Lyme Disease in Dogs:  Symptoms and Solutions

iStock_000091288905_MediumIt is tick season here in Illinois, and you are likely no stranger to these creepy crawly critters. It is no fun to find a tick on you or your pet, but the concern goes far beyond a case of the heebie jeebies.

Ticks are known to carry a wide variety of infectious diseases, not the least of which is Lyme disease. So what is a pet owner to do? How can we protect our canine companions? The Pet Experts at Naperville Animal Hospital are here to help you learn how to recognize the symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs and offer some great ways to prevent tick problems.

A Little About Lyme

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by the deer tick. It is caused by the organism Borrelia burgdorferii, which lives in the tick’s digestive system and becomes activated during feeding. Lyme disease can infect people and pets alike. Continue…

Does Your Pet Suffer From Springtime Allergies?

itchy dogsApril showers bring May flowers – and with those flowers comes one thing, pollen. Humans are not the only ones affected by pollen and the seasonal allergies it can cause. Animals, including our beloved dogs and cats, suffer from hay fever and allergies just like we do. And, unfortunately, their suffering is just as miserable as ours. Continue…

Arm Yourself for Flea and Tick Season!

With flea and tick season on the horizon, don’t forget that the best defense is a good offense!  Advances in parasite prevention options and a little knowledge can go a long way towards defeating these nasty little buggers.  Don’t forget the following important aspects of protecting your pet:

  • Choose your weapons wisely:  Use safe, effective, high quality preventative products.  Some products work better than others.  Don’t waste your money on something that isn’t going to work.  We can help you analyze your specific needs and pinpoint the best product for your situation.
  • Be punctual: Treat your pet every 30 days or as directed.  Many products loose efficacy toward the end of the treatment cycle.
  • Bathe with caution: When using spot-on products, be sure to avoid bathing your pet 48 hours before AND after application.
  • Every pet, every month: All pets in the household should be treated with flea prevention.  Should the rogue flea get into the house, even that old indoor kitty can become a virtual breeding ground for the little varmints. Be sure to consult with us before using spot treatments on your cat, though — some of them are canine only.
  • Don’t give up hope: If you have a bad infestation, things may look worse before it looks better.  Continue utilizing the products recommended as instructed.

If you need refills on any of your flea & tick prevention or would like to talk to us about some options, give us a call or just stop in!

Your Pet’s Itchy Skin: Common Causes

Nothing is more frustrating than an itchy pet. And there are few things that look more miserable. There are many causes for a scratching animal, but here are some of the more common offenders:

  • Bugs! Fleas are the most common offenders, but other organisms like mites can also cause your pet to scratch.
  • Irritation: That shampoo you bathed Fido with or the lavender scented detergent that you washed Fluffy’s bed in may smell great to you, but for some pets these things can be very irritating.  You are often best off to use fragrance-free products and gentle shampoos.
  • Allergies: Pets can be allergic to anything that people can, and most of the time their allergies rear their ugly head as itchiness. Food, grass, dust, even cat dander can cause your pet to be itchy.  If you suspect your pet may have an allergy, consult with your veterinarian for the best was to relieve the symptoms.
  • Skin infections: Infections can occur for a variety of reasons, but they most skin infections are irritating! Often medications are needed to get rid of infection and make your pet comfortable.

If your pet is scratching, it might be a good idea to have a vet take a closer look. Feel free to contact us to schedule an appointment.

Dog Days of Summer

We want to make sure you keep your pets safe during these hot, hot months. Please watch out for the following summer hazards:

  • Heat stroke: It may be the most obvious hazard, but don’t forget that pets can overheat and even die from high temperatures. Never leave an animal in a car, even for a short period. Make sure your pet always has access to shade and fresh water.
  • The sun: It may sound like a good idea to shave down your golden retriever, but your pet’s coat provides insulation from the heat and limits sun exposure which can result in sunburn.
  • Heartworms: Mosquitoes transmit heartworms, which are just what they sound like- worms that grow in the heart. Not a good thing. Keep your pet on heartworm prevention as recommended by your vet.
  • Fleas: These nasty little buggers are at their peak during the warm months of the year. Preventatives prescribed by your vet are very effective at keeping fleas at bay.
  • Parties: Fido may want to crash the neighborhood block party, but be sure you limit his consumption of extra treats that may make him sick.  Alcohol is also a big danger as well as garbage cans full of tasty treats like leftover bones.

Summer can be a fun time for your pet, but there are many dangers as well.  Keeping yourself informed and aware of potential risks can help to make sure your summer is a breeze.

Fleas and Ticks, Oh My!

Lions and tigers and bears aren’t the scariest things lurking outdoors for your pets!  Did you know that flea allergies are the number one cause of skin disease in dogs and cats?  And that they can transmit blood parasites and tapeworms?   Have you heard that ticks carry nasty diseases such as Lyme disease?  Have no fear, though!  A little education goes a long way in protecting Fido and Fluffy from these creepy crawly parasites.  For instance, while fleas and ticks are most common during the warmer months of the year, they are a risk throughout.  Also, did you realize that even dogs and cats that stay indoors can be a breeding ground for fleas?  Keeping your pet on year-round preventative can stop an infestation before it starts.  There are a variety of products on the market to protect your pet, which can make it difficult to know which to use.  Your veterinarian can help you to sort through the vast options and select the best product to meet your individual needs.  So follow the yellow brick road to see the wizard, er, your veterinarian to get your pet protected today!