Thursday, October 24, 2013

Ticked off, by Dr. Angela Bross, DVM

 I’ve often wondered what the purpose for ticks is. After all, they seem quite useless except to bring about disease and suffering to those they deem worthy of parasitism. Aside from being a tasty morsel of food to Guinea fowl, they seem to exist not just as pests, which can cause anemia, but also can act as effective carriers of diseases like Lyme disease (Borellia burgdorferi), Ehrlichiosis (Rickettsia), Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (yet another Rickettsia), Babesiosis and Anaplasmosis. These are a whole lot of fancy words, but honestly, just remember that ticks can and often do cause disease. To complicate matters, a single tick can be co-infected with as many as two to three disease agents listed above. They are attracted to us, and our unsuspecting pets, by heat and carbon dioxide concentrations. Once a tick finds a suitable host, it attaches its mouth parts and begins ingesting the blood meal while transmitting disease at the same time. Disease transmission occurs by simple (mechanical) transfer.

An easy way to screen for tick-borne diseases is to ask your veterinarian to be sure to use the 4DX heartworm test when testing yearly for heartworm disease. This tests for three of the above-mentioned tick-borne diseases. If your pet seems listless and unwell, it is paramount to take him in to see his veterinarian as soon as possible. Tests for tick-borne illness may be indicated. If testing positive, antibiotics will be indicated as treatment as well as possible supportive therapy and hospitalization. Some tick-borne diseases can be life threatening, and prompt attention typically yields the best outcome.

Lyme is the most commonly report tick-borne disease in the United States. The most serious form is Lyme nephritis, which is an immune-mediated glomerulonephritis with Lyme-specific immune complexes deposited in the glomeruli. Fancy words aside, the Lyme agent couples with antibodies and compromises kidney function. Some dogs can end up with Lyme arthritis, which is typically responsive to an extended course of antibiotics. Those dogs who are found positive on 4DX but have no outward clinical signs should have their urine checked for protein at the least and possibly a blood panel complete with titer checking to better assess the state of the disease. Each tick-borne disease has its own area of mayhem in the body with the ability to inflict serious disease states or death.
 The best way to prevent tick-borne disease is to prevent tick attachment. There are several effective mechanisms of tick protection such as topical medications like Frontline or Advantix II as well as reputable flea and tick-collars like the Seresto collar, which the author favors from experience with her own pets. Large name brand tick prevention products typically yield much better results than knock off brands with the same active ingredients but less effective carrier molecules for drug delivery. Unfortunately, there are no tried and true holistic alternatives that exist in place of these products, so it is essential to stick to products that are known to work. Your pet’s health depends on it.

 Written by Dr. Angela Bross, DVM

Read more or contact Dr. Bross:

Angela Bross, DVM
Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice
Hampton Roads Virginia 
757-912-5275 |

Serving Chesapeake, Newport News, Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Yorktown, Isle of Wight, Smithfield and extended service areas by request.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Hurricane Preparedness for Pets, by Dr. Sarah Cothron

Hurricane season is here and it is never too early to start preparing for your pets safety. Never leave pets behind when you evacuate! If the power goes out, temperatures can soar to dangerous levels for pets that can be potentially fatal. Leaving food and water out for your pet may not be enough to ensure their safety.

Here are some tips to ensure that your pets will be safe in the even of a natural disaster: v Call hotels or motels at your destination to identify pet-friendly lodging. Be sure to call early as these rooms fill up quickly! Some hotel/motel chains that accept pets include: Holiday Inn, Marriot, HoJo, Motel6, LaQuinta Inn, Red Roof Inn, etc.

If you are unable to bring your pet to your final destination:
  • Ask friends or relatives if they would be able to care for your pet(s). Ensure that these caretakers are a safe distance away from the storm path.
  • Contact your veterinarian (or a veterinarian at your destination) for available boarding/kennel facilities that are accepting pets.
  • Contact the local animal shelter to see if they provide foster care or emergency shelter for pets.

Here is a checklist to ensure that your pets are prepared for an evacuation:
  • Food: The Humane Society of the United States suggests bringing food and water for at least five days for each pet. Dry food should be stored in an airtight, waterproof container. Don’t forget a can opener for canned food!
  • Water: In the event that clean water in unavailable, make sure to pack enough bottled water for your family and pets.
  • Food & Water Bowls: Travel size and plastic bowls are much easier to transport on the road.
  • Medical Records + Medications: Keep all of your pet’s vaccine history, microchip number and medications in a safe, waterproof container. Make sure that your pet is wearing a collar with identification and up-to-date rabies tag. 
  • Leash/Carrier: Don’t forget to pack a leash or harness for your pet. Carriers should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lay down comfortably.
  • Cats: Keep cats in a carrier during transport to ensure their safety and prevent escaping. Pack at least 7 days worth of cat litter and a small litter pan for traveling (aluminum roasting pans work great).
  • Photos: Current photos could help reunite you and your pet in the event that you become separated.
  • Clean Up: Pack garbage bags, disinfectants/cleaners, and poop pick-up bags to pet areas clean and sanitary.
  • Extras: Pack blankets or toys to keep your pets comfortable during the evacuation. Some pets may require boxes to hide under (especially kitties) or storm clothing for anxiety (i.e. Thunder Shirt).
For more information on Hurricane Preparedness please visit:

Written by Dr. Sarah Cothron, DVM

Read more or contact Dr. Cothron:

Sarah Cothron, DVM
Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice
Baton Rouge, LA |

Proudly serving Baton Rouge area including:
  • Baton Rouge
  • Saint Gabriel
  • Geismar
  • Gonzales
  • Prairieville
  • Dutchtown
  • Denham Springs
  • Walker
  • Central
  • Zachary
  • Baker
  • Port Allen
  • Brusly
  • Addis
including, but not limited to the following Parishes:
  • Ascension
  • Assumption
  • East Baton Rouge
  • East Feliciana
  • Iberia
  • Iberville
  • Lafourche
  • Livingston
  • Pointe Coupe
  • Saint Charles
  • Saint Helena
  • Saint James
  • Saint Landry
  • Saint Martin
  • Saint Mary
  • St John The Baptist
  • Tangipahoa
  • Terrebonne
  • West Baton Rouge
  • West Feliciana.