Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

Whipworm

Whipworm is a one-quarter inch intestinal parasite that lives in your dog’s cecum—the intersection of the small and large intestines—and the large intestine. The most common way that dogs pick up the whipworm parasite is by rooting in soil and eating dirt that contains tiny whipworm eggs that are not visible to the human eye. Consuming feces of other animals with whipworm can also cause your dog to get the parasite. With a lifespan of up to five years and the ability to continually reproduce inside of your dog’s body, whipworm can be a highly destructive parasite. Given that whipworm eggs can last up to five years in the environment, you should also clear fecal matter from your dog’s area as much as possible to avoid reinfection.
 
Recognizing and Treating the Whipworm Parasite
 
The whipworm can lead to significant health issues. The most common symptoms associated with whipworm infestation are weight loss, infection, fatigue, and diarrhea that is both bloody and watery.
 
It isn’t always easy for veterinarians at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo to diagnose whipworm in dogs. One reason for this is that a female whipworm may not lay eggs for up to 12 weeks after hatching; another is that the parasite isn’t present in every stool, which is the primary way to detect the presence of whipworm. False negatives are common, especially soon after noticing symptoms. The first step if your dog has any symptoms consistent with whipworm will be to analyze a fresh fecal sample.  If that doesn't confirm a diagnosis but our veterinarian is still suspicious of whipworm, we may recommend treating for the parasite while doing other diagnostics for diarrhea (bloodwork or radiographs).
 
The treatment for whipworm is for your dog to take an anti-parasitic oral medication until she no longer shows signs of infestation.  It is important that you give your dog the full course of medication, even if she seems better.  This is necessary to ensure that the treatment kills the whipworm completely.  Some heartworm medications, such as Heartgard (which our doctors recommend using year round), also treat whipworm so it is a good idea to use this parasite preventative regularly to prevent the infection before it has a chance to start. 
 
Tips for Parasite Prevention
 
We recommend bringing your dog in for annual preventive care between the ages of one and seven and to schedule more frequent visits if she’s a puppy or senior. We routinely check for parasites at these appointments. Additionally, avoid allowing your dog’s feces to sit for long periods in the yard; she may try to eat them. Be sure to stop her from attempting to eat feces of other dogs as well. 
 
If you have additional questions about protecting your pet from whipworm and other parasites or would like to schedule an appointment, contact Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo at 651-770-3250.
 
Image credit: Annetics | iStock | Getty Images Plus

Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease, which means that animals can acquire it and pass it to humans, and vice versa. Fortunately, this is rare. It’s also rare for this disease to affect cats as it is far more prevalent in the canine population. Genus leptospira, for which the disease is named, is a group of complex bacteria responsible for making dogs ill. One of the most common places to find this bacteria is in standing bodies of water such as ponds. 

How Dogs Acquire the Bacterial Infection for Leptospirosis
 
Once your dog has picked up the bacteria that causes this illness, it will remain in his body until he sheds it by urinating. The most common methods of contamination include:
 
  • Exposure to the urine of another dog or infected wild animal, by digging in soil or by sharing bedding materials
  • Drinking bacteria-filled water
  • Eating tissues of an animal that already has the infection
  • A bite from another dog or wild animal who actively carries the virus
 
The leptospirosis bacteria can spread to different parts of your dog’s body. While most dogs have strong enough immunity to partially fight the infection, it’s usually not strong enough to prevent transmission to the kidneys. This causes significant health issues that require prompt medical intervention.
 
The specific strain of bacteria, the age of your dog, and whether she has received a vaccination against leptospirosis determine whether the infection will be mild, moderate, or severe. Because severe cases can turn fatal without the proper care, we encourage you to schedule an immediate appointment with Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo if you notice any of these symptoms:
 
  • Joint or muscle pain that makes movement difficult
  • Increased urination
  • Decreased appetite
  • Jaundice
  • Fever
  • Vomiting 
Treating and Preventing Leptospirosis
 
After learning more about your dog’s symptoms, our veterinarians will need to do some blood and urine tests to confirm a diagnosis of Leptospirosis.  Once a diagnosis is obtained, and depending on the severity of your dog's symptoms, medications such as antibiotics and supportive care (often including intravenous therapy) will be done and can require multiple days of hospitalization and care before your dog starts to feel better.
 
