You know that fleas can be an itchy nuisance for you and your pets, but did you know that they can also spread deadly diseases, too? If your pet’s fleas are left untreated, they may be at risk of developing illnesses that can seriously harm their health or even kill them if they don’t receive immediate veterinary attention. Your health could be at risk too, if the fleas biting your pet are carrying certain diseases. Here are five terrifying illnesses that fleas can transmit and carry to pets and people. Plague Believe it or not, fleas played an integral part in spreading the plague, also known as the black death, which is estimated to have killed 50 million people in the 14th century. While time has passed, fleas are still capable of carrying this disease if they bite an animal that is infected. Rodents are more likely to carry the plague, but a flea can easily bite the rodent and then hop onto your pet, spreading the disease to your pet and even you. Typhus Fleas can carry a disease called typhus that can hurt pets and humans alike. This bacterial disease can be carried by scavenging animals like raccoons and opossums, and then spread by fleas jumping from these animals onto your pets. They can transfer the bacteria to you or your pet directly by biting or even by defecating near an open wound. Typhus can be easily mistaken for the flu with similar symptoms, like high fever, body aches, chills, and chronic headaches. Pets who become ill with this disease may also display high fevers and general lethargy. Cat Scratch Fever Despite its name, cat scratch fever isn’t the fault of your cat; fleas are to blame. Fleas carry cat scratch fever from cat to cat by biting an infected cat and then a formerly uninfected cat. Fleas can’t spread it directly to humans, but if you develop cat scratch fever because of a cat scratch, it’s most likely due to the cat’s claws having infected flea fecal matter on them. When that gets into an open wound, you can contract the disease. Symptoms of this disease can appear weeks after the initial scratch, which can make it difficult to recognize the symptoms. Tapeworms Tapeworms can wreak havoc on the health of your pets, and fleas are to blame. Tapeworms can’t be transmitted from pet to pet, but fleas carry tapeworm larva. These larva actually develop inside the flea, basically becoming a baby tapeworm. When a cat or dog licks themselves and ingests an infected flea, the tapeworm gets into their body and continues its development. This formerly tiny tapeworm...

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Vaccinating Your Dog


Posted By on Feb 17, 2015

Bringing home a new addition to the family can be an exciting time. Taking care of a puppy, however, requires more than just providing food and water. To stay healthy, it is important for a dog to have regular checkups with the vet and receive vaccinations. Why Vaccinate? Unlike cats, which could potentially stay inside their whole lives, dogs need room to run. They have to go outside for exercise and to go to the bathroom. Once outside the safety of the home, they may meet other dogs, other dogs that could potentially carry diseases. They will also come into contact with other animals, ticks, and feces that could be carrying infectious agents. Many pet owners are tempted to skip the vaccinations to save some money, but, if you value your dog as a member of the family, you will protect its life by keeping it up to date on vaccinations. What Vaccinations Should Your Dog Have? There are core vaccines that every dog should receive because they are transmissible to both dogs and humans. These include the following: Distemper Canine Hepatitis Canine Parvovirus Rabies Other non-core vaccines that your dog receives will depend upon its breed. Some of these might include vaccines for Bordetella bronchiseptica (canine cough), Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease), and Leptospira bacteria. When Should Your Dog Be Vaccinated? If your puppy nursed from a healthy mother, it should have many antibodies in its system to ward off infections. Even so, your puppy should visit the veterinarian as soon as possible so that it can receive vaccinations before the immunity it received from its mother wears off. First vaccinations are usually administered at six to eight weeks of age then given every three to four weeks until the puppy is 16 weeks old. A typical vaccination schedule would be: 6-7 Weeks – Distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, coronavirus, and parvovirus in a combination vaccine 9 Weeks – Second dose of combination vaccine 12 Weeks – Third dose of combination vaccine and Lyme vaccine 14 Weeks – Lyme vaccine and rabies vaccine (administered between 12-16 weeks depending on state laws) 16 Weeks – Fourth dose of combination vaccine 1 Year – Lyme vaccine (received annually) Once your dog becomes an adult, it may need to receive some vaccines annually and others at longer intervals, depending on its breed. Talk with a vet clinic, such as Basking Ridge Animal Hospital, to know what type of vaccination schedule to expect for your dog. What Are the Risks? While rare, some puppies do have a reaction to dog vaccinations. Signs to look for include Pale Gums Weakness Staggering Unresponsiveness Trouble Breathing It is normal...

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Every horse owner will find themselves dealing with an itchy horse at one time or another. Horses that are itchy will be seen scratching against objects such as posts and fences or constantly rubbing their eyes and faces against their legs. It may seem that the cause of itching might be easy to control; however, sometimes the source of the discomfort is not obvious. Here are four common causes why your horse may be itchy. Parasites: Parasites are usually what horse owners look for when they’re searching for why their horse is scratching. It’s a good first thing to look at as pests not only cause itching directly, but they can cause diseases that cause itching. Parasites can attack any part of the body, but are most commonly seen on the face and legs. A horse that is frequently scratching it’s rear-end may be suffering from intestinal worms. Keeping parasites in check with fly control measures or medication will help reduce the horse’s discomfort. Allergies: Allergies, including those to insect bites, are another cause of skin irritation. Horses with allergies often suffer from recurring hives as well as hair loss from repeated scratching. Allergies can be from insect bites, grooming chemicals, medications, and even certain types of food. Eliminating a component of the horse’s diet or grooming routine one at a time, can help narrow down the cause. If your horse is on medication, talk to a veterinarian, like Edisto Equine Clinic, about possible allergic reactions. Disease: Horses can be prone to different skin diseases and bacteria depending on the season. Certain diseases, such as eczema, can be a side effect of either insects or allergies. Different types of bacteria, such as dermatophilosis, or “rain rot” can grow on the skin and cause sores. Even though the rain rot doesn’t hurt the horses or cause itchniess, it can be transmitted on a horse’s “scratching post,” (AKA a fence). Common signs of skin diseases are large bare or raised areas of the skin. One way to prevent the spread of skin diseases is to not share tack or grooming supplies between horses. Consult your veterinarian to rule out anything serious. Fungus: Fungus can cause a variety of problems for horses. One of the most common fungi is ringworm. It can be identified by the round “rings” that appear in patches on the horse’s skin. This fungus can attack anywhere on the horse’s body. Specialized medicated shampoos can help alleviate fungal infections. The best way to reduce fungus infections is to keep your horse’s hair and skin away from excessive moisture for long periods. While itching and horses sometimes seem to...

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Whether you have a Labrador that loves the water in any way, or a finicky poodle who would rather keep his paws on dry land, doggy bath time is usually a drenching experience. Your dog will splash, jump, and even shake to rid himself of water before you are done. When you have a dog that seems to love to get dirty, skipping bath time is simply out of the question. It may take some ingenuity, but giving your dog a bath without getting soaked yourself is possible with a little extra attention. Simple Changes in How You Bathe Your Dog May Help If you walk away from your dog’s bath sopping wet, there are a few simple changes you can make to your pet’s bathing routine that may help. -Skip the Wading Water – It may take a little extra water, but instead of filling the tub with several inches of water before dropping Fido inside, just turn on the shower after he is already in the tub. This is an especially effective idea if you have a shower head that is maneuverable. Using the shower head removes the water beneath your dog’s feet that is kicked around and splashed out of the tub. If you have a dog that is a bit skittish about  the sound of the shower, avoid turning the water on full force. -Do Not Oversaturate Your Dog’s Fur – It is a common misconception that dog hair should be completely saturated in order to get a good clean lather. However, dog shampoos are designed to lather well with little water. Dogs naturally have a lot of oil in their coat that is meant to deter moisture and keep their skin protected.  Therefore, moisten your dog’s hair with a quick spray, and pay more attention to getting soap on their hair than the water. Consider Dog Training While many dog owners only consider obedience school or training for behavioral issues, a professional approach to dog training can help with ordinary things, such as bath time. During training, your dog will be exposed to various types of stimuli, including water. These training tactics are designed to help your dog become more comfortable with things like bath time, and ultimately become more manageable for an owner who has a hard time making the pet behave. (for more information on training, contact Pet Medical Center) Just because your dog has to have a bath, it does not mean that you should have to get one as well. If you are still having a hard time staying dry with these tips, talk to your veterinarian or dog groomer...

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If you’re like most people, you love your dog as much as you do your other family members. This is why you go to great lengths to ensure that they are happy and healthy. However, your dog could have hookworms and you may not know it. This parasite is damaging to your pet’s intestines and can kill them if not treated. This guide explains what hookworms are and what to do to get rid of them. What Are Hookworms? A hookworm is a parasite whose appearance is somewhat of an “S” or a hook. Puppies can acquire these worms from their mother’s milk. Adult dogs typically obtain them from fleas, if bitten, or from eating fleas. When hookworms invade a dog, they settle in their small intestines using their tiny teeth. Their body parts consist of a head, neck and tail. The tail has several segments and is what they use to breed. The tail is a big part of the infestation process. Sections fall off the worms continuously and exit a dog’s body via feces. When fleas in the yard lay their eggs in the feces, they also eat the microscopic tail pieces, and then become infected. When fleas bite your dog, or your dog eats the fleas, they contract the hookworm. What Are the Symptoms of Hookworms? If your dog has hookworms, you’ll notice an overall unhealthy appearance and the dog will not eat. Even though these parasites attach themselves to the small intestine lining, they can multiply and migrate to the lungs. When this happens, your dog may cough a lot in addition to presenting with lethargy and a lack of appetite. Take your dog to the vet if you see any of these symptoms or notice that they are experiencing constipation, dark and tarry stools or diarrhea. You won’t see hookworms because they are microscopic and only your vet can tell if an infestation is present. How Do You Get Rid of Hookworms? The best way to get rid of, or prevent hookworms is to rid your pet, home and yard of fleas. Additionally, ask your vet for a once-per-month prevention treatment for your dog to protect against fleas and parasites. If your vet tells you that your dog is already infested with hookworms, expect them to administer a low-dose poison to kill off the worms. Caution: Take your dog to a vet clinic like Oakton Animal Hospital immediately if you suspect hookworms. These worms can be transferred to humans. Over half a billion people around the world have hookworms. Wash your hands after handling your pet before preparing meals or touching your face. Keep an...

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