, but the white segments that break away from the tapeworm and pass outside the body are almost always noticeable.
Occasionally, a tapeworm will release its attachment in the intestines and move into the stomach. This irritates the stomach, causing the dog to vomit the worm. When this happens, a worm several inches in length will be seen.
Control of fleas is very important in the management and prevention of tapeworm infection. Flea control involves treatment of your dog, the indoor environment and the outdoor environment where the dog resides. If the dog lives in a flea-infested environment, reinfection with tapeworms may occur in as little as two weeks. Because the medication that treats tapeworm infection is so effective, return of the tapeworms is almost always due to reinfection from the animals surroundings.
A flea must be ingested for humans to become infected with the most common tapeworm of dogs. Most reported cases have involved children. The most effective way to prevent human infection is through aggressive flea control. The risk for infection with this tapeworm in humans is quite small but does exist.
Treatment is simple and, fortunately, very effective. A drug that kills tapeworms is given, either orally or by injection. It causes the tapeworm to dissolve within the intestines. Since the worm is usually digested before it passes, it is not visible in your dog’s stool. These drugs should not cause vomiting, diarrhea, or any other adverse side effects. Prompt deworming should be given when parasites are detected; periodic deworming may be appropriate for pets at high risk for reinfection.
Whipworms are intestinal parasites that are about 1/4 inch long. They live in the colon of dogs where they cause severe irritation. This results in watery, bloody diarrhea, weight loss, and an overall decline in health. They are one of the most pathogenic worms found in dogs.
Whipworms pass microscopic eggs in the stool. The eggs are very resistant to drying and heat, so they can remain viable in the dog’s environment for years. They mature and are able to reinfect the dog in 10-60 days. The eggs are swallowed and return to the lower intestinal tract to complete the life cycle.
Whipworms are diagnosed by finding eggs with a microscopic examination of the stool. Multiple samples are often required because these parasites pass small numbers of eggs on an irregular basis. Any dog with chronic diarrhea can be reasonably suspected to have whipworms, regardless of several negative stool examinations. It is customary practice to treat for whipworms based on assumption of infection. Response to treatment is an indication that whipworms were present but could not be detected on fecal examination.
There are several drugs that are very effective against whipworms. Two treatments are needed at a 3-4 week interval, but because reinfection is such a problem, it is advisable to treat again every 3-4 months or to put the dog on a heartworm prevention product that contains an ingredient that prevents infection with whipworms. Whipworms are not nearly as common now because of widespread use of the types of heartworm prevention products.
Whipworms are not infectious to people; they are parasites of dogs.
While there are several types of mites that may infect cats and dogs, Otodectes cynotis is the mite most commonly seen. Ear mites are an external parasite that causes significant discomfort. Ear mites can live on any part of the body, although they generally live in the ears. This is the most common cause of inflammation of the outer ear canal in the animals. They are most often seen in kittens and puppies, but they can affect cats and dogs of any age and are extremely contagious.
The mites feed on tissue debris and secretions from the ear canal lining. With repeated irritation, the ear canal thickens and debris builds up within the ear canal. This debris, caused by mite waste products, dead tissue and fluid resembles coffee grounds. In long-term cases of ear mites in cats and dogs, there are often secondary bacterial and yeast infections creating even more stress on the animal and making treatment more difficult.
Other indications the animal may display are head shaking, scratching the ears, which leads to sores, reddish-brown to black discharge in the ears, and an odor from the ears. Sometimes there may be no observable signs of ear mites.
In chronic cases of ear mites in cats and dogs, there are often secondary bacterial and yeast infections that complicate the treatment, creating more stress on the animal. Damage to the ear could include a thickening of the skin or infection that is caused by the cat or dog damaging the skin by scratching, and bacteria entering these wounds.
The life cycle of an ear mite lasts about twenty-one days from egg to adult, entails going through four stages:
1. The Eggs – Female ear mites usually lay about 5 eggs daily during their entire adult life. Deposited on the surface lining of the ear canal, the eggs hatch within 4 days.
2. The Larvae – Once hatched from the eggs, the larvae feed for 4 days then rest for 24 hours as they molt.
3. The Nymphs – Two stages of nymphs are recognized. Each feeds for 3 to 5 days and then rests and then molts to the next stage.
4. The Adults – Just barely visible to the naked eye, the adult ear mite appears white in color and feeds off the debris in the animal’s ear. There can be literally thousands of mites crawling about the ear canal and external ear surfaces. Ear mites do not burrow into the skin. They are communicable from one animal to another by direct contact.
A diagnosis of ear mites by the veterinarian is usually made by either visualization of the mites with an otoscope or microscopic examination of the ear discharge.
Although some cats and dogs show no outward signs of ear mite infestations, the mites can be diagnosed as described above. In most cats and dogs with ear mites, if you briskly rub the ear canal area the animal will respond by automatic scratching movements of the back leg. Triggering this automatic scratching movement seldom occurs in animals that do not have ear mites. Your veterinarians will check for ear mites as part of the routine physical exam, especially in multi-pet households.
There are a number of medications used to treat ear mites in cats and dogs. Your veterinarian will prescribe an effective product, be sure to have a follow-up exam done four weeks after prescribed treatment.