Fleas! Why you should fear them, and what you can do to treat & prevent them
If you have pets, you’ve likely experienced fleas at some point. They’re miserable little buggers, aren’t they! Thing is, they’re even worse then you’re likely aware.
Sure, fleas cause your dog or cat to chew, scratch, roll, and otherwise feel miserable, but did you know that fleas also transmit disease - both to your pets, and to you and your family? Indeed they do… and some of these diseases can have very significant health consequences too. This is especially true if you or someone else in your home has a suppressed immune system.
People and pets wind up with a suppressed immune system typically either from a disease (HIV/AIDS, diabetes, certain cancers, and others) or from medications (certain chemotherapy drugs, and immunosuppressive drugs used following organ transplant or for treating rheumatoid arthritis & other immune-mediated diseases). Young children also have a degree of immune compromise until their immune system fully matures, and immune function typically decreases with advanced age - meaning that young children and the elderly are also at increased risk of the significant consequences from flea-transmitted diseases too.
Here’s a sampling of diseases that fleas can transmit to or cause in your pets:
As you’re now hopefully appreciating, the prevention and eradication of fleas on your pet and in your environment really isn’t just about your pet’s comfort - though that should be reason enough. It’s also about your general health and safety, as well as that of your family and your pets too. Interested in finding out what you need to know to prevent or eradicate a flea infestation on your pets and/or in your environment? Then read on…
Many of us will be celebrating (mourning) the official end of summer today. Don’t forget about the safety of your pets though as you fire up the grill, frolic at the lake, or jump in the car to head out of town. The typical BBQ, jaunt to the lake/ocean/river, and an unsecured drive in the family car are all potential ‘emergency minefields’ for your dogs (and, to a lesser extent, your cats too). Aside from the illness, pain, and potential death that such accidents, poisonings, and other emergencies can cause for your pets, they can also deplete you of your hard earned savings and relaxation. Though they are one of the last places that many of us would want to spend our Labor Day holiday, the veterinary ERs across the country fill up on this day year in and year out. Read on to learn what you need to know and what you should do to avoid being one of the people sitting in your local pet ER. Good luck, and have fun!
All of the news reports (correctly) point out that this story underscores the importance of microchipping your pets. What most of them fail to even mention though is the more important lesson that should be taken from this tragic accident - which is that all pets should be properly restrained during travel.
While it is great that this family got their dog back, and truly it is, what would be even better is if the accident had never happened in the first place. Then they not only wouldn’t have lost their dog, but they also wouldn’t have lost their husband/father and their daughter/sister.
PLEASE everybody, don’t let this important lesson be lost and don’t let the death of these two people be in vain. Don’t forget, unrestrained pets not only cause accidents where occupants of their vehicle die, but they also cause accidents where occupants of other vehicles die too. Coupled with the fact that unrestrained pets can also bite emergency medical technicians and other ‘first responders’, and that, yes, these pets can also go missing, you can hopefully see that there really is no good reason why pets shouldn’t be properly restrained during travel.
Please help spread the word, it may be you life or that of someone you love that you save by doing so.
Please also visit the Paws To Click website (www.PawsToClick.com) for more information and to ‘take the pledge’ to drive responsibly with your pets.
Attention new and expecting parents... keep your kids & your pets out of the ER!
As I found out for the first time in November 2009, and again this August, welcoming a new baby into your family and home is truly one of the greatest joys in life. If you’re a pet owner though, this great joy can be shattered by a host of emergencies that can happen to your children and pets when they share a home.
Of course I’m not saying this to ‘bring you down’ from your elation of becoming a parent, or (heaven forbid) to encourage you to give up your pets; rather I’m trying to bring to your attention a reality that’s best faced early on and with full awareness. After all, the dangers of not facing this reality, or of not preparing for it, are many, and some can prove debilitating, disfiguring, emotionally scarring, and even fatal - for children or pets. And thats on top of the heartbreak, stress, inconvenience, and expense that you will likely experience!
Did you know…
Over 400,000 children aged 12 years and under are treated for dog bite injuries each year. And most of those bites happen in their own home and are inflicted by the family dog.
Because of their aggressive behaviors towards children, or the anticipation of such behaviors, thousands of pets are relinquished to shelters each year when a new baby is brought into the household.
Bringing a new baby into the household can be one of the most stressful events in your pet’s life - and that stress can lead to injuries for baby or pet.
Many common diaper bag & baby nursery items are harmful to pets - some fatally so.
