Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

Lyme Disease

Spring has officially reached us in Lake Elmo, which means we all start to get pretty excited at being able to head outdoors without multiple layers of clothing to protect us from the elements. However, there’s one lurking parasite that also has been waiting for spring. Once temperatures hit 40 degrees, ticks are hungry, alert and looking for a meal, one of which possibly may be you or your pet. While ticks may carry a variety of diseases, we’re going to discuss Lyme disease in this article and how to prevent it.

What Causes Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is spread by the bite of an infected “deer tick”, otherwise known as a blacklegged tick. These ticks tend to be more prevalent in areas heavily populated by deer and mice. The ticks  become infected when feeding off of a host that is infected, and then the tick transmits the Borrelia burgdorfer bacterium when feeding off of the new host. In order for Lyme disease to be transmitted, the tick must be on the host for 24-48 hours.

What Are Symptoms of Lyme Disease?

Once the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium travels through a host’s body, the following symptoms may occur:

  • Lethargy
  • Joint stiffness and swelling
  • Lameness
  • Fever
  • Depressed mood
  • Lack of appetite
  • Swollen lymph nodes

If you notice these behavioral or physical changes in your pet, please call our Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo veterinary team and we can test your pet for Lyme Disease. Early treatment helps to lower Lyme disease infection’s impact on your pet’s kidneys. If your pet does test positive, an antibiotic which has been proven effective in resolving symptoms may be prescribed.

How Can I Protect My Pets From Lyme Disease

The best ways to protect your pets from Lyme disease are to avoid contact with ticks, use preventive measures, and vaccinate your pets for Lyme disease each year.

Take an inventory of where you live. Look around, and notice any shady, damp areas at ground level. Look toward edges of woods or fences and walls. Ticks like long grass where they can easily attach to a host walking by, as well as places they can hide out of direct sunlight. By keeping your grass mowed and clearing debris from the edges of your lawn, you can help in keeping tick populations down. If you do consider hiring a lawn service company to treat for pests such as rodents and ticks, be sure to inform them about your pets. Follow directions carefully so as not to have your pet exposed to potentially hazardous chemicals.

When walking with your pets, avoid areas where tick populations may be higher, especially such as longer grass and dark, damp areas of the woods. Additionally, avoid areas where deer may congregate, as the likelihood of Lyme-infected ticks is higher.

For your pets, use a flea and tick prevention year-round to help protect your pet. Our Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo veterinarians can help guide you to the best solution for your pet, based on age, overall health and lifestyle. Each tick preventive works a bit differently, whether repelling or killing the ticks. It’s important to note that it’s still imperative that you check your pet over frequently, especially after venturing outside, for ticks that may have attached to your pet. Should you find a tick, use tweezers to remove it instead of your bare hands. Gently remove the tick, and clean the area with a small amount of rubbing alcohol.  Monitor the area for signs of infection, and call us if you notice any swelling, redness, or any of the previously mentioned Lyme Disease symptoms.

We hope you have a fun and adventure-filled spring!

Photo Credit: Enterline Design Services LLC / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Pet Poison Prevention Week

It’s officially Pet Poison Prevention Week! This week, take a moment to see your home through the eyes of your pet, and be aware of potential dangers that lurk in unsuspected places. We’ve commonly discussed seasonal poisoning dangers, and here are few of the most common toxic substances, especially as we officially enter spring this week:

Prescriptions and Over-the-Counter Medications

It’s so easily to forget about a handbag containing medication being thrown on the back of a chair, or a medication left out on a coffee table. However, these substances can cause kidney failure, liver failure, and serious poisoning in our pets. Always keep human medications stored in their properly labeled containers, up high and out of reach of inquisitive pets. Additionally, never give your pet human medications unless specifically under consultation with our veterinarians.

Spring Cleaning Chemicals

Our pets are incredibly sensitive to the smells in our home. But, did you know that many of the cleaning chemicals we use also present poisoning dangers? As you’re giving your home an extra-good spring cleaning, keep dishwashing products, oven cleaners, drain obstruction chemicals, toilet bowl cleaners, and any counter sprays secured behind a cabinet door out of your pet’s reach. These items can cause skin irritation, tissue damage or even be fatal to your unsuspecting pet.

