Fleas can come from anywhere; you could have carried the fleas home to your pet(s). Stray dogs, cats, raccoons, and opossums are the biggest carriers of fleas in your yard. If any wild animal has crossed your yard, flea eggs could have been dropped.
The Flea Lifecycle:
“There are four life stages of a flea”
The Egg– The adult female flea can lay up to 40 eggs daily. The eggs are laid on the pet where they fall off to hatch in the environment.
The Larvae- Larvae are like little caterpillars crawling around eating on the flea dirt in their area. At a certain age and size, a molt occurs. There are three stages of molt after the third stage it is capable of spinning a cocoon and pupating. (Depending on the environment conditions it can be as short as 9 days)
The Pupae- Once they have spun cocoons the are nearly invincible. The cocoon is sticky and readily picks up dust and dirt. Inside the cocoon the pupa is turning into the flea that we are familiar with. (they are especially protected under the carpet) A pupa can lay dormant in its cocoon for several months, and even up to a year waiting for the right time to emerge.
The Adult Flea- The adult flea will now wait until it detects a nearby animal. Once they come out of there cocoon they are hungry and eager to find food.
What can I do?
Vacuum once to twice weekly.
Shampoo all carpets with soap and hot water.
Wash any bedding or blankets your pets lay with in hot soapy water.
Keeping your pet on a monthly flea preventive can prevent a flea infestation. Talk to your veterinarian about what would work best for you and your pet.
“If one pet has fleas, all pets in the household have fleas weather they can be seen or not. Flea control involves treating ALL pets in the home.”
Fear of thunderstorms is common in dogs, and tends to get worse as they age. While some aspects of this problem remain a mystery, we know a lot that can make life easier for thunderstorm fearful dogs and their families.
Prevention and Precautions
Why do dogs fear thunderstorms? Too many dogs are left outdoors during storms, sometimes with no shelter at all. Anyone would be scared with good reason. Keep your dog inside during storms.
If you want to take your dog outdoors during a storm, do it safely. Some dogs do better when protected by raincoats and boots. Make the trip outside a fun adventure or calm occasion rather than a stressful experience. Giving a special reward for going outside in the rain are a good idea.
Dogs feel rewarded for fearful behavior if you pet and praise when the dog is behaving fearfully. Rewarding a behavior increases the likelihood of that behavior occurring more often, even when the individual is not conscious of being rewarded for it. Give rewards when the dog is behaving confidently, calmly, or happily. Work with your dog to develop ways to elicit these behaviors so that you can do so during storms and then reward. This is powerful training that will help you and your dog in all aspects of life.
Be aware that this fear can be contagious from one dog to another. This makes it all the more important to handle both the fearful dog and a new dog carefully, so that you improve how the dogs feel about storms rather than letting the fear get worse, or even feeding it by how you manage the dogs.
Causes and Triggers
Dogs react to a variety of things associated with storms, and it helps to know what these are for your dog. You may never know them all, but at least a general understanding will help you understand the extent of this fear.
The loud noise is scary to some dogs, and the dog can hear it at a much greater distance than humans can. The dog has early audio warning of an approaching storm, and most storm-phobic dogs eventually start reacting long before the sounds are loud.
Electricity in the air may be a major factor in dog storm phobia. Is there something unpleasant about this to the dog’s sensations? Does it perhaps become even scarier to a dog who has been trained with an electronic collar, or frightened by a static shock in everyday life? There are a lot more questions about the effect of electricity on dogs than answers.
The smell of the air changes when a storm approaches, and of course the keen nose of a dog detects this early. The air pressure changes, too, and a dog’s ears are more sensitive to pressure changes than most people. In some cases, it might hurt. The family may change routine when a storm is approaching.
Anything that has become associated in the dog’s experience with thunderstorms can become a trigger for the fear. So, anytime one of these triggers happens is an opportunity for you to help your dog overcome the fear.
For the More Severe Cases
Your dog may find the preferred spot independently, leaving you to simply make sure it stays consistently available to the dog. Chosen places dogs include basements, bathrooms, closets, and crates that are kept in secluded parts of houses.
If your dog becomes frantic and as a result might suffer injury or do damage during a storm, you may need to develop a good means of confining the dog. Sometimes a secluded crate works, if the dog has been conditioned to rest calmly in a crate.