Most pet emergency visits cost owners several hundred to a couple thousand dollars and precious hours of free time - both commodities that are typically in very short supply for new parents.
Fortunately though, with some prior knowledge and planning, you can greatly decrease the likelihood that your children or your pets (or your wallet, for that matter) will wind up in the ER.
Amazingly sad story of a dog that caused a fatal car accident and then went missing for over a year. Although this story has a silver lining (the remaining family members being reunited with the dog), the sad truth is that the father of the family and one of the children died as a result of their dog not being restrained. This story should really drive home the importance of proper pet restraint during travel, and of microchipping your pets. Again, very sad story… fortunately there is a bit of a silver-lining though. Please circulate this story to help increase awareness. And if you’ve got a story to share, please feel free to do so in the comments section below.
What You Don't Know Can Harm (and even kill) Your Pets: Some Less Well-Known, But No Less Dangerous Pet Toxins
Sure, you know that chocolate is dangerous for pets, right? In fact, so many people are aware of this common toxicity that vet hospitals across the country regularly receive phone calls from concerned owners of 65# labradors wondering if the single chocolate-chip cookie (or a few M&Ms) their dog just ate is going to kill them. [It likely isn’t] And its also not uncommon come December for pet ERs to start receiving calls from pet owners worried because their cat was seen nibbling on the leaf of a poinsettia plant. [It’s likely to be ok, aside maybe from a little digestive upset] These are some of the more well-known about pet toxicities, and though one can be very serious indeed (the chocolate), there are several others out there that are less well-known, but no less dangerous. It’s likely that many pet owners, yourself included, have at least one of the five things discussed below in their house right now.
Head on over to and get in on the discussion happening on The Preventive Vet Facebook page. We’re talking about acetaminophen toxicity in pets. The common, dangerous, and (often) lesser well known pet toxins will be the subject of tomorrow’s television segment and companion blog post. This discussion about acetaminophen toxicity is just a ‘teaser’ of what’s to come tomorrow. Stay tuned for more here tomorrow, but in the mean time - check out and ‘like’ the Facebook page. Thanks for following along everybody, and thanks for helping me get the word out about pet safety and emergency prevention. Jason
You all know how I feel about pet travel safety, right? (If not, check out my previous blog post on the issue - click here. But here’s a hint… I call myself The Preventive Vet ;-) Well, I’ve got some great news to report - I’ve found my ‘soul-mates’ in the pet product business, and their name is Bergan!
'Fat Cat' & 'Portly Pooch' - it can cost your pet (and you) dearly
What do you think about your pet’s weight? Be honest. Do you think that they’re an appropriate weight? Do you think they’re too thin? Too heavy?
Would it surprise you to learn that nearly 50% of the dogs, and nearly 60% of the cats in America are overweight or obese? This is according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, and based upon the results of their most recent (2009) National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Study. What is perhaps even sadder, and will make the problem that much more difficult to combat, is that 33% of the dog owners in the survey incorrectly believed that their overweight pooch was actually at a healthy weight. For cat owners, this percentage was even higher at 46%. And when it came to obese pets, defined as a pet being at least 30% heavier than what their normal weight should be, owner’s perceptions weren’t much better - 25% of dog owners, and 40% of cat owners, got it wrong there too.
Why should you care?
Why is this important? Because excess weight on pets doesn’t just worsen their arthritis and slow them down, it can have significant financial and medical implications in the event of an emergency or illness as well. This translates to more debilitation and longer hospital stays for them, and more inconvenience and higher costs for you!
Due to a scheduling ‘snafu’, the segment I taped on the dangers of pet obesity will now be airing Tuesday July 19th (at some point between 9a-10a Pacific time) instead of this Friday. [KPTV-Fox12 the MORE Good Day Oregon show] The companion blog post for this tv segment will go up shortly.
In another bit of other exciting news, the segment I taped on common but often unknown about pet toxins will not only be airing on the MORE Good Day Oregon show next Thursday (July 28th), but it has also been picked up by the producer of the Better Portland show and will air on that show (also on KPTV-Fox12) on Monday April 1st at 11:15am! This is indeed great news as it will help to spread the word even further about these relatively unknown about pet hazards.