The good news about leptospirosis is that it’s easy to prevent with a vaccination. We are happy to help you evaluate your dog’s health and lifestyle to determine if she’s a good candidate for the leptospirosis vaccine. Feel free to contact us with additional questions or to schedule an exam for your dog. 
 
 
Image credit: Jupiterimages | iStock | Getty Images Plus

Safety Tips to Keep You From Getting Caught Off Guard While Fishing With Your Dog

Are you hooked on fishing? If so, it’s easy to understand why. There are so many amazing spots to relax and enjoy fishing here in Lake Elmo. We know many of our clients want to share in the excitement with their dogs by bringing them shoreside or on the boat. To make sure your fishing trip is fun and carefree, we want to share some ways to keep your pup safe while on your fishing adventure.

Your dog will surely love your fishing trip, but there are some things to keep in mind:

1. Be Mindful of Where Your Dog is and What Your Dog is Doing

It can be difficult to keep your eye on your dog while you’re casting, reeling your line in, while watching your bobber, or fighting a fish. But being aware of where your dog is at all times while you fish can help you avoid accidents.
Keeping an eye on your dog will also keep her from wandering off and possibly getting lost.

2. If You’re Fishing from a Boat, Your Dog Will Need a Life Vest

As we mentioned, not all dogs naturally know how to swim. Even dogs that can swim can also end up in trouble. Dogs that slip or fall off a dog can become disoriented and not immediately begin paddling. Make sure you prevent your dog from risking her life by using a properly fitted life vest at all times on the boat. We recommend West Marine in Bayport for k9 life vests.

3. Shade, Shade, Shade

Whether fishing from the shore, hiking back to a secret fishing hole, or fishing from a boat, your dog will need a place to lie down in the shade. It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re fishing, and time in the sun quickly adds up.

If you are worried about your dog getting sunburned, you can use a pet safe zinc-free sunblock on her nose and thin areas of fur. Also, find a shady spot and place a bed, blanket, or towel down, so she has a cool place to relax and watch you reel in the next ‘big one.’

4. Bring Plenty of Fresh Water

Completely preventing your dog from drinking lake water can be difficult, but bringing along fresh water can encourage her to not drink as much lake water or standing water. This can prevent dehydration, upset stomach, and ingesting harmful bacteria, such as blue-green algae which can be toxic to dogs.

5. Keep Hooks Out of Paw’s Reach

Don’t let your dog get hooked. From paw injuries to accidentally swallowing a hook, your dog can face serious cuts or injury that can result in blinding, surgery, or worse.

Hook Safety:

  • Bait smells scrumptious to your dog. Don’t let her make your bait into a buffet.
  • Shiny lures can look like toys to a naturally curious dog.
  • Put all hooks that aren’t being used away in a tackle box out of reach of your dog.
  • Be careful when casting to not snag your dog.

If your dog does accidentally get hooked in the paw, do not let your dog try to remove the hook or put weight on the paw. This could lead to further damage or swallowing the hook. If your dog gets a hook embedded in her paw or elsewhere, bring her in immediately or bring her to an emergency vet after hours. Do not try to remove the hook yourself.

If you are experiencing an emergency during the day, call us at 651-770-3250. If it is after close, we recommend Como Park Animal Hospital or the Animal Emergency and referral center.

Fishing with your furry best friend can be a blast! You and your dog can enjoy some fresh air, the thrill of landing a fish, and she’s guaranteed to sleep well once you arrive home.

Make a splash while keeping your dog safe this summer. Get ready to share some fish tales that include your furry friend, and enjoy your fishing trip.

Photo Credit: Svetlana123 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

After-Hours Emergencies

After Hours Veterinary Care
1014 Dale Street North
St. Paul, MN 55117
(Inside Como Park Animal Hospital just north of downtown St. Paul)
24-hour care for multiple species
651-487-3255

Animal Emergency & Referral Center of MN
1163 Helmo Avenue N
Oakdale, MN 55128
651-501-3766

 

Animal Emergency & Referral Center of MN
1542 7th St. W.
St. Paul, MN 55012
(located 2 blocks east of 35E)
651-293-1800