CAN MY DOG GET DENGUE?

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I noticed that my dog has small reddish dots scattered in several parts of his body. When I brought my pet to the Veterinarian, the Doctor said that my dog has a low platelet count. Does this mean that my dog has Dengue? Let us start from the most basic. Dengue as we know it is transmitted by mosquito-bite. With dogs, the most common infection they get from mosquitoes is heartworm disease. Most of the time, when our dogs get this small reddish dots or spots scattered or confined in some parts of their body, with low platelet, the most common disease that we diagnose is Ehrlichiosis, caused by Ehrlichia sp. (pronounced as Ehr-lee-kia).For the familiarity of disease, let us call it Ehrlichia in our discussion. The effect of this disease is dengue-like for our dogs. Our pouch could have haemorrhage around the body, in the form of tiny red dots or sometimes bruises. In other cases they could have nose-bleeding or small wound eruptions on the skin. But the most common signs that owners observe are weakness, loss of appetite (even with their favorite meal!). There are a number of dogs with a lot of eye secretion aka ‘muta’. If you check their gums and the inside of their ears, you could see that it’s relatively pale from the original pinkish color. All these signs are brought about by low red blood cell count and its components, low platelet and most of the time high white blood cell count.

How did my dog get it if you mentioned that it’s not transmitted by mosquitoes?

The main culprit in spreading Ehrlichia is TICKS. In Filipino we call them “Garapata” and in Cebuano we call “libon”. These are the spider-looking 8-legged lazy parasites that we always see sucking on our pets, and yes they look like they are asleep most of the time when they are on our dogs. These ticks either look like maroon and thin (male) coupled with a fat, gray and big female engorged with blood. Don’t be fooled by the lazy character of these parasites, ticks are very fast crawlers and they know how to find their host (dog). It means that our dog can get ticks even if there is no direct contact with other dogs. It only takes one tick bite to transmit Ehrlichia. It is also very possible that our dog could have gotten the disease way before they start showing clinical signs.

What are the clinical signs of Ehrlichiosis?

Aside from the common clinical signs already mentioned, some dogs may show the-not-so-common clinical signs like blindness, neurologic signs like seizure and lameness (trouble walking). So far, we have noticed quite a number of Golden Retrievers having seizures when they turn positive for Ehrlichia. Other dogs could have liver and or kidney failure. And some they could have pregnant-looking tummies, we call ascites, because of enlarged spleen or there is abnormal fluid accumulation in the abdomen. In short, Ehrlichia may show a lot of different clinical signs, depending on the organ system it affects. German shepherd needs extra attention if they turn positive for this disease because the effect to them is worse than any other breed, and may be fatal.

How can this be diagnosed?newsletter2nd1

Once we notice at least one of the clinical signs, and with history of ticks, normally I check the Complete blood count (CBC). If there is something wrong with the CBC then I would recommend the Ehrlichia Antibody test kit. If the condition is worst, then more complete blood test are recommended to check for liver, kidney and electrolytes.

Can my dog be treated once he gets this disease?

Yes! If your dog has acute or newly acquired Ehrlichia it is highly treatable. In fact, for acute cases of this disease, the dog gets better after a day or 2 of treatment. Don’t get me wrong, the treatment of this disease is not short at all. It could last from few weeks to months to years. For chronic (long-term) phase of the disease though, the chances of recovery is relatively slim.

If I get bitten by a tick, can I also get this Ehrlichia?

So far, there are no reported cases of Ehrlichia from dogs transmitted to humans (yet!) in the Philippines. BUT there are reported cases of this disease transferred by ticks to humans in the country of Venezuela, South America. Again, it’s better to be safe than sorry.newsletter2nd2

How can we prevent the spread of this disease?

This is a serious problem that affects a great population of dogs. It’s complicated because it circulates with the blood, then affecting most of the organ systems. Early prevention will help eliminate this problem. Get rid of the ticks to get rid of the disease! There are monthly tick and flea preventatives that we can use for our dogs. Also, don’t forget to clean the surroundings where your dog normally stays, by brushing. These ticks can hide in cracks and crevices for 6 months up to a year-and a-half without feeding. Once hungry they will attach back to their host and the cycle repeats again.