Hi all, I was at the KPTV studios this morning and taped two segments for future airing. The first one, which was initially slated to air tomorrow has been postponed until the following Friday (the 22nd). The other, which is on dangerous, but less well known about, pet toxins will air the following Thursday (the 28th). They will both be on the MORE Good Day Oregon show out here in Oregon on KPTV-Fox12, and will be on their website later in the day on which they air. I will also post them here on the blog. Thanks all for following along. -Jason
Upcoming tv appearance - the ER implications of the 'fat cat' & 'portly pooch'
Hi all- just wanted to give you a ‘heads-up’ that The Preventive Vet will be appearing on the MORE Good Day Oregon show (KPTV-Fox12 in Portland, OR) this Friday, the 15th. This segment will be on pet obesity, and in particular how it can cause and/or exacerbate certain pet emergencies. Tune in if you’re in the viewing area, it will air sometime between 9am-10am on Friday. I’ll also embed the video of the segment on the blog and Facebook page later that day when it becomes available, and there will be a ‘companion’ blog post to further elaborate on the topic and provide references for people to help in the ‘battle of the bulge’. Stay tuned…
Here it is, installment #2 in the summer pet safety blog series…
You’ve seen it, the pet locked in a parked car on a warm day. Maybe you’ve even done it yourself? What you may not know though, is that such a situation can quickly lead to severe, expensive, and often fatal, problems for such a pet. Read on to find out why…
When a pet’s body temperature rises and stays above 104oF for even a short period of time a myriad of problems can ensue. Without going too much into the physiology and biochemistry behind it, at such temperatures the enzymes and the vital metabolic reactions they are involved in cease to operate properly - and the result is dysfunction of multiple different body systems. This dysfunction may manifest as collapse, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal bleeding, kidney failure, liver failure, seizures, and even death. There is good news though, and it is this… Heat Stroke is typically a completely (and easily) preventable emergency.
Pet safety during the dog (and cat) days of summer... 4TH OF JULY
Summer is officially here! And the BBQs, trips to the river/lake/beach, and the 4th of July fireworks are right around the corner. This is a great time of year, and one typically filled with lots of fun and time spent with friends and family - hopefully including those of the four-legged persuasion too. And while the nicer weather will likely bring with it more exciting outdoor adventures for you and your dogs, it also brings with it an increased risk for a lot of different pet emergencies - for all of your pets, cats included.
This series of blog posts is dedicated to increasing awareness and knowledge of some of the pet emergencies that happen with increased frequency during the ‘dog (and cat) days of summer’. Of course, being The Preventive Vet, I’m also including steps that you and your friends can (and should) take to decrease the likelihood that you and your pets will be spending unexpected time (and money) in the veterinary ER this summer - rather than out enjoying the beautiful weather and all that comes along with it.
* As always, if you have any pet emergency stories that you’d like to share - either from a pet owner’s perspective or as a veterinarian - please do. Sharing your stories can help to personalize these debilitating, inconvenient, frequently expensive, and (sadly) often fatal experiences and help others to avoid suffering the same experience. Theres a variety of easy ways to share your stories. You can share here on the blog, on the Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/ThePreventiveVet), or directly through the website (www.ThePreventiveVet.com). And so, without further ado, let’s start with the one that’s right around the corner… the 4th of July!
Today is national ‘take your dog to work day’! Should be fun! I’m doing it- I’m taking Wendy with me for my appearance on MORE Good Day Oregon this morning. She will be wearing her car harness, will your’s? Please be sure to properly restrain your pets in the car (or truck, or RV)- not just today, but every day! Have a great day everyone!
Hey everybody! This is a GREAT national movement that is trying to get the word out about the importance of proper pet restraint during travel. Check it out, sign the pledge, and help spread the word by ‘liking’ their Facebook page and sharing both with your friends and family. Every little bit helps when trying to improve the safety of everybody on the road, two-legged and four-legged alike.
This post is dedicated to my friend Reed Coleman, as well as to all the dogs and cats who are injured or die each year in vehicular accidents, and to the Husky dog I saw riding unrestrained, with an obvious look of anxiety on its face, in the bed of a small red pickup truck heading north on the I5 last week. The former is still very much with us, the middle ones sadly are not, and it is my sincere hope that the latter is – but I recognize that there is a distinct possibility that one day, that poor dog will jump, fall, or be thrown from the bed of that pickup. I hope it doesn’t happen, and I know its so easily preventable. So if anyone knows the owner of this pickup (red, believe it was a Toyota, with Washington plates) please direct them to this post, you may just save their dog’s life by doing so.
As you have likely deduced by now, todays post is about the importance, and ease, of restraining your pets during vehicular travel (this includes not just cars, but trucks, RVs, and motorcycles too!).
To start off, let’s establish that there are many reasons to appropriately restrain your pets during vehicular travel: