Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ebola Virus & Dogs: Where Do We Stand?

There is limited concern about dogs playing a role in natural transmission of Ebola virus in areas where the virus is endemic.The recent euthanasia of a dog owned by a Spanish nursing assistant infected with Ebola virus has raised much concern about the canine role in Ebola virus transmission and the risks dogs may pose to humans. As is common with emerging diseases, there are many gaps in our knowledge—and these gaps can create fear.

The following key points should be understood:

  • The likelihood of a dog being exposed to Ebola virus outside of endemic regions in Africa is very unlikely; this would require contact with bodily secretions of a human with symptoms of Ebola virus infection.

  • There is evidence that dogs can become infected with Ebola virus, but there is no evidence that they develop disease.1

    • This information comes from a study of dogs in a community where an Ebola virus outbreak was underway; 27% of healthy dogs had serum antibodies against the virus, but none had detectable virus in circulation. Evidence of exposure was not surprising, as some dogs scavenged the bodies of animals that had potentially died of Ebola virus infection and had direct contact with humans with active disease.

    • This situation is profoundly different than that of a household pet with transient exposure to a human that has been exposed or has early infection.

  • Irrespective of whether dogs can be exposed to the virus, there is currently no evidence that infected dogs shed the virus.

  • In the unlikely event of a pet dog outside of West Africa is exposed to a human with Ebola virus infection, veterinary and public health personnel can investigate the type of contacts between the dog and human (eg, when contact occurred with respect to the presence of symptoms, types and duration of contact) and determine whether exposure to the virus may have occurred.

  • Coordinated efforts are underway to develop guidance for management of dogs exposed to individuals with Ebola virus infection.

The lack of information about Ebola virus in dogs makes development of evidence-based practices difficult. Yet, given the available information about Ebola virus in dogs and the broader understanding of Ebola virus and containment practices, reasonable recommendations can be developed for the very unlikely event that more pet dogs become exposed.

Concerns about dogs and Ebola virus cannot be dismissed, and consideration of the role of pets in transmission of this virus is consistent with efforts to promote One Health. At the same time, the risks must be kept in perspective—and reason must outweigh paranoia—to optimize human and animal health and welfare.

1. Ebola virus antibody prevalence in dogs and human risk. Allela L, Bourry O, Pouillot R, et al. Emerg Infect Dis. 11: 385–390, 2005.

J. Scott Weese, DVM, DVSc, DACVIM

Editor in Chief, Clinician’s Brief
Source: Clinician's Brief [mailto:info@ecemail.net]

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Is Your Cat Missing the Litter Box?

You have a problem. Your cat is thinking outside the box, and not in a good way. You may be wondering what you did to inspire so much “creative expression.” Is your cat punishing you? Is Fluffy just “bad”? No, and no. House soiling and missing the litter box is a sign that your cat needs some help.
According to the Winn Feline Foundation, house soiling is the number one complaint among cat owners. The good news is that it is very treatable.
An accredited veterinarian can help you determine if the problem is medical or related to social or environmental stressors. In addition to a complete physical exam, the doctor will ask you specific “where and when” questions.

Health factors
Tony Buffington, DVM, PhD, a specialist in feline urinary disorders at The Ohio State University, and founder of the Indoor Cat Initiative says that many veterinarians recommend a urine test for every cat with a house soiling problem. The urinalysis will determine if blood, bacteria, or urinary crystals are present — signs that your cat might have feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD).
FLUTD is very common and can cause painful urination. Cats that begin to associate the litter box with pain will avoid it. Other medical possibilities include hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, diabetes, and arthritis and muscle or nerve disorders that might prevent your cat from getting to the litter box in time.
Environmental factors
If there is no medical cause, the next step is to look at environmental factors. Start with the litter box. Your cat might be avoiding the litter box because it is not cleaned well enough, you’ve changed the type of litter you use, or there is only one box for multiple cats.
Another possibility is that your cat is “marking” — spraying urine, typically on vertical objects such as walls and furniture, or in “socially significant” areas near doors or windows. Both male and female cats mark. The most common offenders are cats that have not been spayed or neutered.
Buffington says that stress can cause elimination problems too. For example, subtle aggression or harassment by other house cats or neighborhood cats may be an issue.
Indoor Cat Initiative
Even unremarkable changes in your home can make your cat anxious or fearful. Look around. Did anything change right before your cat started having problems? Did you get a new pet? A new couch? Maybe you just moved the old couch to a different part of the room, or had a dinner party. Cats are sensitive creatures and changes that seem small to you can throw your cat off his game. Check with your veterinarian about finding solutions that work for both you and your cat.
Source: http://www.aaha.org/pet_owner/pet_health_library/cat_care/behavior/missing_the_litter_box.aspx

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Maya's Health Challenges

Maya (right) enjoying some relaxing time with one of her favorite cats. 

Some of you may already know that, Maya, is currently facing some health challenges.  One of those is urinary incontinence – loss of bladder control.  If you’ve been in the lobby with her, she races outside to go to the bathroom, and we have to be quick to get her there.  This condition can range in severity from occasional small urine leaks to inadvertent voiding of a large amount of urine.  At the same time, Maya is also receiving laser treatments for her back, where she has lost nerve function.  Voila!  Because of Laser Therapy on her back and nerve relief, we’ve positively affected her bladder control.  She still takes some incontinence meds, and occasionally you’ll see her in diapers, but it is much improved!  We will keep everyone posted on Maya's health journey and hope to share more successful stories in the future.

Source: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/urinary-incontinence

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Two National Pet Stores Pulling China-Made Treats

Two major national pet stores are pulling all dog and cat treats made in China off of their shelves as years of complaints to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration pile up that jerky treats from China were possibly making pets sick.

