It’s hard to imagine parasites actually living inside of your pet’s heart, but they can. Annually, thousands of pets across the country still die from this easily preventable disease.
How to Start your Pet on Heartworm Prevention:
The most important part of heartworm prevention is getting a yearly test. Even though it is still cold over much of the country, now is the time to schedule your pet’s spring exam. Getting a heartworm test will help ascertain whether your pet is free of heartworms and is ready to begin or continue on a heartworm preventive regimen. A heartworm test and 12 months of preventative saves you a lot of money as compared to treating a pet with heartworm disease.
Don’t let your pets live another day at the risk of heartworm infection! Help keep them protected today. Ask your veterinarian which prescription preventative is best for your pet in your area.
Deramaxx (deracoxib) chewable NSAID tablets are used to relieve pain and inflammation after surgery and is also indicated for treating chronic pain in dogs.
If your dog was previously using Deramaxx, ask your pet’s veterinarian today if you should continue to give the replacement therapy or if you should switch back to Deramaxx. Your veterinarian who has examined your pet is the best source for this information. A blood test before continuing to use the current NSAID or before switching back to Deramaxx may be needed. Your veterinarian may also prescribe a period of no pain relievers, also known as a washout period, before switching NSAIDs.
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External parasites like fleas and ticks do not need to feed on a daily basis. Ticks, for example, can survive for well over one year without blood. Because they live outdoors, wild animals such as raccoons and opossums are the most common hosts. And when they walk through your yard in search of food or a safe route, some of the parasites they’re carrying jump ship and establish communities on your property. This is how most dogs become infested with fleas or ticks.
These pesky parasites are always in search of a new host and they breed very quickly. Fleas can lay eggs every twelve days and these eggs reach adulthood in a matter of weeks. Both species can jump several hundreds of times the lengths of their own bodies, which lets them easily ambush our canine friends in the backyard or at the park. Soon after, the females will begin to lay eggs and in a couple of weeks your pouch will be suffering from a full-fledged infestation.
Can fleas make my dog sick?
Yes, they can. When fleas feed on your pet, they inject saliva into his skin. A large number of dogs are actually allergic to flea’s salivary proteins, which results in a common skin condition called flea allergy dermatitis. Animals infested with fleas or ticks will bite and scratch at their skin in a vain attempt to relieve the itching or pruritus. After extended scratching sessions, the affected skin may become red and irritated. In extreme cases, inflammation, infections and other complications may occur.
Your dog can also get tapeworms from fleas.
Can ticks make my dog sick?
There are at least a dozen tick-transmitted diseases your canine friend can get from these parasites, including a few fatal ones like Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, tularemia, and more. While it is true that most of these diseases are quite rare, it really does depend on where you live. It is a good idea to talk to your veterinarian about the local diseases that may affect your pet.
What are the best ways to prevent flea and tick infestations?
Fleas and ticks flourish in warm, humid environments. If possible, keep your home as dry as you can, and try not to give them a lot of places to hide. As we mentioned, fleas and ticks spend a lot of time away from their hosts. Most of that time is spent laying eggs and looking for other hosts. To do so, they have to have a place to hide and to build a nest. Carpets and rugs are a flea’s best friends, since they give them a place to reproduce and hunt for a host without anyone bothering them. We’re not saying you should throw out all your rugs and carpets, but it might be a good idea to remove them from common areas where your dog spends most of his time.
What are the treatment and prevention options for flea and tick infestations on dogs?
There are dozens of different products, from collars to spray, topical solutions and shampoos that provide flea and tick control for dogs. Most are inexpensive and can be purchased at nearly any pet shop or veterinary office. What are they?
Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor – The easiest and most effective way to kill a slew of pesky parasites in one shot is to give your dog a bath. Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor not only kills fleas, ticks, and lice, it also wipes out flea eggs, thereby eradicating the next generation of bloodsuckers. Safe for dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens, it is one of the most popular medicinal shampoos on the market today. Adams shampoos also contain soothing aloe, oatmeal, and lanolin, which mean they are safe for regular bathing. However, your canine friend should not require more than one flea and tick bath every few weeks, otherwise the infestation may require additional medications.
