The Ins & Outs of Kennel Cough in Dogs

Kennel cough, also known Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease (CIRD) or Infectious Tracheobronchitis results from inflammation of the upper airways. The term tracheobronchitis describes the location of the infection which is found in the “windpipe”, or trachea and bronchial tubes. This illness spreads rapidly among susceptible dogs housed in close confinement. There are several viruses and bacteria that can cause kennel cough, often at the same time. These include adenovirus type-2, parainfluenza virus, and the bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica.

The clinical signs of kennel cough may be variable. The cough in these cases is often described as harsh, dry coughing, which may be followed by retching or gagging. The cough in these cases is easily induced by gentle pressure placed on the larynx or trachea. Kennel cough is a mild, self-limiting disease but may progress into fatal bronchopneumonia in puppies, or to chronic bronchitis in senior patients. This risk is associated with the decreased immune systems puppies and senior patients often have. Along with the coughing you may also notice your pet wheezing, having runny eyes/nose, having a lack of appetite and/or exhibiting depressed behaviour.

There is no specific treatment for the viral kennel cough infections, but antibiotics may be used against the bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica. Preferably, affected dogs should not be hospitalized because the disease is highly contagious (and also self-limiting). Cough suppressants may be prescribed in more severe cases, but should only be used as needed to control persistent nonproductive coughing. The bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica is often the culprit of many of the more severe clinical signs listed in the above paragraph, but some antibiotic resistance has been reported for this bacterium. Most kennel cough infections are easily resolved in 1-3 weeks, but mild clinical signs may linger even when the bacterium has been eliminated.

Within the Canine Distemper vaccine (DA2PP) that we offer at Central Veterinary Services, is immunity against adenovirus type-2 and parainfluenza virus (as long as the vaccine schedule is completed). We also recommend vaccinating dogs who will be visiting boarding facilities, doggy daycares, dog parks or grooming facilities against Bordetella bronchiseptica, because the risk of contracting the bacterium is greatly increased. We at Central Vet offer an intranasal vaccine or an injectable vaccine against Bordetella bronchiseptica for our canine patients. The intranasal vaccine allows local immunity to develop on the mucous membranes of the nose, throat and windpipe where the infectious agents first attack. This is why the intranasal vaccine typically is recommended the first time your pet receives a Bordetella bronchiseptica vaccine. In subsequent years we would boost annually with the injectable form. The vaccine we carry that provides immunity against Bordetella bronchiseptica has shown in clinical trials to decrease the duration of the cough by 84.4% in vaccinates compared to controls. Clinical trials have also shown that after 655 dogs were vaccinated with the avirulent live culture intranasal vaccine according to label recommendations that only 1 dog reported to have intermittent sneezing for 2 days following the vaccination. No treatment was required for this patient.

Immunity, even if a dog has experienced a natural infection of kennel cough, is neither solid nor long-lasting. We cannot expect vaccines to do much better. Since immunity varies with the circumstances it is important to consult with your veterinarian regarding specific vaccination recommendations for your pet.

Call us today at 204-275-2038 for more information.

References:

1. Aiello C. et al. Merck Veterinary Manual. 2016.

2. Zoetis VANGUARD Rapid Response Intranasal. www.zoetisus.com/products/dogs/vanguard-rapid-resp-3-sf-intranasal.aspx. Last accessed 2016. 

NEW to Central Veterinary Services - Health Smart Financial Services

Us at Central Veterinary Services believe that every animal deserves the highest standard of care possible, and to make this decision even easier for our clients we are now introducing financing with Health Smart Financial Services! Health Smart was founded in 2009, and has been helping Canadians receive flexible, affordable payment plan options for healthcare treatments and products since then!

 

Health Smart promises: 

  1. Apply online - Apply with our easy online application in under a minute.
  2. Get an instant decision - Get our instant approval decision right away, displayed on screen along with the amount of funds and payment options available to you.
  3. Begin your pets treatment - Proceed to your preferred health provider to finalize your payment plan and begin your pets health treatment without delay.
  4. Make payments - Health Smart will pay your healthcare provider directly. We will set up convenient pre-authorized monthly or semi-monthly payments from your designated bank account.

Find out how much you will get approved for by clicking the button below, no obligations or commitment! 

Call us at 204-275-2038 for more information about setting up a financing plan for your pet's dental, orthopedic, or other procedure!

