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Heartworm disease infection primarily affects domestic dogs, coyotes, foxes and wolves, but can also affects cats. Since this is a mosquito born disease one would expect infection to occur only during mosquito season, but in our area where the climate is mild with few days below freezing with large numbers of mosquitoes our dogs can be infected year round. Therefore they should be treated with prevention year round.
Shasta County is one of the top three counties in the state for reported heartworm disease. Just recently a new study reported that Northern California is now NUMBER ONE in reported canine heartworm cases with a 26% increase in reported feline heartworm infections. There are several inexpensive and quick tests to diagnose a positive heartworm infection. They usually require just a small amount of blood and less than 10 minutes to run. Yearly testing is important and necessary because, we as owners get busy and may forget to give the prevention, give it late or think someone else in the household is taking care of it. Also dogs can vomit or spit the medication out without our knowledge. Heartworm infected dogs can be treated successfully by several methods, but the disease progression needs to be staged to recommend the appropriate treatment option.
You will need to discuss treatment staging with your veterinarian, treatment options pros and cons, as well as post treatment requirements and exercise restrictions. There are a number of heartworm preventives available and you should discuss which one best suits to your pet and their needs. We start puppies and kittens about six to eight weeks on a monthly prevention along with their first vaccine and recommend monthly prevention for life.
Visit www.heartwormsociety.org for more information
Foreign Bodies are a particular problem in the spring and summer in our area. Fox tails, grass awns, oat seeds, and stickers in general get caught in the usual places, between toes, in ears, under eyelids, up noses and in skin, but they can also get caught in the mouth, between teeth. In tonsillar crypts, down the throat, up the prepuce, at the end of the penis, in the vulva or in the anus. All of these places will be uncomfortable and painful.
Foreign bodies are usually sharp and pointed. They often migrate through the tissue setting up inflammation and infection in their wake. Some can be removed easily if found early and remain superficial. Others are very difficult to remove and may require anesthesia or sedation, extensive probing or dissection, drains and broad spectrum antibiotics. Foreign bodies should be removed immediately if possible to avoid extensive problems. Some preventive measures can be taken. Shaving paws, especially on long haired dogs, in a "fox-tail feet" clip, clipping the hair around the outside of the ears and bum can help.
Just brushing your dog or cat on a regular basis will reduce the incidence of stickers in the skin. Making sure your yard or areas where the animals walk and play are free of stickers and dry grass with seed pods. If you think your pet may have a foreign body lodged somewhere, they need to be seen immediately before the sticker starts migrating and starts an infection.
How to Properly Clean Your Pet's Ears
It is recommended to clean your pets ear with a ear cleaning solution once to twice weekly, or as directed by your pet's veterinarian. It also recommended to use an ear cleaning and drying solution after they go swimming or after a trip the groomers.
First, you will want to apply a liberal amount of your ear flush into your pet's ear canal. Massage at the base of the ear (you'll hear a nice squish noise). Allow your pet to shake it's head, then clean the excess with a cotton ball.
However, if you notice any odor, excessive scratching, redness or swelling you need to seek medical care for your pet.