Frontline Plus for Dogs – One of the most trusted names in flea and tick prevention, Frontline Plus kills parasites at all stages and even puts an end to lice infestations. This topical monthly solution is easy to apply and is safe for dogs 8 weeks and older, including pregnant and nursing females. It is waterproof, so your canine friend will be protected even if he gets wet. Always consult your veterinarians before administering any new medication and follow the dosing directions on the product’s label.
K9 Advantix II for Dogs – Give your dog powerful five-way protection from dangerous and annoying pests including ticks, fleas, biting flies, mosquitoes, and lice with K9 Advantix II for dogs. Veterinarians recommend this broad-spectrum treatment because it’s effective, easy to use, and only requires monthly application. K9 Advantix II must NOT be used on cats.
Preventic Tick Collar –Preventic kills and detaches ticks for up to 3 months. This collar protects dogs over 12 weeks of age from Lyme disease and many other tick-borne diseases. Amitraz (the active ingredient) activity starts within 24 hours and continues for 90 days and is not affected by rainfall. Preventic is available in 2 sizes to fit most dogs.
See the latest VetRxDirect Newsletter for ideas on how to reduce your pet’s carbon paw print, great deals on natural products, and a coupon code to save an additional 10% off your entire order until the end of March.
Some diseases are a mystery, even to those who study them for a lifetime. The word idiopathic means “personal suffering” in Greek. It also means that medical professionals don’t know what causes it! Recurrent seizures in dogs are often caused by idiopathic epilepsy. About 80 percent of all cases are of unknown origin. There are, however, other types of seizure affecting canines.
Types and Symptoms of Epilepsy in Dogs
All forms of epilepsy result in seizures, which produce sudden attacks, spasms, or convulsions. Although they are neurological disorders originating in the brain, the causes can be difficult to pinpoint.
Often the result of structural lesions in the brain, symptomatic epilepsy can and often does cause frequent seizures. It can affect dogs of nearly any age, especially those between six months and five years old.
The term Cluster seizure is used to describe a condition causing multiple seizures over several consecutive days. In many cases, the problem is attributed to brain lesions or damage to the brain.
When the seizure occurs on an almost constant basis, your furry friend may be suffering from a condition called status epilepticus. These episodes may strike after brief periods of inactivity, which may last for a day or two.
Last but not least, there is the most common form of the chronic condition, idiopathic epilepsy. As we mentioned, the disease has no known cause. Even after exhaustive examinations, veterinarians will not be able to find any damage to the brain or visible lesions when idiopathic epilepsy is involved. They simply don’t know why the seizures are striking your pet.
Frequency of Seizures in Dogs
The more seizures your pouch has, the more likely they are to damage the neurons in the brain, which consequently makes it more likely for seizures in the future. These convulsions can harm small parts or both sides of their brain. Either type can cause damage your pet may never recover from.
Symptoms of Seizures in Dogs
In most cases, a seizure is preceded by a brief period or stage the experts refer to as an aura. During this time, your dog may become increasingly apprehensive, even frightened. In some instances, your dog may seek attention or look dazed or discombobulated. Once the seizures begin, they are impossible to mistake for anything else. A canine who is in full seizure will turn on his or her side, become stiff, salivate, urinate, defecate, and chomps the jaws. The limbs will spartle and jerk for the entire episode, which typically lasts between thirty and ninety seconds. In most cases, they strike when your canine friend is resting or asleep, often in the morning or late at night.
Diagnosis of Seizures in Dogs
If your dog has a seizure, it is imperative a veterinarian exams your pet as soon as possible. Epilepsy of any kind cannot be diagnosed through a simple physical examination. Your pouch must undergo a battery of tests. Biochemical tests often reveal one or more of the following conditions if epilepsy is suspected: kidney and/or liver failure, low blood sugar, viral or fungal blood disease, a fatty liver, or an infectious disease of the blood.
Treatment of Seizures in Dogs
No matter the type, prescription medications often help reduce the frequency and intensity of canine seizures. If administered according to your veterinarian’s instructions, they should improve your dog’s health and wellness. The right drug may also extend his lifespan by several years!
What drugs will your pet’s veterinarian prescribe for seizures in dogs?
Phenobarbital – A traditional drug used by veterinarians for seizures of unknown causes, or idiopathic epilepsy, in dogs. Phenobarbital is classified as a schedule IV controlled substance and is best purchased through your pet’s veterinarian or through a local community pharmacy.
K-BroVet (potassium bromide)
Potassium Bromide – Prescribed to pets suffering from any form of the disease, Potassium Bromide helps control seizures. The popularity of the drug is due in no small part to the fact that it can be safely combined with other capsules, such as Phenobarbital, which have proven remarkably effective at mitigating the most violent symptoms of seizures.
Zonisamide – A supplemental drug used to treat chronic forms of epilepsy, Zonisamide is popular with dog owners who wish to avoid the side effects of more powerful medications such as Phenobarbital. The generic drug is affordable and readily available in most pharmacies.
Primidone – When epilepsy is the result of an infection, such as distemper or viral encephalitis, a specific prescription medication will be required to treat it. Primidone was designed to control the convulsions or seizures associated with numerous infections. Available in tablet form, it is long-term medication administered on a regular basis. Even young dogs can benefit from this drug, as it should reduce both the severity and the frequency of seizures.
Levetiracetam – Available as a generic or as the brand name Keppra, Levetiracetam is a human-labelled drug used for seizures in dogs. While Levetiracetam appears safe for use in pets, studies of this drug’s side effects are ongoing. Be sure to report any side effects to your pet’s veterinarian and pharmacist.
Depending on a few factors including the frequency and severity of your pet’s seizures, your pet’s veterinarian may prescribe one or more of the above drugs. Be sure to ask questions and follow your veterinarian’s directions when giving your pet these drugs.
Does your dog or cat have epilepsy or any other type of seizures? Let us know what success you have experienced using the drugs listed above, or any other new therapies your veterinarian has prescribed in the comments below.
A potentially deadly disease for many species of animals, dogs are highly susceptible to heartworm infection. Spread by infected mosquitoes, incidence rates are highest along the coasts and near major waterway, such as the Mississippi River. A recent study found that nearly half of all dogs not on a heartworm preventative in these areas came down with the disease. With that said, heartworm disease has been reported in all 50 U.S. states.
What is heartworm disease in dogs?
Once bitten by an infected mosquito, the heartworm larvae will take about six or seven months to mature into adult heartworms inside your dog. They then begin to reproduce and congregate in the lungs, blood vessels, and the heart. These adult worms can grow up to a foot in length and have a lifespan of five to seven years. A dog can survive with as many as 250 worms in its system, although the disease will cause a whole host of serious health problems.
Because they are parasites, heartworms must feed of their hosts, specifically on the nutrients in their blood. When the worms grow into mature bloodsuckers and there are a large number of them, your furry friend will begin to experience symptoms of heartworm infestation.
The single most common sign your dog is suffering from heartworms is a precipitous decline in energy level. Since the heartworms steal the nutrients your dog needs to stay active, your pouch may refuse to engage in activities once enjoyed, such as walking, playing fetch, or swimming. Your pet may seem lethargic or dazed, even during the day.
In extreme cases, your dog may lose a significant amount of weight, even if the diet remains unchanged. A persistent, hacking cough is another unmistakable symptom of heartworm disease, since the worms also migrate to the lungs. Rapid breathing may ensue shortly thereafter.
Diagnosis of Heartworm Disease in Dogs
According to most veterinarians, your dog should be tested for heartworm disease at least once a year. If caught at an early stage, the immature worms are relatively easy to exterminate. But once they have reached maturity, heartworms can cause serious health problems, even death. The diagnosis involves a simple blood test for antigens and is inexpensive and extremely accurate.
If your dog tests positive for the disease, treatment can take several months if the worms have reached adulthood, since they are more difficult to kill than immature worms. It can also be quite painful and your furry friend will have to rest for several months following treatment to prevent dead worms from entering the lungs.
Prevention of Heartworms in Dogs is the Key
Heartworm disease is completely preventable. A tasty and inexpensive monthly chewable is all you need to protect your dog from the potentially deadly condition. These medications must be given year round, even during the colder months when mosquitoes are less prevalent. Let us take a moment to discuss two of the most popular heartworm preventatives on the market today.
Heartgard Plus for Dogs
Heartgard Plus for Dogs
In addition to eradicating immature heartworms, Heartgard Plus tasty monthly chewable kills hookworms and roundworms as well. Safe for canines six weeks and older, the powerful FDA-approved chemicals in Heartgard Plus for Dogs can control heartworms in your canine friend. As with any prescription medication, it is important to speak with your veterinarian before giving it to your pet. Heartgard Plus is sold in packs of 6 or 12 and must be administered once a month, either with food or on its own.
Iverhart Max Flavored Chewables for Dogs
Iverhart Max for Dogs
One of the most complete monthly medications on the market today, Iverhart Max Flavored Chewables protects your pouch from hookworm, tapeworm, roundworm, and heartworm. Classified as an anthelminthic or dewormer, it contains ingredients that destroy immature worm infestation in short order. In fact, each ingredient is designed to target a specific type of worm. Ivermectin, for example, kills heartworm larvae soon after it is ingested.
Safe for canines over the age of 8 weeks, most veterinarians will test for heartworms before prescribing this medication. Owners should follow dosing instructions while making sure not to miss a dose. If a dosage is missed, you should contact your veterinarian.
Now is the time to visit your pet’s veterinarian for a heartworm blood test and to talk about the best heartworm preventative for your pet and your area. There are other preventatives than those listed above. Leave a comment below and let us all know which heartworm prevention you use for your dog and your area.
Many of us are still experiencing freezing temperatures, so it’s hard to believe that spring is almost here. That means warm days and more trips to the dog park aren’t far away — neither is and flea and tick season. Usually, long stretches of cold winter weather help suppress flea and tick populations, but this year’s relatively mild temperatures mean we’ll probably have a more severe flea and tick season. Learn how to treat your home if you are experiencing flea populations.
Ticks are even more dangerous because they transmit a variety of diseases, some of which can be fatal, including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis, and more.
Protect Your Pet with a Flea and Tick Preventative
Frontline Plus with New Packaging is Available Now!
For the best flea and tick protection for your pet most veterinarians recommend year-round flea and tick prevention. And you have a lot of options. Topical treatments are some of the most popular preventatives because they’re safe, effective, and easy to use. Just a few drops of the medication on your pet’s skin usually once a month provides safe, powerful, waterproof protection all month long. VetRxDirect has a range of these topical treatments ready to ship.
NEW! Seresto for Eight Month Flea and Tick Prevention and Treatment
We’ve just started stocking a brand new option that’s a great alternative to topical treatment: Seresto. This product features innovative technology blending the convenience of a collar with the long-term performance of a topical treatment.
Seresto is Now Available for Immediate Shipping!
It’s nothing like the old “flea collars” people used to use. Seresto is made of a unique polymer matrix embedded with two powerful active ingredients to kill fleas and repel and kill ticks. The medications slowly releases from the material giving your dog or cat effective, full body, waterproof protection for up to eight months. No mess, no odor, and no monthly reminders since one Seresto collar will last most of the year. Pretty easy and convenient, don’t you think? Plus there is currently a Seresto Rebate. Learn more by visiting VetRxDirect’s Seresto Product Page.