Tick-Borne Disease Increases in Ventura County

Incoming data from leaders in veterinary diagnostic laboratory testing shows that tick-borne diseases in Ventura County continues to rise in 2017. California is home to a variety of tick species including the Brown Dog Tick, American Dog Tick, Pacific Coast Tick, and Western Black Legged Tick. These ticks are known to harbor and infect both pets and people with bacteria that causes serious disease such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Anaplasmosis, Erlichiosis, and Tularemia.

Data for 2017 strongly suggests a continued trend toward an increase in tick-borne disease prevalence for Ventura County. So far, there are 8 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in Ventura County compared to last year's annual total of 10; there are 10 confirmed cases of Anaplasmosis in Ventura County compared to last year's annual total of 7; and, finally, there are 30 confirmed cases of Ehrlichiosis in Ventura County compared to last year's annual total of 34. From 2014 to 2016, positive reported cases of these three diseases has increased by almost  20%. While this data is very significant, it is estimated that it only represents less than 30% of the tick-borne disease activity in our region.

Tick-borne diseases can manifest very differently in dogs or cats compared to humans and, depending upon the disease, can sometimes take weeks to months to produce symptoms which may include lameness, general weakness, persistent infections, bleeding disorders, or kidney damage. We recommend giving your pet a monthly medication to prevent ticks from attaching and transmitting disease. Please contact us for more information about parasite prevention. Click here to see prevalence maps for tick-borne diseases in various geographical locations including Ventura County.

Avoid July 4th Freak-Outs

Independence Day celebrations can be very stressful for pets. Unfamiliar loud firework or celebratory noises can result in anxious or panicky behavior in dogs and cats. This can include vocalization, shaking, pacing, panting, cowering, hiding, drooling, or uncontrolled elimination. Many pets will attempt to escape or run away when they are startled. Cats and dogs with access to the outdoors are particularly at risk for getting lost.

One of the simplest and most important Independence Day celebration precautions you can make is to ensure that your pets are confined in a safe environment. Do not leave dogs unattended outdoors or with access to the outdoors even if your yard appears secure. Proper crate-training is particularly helpful when assisting dogs through times of commotion or stress. Thundershirts are anti-anxiety vests that can also help some dogs cope with stress. Cats who are outdoors should be confined a few days before the holiday since celebrations can occur early and you cannot reliably confine them in a moment's notice. Feliway calming pheromone products can be purchased at our hospital and help promote a sense of safety and security in the environment for cats.

For some pets, additional behavioral therapy in the form of oral medication and/or professional training can be extremely helpful. Zylkene is a balanced behavior supplement for dogs and cats containing a unique, milk-derived ingredient that promotes calmness. It can relax your pet without causing sedation or drowsiness. Administration should begin at least a few days before the anticipated celebrations. This medication is also appropriate and safe for behavioral issues for long-term environmental change concerns. Professional canine behavior therapy can help desensitize your dog and reduce the risk of problems. Click here for contact information for a professional dog trainer and behavior consultant. Finally, sedative medication may be appropriate for pets with significant anxiety. Please note, this medication does require recent examination and additional health screening may be recommended depending upon the age and status of your pet. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns about your pet's behavior or anxiety.

As a reminder, Moorpark fireworks occur on July 3rd at 9 pm.    

Local Influenza (H3N2) Outbreak

Canine influenza H3N2, or dog flu, has recently been confirmed in Los Angeles county in the Sherman Oaks area. In consequence, 35 dogs in the county have been placed under quarantine so far this month. Canine influenza is highly contagious. It can be spread by direct contact, through the air when contaminated dogs cough or sneeze, and/or from contact with contaminated objects. Dogs who are infected can be contagious for up to 30 days and the virus typically lives for 1-2 days outside of a host. Symptoms include fever, coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, loss of appetite, and lack of energy. Dog flu can also cause illness in cats who usually show signs of coughing, sneezing, and discharge from the eyes and nose. There is currently no vaccination for cats.

If you take your dog any place where there is a high concentration of dogs (i.e. boarding or day care facility, dog parks, or grooming facility) we recommend vaccination for protection against both types of canine influenza H3N2 and H3N8. Call us now 805-529-7003 to schedule an appointment for this combination vaccine. Dogs who receive it for the first time will need a booster 2-4 weeks after the initial vaccination.

The H3N2 virus was first reported in the United States in 2015 and caused a large outbreak in the Chicago area. Click here to learn more about canine influenza.

 

Home is Where the Heartworm is?

