TWISTED EVENTS, LLC
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HOW TO CHECK AND REMOVE TICKS FROM YOUR PETSThank you Monica for sharing this infographic with us on how to check and remove ticks from your pets!! Want to read the original post? http://carrington.edu/blog/veterinary/how-to-check-for-and-remove-ticks-from-your-pets-infographic/
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Educational Videos and Articles
PET EDUCATIONAL VIDEOS
How to Medicate your cat
2. Is your pet protected? American Heartworm Society.
3. Please Spay and Neuter your pet!
4.Tips about adopting a dog.
5. YES! FINICKY FELINES CAN BE TRICKY TO GET TO THE VET! DON'T GIVE UP!!
6. Click here for a great video on:
How to give your cat a pill
7. Cats and Wellness Exams
MARICOPA ANIMAL CARE AND CONTROLWorldwide, more than 55,000 people die from rabies each year. That’s one person every 10 minutes.
If you believe you may have been exposed to the rabies virus call Animal Care and Control: (602) 506-7387 or The Maricopa County Department of Public Health: (602) 747-7500 (24 hours a day)
9. How to brush your pet's teeth
10. Don't listen to the companies that say they can brush your teeth without anesthesia!
11. Brushing a cat's teeth
VALLEY FEVER IN DOGS
Can dogs get Valley Fever? Yes!
Dogs are quite susceptible to getting Valley Fever!
Dogs primarily contract Valley Fever in the low desert regions of Arizona, New Mexico and southwestern Texas and the central deserts of California. Dogs accompanying people traveling through these areas or wintering in these warm climates have about the same chance as their owners of being infected. With summer Monsoon activity, doctors say there will likely be increased cases of Valley Fever in people as well as in our pets!
Valley Fever is caused by a fungus that lives in the desert soil. As part of its life cycle the fungus grows in the soil and matures, drying into fragile strands of cells. The strands are very delicate, and when the soil is disturbed - by digging, walking, construction, high winds - the strands break apart into tiny individual spores called arthroconidia or arthrospores. Dogs and people acquire Valley Fever by inhaling these fungal spores in the dust raised by the disturbance.
The dog may inhale only a few spores or many hundreds. Once inhaled, the spores grow into spherules (parasitic cycle) which continue to enlarge until they burst, releasing hundreds of endospores. Each endospore can grow into a new spherule, spreading the infection in the lungs until the dog's immune system surrounds and destroys it. The sickness Valley Fever occurs when the immune system does not kill the spherules and endospores quickly and they continue to spread in the lungs and sometimes throughout the animal's body. About 70% of dogs who inhale Valley Fever spores control the infection and do not become sick. These dogs are asymptomatic.
The remainders develop disease which can range from very mild to severe and occasionally fatal.
The most common early symptoms of primary pulmonary Valley Fever in dogs are:
•coughing •fever •weight loss •lack of appetite •lack of energy
Some or all of these symptoms may be present as a result of infection in the lungs. As the infection progresses, dogs can develop pneumonia that is visible on x-rays. Sometimes the coughing is caused by pressure of swollen lymph nodes near the heart pressing on the dog's windpipe and irritating it. These dogs often have a dry, hacking or honking kind of cough and the swollen lymph nodes can be seen on x-rays. When the infection spreads outside the lungs, it causes disseminated disease.
The most common symptom of disseminated disease in dogs is lameness; the fungus has a predilection for infecting bones of the legs in dogs. However, Valley Fever can occur in almost any organ of dogs.
Signs of disseminated Valley Fever can include:
•lameness or swelling of limbs •back or neck pain, with or without weakness/paralysis •seizures and other manifestations of brain swelling •soft abscess-like swelling under the skin •swollen lymph nodes under the chin, in front of the shoulder blades, or behind the stifles •non-healing skin ulcerations or draining tracts that ooze fluid •eye inflammation with pain or cloudiness •unexpected heart failure in a young dog •swollen testicles
Sometimes a dog will not have any signs of a primary infection in the lungs, such as coughing, but will only develop symptoms of disseminated disease, e.g., lameness, seizures. Very few of the signs of Valley Fever are specific to this disease alone and your veterinarian will do tests to determine that your dog's illness is Valley Fever and to rule out other causes.
FAQ– Is Valley Fever contagious from animal to animal or animal to human?
Valley Fever is considered a noncontagious disease. Even if multiple animals or humans are affected in a household, each infection was acquired by inhaling spores from the soil. Coughing cannot spread it between animals or people. In the case of draining lesions, the form of the organism in the fluid is not considered to be infectious to people or animals. Nevertheless, such lesions are best handled by bandaging. Bandages should be changed daily or every other day and discarded in outside waste containers to minimize risk of should be changed daily or every other day and discarded in outside waste containers to minimize risk of contaminating the environment.
For immunocompromised persons living in a household with a pet that has a draining lesion, it is best to consult your physician regarding this issue. Diagnosis of Valley Fever requires suspicion of the disease from the dog's history, its symptoms, and the results of examinations and tests performed by your veterinarian. If your dog has recently visited an area where the fungus can be acquired, telling your veterinarian about your dog's travel history can be very helpful in deriving the diagnosis. In addition to examining your dog, your veterinarian is very likely to order diagnostic tests to help identify the Valley Fever infection.