Internal Parasite Prevention Month: Hookworms

When compiling a list of the top internal parasites of cats and dogs, hookworms are right up there with roundworms! In honour of Internal Parasite Prevention Month, we at Central Veterinary Services wanted to share some important information about hookworms with you!

The life cycle of the hookworm starts with the egg being found in contaminated soil. With warmth, the L1 larvae molts to a L2 larvae, which then molts to a L3 larvae. The L3 larvae is then swallowed (sometimes during self grooming), or may penetrate the hosts intact skin. The L3 larvae then migrates through the blood and body tissues to the lungs where it is coughed up, and then swallowed. Once in the small intestines the hookworm larvae matures to an adult hookworm. The adult hookworm attaches itself to the villi of the small intestine where it will feed on the hosts blood, and secrete an anticoagulant. The adult female hookworms begin to produce eggs which are then excreted in the hosts feces to begin the life cycle once more. Like roundworms, hookworms may also be transmitted via the trans-mammary and trans-placental routes to neonates. 

Image from: www.umassmed.edu/news

Image from: www.umassmed.edu/news

Hookworms are a lot nastier than roundworms since they have up to three pairs of ventral teeth with which they attach to the mucosa of the small intestine. These parasites also enjoy changing attachment sites therefore leaving their former attachment sites bleeding. The hookworms voracious feeding activity, and hemorrhage from former attachment sites often causes anemia in the host. Along with anemia, some other common symptoms of hookworms are dark feces (due to digested blood), unthriftiness in puppies or kittens, and in some cases diarrhea. 

So, for the reasons above, us at Central Veterinary Services believe in deworming all puppies and kittens during their initial visit to the clinic. It is also recommended for dogs and cats to get yearly fecal examinations done (including a fecal smear and a fecal flotation) to ensure they have not been infected with this parasite from the environment. Many heartworm prevention medications are also labelled for use against this parasite (and possibly others) therefore ensuring your pet is roundworm free!

Some types of hookworms can infect humans by penetrating the skin, or by direct ingestion. This is most likely to occur when walking barefoot on a beach, or in other areas where animals defecate. Infection often results in an itchy sensation. It is advised to wear shoes when walking on beaches, and/or in other areas where animals are allowed to defecate. It is also important that children not be allowed to play in areas where animals defecate to prevent transmission of this parasite. If you come in contact with contaminated soil and/or feces wash your hands immediately. 

If you have any questions about roundworms, or any other internal parasites don't hesitate to call us at 204-275-2038. One of our Veterinarians, or Registered Animal Health Technologists would be happy to assist you. 

Resources:

  • The Merck Veterinary Manual Eleventh Edition 
  • http://www.petsandparasites.org/cat-owners/hookworms/

Internal Parasite Prevention Month: Roundworms

Roundworms (also known as Ascarids) are one of the most common internal parasites in both cats and dogs. This is why us at Central Veterinary Services thought it is important to talk about roundworms during Internal Parasite Prevention Month

Most of the time roundworm infections occur when the dog or cat is very young. Sometimes the kittens or puppies are even born with these parasites, or acquire these parasites before being weaned from mom. This is because some of the species of canine and feline roundworms can cross the placenta (trans-placental route), or can be shed in the mothers milk (trans-mammary route). Although trans-placental and trans-mammary are routes of transmission, the life cycle of the roundworm commonly starts with the L2 larvae being ingested either from contaminated soil, or from ingesting an intermediate host such as a mouse or rabbit with the L2 larvae within. The L2 larvae are released from the egg, and at this point they may go into dormancy, but often the larvae migrate through the tissues finding their way to the hosts lungs. Once in the hosts lungs they are coughed up, and then swallowed by the host. They grow to adulthood in the hosts small intestine, and produce eggs. The life cycle starts again when the host has a bowel movement with its first batch of roundworm eggs within. 

Roundworms in young puppies and kittens often produce vomiting, diarrhea, constipation and other non-specific symptoms. These worms are often tightly coiled and do not attach to the host like other parasites do (they are often described to us as "spaghetti-like"). They instead use an undulating motion (like swimming) to remain the small intestines, this is why vomiting is one of the common symptoms. Can you imagine something swimming in your stomach? It makes our stomach queasy just thinking about it. 