Mosquitoes transmit life-threatening heartworm disease to dogs and cats. They are generally known to carry a variety of serious diseases but which mosquito species are prevalent in our community and what does this mean for the safety of our pets? Ventura County is typically home to 15 common species of mosquitoes. Of these, the species Aedes sierrensis, or Western Treehole Mosquito, is known to carry heartworm disease. These mosquitoes reside in water-filled tree holes or containers and are highly adaptable to varying weather and feeding conditions. Los Angeles County is also home to the Western Treehole Mosquito in addition to the heartworm-carrying Aedes notoscriptus species. Also known as the Australian Backyard Mosquito, this species thrives in water-filled containers in urban environments.

What does this mean for the dogs and cats in our community? They are threatened. Heartworms can grow up to 10-12 inches long and cause severe complications. In dogs, they typically live in the right side of the heart and vessels of the lungs. Our hospital has managed and treated multiple cases of heartworm disease. Last year, we treated a German Shepherd named Sam after finding heartworms in his pulmonary artery. Heartworm treatment is lengthy and Sam's severe activity restriction over the course of two and a half months was very difficult on him and his owner. We are pleased to report that Sam is currently happy, healthy, and receiving a veterinary-guaranteed monthly heartworm prevention. Click here to read more about Sam's story.

Heartworm disease is complicated. Prevention is simple. We recommend a once monthly heartworm preventative for all dogs and cats regardless of their lifestyle. The average cost for heartworm prevention is less than $9 per month. A thriving, safe community is priceless. Protect your pet now. Home is not where heartworm disease is... if we prevent it.

Find out more about mosquitoes and mosquito-related diseases in our community from the Ventura County Environmental Health Division. Learn more about mosquitoes in Los Angeles County from the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District.

What Anesthesia Free Dentals CAN and CANNOT Do for Your Pet

Have you considered what dental cleaning without anesthesia can and cannot do for your pet? We know you want the best for your pet and it is important to learn the facts about dental disease and how to treat it.

Dental disease is extremely common for pets. More than 85% of dogs and cats over the age of three are suffering from some form of it. Periodontal disease is the infection of supportive structures around the teeth. When infection within the mouth builds, it deteriorates the gums, bone, and tissue surrounding the teeth. The bacteria surrounding the roots gains access to the bloodstream and can damage the sinuses, kidney, liver, and heart. Dental disease is painful for pets and can cause severe problems.

   

What are anesthesia free dentals?

Anesthesia free dental cleanings require your pet to be restrained while visible tartar is scraped with a sharp instrument. The truth is that anesthesia free dentals do not provide any benefit to your pet and they do not prevent periodontal disease at any level. Here's what else they can and cannot do:

An anesthesia free dental CAN:

  • Cause pain and stress during restraint.
  • Result in serious injury to your pet's teeth, gums, or mouth even with the slightest head movement.
  • Create a prime breeding ground for continued bacterial growth since the teeth surfaces are left with scrapes instead of a smooth, polished surface.
  • Allow your pet to inhale infection and debris that could lead to airway disease or pneumonia.
  • Give you a false sense of security because the teeth look whiter than they are healthier.

An anesthesia free dental CANNOT:

  • Provide a thorough oral exam including identifying painful problems such as broken teeth or oral tumors.
  • Clean beneath your pet's gum line, where dental disease is most prominent.
  • Capture radiographs that are essential to the evaluation of your pet's dental health.
  • Treat and save teeth before periodontal infection has progressed too far.
  • Remove teeth that do nothing but promote pain and infection in your pet's mouth.
 

Dental procedures that are effective, safe, and pain-free are performed under anesthesia. At Moorpark Vet, we minimize the risks of anesthesia with preliminary bloodwork, individualized anesthetic protocols, and comprehensive monitoring by trained professionals. Our state-of-the-art equipment including digital dental x-rays ensures your pet receives the highest level of oral care.

 

Here's what some of the leaders in the veterinary industry have to say about dental procedures performed without anesthesia.

American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)

"Cleaning a companion animal's teeth without general anesthesia is considered unacceptable and below the standard of care. Techniques such as necessary immobilization without discomfort, periodontal probing, intraoral radiology, and the removal of plaque and tartar above and below the gum line that ensure patient health and safety cannot be performed without general anesthesia."

California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA)

"Performing anesthesia-free teeth cleaning using any instrument, device, or scaler is illegal unless the individual is licensed by the California Veterinary Medical Board."

American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)

"When procedures such as periodontal probing, intraoral radiography, dental scaling, and dental extraction are justified by the oral examination, they should be performed under anesthesia."

   

You can also visit the American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC) website to learn more about the facts of anesthesia free dentistry.

         
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