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Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is becoming more prevalent in the area
Be preventative!
How is Lyme disease transmitted?
Lyme disease is transmitted from the bacteria-carrying tick to the animal through saliva. The tick will bite its host and the saliva will infect the animal. The tick must be attached to its host for at least 24 hours for it to transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. However, not all animals will contract Lyme disease even if the tick is attached for 24 hours or more. It has been reported that only a small percentage of dogs will actually contract the disease (cats very rarely, if ever, contract the infection. The tick needs to bite the host to infect it. Once ticks feed, they detach themselves from their hosts and leave. It is the unfed ticks that look for hosts, which can also include people.

What are the symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs?
• Joint swelling
• Fever 
• Lameness
• Generalized pain
• Anorexia

In some cases, Lyme disease can be deadly to your dog. If you suspect that your dog may have been infected, it’s best to contact your veterinarian immediately – even if he is not exhibiting symptoms.
How is Lyme disease in dogs diagnosed?
Veterinarians can run a blood test called 4DX however, testing positive does not necessarily mean that your pet has the disease. False negatives can occur if the animal has been exposed recently, but has not had time to produce the antibodies yet or has a compromised immune system in which animals cannot respond. Your veterinarian will use the blood tests along with other symptoms and the animal’s medical history to make a diagnosis.
How is Lyme disease in dogs treated?
Lyme disease is treated with a long course of antibiotics.
How can I protect my pet against Lyme disease?
The best protection against Lyme disease is prevention. Giving your pet a flea and tick preventative can help ensure that an infected tick that attaches itself dies before reaching the 24 hour mark, which is necessary to transmit the disease. Keeping your pets away from tall grass and wooded areas decreases their exposure to ticks, thus decreasing the odds of getting bit. Be sure to discuss preventatives with your vet so they can recommend one that is suitable according to the dog's risk.
There are also vaccinations that help protect against Lyme disease. This is something you should discuss with your veterinarian to decide whether this method of prevention is right for you.

How do I remove a tick from my pet?
Ticks that cause Lyme disease are extremely small, and often go unnoticed, even when engorged. However, the best way to check for ticks is to brush your pet daily. All ticks are irritating to your dog and can be anywhere on their bodies. Ticks are most commonly found on the ears and in the ear canals, at the base of the ears, on the feet, and in between the toes. Ticks can be removed from your dog or cat by grasping the head of the tick where it attaches to the skin with tick-removing tweezers and gently but firmly pulling back. Use caution when doing this and do not burn the tick or apply irritants to the tick such as rubbing alcohol, as both of these maneuvers can cause further problems for your pet.

For more information:
For more information on ticks and Lyme’s disease, call us at 765-742-0140 Never self-diagnose your pet or attempt to treat them at home without a veterinarian’s guidance.

Dental Health

Dental health is a very important part of your pet’s overall health, and dental problems can cause, or be caused by, other health problems. Your pet’s teeth and gums should be checked at least once a year by your veterinarian to check for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.

What is veterinary dentistry, and who should perform it?

Veterinary dentistry includes the cleaning, adjustment, filing, extraction, or repair of your pets' teeth and all other aspects of oral health care. These procedures should be performed by a veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary dentist. Subject to state or provincial regulation, veterinary technicians are allowed to perform certain dental procedures under the supervision of a veterinarian.

The process begins with an oral exam of your pet’s mouth by a veterinarian. Radiographs (x-rays) may be needed to evaluate the health of the jaw and the tooth roots below the gum line. Because most dental disease occurs below the gum line, where you can’t see it, a thorough dental cleaning and evaluation are performed under anesthesia. Dental cleaning includes scaling (to remove dental plaque and tartar) and polishing, similar to the process used on your own teeth during your regular dental cleanings.

Oral health in dogs and cats

Your pet’s teeth should be checked at least once a year by your veterinarian for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.

Have your pet’s teeth checked sooner if you observe any of the following problems:

  • bad breath
  • broken or loose teeth
  • extra teeth or retained baby teeth
  • teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar
  • abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
  • reduced appetite or refusal to eat
  • pain in or around the mouth
  • bleeding from the mouth
  • swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth

Some pets become irritable when they have dental problems, and any changes in your pet’s behavior should prompt a visit to your veterinarian. Always be careful when evaluating your pet’s mouth, because a painful animal may bite.

Causes of pet dental problems

Although cavities are less common in pets than in people, they can have many of the same dental problems that people can develop:

  • broken teeth and roots
  • periodontal disease
  • abscesses or infected teeth
  • cysts or tumors in the mouth
  • malocclusion, or misalignment of the teeth and bite
  • broken (fractured) jaw
  • palate defects (such as cleft palate)

Periodontal disease is the most common dental condition in dogs and cats – by the time your pet is 3 years old, he or she will very likely have some early evidence of periodontal disease, which will worsen as your pet grows older if effective preventive measures aren’t taken. Early detection and treatment are critical, because advanced periodontal disease can cause severe problems and pain for your pet. Periodontal disease doesn’t just affect your pet’s mouth. Other health problems found in association with periodontal disease include kidney, liver, and heart muscle changes.

It starts with plaque that hardens into tartar. Tartar above the gum line can often easily be seen and removed, but plaque and tartar below the gum line is damaging and sets the stage for infection and damage to the jawbone and the tissues that connect the tooth to the jaw bone. Periodontal disease is graded on a scale of 0 (normal) to 4 (severe).

The treatment of periodontal disease involves a thorough dental cleaning and x-rays may be needed to determine the severity of the disease. Your veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary dentist will make recommendations based on your pet’s overall health and the health of your pet’s teeth, and provide you with options to consider.

Why does dentistry require anesthesia?

When you go to the dentist, you know that what’s being done is meant to help you and keep your mouth healthy. Your dentist uses techniques to minimize pain and discomfort and can ask you how you are feeling, so you accept the procedures and do your best to keep still. Your pet does not understand the benefit of dental procedures, and he or she reacts by moving, trying to escape, or even biting.

Anesthesia makes it possible to perform the dental procedures with less stress and pain for your pet. In addition, anesthesia allows for a better cleaning because your pet is not moving around and risking injury from the dental equipment. If radiographs (x-rays) are needed, your pet needs to be very still in order to get good images, and this is unlikely without heavy sedation or anesthesia.

Although anesthesia will always have risks, it’s safer now than ever and continues to improve so that the risks are very low and are far outweighed by the benefits. Most pets can go home the same day of the procedure, although they might seem a little groggy for the rest of the day.

What can I do at home for my pet’s oral health?

Prevention of the most common oral disease in pets consists of frequent removal of the dental plaque and tartar that forms on teeth that are not kept clean. Regularly brushing your pet’s teeth is the single most effective thing you can do to keep their teeth healthy between dental cleanings, and may reduce the frequency or even eliminate the need for periodic dental cleaning by your veterinarian. Daily brushing is best, but it’s not always possible and brushing several times a week can be effective. Most dogs accept brushing, but cats can be a bit more resistant – patience and training are important.

There are many pet products marketed with claims that they improve dental health, but not all of them are effective. Talk with your veterinarian about any dental products, treats, or dental-specific diets you’re considering for your pet, or ask your veterinarian for their recommendation.

Is your cat not using their litterbox? Here are some things to consider:

Are you cleaning the litterbox enough?

Many cats prefer their litterbox to be clean.  You should be scooping it out at least twice daily and adding some more litter when needed. Make sure you are removing feces and urine each time. No one likes a smelly litterbox, not even the cat! Use a mild detergent to clean it, as products with ammonia or citrus oils can turn a cat off, and some cleaning products can be toxic to cats.

 Are you giving them enough space?

Space does matter! A litterbox should be at least one and a half times the length of the cat’s body (not including the tail), this increases their comfort level and gives them enough room to eliminate, cover their waste and still have plenty of clean litter for a couple of more trips. If you have an adult cat who has gained weight and isn’t quite as svelte as they used to be, the litter box you originally bought for them may no longer be adequate.

Is it in the right location?

Location Location Location! Make sure it is convenient for the cat and not just you.  Pick a quiet area away from their resting area, as well as away from their meal location.  Give them some privacy (just like you would like).  If the box is too hard to get to, especially for elderly cats or kittens, they may just not use it.  One box per level of your house is a good general rule as well as one box per cat in the home.

Are you using the right kind of litter for your cat?

If you have a cat in the house, then litter is a big part of your life. There are several different options on the market: traditional clay litter, scooping/clumping litter, crystal-based gel litter and degradable litter.  Cats tend to choose their litter, not the owner.  If your cat doesn’t like the litter that you have chosen, they may not use it.

Do you have the right kind of litter box?

You can lead your cat to the “perfect” litterbox, but you can’t make them use it. What might be the “perfect” box today may not be the “perfect” box tomorrow.  Litterboxes come in all different sizes and colors, some have hoods, and some self-clean.  You may need to experiment with the different kinds, until you and your cat can come up with a compromise.

If your cat suddenly stops urinating, call your Veterinarian immediately.