Keep pets healthy, happy
by By Sue Little
Aug 25, 2013 | 1382 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Several weeks ago a little abandoned dog, running scared on a busy county roadway, was rescued by a caring lady who stopped and put him in her car. She then made arrangements to get him to a veterinary hospital prior to him being taken into a home for foster care to be followed in a few weeks by adoption into a screened forever home.

This was an unusual case because many pet rescuers cannot currently take in new pets in need, due to the huge numbers in need since animal control services were suspended in the county on July 1.

Too many unwanted pets in Bradley County are being cruelly abandoned.

This young dog who was named "Copper" was neutered, vaccinated, heartworm-checked and totally vetted, a standard ESP procedure for all rescued pets taken into home foster care.

During Copper's examination by Dr. Bart Bain it was determined he was suffering from coccidiosis and hookworms. Bain, the widely known "Visiting Pet Vet," explained that coccidiosis "is detected via examination of a stool sample.

Usually it affects puppies and kittens so when we see it in an adult dog it can be a sign of a suppressed immune system. Symptoms of this disease include diarrhea, nausea, blood in the stool and poor appetite.” Copper was successfully treated with Albon, a drug in the sulfa family, and he is now a healthy little fellow.

To prevent coccidiosis the vet emphasized the need to "keep puppies' quarters cleaned daily to destroy oocysts. Puppies and kittens must have a clean environment from birth.

To keep them healthy, overcrowding must also be avoided." If signs of coccidiosis appear, they must be professionally treated by a veterinarian. Fluid replacement is often required.

As for hookworms, which Copper had when rescued, Bain said, "Hookworms are so small they often cannot be seen by the naked eye. They fasten their mouth parts onto the small intestines of dogs primarily of any age. They then grip onto intestinal walls and absorb nutrients. This can result in significant blood loss in afflicted dogs. Dogs of any age can become the prey of hookworms.

Signs of hookworms may be bloody or black diarrhea.

“Many dewormers are highly effective in treating hookworm infestations including Panicure and Strongid," Bain noted.

Fortunately, Copper did not have heartworms but many dogs do suffer from heartworm disease.

"Right now with all the rain it is vital to prevent deadly heartworm disease which can be caused by the bite of just one infected mosquito. Trifexis, given monthly in pill form, is a superior method for preventing heartworms in dogs and puppies, and it also kills and prevents flea infestations and controls hookworms, roundworms and whipworms," Bain advised.

To prevent tick infestations Trifexis may provide "some help" but a Preventic collar gives excellent protection which lasts three to four months. There is also a newer collar coming on the market that gives protection for six to nine months, according to Bain.

Due to recent outbreaks in our community of both parvovirus and kennel cough I asked for recommendations on prevention of these maladies.

"Parvo is a nasty virus that primarily afflicts puppies under 1 year old. It is seldom seen in 2- or 3-year-old dogs.

It is so acutely contagious that it can be transmitted by contact with infected feces on shoes, on a pet's hair and paws, on other objects and even on a leaf that may have been blown from an area where parvo was present in a dog. It usually begins with diarrhea containing blood and mucus, with vomiting, and a painful abdomen that is tucked up by the suffering puppy or dog. Intensive veterinary care is required.

"I begin puppies on preventive vaccinations at six weeks of age and then continue them every three to four weeks until conclusion at 4 months of age. At 4 months old, they can then get their first rabies vaccination, Bain said.

As for kennel cough, preventable via vaccine, it must be treated "by a veterinarian, and the dog or puppy should be kept in isolation to prevent spreading of this highly contagious disease."

The good news? We can now prevent many diseases in our beloved four-legged family members that, in the past, would not have been available. Regular veterinary care is the key to keeping our pets healthy and happy, and to keep us free of worry. To reach Bain, call 715-1477.

Paws up this week to all who rescued a pet in need with the assurance of providing a long,wonderful life in a forever home. Call me with your pet and wildlife stories, 728-5414.