Image from: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Roundworm/

Image from: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Roundworm/

So, for the reasons above, us at Central Veterinary Services believe in deworming all puppies and kittens during their initial visit to the clinic (a minimum of 2 doses). It is also recommended for dogs and cats to get yearly fecal examinations done (including a fecal smear and a fecal flotation) to ensure they have not been infected with this parasite from the environment. In hunting cats and dogs it may be recommended by your veterinarian to deworm your pet monthly using a prescription medication. Many heartworm prevention medications are also labelled for use against this parasite (and possibly others) therefore ensuring your pet is roundworm free!

Roundworms do pose a significant risk for humans. Contact with contaminated soil or feces can result in human ingestion and infection. It is also important that children not be allowed to play in areas where animals defecate to prevent transmission of this parasite. If you come in contact with contaminated soil and/or feces wash your hands immediately. Some of the symptoms associated with human roundworm infection are cough, shortness of breath, nausea, diarrhea, blood in stool, weight loss, fatigue, or presence of worm in vomit/stool. There is also the risk in humans for the larvae to migrate to the eye, this is termed ocular larval migrans, this could then lead to full or partial blindness. 

If you have any questions about roundworms, or any other internal parasites don't hesitate to call us at 204-275-2038. One of our Veterinarians, or Registered Animal Health Technologists would be happy to assist you. 

Resources:

  • The Merck Veterinary Manual Eleventh Edition 

Internal Parasite Prevention Month: Heartworms

You may be thinking that heartworm season for our pets isn't for a few months still, and what are those crazy people at Central Veterinary Services doing talking about these creatures in January? Well, January is Internal Parasite Prevention Month so we figured we would share a bit about some common internal parasites that are found in Manitoba!

If there is anything us Manitobans know best it is how mosquitoes can sure suck the fun out of summer, and while these bloodthirsty insects can drive humans away from hitting the beach and attending backyard barbecues they also pose a potentially fatal problem for our dogs, cats and ferrets.

The mosquito plays a crucial role in the heartworm life cycle, and soon you'll understand why. Adult female heartworms living in an infected dog, coyote, fox, raccoon, or wolf produce microscopic worms known as microfilariae which circulate in the infected animals bloodstream. When a mosquito takes a blood meal from an infected host it also picks up these microfilariae. The microfilariae then molt into their "infective stage" within the mosquito (this takes ~10-14 days). Then when the mosquito carrying the "infective stage" larvae takes a blood meal from an unsuspecting dog, cat, or other susceptible host the larvae of the heartworm enter through the bite location. Once within their new host it takes the larvae up to 6 months to molt into adult heartworms. 

Heartworms are long, slender parasites. As adults they are found in the right ventricle of the heart, and in the pulmonary artery where they can obstruct blood vasculature. The classic symptoms of a pet who has adult heartworms include decreased exercise tolerance, right-sided heart enlargement, and fluid accumulation in the abdomen. These common symptoms are caused by the reduced blood flow on the right side of the heart, but these symptoms do not appear until the heartworms are well-established. 

Image from www.valleydaleanimalclinic.com

Image from www.valleydaleanimalclinic.com

The earlier this disease is detected, the better the chances the pet will recover. There are few, if any, early signs of canine heartworm disease, and this is why us at Central Veterinary Services recommend annual testing for all of our canine patients prior to starting a preventative medication in the spring (~May 30th). This test (known as the 4Dx Snap Test by IDEXX) is run in clinic, and requires a very small blood sample. If a test that takes a small blood sample, and only 8 mins wasn't neat enough — this test also checks your pets blood for Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichiosis (which are diseases that can be transmitted by ticks — thats a BONUS)! If this test shows up positive other tests may be recommended by your veterinarian to check the stage of the disease. Depending on the stage of the disease the treatment may differ.

Feline heartworm disease is known to be much more dangerous than its canine counterpart for two reasons. First, diagnosis is difficult and findings may be inconsistent. A cat with heartworm disease may present with signs of respiratory distress (due to worms/larvae in the pulmonary arteries), but test negative on the antigen and antibody tests we have in clinic. Chemistry blood panels, and radiographs of the chest may also be inconclusive. Second, there is no approved treatment for feline heartworm disease, therefore the only way to protect our cats from heartworm disease is to have them yearly on heartworm prevention (this includes indoor cats since mosquitoes do get inside the house). Ask you veterinarian at your cats next appointment about how affordable prevention is!

Due to the strength of the medications needed, treatment of canine heartworm disease is usually not the cheapest. This is why prevention is a much better option for pet owners! Central Veterinary Services offers a few options for heartworm prevention — ask your veterinarian at your next appointment which one would be recommended for your pet. Heartworm prevention medications are highly effective, but it is still recommended that your dog or cat be tested annually incase a dose is missed, or given late. Even if you give the medication to your pet at the appropriate time, he or she could spit it out, vomit it up, or even rub off the topical medication without you knowing therefore causing it to be ineffective. Testing is the only way to know for sure if your pet needs treatment for heartworm disease.

Isolated and rare cases of human heartworm infection have been reported, however, the heartworm is generally not considered a risk to human health. 

If you have any questions about heartworm disease, or any other internal parasites don't hesitate to call us at 204-275-2038. One of our Veterinarians, or Registered Veterinary Technologists would be happy to assist you. 

Resources:

  • https://www.heartwormsociety.org/pet-owner-resources/heartworm-basics 
  • http://www.petsandparasites.org/dog-owners/heartworms/

10 Inexpensive (even FREE) ways to improve your older pet’s life!

The tips below are easy ways to positively impact your aging companions life – some of the suggestions below will help strengthen the human-animal bond and some will aid in keeping you in tune with any changes happening with your pet. But the most amazing aspect of the tips below, is that ALL of these suggestions can play a big part in keeping your senior pet’s brain sharp – it is as simple as spending time with them, and making sure they are getting some key supplements that can improve total body health!

 

1)      Brush and groom them! Besides feeling amazing and keeping their skin and hair coat healthy, it gives your pet what they want most – quality time with the people they love. It also allows you to keep a close eye on any changes – lumps, skin changes, weight loss or gain, and more.

2)      Brush their teeth – We know dental disease greatly increases the risk of developing other disease because of constant bacteria from the diseased mouth entering the rest of the body. Even if their teeth are not great, even if they could use a dental cleaning, start brushing TODAY!

3)      Take them for a walk – it can be for an hour, it can be for 5 minutes – sometimes older dogs aren’t begging to go out like they once were as puppies, but getting them outdoors for some exercise is good for everyone – quality time spent together – check, exercise – check, stimulating those sense (sniffing, seeing, hearing) – check…. All good things!

4)      Play with them! Throw the ball, Get them to do tricks, tug of war, laser tag, hiding games – all of these things greatly improve any animal’s mood. It can aid in preventing cognitive decline in our senior animals as it keeps the brain active!

5)      Give Omega’s – Omegas 3 and 6 truly are little miracle workers – they are such powerful antioxidants that they improve the health of almost every organ in the body – the brain, heart, liver, joints, skin, kidneys, and the bladder to name a few. By adding in a dose of omegas in your pet’s daily regime, you can easily help support their health as they age. A good dose to start is 30mg for every kg of weight (about a 1000 mg daily for a 30kg or 66lb dog, for example).  

6)      Change up their diet – Older animals aging bodies sometimes have a more difficult time getting what they need from their food. Depending on the animal, different recommendations could be made, but older age is definitely the time to rethink what your pet is eating. Higher quality protein diets are a must (not necessarily higher quantity protein diets), as older animals can have a harder time digesting and getting the nutrients they need from the protein in their food. The intake of calories may need to be adjusted based on weight loss or gain as well. Sometimes, older age makes it harder to smell or taste their food and be interested in eating at all. In these cases more tasty and fragrant foods may be needed. The other bonus about changing up the food is that it is a VERY easy way to add variety and spice up their life and keep it interesting in older age. Unless your pet has to be on a special diet it can be very fun for them to get a variety of meals. And ‘people’ food can be ok! Vegetables, fruits and lean meats can be tasty treats for our senior pets.

7)      Give them a comfy place to rest – their body has worked hard over the years – invest in a comfortable dog or kitten bed for them to rest.

8)      Give joint-protectants – glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin – these little joint fluid building blocks help to keep those joints moving smoothly and free from pain. Another added bonus is they can improve urinary tract health as well!

9)      Be prepared – “he’s old” is not an excuse to let your pet’s health take a backseat – visit our webpage dedicated to our senior pets to get more information on getting your dog or cat through their senior years: http://www.centralvet.ca/senior-dog-wellness/

10)   LOVE them. Did you know dogs and cats DO feel love for their human caregivers? The tone of voice, the physical interactions and time spent with them is something they feel on a deeper level. Welcome them when you get home, give their head a scratch, throw them the ball, give them a belly rub, talk to them – make the memories that will last!