For more questions, visit:
animalwellnessveterinary.com or Facebook:
Animal Wellness Veterinary Hospital
Ivy Alvarez, DVM

Humans and Heartworm Health

For many, heartworm infection has always been associated with dogs and cats. While the disease causes severe consequences in infected pets, transmission to humans has not really been highlighted or commonly known among pet owners or the general public. Heartworm infection in people is often classified as accidental, if any.

Several journals reported human dirofilariasis cases and an infective larval stage of the worm Dirofilaria immitis was identified as the culprit. The same worm affects both dogs and cats to cause heartworm infection. These larvae invade various human tissues without any evident clinical signs in the affected person during development. More common tissues affected by the larvae’s migration include connective tissues and the pulmonary arteries. The migrating larva would embed itself in the human tissues but will be unable to thrive in this environment. It eventually dies in the tissues and an inflammatory response occurs which results in a granuloma or nodule in the affected tissue. This can be seen in x-rays as a dense “coin” lesion in the chest area.

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Earlier studies reported no clinical signs in affected humans, but recent data report chest pains, coughing (sometimes with blood), fever and pneumonitis as more frequently observed effects. Extrapulmonary infection was mentioned in an article where the brain, eye and testicles were affected. Extensive diagnostic tests were conducted on the infected individuals to rule out other infectious agents and cancer. And in almost all scientific research conducted on human dirofilariasis, there is mention of misdiagnosis as a common occurrence in the affected patients presented to medical doctors due to the very common signs found in these patients. As with any disease, arriving at a definitive diagnosis is a very costly, time-consuming and emotionally draining process which affects the quality of life of the infected individual as well as his loved ones. For those diagnosed with human dirofilariasis, the surgical removal of the granuloma was the most appropriate solution.

Extra precaution against health problems is oftentimes a conscious effort. And in the Philippines where mosquitoes (which are vectors of the Dirofilaria larvae) are everywhere 24/7 all year round, heartworm infection is very much an expected occurrence in dogs. Regular preventives against heartworm for our pets (and consequently for us, too) are available to keep us worry-free and disease free. Talk to your vet about it.

By: Ayn Arejola

Pet Shelters during Disasters and Emergencies

Greetings to everyone! I hope everyone is having a pleasant day. I would like to continue on our topic for Disaster and Emergency Preparedness for Pets in this first of a series of 3 articles regarding Pet Shelters.

Makati Dog and Cat Hospital

In creating this article I have divided the topic into 3 parts in order to fully explore the concepts for each part as well as to allow the readers to fully appreciate and grasp the idea for each part individually and the whole concept in its entirety.

The 3 sub-articles for Pet Shelters during Disasters and Emergencies are as follows:
* Defining the role of pet shelters in Disasters and Emergencies
* Types of Pet Shelters
* Pet Shelter Options – Your Vet, Your Relative, Your Bug-out site

As in my previous article let us define the relevant terms and concepts involved before proceeding to the descriptive and technical aspects of the topic.
Now to begin let us start off with our first sub-article: Defining the role of pet shelters in Disasters and Emergencies

Defining the role of pet shelters in Disasters and Emergencies (Part 1 of 3)
To start things off let us review the definition we’ve been using for Disasters and Emergencies and that is Emergency Preparedness as addressing instances such as common household emergencies to events that affect your immediate family while Disaster Preparedness deals more with Natural and Manmade disasters affecting more people in a wider area such as a community, province, or region.

Having mentioned the above, let us also create a definition of Pet Shelters as used in the context of Disasters and Emergencies. For Emergency situations, such as accidents, a pet shelter is used to help your pet remain calm and relax, aid in the treatment of injuries, and prepare your pet for transport to more advanced care facilities such as your Veterinarian.

In a Disaster situation, pet shelters also play the same roles as those in Emergencies only in this case the stress levels on both pet and owner are greatly increased. This is due to the fact that the normal flow of daily life has been greatly affected by several factors. Some examples are:
* Environmental – your surroundings may have been greatly affected by a natural disaster such as a flood or an earthquake
* Health – your pet may be forced to be restrained or caged for prolonged periods of time plus the upheaval that follows a disaster can cause stress on your pet affecting their health.
* Quality of Life – Food, Water, and Basic Services (including Veterinary Services) may be very hard to come by or at the very least rationed and sourced out with great effort.

In both Emergency and Disaster situations and the factors listed above the more we encourage pet owners to have a preparedness mindset.

That is, make a checklist, build your pet’s Bug-Out Bag, and identify evacuation sites, and so on. In all of these activities the pet shelter plays a vital role in your preparedness plans. As pet owners the responsibility for caring for your pets lies with you. Your pets will rely on you to have the best quality of life possible during the best of times. But, as Emergencies or Disasters occur (And in this country Disasters will ALWAYS occur) your pet’s reliance on you to keep them safe and healthy will greatly increase.

On the human side of that equation being knowledgeable in what to do in an Emergency or Disaster to your pet is similar to what we feed in the rescue community when arriving at an accident. That is, instead of fear and panic taking over you become proactively involved in alleviating your pet of any further pain and suffering during Emergencies and Disasters.

For the pet’s owner this also helps to alleviate the emotional stress they go through when they see or even know that their pet is in a bad situation.

I hope this has helped the readers and especially those that are pet owners to think about their roles and responsibilities in Emergency and Disaster preparedness for their pets and the definition of Pet Shelters in those preparations.

In part 2 of this article I will be discussing the different Types of Pet Shelters. In it I will be describing the items needed to put together your pet shelter, their different uses according to the situation involved

Until the next newsletter I wish you all to Stay Safe and Be Happy!

I hope this was helpful for you. Should you have any questions or concerns I would love to hear from you. Please contact me at pateros_14@rocketmail.com and I’ll try to get back to you as soon as I can.
Thanks and Stay Safe.

Benedict “Dinky” de Borja has been a volunteer Firefighter + Medic for the Pateros Filipino-Chinese Volunteer Fire and Rescue Brigade for the last 5 years. He helps Dr. Sixto Carlos on topics such as Emergency and Disaster Preparedness, as well as First Aid.

Fit Pets = Fit Owners

Makati Dog and Cat Hospital (1)

Fit pets = Fit owners

By Carlomagno Canta, Freelance Fitness Coach

Pets reflect your health. Pet owners usually are usually more active than the general population that doesn’t have pets. Unless you just keep your pet in a cage, which I believe is a form of cruelty; chances are you walk your pet which could add up to the daily requirement of doing 10,000 steps. That is equal to walking 30 minutes a day which could burn those extra calories.

But why just walk, if you have a spacious area such as the yard, playing chase with your dog could also develop your agility and your pet those feel good hormones which equates to a happy pet and a fitter and happy you

Carlomagno Canta is a freelance fitness coach for your fitness consultation needs check his website at

http://marinelcanta.wix.com/carlomagnocanta

Makati Dog and Cat Hospital (2)

TOOTHPASTE for PETS? No PROMBLEM.

With all the different toothpaste brands out in the market, my patients often ask me which one I would recommend the most.  And my reply is always the same: the one that you LIKE the most.   Of course there are “specialty” toothpaste out there that cater to specific needs (like tooth sensitivity, whitening and fluoride allergy) where this response doesn’t apply, but with regards to toothpaste for everyday use it just simply doesn’t matter.  What does matter though is how you brush your teeth: how long, how often, how hard, and what kind of strokes you use.  The reason for this all boils down to what actually causes tooth decay and gum disease in the first place: dental plaque.  Dental plaque is that soft yellowish film that forms on the tooth surface after it is exposed to food particles.  This film is produced by bacteria in the mouth that adhere to the tooth surface. When not effectively controlled, these bacteria consume sugars in the mouth, and as by-product produce acidic materials that destroy tooth structure, as well as the gums and their supporting structures.  The way therefore in eliminating the risk of tooth decay and gum disease is to remove plaque and food debris in the mouth, and this is achieved by proper tooth brushing. When done properly, the bristles of the brush mechanically sweep away the plaque from the tooth surface, thereby eliminating the primary cause of tooth decay and gum disease.  This is made even more effective when flossing is done by the patient, to remove food debris from the area of the teeth that can’t be reached by tooth brushing.

This is not to say that toothpaste do not help in the fight against tooth decay and gum disease.  toothpaste contain fluoride that helps strengthen the teeth and fight off bacteria.  Some may even contain calcium which are supposed to help strengthen teeth and bone (the effectiveness of which is debatable since calcium exchange happens between blood and bone and not with erupted teeth).  However these benefits are only secondary to the mechanical removal of plaque by brushing and flossing, since the application of toothpaste alone cannot effectively eliminate plaque production in the mouth.  As a result, toothpaste application becomes only supplementary to tooth brushing in maintaining good oral health.  So going back to the original question on which toothpaste is the best: it’s the one that (for you) tastes the best, smells the best, and makes you want to brush your teeth longer, and more often. No toothpaste? No problem!

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Dax B.Cordero, DDM

General Dentistry

L/G Floor Corinthian Gardens Clubhouse, Corinthian Gardens Subdivision, QC

Tel: 637-8729

dax.cordero@yahoo.com

PARASITE INFOs

  • FLEAS

Fleas are one of the most common parasites found throughout the country. They love warm, humid conditions and are attracted to pets by body heat. No matter how careful you are, it’s virtually impossible for even indoor dogs to avoid the occasional flea, and if left untreated, fleas will soon flourish in even the cleanest household environment. Fleas have a simple life cycle. Adults can live up to 100 days, biting to feed on blood and produce flea eggs. The eggs drop to the ground or carpet and mature into larvae, then pupae, finally hatching into adults.

Adults

    • Need constant blood source
    • Feed and mate within 24 hours
    • Produce eggs within 20 to 24 hours

Eggs

  • Average 40 to 50 eggs per day
  • Drop off pet into the environment, including carpet
  • On average, hatch within 10 days

Larvae

  • Free-living stage
  • Feed on organic debris and flea feces
  • Last an average of 5 to 12 days

Pupae

  • Sticky, protective outer shell
  • Last an average of 8 to 9 days
  • Can survive months and hatch when conditions are favorable

Once your dog has them, fleas can spread anywhere your dog goes, including to other pets or in your home. In just 30 days, 10 fleas can become an infestation of up to 250,000 adult fleas on your dog and in your home.

Fleas bite to survive and to reproduce, injecting irritating substances into the skin that can cause itching, scratching, and skin irritation. In some dogs, flea bites can lead to an allergic reaction called flea bite hypersensitivity, also known as flea allergy dermatitis (FAD). Fleas can also cause other serious health issues such as anemia and tapeworm infections.

An effective way to keep adult fleas off your dog is to use a monthly product, year-round, that kills fleas and treats flea infestations. Year-round protection leaves no gaps in flea prevention coverage – ensuring the most effective treatment for your dog.

  • TICKS

Ticks have adapted to wet & dry seasons and can be found throughout the country. Although ticks favor wooded areas and tall grasses where they can attach themselves to passing animals, some ticks can also infest door environments such as homes and kennels.

Female ticks lay hundreds to thousands of eggs. These eggs mature to larvae, nymphs, and adults, which can parasitize animals and become a source of further infestations.

Ticks feed on the blood of their host. They suck blood through their mouthparts that they cement onto their host’s skin when they attach. This is usally painless, but could have potentially devastating health consequences for your dog.

When an infected tick attaches to your dog, it may transmit organisms that can cause diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, and tularemia.

Diagnosis and treatment of some tick-borne diseases can be both complicated and costly. While treatment is available for some, it may not be for others, so repelling ticks to help prevent attachment is key in helping to protect your dog from tick-borne diseases.

  • MOSQUITOES

There are about 3,000 species of mosquitoes that have been described on a worldwide basis. Mosquitoes belong to a group of insects that require blood to develop fertile eggs. Males do not lay eggs, thus, male mosquitoes do not bite. The females are the egg producers and the “host-seek” for a blood meal. Female mosquitoes lay multiple batches of eggs and require a blood meal for every batch they lay.

Few people realize that mosquitoes rely on sugar as their main source of energy. Both male and female mosquitoes feed on plant nectar, fruit juices, and liquids that ooze from plants. The sugar is burned as fuel for flight and is replenished on a daily basis. Blood is reserved for egg production and is consumed less frequently.

Any insect that feeds on blood has the potential to transmit diseases. Mosquitoes are highly developed blood-sucking insects and are the most formidable transmitters of organisms that may cause disease in the animal kingdom. Make sure your dog is on a monthly product that repels and kills mosquitoes.

DID YOU KNOW THAT:

  1. Fleas have been around for about 100 million years
  1. Fleas can jump up to 150 times their own length
  1. The female flea can lay 2000 eggs in her lifetime – a flea’s life span is about 2-3 months
  1. Flea eggs can survive freezing temperatures and are able to hatch as soon as warmer weather sets in
  1. The female flea consumes 15 times her own body weight in blood daily
  1. A flea can bite 400 times a day – if your pet has 10 fleas, that’s a rate of 4000 bites a day!”

Disaster and Emergency Preparedness for Pets

As an active fire & rescue volunteer, I was one of the first to be deployed when Tropical Storm Ondoy hit Metro Manila in September of 2009. Ironically, my first “patient” was a small Yorkshire terrier in a panic stricken mode as floods were steadily rising in their home.

During most of that ordeal and the days that followed after that both people and their pets were separated or stranded where they were food and help had to be brought to them through till Ondoy has passed.

The story I’ve just written is true and highlights the need for pet owners to take more responsibility for their beloved companions. As more and more access to information becomes available, pet owners now have the means needed to take care of their pets not just during good times but during times when an emergency happens or when a disaster is threatening to occur.

We, in the rescue community encourage the communities we service to have a mindset of “Disaster and Emergency Preparedness” that people can use when the unexpected happens.

This concept can be approached in two main categories. That is emergency preparedness or disaster preparedness. Although many times you may read or see that in a lot of instances these two are often interchanged. But for the sake of this article let us define Emergency Preparedness as addressing instances such as common household emergencies to events that affect your immediate family while Disaster Preparedness deals more with Natural and Manmade disasters affecting more people in a wider area such as a community, province, or region.

In both categories, it is greatly encouraged that people with pets undertake the effort to put together a Preparedness Kit not only for themselves and their family but for their pets as well. This is especially true for the local setting.  As in the years I’ve spent being a volunteer I’ve observed the following:

  • The government only has a very limited capability in terms of rescue and relief resources. NGOs are your next best hope for help but in a situation with a high volume of evacuees their own resources will be very stretched
  • Pets are not a high priority when it comes to rescue or evacuation during emergencies or disasters.
  • If you were to evacuate, not many evacuation centers will allow pets as they would pose a health and safety risk to other evacuees in the shelter.
  • Food, Water, and Medicine will be very hard to find in a disaster scenario.

While this may be true, it is also a fact that there are more pet owners now than before. Just strolling around a mall on a lazy Sunday afternoon, one can see the many pet owners (although mostly dogs) strolling around with their furry little (and sometimes big) companions.

This means there are more people with pets that need to make sure that in an emergency or disaster they have the immediate resources and knowledge needed to make sure that their pet will be taken care of.

To start off, any type of pet preparedness kit will include the following items:

  • Water
  • Food
  • Shelter or Pet Carrier
  • First Aid/Medicine
  • Pet ID and/or Documentation
  • Toys

In the Philippine setting it is advised that standard preparedness kits hold enough supplies for at least a week

I hope this was helpful for you. Should you have any questions or concerns I would love to hear from you. Please contact me at pateros_14@rocketmail.com and I’ll try to get back to you as soon as I can.

Thanks and Stay Safe.

This article was revised from its original version for the purpose of this blog. You may get the original article by getting a copy of the Makati Dog and Cat Hospital Newsletter or by accessing the following link:

Benedict “Dinky” de Borja has been a volunteer Firefighter + Medic for the Pateros Filipino-Chinese Volunteer Fire and Rescue Brigade for the last 5 years. He helps Dr. Sixto Carlos on topics such as Emergency and Disaster Preparedness, as well as First Aid.