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Tyrophagus putrescentiae is a common grain storage mite often referred to as the mold mite. It usually goes unnoticed except when it becomes abundant. Storage mites develop in environments where there is moisture or increased humidity.
Storage mites are often found in dry food items, including dog and cat food. Dry foods contain some amount of moisture (<10%) which makes them susceptible to mold growth providing an optimum breeding ground for the storage mites. Infestations have been found in cheese, flour, grain, seeds, bulbs, straw, wallpaper, furniture, dried fruits and cereal. Pets exposed to storage mites by consumption of food containing these mites are at risk of sensitization and allergic reaction.
Dogs and cats may be exposed to mite body parts and excreta through inhalation or percutaneous absorption. Immunotherapy can be effective in reducing clinical signs in patients with mite sensitivities. In addition, environmental control can prove useful in decreasing exposure to storage mites, in turn minimizing the patient’s clinical signs while increasing the likelihood of a beneficial response to immunotherapy. Although, it is virtually impossible to totally eliminate mites from the environment, steps can be taken to control their population.
The following suggestions may prove useful in reducing exposure to storage mite:
- Do not stockpile foods; purchase only what is needed to maintain a 30–day supply.
- Check food bags for tears or holes prior to purchase.
- Purchase high quality pet foods with a low quantity of particulate debris at the bottom of the bag.
- Do not use old or outdated pet food. Prior to feeding check food for dust, mold or odor and discard questionable food.
- Store pet foods in airtight, rodent proof containers in a cool, dry environment. Avoid storage of pet food in garages, sheds or basements.
- Divide the bag of pet food into one week portions and place in freezer safe storage bags. Keep the storage bags of food in a freezer until needed.
- Appropriately dispose of empty pet food bags.
- If appropriate, feed canned food.
- Wash food storage containers frequently in detergent and HOT (130˚F) water. Dry completely before refilling with food.
- Clean bowls daily in detergent and HOT (130˚F) water and frequently vacuum where pets eat.
- Same control measures may be used for pet treats.
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Pollen allergies are generally caused by pollens carried by outside air currents. Pollens dispersed by air may travel for great distances. For example, ragweed pollen has been collected as far as 400 miles out to sea and as high as two miles in the air. Plants can generate millions of pollen particles per day and most never reach their targets. Instead, they may be inhaled or absorbed into the skin of the pet causing a sensitized pet to have an allergic reaction.
Total avoidance of allergenic pollens is impractical. There are, however, several methods that can help decrease exposure to pollens (when used in conjunction with other treatments, such as immunotherapy).
The following are suggestions to aid in reducing exposure to pollen:
- Keep lawn grass cut short to reduce seed and pollen production.
- Keep pets off the lawn one to two hours after mowing or when the lawn is wet.
- Avoid prolonged outdoor exposure during peak pollen counts, allergy seasons, when humidity is high and on windy days.
- Avoid letting pet put head out of car windows when traveling.
- Confine pets indoors during early morning and evening hours when pollen counts are usually highest.
- With a damp cloth, wipe pet’s feet, body and face after being outside to remove pollen from hair, coat and skin.
- Close windows and use air conditioning when possible.
- Use high-efficiency air conditioner and furnace filters.
- Vacuum and dust frequently, keeping pet out of the room while doing so.
- Dry pet’s bedding in the dryer instead of outside.
- Frequently bathe pets using hypoallergenic shampoos, leave-in conditioners and cool water rinses.
- Keep pets groomed and clipped to lessen collection of pollen on hair, coat and skin.
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Fungi are saprophytic and parasitic plants found both indoors and outdoors in moist organic materials. Fungi include mold spores and their vegetative forms, mildews, rusts, smuts, mushrooms, toadstools, yeast and slime molds.
OUTDOOR SPORE LEVELS vary throughout the day and year. Because levels are often higher near the ground, lawn mowing and grain harvesting result in marked dispersion of mold/fungal particles. Mold allergic animals may develop clinical signs following exposure to leaf litter, peat moss, mulches, soil, rotting logs, grain bins, silos, hay, ensilage and compost piles. Alternaria and Cladosporium are the principal outdoor molds. Aspergillus, Dreschleria, Fusarium, Penicillium and Stemphyllium may also be found outdoors.
INDOOR MOLD LEVELS are commonly elevated when indoor air quality is poor such as when the house is closed for heating purposes during cold weather or when air conditioning is used during the summer. Mold exposure from food residue and tracked-in yard debris within the home may be increased when the relative humidity within the home is greater than 50%.
Cool mist vaporizers, furnace humidifiers and ultrasonic units are often contaminated with fungal growth. Well recognized areas for mold growth in the home include bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements, closets, stored food, refrigerator drip trays, houseplants and potting soil, air conditioners and swamp coolers, humidifiers, garbage pails, mattresses, upholstered furniture, wallpaper, foam rubber pillows, textiles, air vents, shower curtains and interior and exterior walls. The clothing of people working in bakeries, breweries, barns, dairies, greenhouses as well as loggers, mill workers, carpenters, furniture repairers and upholsterers often contains mold spores. Aspergillus, Fusarium and Penicillium are predominate indoor molds. Alternaria, Cladosporium, Dreschleria and Stemphyllium can also be found in building interiors.
INDOOR MOLD CONTROL consists of general cleanliness, reducing excessive indoor moisture (relative humidity less than 50%), and identification and remediation of known mold sources.
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House dust mites (Dermatophagoides sp) exist throughout our environment. They are not a parasite and do not bite. They can be a major and common contributor to allergies in animals as well as humans. Approximately 50–60% of dogs with elevated allergy lgE test results to other allergens also exhibit elevated hypersensitivities to dust mites. The primary causes of house dust mite allergy
are protiens found in the feces and bodies of house dust mites.
Mites are commonly found in beds, carpet, sofas, pet bedding, and anywhere dust collects. The bedroom has been found to have the greatest concentration of mites. They prefer a house that is warm, unventilated and maintains a humidity level between 50–70%. They are sensitive to UV light and prefer darkness. Dust mites feed on dead skin cells of humans and animals as well as pollens, fungi and bacteria.
Immunotherapy can be effective in reducing clinical signs in patients with mite sensitivities. In addition, environmental control can prove useful in decreasing exposure to house dust mites, in turn minimizing the patient’s clinical signs while increasing the likelihood of a beneficial response to immunotherapy.
Although, it is virtually impossible to totally eliminate mites from the environment, steps can be taken to control their population. The following suggestions may prove useful in reducing exposure to house dust mites:
• Base floors such as hardwood, tile or vinyl are better than carpet but if carpet is used, low pile is preferable
• Wash bedding (human and pet) and dog toys at least weekly in HOT (130°F) water
• Avoid feather and wool bedding, use allergen-proof bed covers and encase box springs in vinyl or plastic covers
• Leather furniture as opposed to upholstered is preferable
• Remove clutter such as books, magazines, newspapers, knick-knacks, stuffed animals and wall hangings
• Change furnace and air conditioning filters regularly and use filters specifically made for allergen control
• Vacuum and dust frequently preferably while pet is outdoors and use a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air
• (HEPA) filter or a double-layered micro filter bag
• Plants can also collect dust and should be removed
• Groom animals frequently
Obesity is the most common nutritional disorder affecting pets today. It is estimated that 25% of cats and dogs seen by veterinarians are obese. The most common causes of obesity are over-consumption of calories and lack of adequate exercise, but it’s important to realize that obesity has become increasingly recognized as a disease itself.
Fat cells produce hormones called Adipokens that decrease metabolic rate, making it more difficult for obese animals to metabolize energy. Adipokens also inhibit the normal appetite suppression seen in non-obese animals, making obese animals more likely to overeat. Adipokens can affect various organs and put overweight animals at risk for other diseases such as: heart disease, respiratory and urinary disorders, diabetes, arthritis, joint disease/injuries, anesthetic complications, and hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease) especially in obese cats. Aside from being significantly at risk for other diseases, overweight animals typically have a poorer quality of life. These animals experience fatigue, intolerance to heat and exercise, and increased levels of pain due to excess strain on their joints.