Common tests include: •general blood tests and blood cell counts •chest x-rays •bone and joint x-rays •Valley Fever blood test (also called cocci test, cocci serology, or cocci titer)
When does my dog need a Valley Fever test?
•If your dog lives in a region where Valley Fever is typical, your dog could need a Valley Fever test for any illness that manifests the common clinical signs - coughing, fever, weight loss, etc. - or illnesses with vague signs that will not go away.
What is a Valley Fever test/titer and what does it mean?
A Valley Fever test, Cocci test, or Cocci titer checks the blood to see if your dog is making antibodies against the Valley Fever fungus. If the test is positive, it means your dog has been infected with the fungus. If the Valley Fever test is positive, the laboratory then performs a titer. The titer measures how much antibody your dog is making against the fungus. A titer is obtained by doubling dilutions of the positive blood (1:4, 1:8, 1:16, 1:32 . . .) until the test becomes negative.
The titer that is reported to your veterinarian is the last positive dilution. The laboratories typically stop the titer at 1:256 and report the result as >1:256 if the dog's blood is still positive.
In broad terms, a higher titer is equated with more severe disease. However, some very sick animals have low titers, or even negative Valley Fever tests. For these dogs, other diagnostic tests are necessary for diagnosing the illness. X-rays, blood cell counts, biopsies, and microscopic examination of cellular specimens are a few of the tests your veterinarian may need to run.
Asymptomatic dogs (infected but not showing any illness) may also have low titers, such as 1:4 or 1:8, sometimes 1:16. The titer is helpful in diagnosing Valley Fever in sick dogs, but other tests are usually needed to confirm the diagnosis. Titers usually reduce over time as the animal's disease regresses. Dogs that start with low titers (1:4 or less than 1:4) may undergo little change in the titer. This is probably not to be interpreted that your dog is not getting well. Monitoring your dog's symptoms and other tests, such as blood counts and x-rays, will be better determinants of improvement in cases with low titers. Some dogs will remain positive with a low titer for life. Continued treatment and monitoring of these animals needs to be determined by your veterinarian on a case by case basis.
Will My Dog Recover From Valley Fever?
The good news is that most dogs, with adequate anti fungal therapy they can recover from this disease, especially with early diagnosis and intervention. Dogs with infection only in the lungs have the best prognosis for recovery and usually respond the quickest to treatment. However, dogs can have extensive lung disease that is so severe and progressive that they require hospitalization, or surgery to remove diseased lung, may die.
Dogs with disseminated infection almost always have a more guarded prognosis than dogs with uncomplicated lung disease. As with lung infections, it seems that the majority respond well to medication and lead normal lives, though they often require prolonged drug treatment (12-18 months). A small proportion of animals must take medication for life, and another small number, unfortunately, die of Valley Fever in spite of drug treatment.
Dogs with Valley Fever in the brain (seizures, etc) also carry a guarded prognosis. Among those that respond to medication, about 80%, most will remain well with fluconazole (Diflucan), but treatment may be required for life. For dogs that are seriously ill, requiring hospitalization and supportive therapy, the prognosis can be grave.
With aggressive treatment, possibly including intravenous antifungal medication, some dogs will get well. In animals with severe bone infections and the pain that goes with them, pain relief will often provide the support needed to allow the Valley Fever medication time to take effect.
Treatment of high fevers with anti-inflammatories is helpful, also, as fever reduction can improve the appetite and energy level of the dog. Pain medicine and anti-inflammatories can be prescribed by your veterinarian. Some dogs do not recover in spite of everyone's best efforts, either due to the severity of illness at the time of diagnosis or because of long-standing, poorly responsive disease.
Fortunately, these animals represent a minority of dogs with Valley Fever. Statistics regarding how many dogs recover compared to those which do not are not available.
Stopping Treatment Treatment of the Valley Fever in your dog is monitored by rechecks with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will examine your dog to look for improvement as well as performing blood tests and possibly x-rays to monitor progress and make sure the medication is not harming your dog. If your dog is very ill, rechecks may be frequent at first. As the disease stabilizes and recovery becomes apparent, your veterinarian will probably only need to evaluate your dog every 2-4 months.
It is very important to continue medicating your dog as directed until the veterinarian confirms that the blood tests are negative and tells you to stop medication. If you stop treating too soon, symptoms may recur. If symptoms recur after your dog is taken off medication, your veterinarian will probably recommend resuming treatment and may suggest the dog remain on medication for life.
FAQ– Can Valley Fever relapse and can dogs be reinfected?
Valley Fever is well known to relapse in both humans and dogs. In particular, cases of disseminated infection have a 30-50% rate of relapse in humans, no matter how well the initial infection was treated. It is not known how many canine cases of Valley Fever relapse, but relapses are not uncommon. In the case of a relapse, a return to medication is usually enough to make symptoms subside, but the dog may require several additional months of treatment.
Dogs that experience more than one relapse or get very sick with the relapse should probably have lifetime treatment with medication considered. Reinfections in humans are documented only rarely. It is not known at this time whether dogs are susceptible to reinfection or whether recurring illness is always due to the original infection.