CAT | Medical Cases

Demodex Mites

Friday, March 20th, 2015

fayphotoAn infestation of demodex mites (demodecosis) is a common occurance in puppies.  This infestation leads to hair loss, thickened skin and secondary bacterial infections.  Demodecosis is not contagious.

Normal dogs have a small number of demodex mites living in their hair follicles.  An overgrowth of mite numbers happens in puppies whose immune systems are not yet mature and adult dogs who are immune compromised.  Puppies will typically outgrow the disease as their immune system strengthens.  If an adult dog is diagnosed with demodex mites an attempt should be made to find the cause of the underlying immune suppression. Controlling demodecosis depends upon an accurate diagnosis and treatment of the disease.  Long term demodecosis can lead to scarring of the hair follicles and permanent hair loss.

Diagnosis of demodecosis is made with a skin scrape.  We scrape down into the hair follicles and then check for the mites on a microscope.

When treating the disease we kill off the mites with a series of medicated dips (mitaban) once weekly for an average of 4-6 weeks until the skin scraps are negative.  We must also treat the secondary bacterial infections with anitbiotics.  Most dogs will regrow a normal hair coat once the mites have been controlled.

Gastrointestinal Foreign Body

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

A 7-month old American Bulldog mix was referred to us at Town and Country Animal Hospital for a 3 week history of vomiting and pancreatitis. Amazingly, the pet was not having diarrhea but was continuing to vomit, even while on medication. The owners had spent long nights force feeding the pet I/D (a gastrointestinal food prescription) and attempting to give water so there would be no dehydration. When admitted, a foreign body gas pattern was seen with the abdominal radiographs, and an intestinal foreign body was strongly suspected. The puppy was taken to surgery and the foreign body was found within the small intestine adjacent to the pancreas. To all of our amazement it was a dish towel (yes the type of dish towel that we all leave in our kitchens) and string attachments were found imbedded in the intestine. 18 inches of the small intestine had to be removed and a surgical procedure of the reconnection between 2 formerly distant portions of the intestine had to be done, but we were not done yet. An incision was performed in the stomach to remove the rest of the towel and then the abdomen was closed. The puppy took a while to recover fully due to the length of his illness and the concern of his pancreatic function. Today he is a normal healthy adult with no lingering issues.

tank 1

tank 4

Questions and Answers about Ebola & Pets

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

EbolaDog

The ongoing epidemic of Ebola in West Africa has raised several questions about how the disease affects the animal population, and in particular, the risk to household pets. While the information available suggests that the virus may be found in several kinds of animals, CDC, the US Department of Agriculture, and the American Veterinary Medical Association do not believe that pets are at significant risk for Ebola in the United States.

How are animals involved in Ebola outbreaks?

Because the natural reservoir host of Ebola has not yet been confirmed, the way in which the virus first appears in a human at the start of an outbreak is unknown. However, scientists believe that the first patient becomes infected through contact with an infected animal, such as a fruit bat or primate (apes and monkeys), which is called a spillover event. Person-to-person transmission follows and can lead to large numbers of affected persons. In some past Ebola outbreaks, primates were also affected by Ebola, and multiple spillover events occurred when people touched or ate infected primates. In the current West African epidemic, animals have not been found to be a factor in ongoing Ebola transmission.

How does Ebola spread?

When infection occurs in humans, the virus can be spread in several ways to others. Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose, or mouth) with

  • blood or body fluids (including but not limited to urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola
  • objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the virus
  • Ebola is not spread through the air or by water, or in general, by food. However, in Africa, Ebola may be spread as a result of handling bushmeat (wild animals hunted for food) and contact with infected bats.
  • Only a few species of mammals (for example, humans, monkeys, and apes) have shown the ability to become infected with and spread Ebola virus. There is no evidence that mosquitos or other insects can transmit Ebola virus.

Can dogs get infected or sick with Ebola?

At this time, there have been no reports of dogs or cats becoming sick with Ebola or of being able to spread Ebola to people or other animals. Even in areas in Africa where Ebola is present, there have been no reports of dogs and cats becoming sick with Ebola. There is limited evidence that dogs become infected with Ebola virus, but there is no evidence that they develop disease.