We may decide to medicate your dog with an anti-anxiety drug for the entire storm season or year-round or a sedative during storms. Due to the unpredictability of storms, it may not be possible to administer a sedative when it’s needed.
For some reason, there are dogs who find it comforting to get under a “security blanket” to combat storm fears. Due to the risk of overheating a dog, don’t force this method. You might give it a try, though, monitoring the dog to see if it helps and to find a covering that provides the benefit without excessive heating.
Don’t take thunderstorm phobia lightly, even if the problem seems minor in your dog. Handled badly by humans, it will get worse, and dogs have been known to jump through glass windows during storms. Some dogs will throw up when it storms. Many dogs have fled fenced yards. This is a major problem that calls for intelligent handling at the first sign. Treat storms as a routine part of life, nothing to fear, and even perhaps occasion for some special times. Do these things before your dog ever shows signs of phobia, and perhaps you’ll never experience a serious fear of storms.
Canine parvovirus or parvo is a highly contagious virus that can affect all dogs, but unvaccinated dogs and puppies younger than four months old are the most at risk. The virus affects dogs’ gastrointestinal tracts and is spread by direct dog to dog contact and contact of contaminated feces environments. The virus can also contaminate food and water bowls, collars and leashes, and the hands and clothing of people who handle infected dogs. It is resistant to heat, cold, and can survive in the environment for long periods of time. Even trace amounts of feces from an infected dog may harbor the virus and infect other dogs that come into the infected environment. The virus is readily transmitted from place to place on the hair or feet of dogs or contaminated cages, shoes, or other objects.
Signs of Parvo
Some of the signs of parvovirus include lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, and severe and often bloody diarrhea. Persistent vomiting and diarrhea can cause rapid dehydration and damage to the intestines and immune system can cause septic shock.
If your puppy or dog shows any of these signs, you should seek veterinary care immediately
Most deaths from parvo occur within 48 to 72 hours following the onset of clinical signs. If your puppy or dog shows any of these signs, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.
Diagnosis and treatment
No specific drug is available that will kill the virus in infected dogs, and treatment is intended to support the dog’s body systems until the dog’s immune system can fight off the viral infection. Treatment should be started immediately and consists primarily of intensive care efforts to combat dehydration by replacing electrolyte, protein and fluid losses, controlling vomiting and diarrhea. When a dog develops parvo, treatment can be very expensive and the dog may die despite aggressive treatment. Early detection and aggressive treatment are very important in successful outcomes. With proper care and treatment.
Parvo is highly contagious. Keeping infected dogs separated from other unvaccinated dogs and puppies is necessary to minimize spread of infection. Proper cleaning and disinfection of affected areas where infected dogs are or have been is essential to control the spread of parvo. The virus is not easily killed so talk to your veterinarian.
Preventing parvoviral infection
Vaccination and good hygiene are critical components of prevention.
Puppies are very susceptible to parvovirus, because the natural immunity provided by their mothers may wear off before the puppies own immune systems kicks in to fight off infection. This means even vaccinated puppies with immature immune systems may occasionally be infected by parvovirus and develop disease. To reduce gaps in protection and provide the best protection against parvovirus during the first few months, puppies should receive multiple parvo vaccine boosters and receive a final booster once the immune system is mature.
To protect their adult dogs, pet owners should be sure that their dog’s parvo vaccination current.
Until a puppy has received its complete series of vaccinations, pet owners should use caution when taking their pet to places where puppies are pet shops, parks, puppy classes, doggy daycare, and grooming establishments. Reputable establishments and training programs reduce exposure risk by requiring vaccinations.
Unlike vaccines for dogs, vaccinating your cat is much less complicated. There are three vaccines available that protect against 5 distinct viruses. Whether your cat goes outside or not is the major deciding factor on whether you need all three vaccines or just two. Here is a description of each virus and why we recommend vaccinating against them.
The rabies vaccine is given once your kitten is 12 weeks of age and boosters are given annually. Rabies is required by law. There are more cases of rabies in cats than dogs primarily because they are a less vaccinated population. Rabies is fatal and highly contagious to humans. Cats do not show typical symptoms and infection can be mistaken for many other conditions.