 Vice President of Merchandising for Petco John Sturm said they are voluntarily removing these products after consumers voiced concerns. Another major pet food retailer, PetSmart, is pulling Chinese-made jerky treats from its stores in the U.S. and Canada.

 The treats have been linked to more than 1,000 dog deaths and nearly 5,000 other pet illnesses. The FDA said it's still working to determine the exact causes of the illnesses. While the products won't actually disappear from PetSmart shelves until March of 2015, Petco plans to pull the products by the end of this year.

Watch the following video for further details.

 Source: http://newday.blogs.cnn.com/2014/05/22/two-national-pet-stores-pulling-china-made-treats/

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thursday, March 27, 2014

17 Poisonous Plants to Pets

With spring flowers ready to bloom, it’s important to remember that some plants can be toxic to pets. Be sure when you are preparing your garden that all your plants are non-toxic to your pets that play in the yard. 

Members of the Lilium spp. are considered to be highly toxic to cats. While the poisonous component has not yet been identified, it is clear that with even ingestions of very small amounts of the plant, severe kidney damage could result.
Ingestion of Cannabis sativa by companion animals can result in depression of the central nervous system and incoordination, as well as vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, increased heart rate, and even seizures and coma.
Sago Palm 
All parts of Cycas Revoluta are poisonous, but the seeds or "nuts" contain the largest amount of toxin. The ingestion of just one or two seeds can result in very serious effects, which include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, seizures and liver failure.
Tulip/Narcissus bulbs 
The bulb portions of Tulipa/Narcissus spp. contain toxins that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation, drooling, loss of appetite, depression of the central nervous system, convulsions and cardiac abnormalities.
Members of the Rhododenron spp. contain substances known as grayantoxins, which can produce vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, weakness and depression of the central nervous system in animals. Severe azalea poisoning could ultimately lead to coma and death from cardiovascular collapse.
All parts of Nerium oleander are considered to be toxic, as they contain cardiac glycosides that have the potential to cause serious effects—including gastrointestinal tract irritation, abnormal heart function, hypothermia and even death.
Castor Bean 
The poisonous principle in Ricinus communis is ricin, a highly toxic protein that can produce severe abdominal pain, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, weakness and loss of appetite. Severe cases of poisoning can result in dehydration, muscle twitching, tremors, seizures, coma and death.
Cylamen species contain cyclamine, but the highest concentration of this toxic component is typically located in the root portion of the plant. If consumed, Cylamen can produce significant gastrointestinal irritation, including intense vomiting. Fatalities have also been reported in some cases.
This plant contains components that can produce gastrointestinal irritation, as well as those that are toxic to the heart, and can seriously affect cardiac rhythm and rate.
Taxus spp. contains a toxic component known as taxine, which causes central nervous system effects such as trembling, incoordination, and difficulty breathing. It can also cause significant gastrointestinal irritation and cardiac failure, which can result in death.
Common garden plants popular around Easter, Amaryllis species contain toxins that can cause vomiting, depression, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, anorexia and tremors.
Autumn Crocus 
Ingestion of Colchicum autumnale by pets can result in oral irritation, bloody vomiting, diarrhea, shock, multi-organ damage and bone marrow suppression.
These popular blooms are part of the Compositae family, which contain pyrethrins that may produce gastrointestinal upset, including drooling, vomiting and diarrhea, if eaten. In certain cases depression and loss of coordination may also develop if enough of any part of the plant is consumed.
English Ivy 
Also called branching ivy, glacier ivy, needlepoint ivy, sweetheart ivy and California ivy,Hedera helix contains triterpenoid saponins that, should pets ingest, can result in vomiting, abdominal pain, hypersalivation and diarrhea.
Peace Lily (AKA Mauna Loa Peace Lily) 
Spathiphyllum contains calcium oxalate crystals that can cause oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty in swallowing and intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips and tongue in pets who ingest.
Pothos (both Scindapsus and Epipremnum) belongs to the Araceae family. If chewed or ingested, this popular household plant can cause significant mechanical irritation and swelling of the oral tissues and other parts of the gastrointestinal tract.
Schefflera and Brassaia actinophylla contain calcium oxalate crystals that can cause oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty in swallowing and intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips and tongue in pets who ingest.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Pet of the Month: Rocky

Our pet of the month is "Rocky". Rocky is a sweet 5 yr old neutered male tabby who loves people! He was rescued from the great outdoors by a loving family, but he turned out to be a little too rambunctious for their elderly kitty. So, Rocky is now here at Brandt and is looking for a forever home. Come visit him to see if that could be your home. Rocky would like it best if there were no other cats in the household.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Pet of the Month: Rocky

Our pet of the month is "Rocky". Rocky is a sweet 5 yr old neutered male tabby who loves people! He was rescued from the great outdoors by a loving family, but he turned out to be a little too rambunctious for their elderly kitty. So, Rocky is now here at Brandt and is looking for a forever home. Come visit him to see if that could be your home. Rocky would like it best if there were no other cats in the household.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

January Pet of the Month: Ginger

Ginger is our January Pet of the Month! Ginger is a sweet, 16 year old orange tabby.

Ginger's owners had recently lost their loving cat Jessica from kidney failure and were open to welcoming a new companion to the family. There they were...sitting quietly in their living room in Bellevue, Washington, when the doorbell rang. Their neighbors informed them that during their usual afternoon walk, a hungry golden fur-ball had followed them home. Once the door was opened, the fur-ball shot past the neighbors, ran straight to the kitchen and sat on the floor. She began yowling and whining, demanding food. There were still cans of food around so they opened one up for their little visitor. She stuck her head in the dish and began chomping. She's been like that ever since. She dances, leaps, hides and plays. She was named Ginger, after Ginger Rogers.

We are proud to honor Ginger as our January Pet of the Month!