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.

Check Out Our Staff Poll for Poison Prevention Week

In honor of National Poison Prevention Week (March 19th-25th) we decided to poll our staff for their insight on common pet poisons. We asked them three questions and listed the most popular responses. Check out the results below.

What item inside the household are you most concerned about your pet ingesting?

  1. 1. Chocolate. The desire for this sweet treat is not limited to humans. Since chocolate is such a common household food item it is also a common ingestion, especially for dogs. Chocolate toxicity can be mild to severe depending on the dose. The darker or more concentrated the chocolate, the more toxic it is to pets. Symptoms can vary from vomiting and hyperactivity to abnormal heart rhythms and seizures.
  2. 2. Grapes/raisins, lilies, and sugar-free gum. These three items tied for second place in our staff poll and each are extremely toxic in their own way. Grape, raisin, and even currant toxicities are not necessarily dose-dependent and can result in severe kidney damage sometimes several days after ingestion. Very small amounts of Tiger, Day, Asiatic, Easter and Japanese Show Lilies can cause severe kidney damage or even death to cats. Sugar-free gum is toxic because it contains the artificial sweetener xylitol which can be extremely dangerous to your pet. Xylitol can be found in a variety of mints, vitamins, supplements, and foods so it is important to be diligent and read labels carefully.
  3. 3. Human medications. A wide range of human medications have the potential to be toxic to pets. However, human aspirin and other NSAIDs can be particularly dangerous especially when owners purposefully give them to pets to attempt to alleviate pain. Pets' kidneys and livers can be damaged easily when dosed with improper medication.

What Item in the environment are you most concerned about your pet ingesting?

  1. 1. Pesticides and rat bait. It is never safe to leave your pet unsupervised around any type of pesticide or bait. There are several types of active ingredients that can be severely toxic to pets with varying symptoms.
  2. 2. Sago Palm tree. All parts of the Sago Palm, but especially the seeds, are very toxic to pets and can cause severe liver damage. Aggressive life-saving treatment should begin immediately upon ingestion.
  3. 3. Antifreeze. As little as one tablespoon of antifreeze can cause severe acute kidney failure in dogs and as little as one teaspoon can be fatal to cats. Antifreeze is extremely poisonous to pets because it typically contains 95% ethylene glycol.

What do you think is the most common pet poison ingestion that we treat?

  1. 1. Chocolate
  2. 2. Raisins
  3. 3. Garbage
  4. 4. Marijuana
  5. 5. Dog toys

If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please seek veterinary care as soon as possible. For more information about pet poisons including 24/7 professional pet poison advice click here.

Cook’s Night Out: Help Support Animal Rescue Volunteers

When you dine out at Yolanda's Mexican Grill on Wednesday, April 26th 2017, 20% of your entire take-out or dine-in bill including alcoholic beverages will be donated to Animal Rescue Volunteers (ARV). ARV is a non-profit rescue group based in Simi Valley, CA. They do a great service to our community by rescuing and rehabilitating pets who are typically abandoned in shelters. Please consider supporting this truly well-organized, exceptional rescue group. Make sure you present this flyer with your order.

Make Your Pet’s Golden Years More Golden

As pets age, the requirements to keep them happy and healthy change. Special consideration should be made for a senior or geriatric pet's diet, exercise, and veterinary care.

Proper diet and exercise for older pets can help keep them trim, healthy, and mobile. It is extremely important to select a diet that is designed for your pet's life stage (Please note: There is no single diet that can effectively provide nutrition for all life stages). Senior diets are designed to provide the appropriate digestibility, nutrients, and ingredient levels. They also have different calorie levels to help your senior pet maintain the appropriate weight. Routine exercise can also help with weight management and maintaining mobility.

Senior pets may exhibit a variety of health related changes due to underlying illness such as joint, bone, heart, kidney, urinary tract, liver, or cancer-related disease. Senior pet exams should occur at least twice a year and are crucial to identify and treat illness early. Vaccinations and parasite prevention are particularly important for older pets since their immune system is not as healthy as those of younger animals. Dental care, blood testing, urine testing, and blood pressure readings are also important components to maintaining a happy and comfortable life for your senior pet.

Would you like to learn more about maintaining a healthy lifestyle for your senior pet? Join us at the hospital on Wednesday, March 15th from 6:30-8:00 pm for our Senior Pet Care Seminar. The event will help provide guidance about senior nutrition, exercise guidelines, pain management, and recognizing common conditions. Please RSVP by joining our event on Facebook, e-mailing mvhmail@moorparkvet.com, or calling the hospital at 805-529-7003.

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