This is given 3 times as a kitten, one year later, and then every 3 years. We recommend this vaccine to all cats whether they reside indoors or outdoors. The viruses in this combination vaccine include:
Rhinotracheitis: otherwise known as feline herpes virus #1 (FHV-1).FHV-1 is more likely to cause eye changes including ulcers and loss of vision, but also causes sneezing, nasal congestion and discharge, as well as oral lesions. It can be spread from seemingly healthy individuals to infect others, and often persists for life.
Calicivirus: otherwise known as Feline Calici Virus (FCV) and is one of the causes feline upper respiratory syndrome, sometimes referred to as feline respiratory disease complex (FRDC). Vaccination manages the severity of symptoms but may not prevent the disease. Sneezing, congestion, fever, eye swelling, discharge, and loss of appetite are all symptoms. FCV is more often associated with oral ulcerations, but will cause multiple respiratory symptoms. The FCV virus has multiple strains and mild disease can occur in vaccinated cats.
Panleukopenia: a preventable infectious disease caused by feline parvovirus (FPV), also called feline parvo or distemper. Symptoms are usually gastrointestinal (vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, fever), but this disease may also attack the bone marrow.
Feline Leukemia Virus
Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is the leading viral killer of cats. The virus is spread from cat-to-cat through bite wounds, through casual contact with infected cats, and from an infected mother cat to her kittens. The individuals most at risk of infection are outdoor cats, indoor/outdoor cats, and cats exposed to such individuals. FeLV vaccines are recommended for all cats at risk of exposure to the virus. This vaccine is given twice to kittens and then annually thereafter.
There are numerous vaccines available so how do you know what is important for your dog and what isn’t? Below is a brief description of the most crucial and dangerous diseases that can be prevented by vaccination. Every situation is different so allow us to help you make the right decision for your dog.
Canine Distemper Virus: Distemper is a severe viral disease that affects many of your dog’s organ systems. This disease can cause severe permanent brain damage and many other clinical problems including vomiting, diarrhea and severe secondary infections. An airborne virus causes distemper. Dogs six weeks to six months old are most susceptible. Treatment for advanced stages of the disease is usually not effective
Infectious Canine Hepatitis: Hepatitis in dogs is caused by Canine Adenovirus (CAV). Infectious hepatitis causes severe liver damage, vomiting, diarrhea and death. Treatment requires intensive nursing care, which includes hospitalization and IV fluids. The virus is spread from dog to dog via coughs and sneezing.
Canine Parvovirus: Canine Parvovirus(CPV) causes a very severe gastroenteritis that is highly contagious and can cause severe vomiting and bloody diarrhea. Parvo is most often seen in dogs between six weeks and six months old. The disease is difficult and expensive to treat and usually fatal without treatment.
Rabies Virus: Rabies virus also infects humans and is fatal to humans. Rabies virus is 100% fatal to dogs as there is no treatment. You are required by law to have your dog vaccinated for rabies by a licensed veterinarian. A puppy should have its first rabies vaccine at four months of age. Your puppy’s first rabies shot is good for one year.
Bordetella bronchiseptica: Bordetella is the most common bacterial cause of a complicated disease called Infectious Tracheobronchitis or “Kennel Cough”. While this disease is not usually serious, it can lead to a chronic and severe cough. Bordetella is spread from dog to dog by coughing and sneezing. The vaccination is unusual in that it can be oral or injectable. We recommend puppies receive the oral vaccine because it provides strong and rapid protection. Dogs that are kept at boarding kennels or go to groomers or dog parks should receive this vaccination every year.
Leptospirosis: “Lepto” is bacteria that is excreted into the urine from livestock and wild animals like deer, raccoons, and squirrels. Your dog can become infected by drinking or even walking through water contaminated with this urine. Lepto causes acute kidney and/or liver failure that can be fatal. People can be infected with Leptospirosis from their dog which makes vaccinating your dog all the more important.
Lyme Disease: Otherwise known as Lyme Borreliosis is a bacterial infection transmitted to your dog by ticks. This is part of a grouping of illnesses that are called Vector Borne Diseases. Symptoms include fever, shifting leg lameness, swollen joints, enlarged lymph nodes, lethargy, depression, and anorexia. Yearly vaccination will help prevent the disease but does not replace the need for year round tick prevention. We recommend routine screening for Vector Borne Diseases done with your Heartworm test yearly to assess your dog’s risk factors.