Here in the United States, are our dogs and cats at risk of becoming sick with Ebola?

The risk of an Ebola outbreak affecting multiple people in the United States is very low. Therefore, the risk to pets is also very low, as they would have to come into contact with blood and body fluids of a person with Ebola. Even in areas in Africa where Ebola is present, there have been no reports of dogs and cats becoming sick with Ebola.

Can I get Ebola from my dog or cat?

At this time, there have been no reports of dogs or cats becoming sick with Ebola or of being able to spread Ebola to people or animals. The chances of a dog or cat being exposed to Ebola virus in the United States is very low as they would have to come into contact with blood and body fluids of a symptomatic person sick with Ebola.

Can my pet’s body, fur, or paws spread Ebola to a person?

We do not yet know whether or not a pet’s body, paws, or fur can pick up and spread Ebola to people or other animals. It is important to keep people and animals away from blood or body fluids of a person with symptoms of Ebola infection.

What if there is a pet in the home of an Ebola patient?

CDC recommends that public health officials in collaboration with a veterinarian evaluate the pet’s risk of exposure to the virus (close contact or exposure to blood or body fluids of an Ebola patient). Based on this evaluation as well as the specific situation, local and state human and animal health officials will determine how the pet should be handled.

Can I get my dog or cat tested for Ebola?

There would not be any reason to test a dog or cat for Ebola if there was no exposure to a person infected with Ebola. Currently, routine testing for Ebola is not available for pets.

What are the requirements for bringing pets or other animals into the United States from West Africa?

CDC regulations require that dogs and cats imported into the United States be healthy. Dogs must be vaccinated against rabies before arrival into the United States. Monkeys and African rodents are not allowed to be imported as pets under any circumstances.

Each state and U.S. Territory has its own rules for pet ownership and importation, and these rules may be different from federal regulations. Airlines may have additional requirements.

Can monkeys spread Ebola?

Yes, monkeys are at risk for Ebola. Symptoms of Ebola infection in monkeys include fever, decreased appetite, and sudden death. Monkeys should not be allowed to have contact with anyone who may have Ebola. Healthy monkeys already living in the United States and without exposure to a person infected with Ebola are not at risk for spreading Ebola.

Can bats spread Ebola?

Fruit bats in Africa are considered to be a natural reservoir for Ebola. Bats in North America are not known to carry Ebola and so CDC considers the risk of an Ebola outbreak from bats occurring in the United States to be very low. However, bats are known to carry rabies and other diseases here in the United States. To reduce the risk of disease transmission, never attempt to touch a bat, living or dead.

Where can I find more information about Ebola and pet dogs and cats?

CDC is currently working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and many other partners to develop additional guidance for the U.S. pet population. Additional information and guidance will be posted on this website as well as partner websites as soon as it becomes available.

For additional information on Ebola visit (http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/2014-west-africa/index.html) 

What did my dog swallow? (Intestinal Foreign Bodies in Pets)

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Intestinal Foreign Bodies in Pets

Dogs, and occasionally cats, have a bad habit of eating non-food items. If that item is large enough it can become stuck in the stomach or intestines of the pet. These dogs will typically stop eating, vomit and have diarrhea. Some items can be seen on an x-ray while others are found during exploratory surgery.

This dog, Rocko, has eaten many non-food items, including 2 stuffed dog toys. He has been vomiting for almost 4 weeks but no obvious foreign body was seen on his x-rays.

During exploratory surgery we found 2 plastic toy squeakers in his small intestine. They had caused a lot of damage including puncturing through the intestinal wall. The toys and damaged bowel were removed. Rocko spent several days with us recovering and is now back to his normal self.

On the left you see squeakers that are used in stuffed dog toys, on the right is what happened when the squeakers got lodged in Rocko's intestines.

On the left you see squeakers that are used in stuffed dog toys, on the right is what happened when the squeakers got lodged in Rocko’s intestines.

 

The piece of intestine that had to be removed due to the damaged caused by the squeakers.

The piece of intestine that had to be removed due to the damage caused by the squeakers.

 

Rocko is now happy and healthy and home with his family!

Rocko is now happy and healthy and home with his family!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Dr. Jill Child, DVM