Rattlesnake Season Is Here! Spring through Summer
California Rattlesnakes can be found in rural areas as well as suburban areas where there is sufficient natural habitat. In Northern California snakes will hibernate during cold months are active April through October.
Dogs encounter snakes during play or work in the snake’s natural habitat. Most bites to dogs occur on the face or extremities. The rattlesnake bite is generally hemo toxic, which means that it exerts its toxin by disrupting the integrity of the blood vessels. The swelling is often dramatic with up to 1/3 of the total blood circulation being lost into the tissues in a matter of hours. The toxin further disrupts normal blood clotting mechanisms leading to uncontrolled bleeding. This kind of blood loss induces shock and finally death. Facial bites are often more lethal as the swelling may occlude the throat or impair ability to breathe.
The faster the bite is recognized, the more effective the treatment is. Do not try to cut the bite wound open or suck out the poison. Seek veterinary care immediately for proper treatment.
Since the most common mechanism of death from rattlesnake bite is circulatory collapse, IV support and monitoring for signs of blood pressure drop are very important. Fluids may be started at a relatively slow rate if the patient is stable but should signs of impending trouble occur, circulatory volume replacement is as easy as opening a drip set valve. Twenty four hours of observation post-bite is a prudent observation time with IV fluid administration all the while.
There are numerous misconceptions about antivenin. The first is simply the name of the product. It is not “anti-venom.” It is not a single injection that provides the antidote to snake bite venom. Antivenin is a biological product consisting of antibodies made by horses in response to exposure to four Crotaline venoms. The antibody serum is reconstituted into an intravenous drip that is run into the patient over at least 30 minutes.
Antivenin is expensive (at least $100 to $200 per vial) and a large dog with a sever bite is likey to require several vials. Because the product if of horse origin, often a scratch test to the ear flap is used to test for immunological sensitivity (i.e. to predict whether the patient is likely to have an aphylactic reaction to the antivenin once it is administered intravenously. The patient will likely always be sensitive to equine products after administration of antivenin which makes future snake bite treatment problematic.
A newer, more purified antivenin of sheep origin has recently been marketed, but this vial is $700 each.
Antivenin is very helpful in the inactivation of snake venom but there is a narrow window during which it must be used. After about 4 hours post-bite, antivenin is of minimal use.
Injections of antihistamines may or may not be helpful with the inflammation from the actual snake bite but may be helpful in warding off an aphylactic reaction to the antivenin. Further, the sedating side effects of antihistamines help calm the patient, Antihistamine use is a common therapy used in the treatment of snake bites.
Blood transfusion my be necessary if life-threatening blood loss has occurred. Antibiotics are often used to control secondary infections. Medications to control pain are important to snake bite patients.
We Recommend the Rattlesnake Vaccine Annually, (only available to dogs) in order to slow down the venom in their system. A snake bite should always be treated as an emergency, even in a vaccinated dog. If your dog is bitten by a rattlesnake, seek veterinary attention immediately.
Year Round Safety Tips For Your Pets
What To Do If Your Pet Gets Poisoned
Your pet has just ingested something toxic. What do you do? First, take a breath. The more cool, calm and collected you are, the sooner you can seek the correct medical attention and get a handle on the situation by taking the following steps:
- Remove your pet from the area. Make sure no children or other pets are exposed to the area, and safely remove any poisonous material.
- Check to make sure your pet is breathing normally and acting fine otherwise.
- Collect a sample of the material, along with the packaging, vial, or container. You’ll need this information to help your veterinarian or pet poison expert assess the situation.
- Don’t give your dog any milk, food, salt, oil, or any other home remedies. Doing so will likely complicate the poisoning.
- Never induce vomiting without talking to your veterinarian or pet poison expert first. Doing so may be detrimental or contraindicated. To induce vomiting in dogs it may be recommended to give hydrogen peroxide, however, peroxide won’t help to induce vomiting in cats, and a stronger veterinary medication may be necessary
Remember, there is a narrow window of time to decontaminate in cases of poisoning, and the pet’s prognosis is always better when reported immediately.
Frontline Plus is a flea and tick preventative that will protect your dog or cat all year round. Not only does Frontline kill fleas that are seen on your pet, it also breaks the flea life cycle by preventing the development of their eggs and larvae. Immature stages such as the eggs, larvae, and pupae may lurk in and around your home. They may thrive in unseen areas such as carpets, bedding and cracks in flooring. Fleas can reproduce indoors year-round. Once Frontline is applied to your pet, adult fleas may continue to emerge from the pets environment for weeks or even months. The adult fleas on your pet will be killed by Frontline Plus before they can lay eggs. You may see them briefly before they are killed. It may take 3-4 monthly treatments of Frontline to bring the flea population under control.
How Frontline Works:
Frontline is applied on the back of the pets neck monthly. It quickly spreads all over the body and into the oil glands in the skin. From the oil glands, it is continually replenished onto the skin and hair coat. This makes Frontline long lasting and truly waterproof. Frontline does not repel fleas, it kills them. They become hyperstimulated upon contact and rise to the top of the hair coat in the process of dying. Fleas do not have to bite the pet for Frontline to work. They will die within hours of contact with your treated pet.
As soon as a tick comes in contact with Frontline, it begins to die. A tick may attach initially, but will be dead within 24-48 hours. Some ticks may transmit Lyme disease to your pet. To kill the ticks that may carry Lyme disease, apply Frontline monthly.
Where does my pet get fleas from?
The most important source of cat fleas is newly emerged adult fleas from pupae in your house. Adult fleas live and feed on our pets but the female flea lays eggs, which fall off into the environment. Immature stages such as the eggs, larvae, and pupae may lurk in and around your home. They may thrive in unseen areas such as carpets, bedding and cracks in flooring. Fleas can reproduce indoors year-round. Under favorable conditions, these eggs develop first into larvae and then into pupae.The pupae contain adult fleas that lie in wait for a suitable animal host. Modern carpeted centrally-heated homes provide ideal conditions for the year round development of fleas. The highest numbers of flea eggs, larvae and pupae will be found in areas of the house where pets spend the most time such as their beds, furniture and so forth. Even though fleas may be in your house, you may not see them; the eggs are too small to see without magnification and the larvae, which are just visible, migrate deep down into carpets,furniture or cracks in floors away from the light.
What effect do fleas have on my pet?
Many pets live with fleas but show minimal signs. The following problems can occur
Some pets develop an allergy to flea bites. If these pets are bitten by fleas they groom or scratch excessively and develop skin disease.
Adult fleas live on animals and feed on blood. In puppies, kittens and debilitated animals this may cause anemia.
The flea acts as the intermediate host for the tapeworm. Tapeworm eggs, which are shed within tapeworm segments in cat feces, are eaten by flea larvae that develop into infected fleas. Pets become infested by eating infected fleas during grooming. Any pet with fleas is likely also to have a tapeworm infestation.
Ticks and Lyme Disease
The deer tick often seen in our area carries the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. The tick can retain the infection throughout its life cycle and give it to hosts, such as people and dogs. Usually an infected tick must be attached for 48 hours before transmission occurs.
Clinical Signs of Lyme Disease
All dogs have different symptoms of Lyme disease and many do not show any symptoms. Most dogs infected with Lyme disease will start limping, their lymph nodes will swell and they will have a fever. Other signs include, loss of appetite, painful joints, and lethargy. Dogs do not show signs for 2-5 months post-infection. Antibiotics help the disease but do not stop it. All dogs are at risk for Lyme disease. Your dog is at increased risk if he or she spends time in wooded areas or low-growing grassland, outdoors during peak tick season, (which is spring & fall) or lives or visits a Lyme-epidemic area of the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic or upper Midwest. Although peak tick season is spring & fall, here at Hoof N Paw Veterinary Hospital, we see ticks on dogs all through the year.
To protect your dog
Apply Frontline monthly to your dog. Brush your dog frequently and conduct thorough tick checks. You may also want to consider getting your dog vaccinated yearly for Lyme disease.
Heartworm and Intestinal Parasite Prevention
Highly effective preventive medications are available through your Veterinarian. These medications are prescribed for dogs that are not infected with heartworms or that have already been successfully treated for heartworms in the past. Your Veterinarian will test your dog for the presence of heartworms before prescribing medications. Here at Hoof N Paw Veterinary Hospital, we test for Heartworm disease, Lyme disease, and two other tick diseases every year.