Rodenticides

None of us want to share our home with unwanted rodents. Mouse and rat poisons are good at their job - killing unwelcome pests; however, these same toxic chemicals can be fatal to your dog or cat, too. When ingested, your pet will need immediate treatment. It’s important to be educated on the impact of these toxins, and pet-proof your home with other, less lethal, options. For example, ultrasonic repellents or scent repellents have proven both effective and safer.

Garden Preparation

In our Lake Elmo area, we go a little crazy at the first signs of spring! However, as you’re preparing to get your lawn and gardens ready, note that cocoa bean mulch and insecticides both present toxic hazards to our pets. Cocoa bean mulch contains a chemical called “theobromine”, which is toxic to dogs when ingested. Insecticides, even when consumed in small amounts, can be life-threatening. Be particularly mindful of bait stations, garden/lawn sprays, or sprinkled granules that may peak the interest of a curious pet. As you’re planning for thriving spring greenery, opt for pet safe pest control instead.

Our pets are quick, and they may ingest a toxic substance without us realizing it immediately. Be on the lookout for these symptoms:

  • Bloating
  • Lethargy
  • Irritation to skin, eyes, mouth
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bleeding
  • Increased thirst
  • Stumbling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis

If you note any of the above symptoms, please call Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo immediately at 651.770.3250.

We wish you and your pets a very enjoyable and SAFE spring!

Photo Credit: Zbynek Pospisil / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Antifreeze Toxicity

Antifreeze is more common during this time of year when the weather is chilly and our engines are susceptible to freezing, but it’s not entirely safe and it’s important to understand the danger it poses to our pets.

Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol, an organic compound that can cause ethylene glycol poisoning. It’s a potentially fatal condition that is caused when one ingests the compound, and pets are often exposed to antifreeze in a variety of different ways. For instance, your car may leak antifreeze from the engine to the ground or it could be spilt when you’re pouring it into your car engine. The container may also be loose or leak antifreeze down the side when you put the cap back on, and this will be exposed to your pets.

It’s one of the most common forms of poisoning in pets. If your pet does ingest antifreeze then it’s important they receive immediate care. However, prevention is always the best way to deal with something like antifreeze, and we’ll be talking about it in this article as well as some emergency tips.

Symptoms of Antifreeze Poisoning

In most cases, you’ll start to see symptoms within 30 minutes to 12 hours of your pet ingesting antifreeze. Some symptoms can also develop 2 to 3 days after ingestion.

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Uncoordinated movement
  • Muscle twitching
  • Rapid eye movement
  • Head tremors
  • Slowed reflexes
  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination

The following symptoms typically show up 2 to 3 days after initial symptoms appear

  • Continued urination but reduced thirst
  • Low body temperature
  • Sluggish movements
  • Seizures
  • No appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Sores or ulcers in mouth
  • Drooling

Recognising Antifreeze

It’s important that you recognize the bright green color of antifreeze and the sweet smell that comes from it. Small amounts are toxic to the body when ingested, so if you notice any of the bright green liquid around your garage or car, make sure you clean it up before your pets are attracted by the smell.

Preventing Antifreeze Poisoning

The best method to avoid antifreeze poisoning in your pets is to take preventive measures.

  • Always keep antifreeze bottles out of reach from your pets. This includes locking them in cabinets and not placing them on open shelves.
  • When using antifreeze, make sure your pet is away from your car so they won’t smell or become curious about the antifreeze.
  • Make sure you seal the antifreeze bottle tightly when you’re finished using it.
  • Wipe up and clean any antifreeze that may have leaked when you placed the fluid in your engine.
  • If you do spill the antifreeze, keep your pet far away from it as you clean it.
  • Check your car frequently after using antifreeze to ensure that it isn’t leaking out of your engine and out underneath your car.
  • Purchase antifreeze that contains propylene glycol as an active ingredient. This is less toxic and doesn’t have a sweet smell or taste.

If you suspect your pet has ingested antifreeze or any other toxic substance, please call us immediately at (651) 484-3331.

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