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Warning – Canine Influenza (Dog Flu) is Back in Brandon FL

Last year, the dog flu hit Chicago with a vengeance. A new strain of dog flu has been spreading in the United States with the main area of concern at this time is in the West. One recent case has occurred in Montana. Also the Washington State Health Department is warning pet owners about the possible spread of this new strain. Seattle has been affected where at least 90 dogs have been exposed and some dogs testing positive for the disease.

Luckily the disease is rarely fatal but your pet should be seen by your veterinarian if you suspect anything is wrong. General symptoms are coughing, lehtargy, not eating or just being tired. All could suggest your pet has a fever. Dogs get sick just like us when we get the flu. The disease spreads rapidly in dogs that are not immune. Grooming shops, boarding kennels, doggy day care and dog parks are places where the virus can spread rapidly.



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Does Your Dog Really Need a Lyme Disease Vaccination? Find Out.

Lyme Disease Vaccination in Dogs – Veterinarians Don’t Agree

The argument continues whether to immunize or not vaccinate for Lyme disease. If veterinarians can not agree, how does a client choose. Anytime a veterinarian chooses to make use of a vaccine, Lyme disease or other, the vet has to weigh the risks and advantages for the client. So what are some of the factors to think about.

Where does your pet live?

Living in an endemic location for Lyme disease needs to be thought about. In humans, 95 % of Lyme disease cases are discovered in 12 endemic states in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Upper Midwest. In a few of these areas, 70 % to 90 % of the healthy pet dogs have actually been exposed to Lyme disease. An essential element for avoidance in the areas is good tick control, which can decrease the risk for condition. Vaccination must be considered more frequently in a native to the island area.

Exactly how fantastic is the danger of severe disease, as soon as a pet is contaminated?

Typically, the threat of extreme disease, once the pet is infected, is low. It has actually been stated that less than 2 % of exposed dogs develop the more significant ailment, Lyme nephritis (kidney swelling). Likewise, co-infection (infection with more than one representative) appears to lead to even more significant health problem. There also could be a hereditary predisposition to the degree of inflammation produced from the illness. Retrievers and soft-coated wheaten terriers appear to a genetic sensitivity. In studies, less than 5 % of favorable dogs had arthritis, the most common ailment. These cases usually respond quickly to common and affordable antibiotics.

Exactly how effective is the vaccine?

Definitely not as efficient as various other vaccines. The vaccine appears to prevent infection in 60 % -86 % of the dogs vaccinated. Protection is not long lasting and booster vaccinations are given every 6 months or at least yearly.

Is the vaccine safe?

The vaccine does not seem as safe as the more common vaccines utilized today for various other illness. In a 1.2 million research of immunized pets, the Lyme vaccine produced even more after vaccination negative reactions within 3 days, than other vaccine. These reactions were judged as moderate. The responses were associated with swelling. In a research, 30 % of the pets with Lyme nephritis had actually been given the Lyme vaccine 2 weeks to 15 months prior to ailment. This also raises the concern whether to immunize retrievers and soft-coated wheaten terriers. They most likely SHOULD NOT be immunized.


1. Tick control is necessary is helping to prevent the illness.
2. The majority of pets tested positive for Lyme disease are nonclinical.
3. Large bulk of confirmed cases can be treated with common and economical prescription antibiotics.
4. A lot of pets do not show signs of Lyme disease after vaccination, but the exact same holds true for naturally exposed pet dogs.
5. Lyme disease vaccine have a short period and trigger even more post vaccination unfavorable events.
6. The canines most vulnerable to Lyme disease (hereditary predisposition), which need the most security, should not be vaccinated.

Hopefully this offers some helpful details in making a decision to immunize for Lyme disease or not.

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Canine Heartworm Disease | Bell Shoals Animal Hospital

What are canine heartworms?

Canine (Dog) Heartworm Disease | Bell Shoals Animal HospitalCanine heartworms, Dirofilara immitis, are dangerous parasites that can infect your dog, greatly affecting your pet’s life span. Dog heartworms are actual worms that live in your pet’s heart. As you can imagine these worms fill the chambers of the heart and cause the heart to enlarge because of impaired blood flow. The presence of adult canine heartworms, if left untreated, leads to congestive heart failure. Even though I am referring to these worms as Canine (Dog) Heartworms, they can also occur in cats, which could be another blog post.

How can my dog become infected with heartworms?

Canine heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes. A mosquito bites an infected animal and then is an intermediate host, spreading the parasite when it bites other animals. Heartworm disease is more prevalent in warmer climates but has been diagnosed in all 50 states.

Symptoms of heartworm disease in infected dogs.

Unfortunately, by the time your pet exhibits symptoms, he or she may already be in the later stages of the disease. Some symptoms include; coughing, intolerance to exercise, loss of appetite, and lethargy. If your pet is not on a current heartworm prevention program and displays any of these symptoms, it is highly advised to have your animal examined by your veterinarian. If your dog is already in the advanced stages of heartworm disease, and their health is declining,your pet might not be a candidate for treatment.

Testing my pet for heartworms

Most veterinarians recommend annual testing for canine heartworms. It involves a simple blood draw, usually from the front leg, of your pet. Not a lot of blood is required for testing, so it is considered to be a minimally invasive procedure.

Treatment for canine heartworms

Most people think of deworming as a simple procedure. But in the case of canine heartworms, it is an involved treatment that takes months to complete. Not to mention the cost…depending on the weight and condition of the animal, the cost could range from $800-$2000. A comprehensive blood panel and radiographs of your pet’s chest will be performed prior to treatment. An electrocardiogram may also be recommended. Because the medication used is not without risk, and veterinarians want to make sure your animal is a good candidate for treatment, these pre-treatment procedures are needed. The treatment also involves a very potent medication requiring your pet to be closely monitored during the treatment process. The bottom line here… it is a lot easier and cheaper to prevent heartworms in dogs, rather than having to treat them.

Preventing canine heartworms

There are several choices of canine heartworm prevention medications available through your veterinarian. The most popular are chewable tablets that your pet takes once monthly. There are many different brands available and some even include flea control. In addition, the heartworm preventatives also help prevent a variety of intestinal worms, when taken as directed. By consulting with your veterinary staff, you can choose the prevention that best suits your pet’s needs.

Lauren Briggs Wills
Veterinary Technician, Skyway Animal Hospital
St. Petersburg, FL 33712


A common myth about canine heartworms is that house dogs are not at risk. Unless your dog lives in a protective bubble, he or she IS at risk for heartworm disease. Depending on the climate where you live, your veterinarian may only recommend the prevention for certain months during the year.

DO YOUR PET A FAVOR and protect them from canine heartworms, with the unconditional love they give you, they certainly deserve it!

For more information about Canine Heartworm Disease, check out this video from Veterinary News Network. Also if you haven’t signed up for your Skyway Animal Hospital Discount Coupon, be sure to do that.


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