Interceptor is a flavored, chewable, tablet that is a monthly heartworm preventative for your dog. Not only does Interceptor prevent heartworm disease, it treats any intestinal parasites your dog may have. Interceptor treats Roundworms, Hookworms and Whipworms. Roundworms and Hookworms are commonly seen and infested of the intestines of dogs, and may be transmitted to people. More than 90% of puppies are born with roundworms or acquire them shortly after birth from their mothers. Dogs of any age can get roundworms from an environment contaminated by feces of infected animals. Serious infections may be fatal to puppies.
Signs of roundworm infection in dogs include: diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, weakness, weight loss, and swollen abdomen.
Hookworms are potentially lethal, especially to puppies. They attach themselves to the intestinal walls of infected dogs and feed on their host’s blood. Dogs may be infected with hookworms by accidentally ingesting larvae in contaminated soil or blades of grass. Hookworm larvae also infect dogs by penetrating directly through their skin. Some signs of hookworm infection include : dark or bloody diarrhea, weakness, pale gums, weight loss, and even death.
The same roundworms and hookworms that infect your dog, may infect people as well. People may acquire these worms by coming in contact with objects or areas contaminated by the fecal matter of an infected dog. Some objects or areas include: toys, gardening tools, playgrounds, sandboxes, beaches, crawl spaces under porches and houses, parks and other public spaces frequented by pets.
Whipworms live in the large intestine and cecum of an infected dog. They can become infected with whipworms by ingesting food or drinking water contaminated with whipworm eggs. Some signs of a dog infested with whipworms include: diarrhea, weight loss, inflammation of the intestinal wall, and hemorrhage into the intestine can occur which may cause anemia. Some dogs do not present with any clinical signs of whipworms. A fecal flotation exam is the only way to determine if your dog has whipworms, or any other intestinal parasite.
Heartgard is also a monthly preventative for heartworm and intestinal parasites.At Hoof N Paw Veterinary Hospital, we carry both Interceptor and Heartgard.
The doctors and staff at Hoof N Paw Veterinary Hospital care about your pet and their health. We strongly recommend the usage of heartworm and intestinal parasite protection year round.
Heartworms are parasites that live in your dog’s circulatory system and heart. The adult heartworms produce offspring called “microfilaria” which circulate in the pets blood. They are found more commonly in dogs than in cats
How Heartworm disease is transmitted:
A mosquito feeds on the blood of a pet that is already infected and the mosquito ingests the microfilaria, and then serves as a host while the microfilaria mature for 2 weeks. The mosquito then transfers infective heartworm larvae into a healthy pet when it bites.
The heartworm larvae reaches the dogs heart in 5-6 months, where they arrive as small worms about 2 inches in length. Once they are in the heart, the adult worms grow and reproduce. They may stay in a dogs heart for several years. In a severe infestation, a dogs heart may contain up to 300 worms.
All dogs are susceptible to heartworm disease. Breed, age, and sex of a dog does not affect the susceptibility to heartworms. Outdoor dogs, and indoor dogs are at risk for as an infected mosquito can easily come into your home.
Physical Signs of Heartworm disease
There are several signs of heartworm disease. They may include sudden weight loss, difficulty breathing, a soft, persistent cough, easily tired and listlessness or weakness. Most of these signs are most noticeable after exercise. Heartworms clog the heart and/or the main blood vessels reducing the blood supply to and from other organs. Major bodily functions, including breathing, are affected.
- Antifreeze has a pleasant taste. Unfortunately, very small amounts can be lethal. As little as one teaspoon of antifreeze can be deadly to a cat; less than four teaspoons can be dangerous to a 10-pound dog. Thoroughly clean up any spills, store antifreeze in tightly closed containers and store in secured cabinets. Automotive products such as gasoline, oil and antifreeze should be stored in areas that are inaccessible to your pets.
- If you think your pet has consumed antifreeze, contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (1-888-4-ANI-HELP) immediately
- Liquid potpourris are popular household fragrances that can be harmful to pets. Pets can be exposed to liquid potpourri by direct ingestion from simmer pots or spills, or by rubbing against leaky bottles or simmer pots containing the potpourri, or from spilling the containers upon themselves. Oral exposures result after grooming. Exposure of pets to some types of liquid potpourris can result in severe oral, dermal and ocular damage.
- Ice melting products can be irritating to skin and mouth. Depending on the actual ingredient of the ice melt and the quantity, signs of ingestion would include excessive drooling, depression, vomiting or even electrolyte imbalances.
- Rat and mouse killers are used more commonly during colder weather. When using rat and mouse bait, place the products in areas that are inaccessible to your companion animals.