There are certain factors that may increase your pet’s risk of being overweight. Genetically, some breeds are more prone to being overweight. Common breeds include the Golden retriever, Labrador retriever, Beagle, Bassett Hound, Sheltie, Cocker Spaniel, Cairn terrier, and mix breed cats. In addition, lifestyle is a factor. Does your pet get enough exercise? Are they physically able? Altered metabolic rate is yet another consideration: Metabolism not only slows naturally with age, but also after a pet is spayed or neutered. Spaying and neutering is always recommended as it provides many health benefits, but after the procedure it is important to be aware of changes in your pet’s dietary requirements.
There are many preventive measures that can be taken to avoid weight gain and obesity. We recommended measuring meals to monitor how much food your pet is getting per meal/per day. Animals that graze are typically prone to over-eating. Therefore, twice-a-day feeding regimens can often prevent future problems. In addition, Human food should be avoided as a treat. You may not realize that the calories from human food affect our pets greatly. For example: one ounce of cheddar cheese in a twenty pound dog equates to two and a half hamburgers in an average human. A cup of milk given to a ten pound cat is equivalent to a person eating four and a half hamburgers or 5 chocolate bars. Just 1 hot dog for a twenty pound dog is like a person eating 3 whole hamburgers.
Obesity is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. If you have questions about obesity or weight management, please do not hesitate to discuss these issues with one of our veterinarians. We offer several low calorie diets and can help you formulate a plan to get your obese pet to a normal, healthy weight.
By Anna Garner
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that can be contracted by both animals and humans. There are 8 strains that can infect dogs and cats. The multiple strains produce different levels of disease depending on the animals they infect. Lepto is much more of a problem in humans, dogs, and livestock than it is in cats. Cats can be infected, but rarely shows signs of disease.
Lepto is most commonly transmitted through contact with the urine of infected animals, as this is where the bacteria are shed. Soil and Standing or slow moving water may become contaminated, and the bacteria can survive there for weeks to months. Ingestion of contaminated flesh is another common way to contract Lepto. It can also be spread through bite wounds and venereal contact, as well as placental transfer to the fetus in pregnant animals.
Symptoms of Lepto infection include fever, shivering, muscle pain, vomiting, depression, and dehydration. More severe infection will affect the liver and kidneys. When the liver is affected, icterus (a yellow tinge to the skin, mucous membranes, and eye sclera) may be present. If Lepto is suspected, it can be diagnosed through a blood test. This test can be negative within the first 10 days of infection, so multiple blood tests may be needed. It is also important to run blood work to check the liver and kidneys, since these organs are commonly affected by the disease. If an animal tests positive for Lepto, they are treated with antibiotics, fluid support, and for any corresponding kidney and liver disease.
Prevention of Lepto involves keeping animals out of contact with potential sources of infection. We are faced with a challenge, living in location that has so many beautiful parks and other wildlife-inhabited areas. Taking our animals into these environments is not the only threat. Many of us live in areas where wild animals are coming into our own backyards and neighborhoods, possibly introducing contamination and infection. Raccoons, skunks, squirrels, opossums, and rodents are all potential carriers of the bacteria Leptospirosis.
The best line of defense against Lepto is to get your dog vaccinated. There is no vaccine that protects against all 8 strains of Lepto, and no vaccine is guaranteed. The Lepto vaccine that we use protects against 4 strains, cutting the risk of infection in half. It is also designed to have a low incidence of vaccine reaction. The vaccine is initially given as a series of 2 shots. Boosters are administered 3 to 4 weeks following the first vaccine, then yearly to offer the most effective protection. There is currently no vaccine available for cats due to their low infection rate.
Please feel free to call us if you have any further questions regarding Lepto. If you are interested in getting your dog vaccinated or your dog is overdue for a Lepto booster, please give us a call and we would be happy to assist you in scheduling an appointment for vaccination.
All Tails Wagging is proud to offer Revolution for both cats and dogs. Revolution is a very safe, FDA approved, once a month topical preventative and treatment of multiple internal and external parasites. Unlike other topical products that leave behind messy oil spots, Revolution is an alcohol based product that is rapidly absorbed and dries quickly. Because Revolution is a prescription medication it requires an up to date yearly physical exam by your veterinarian. Both dogs and cats should be on heartworm, flea and tick prevention year round. Revolution is a great option for finicky pets that may refuse to eat heartworm prevention as a treat. In addition, it is a great way to save money because it controls multiple parasites, thus eliminating the need to buy multiple mmmm jjjj mmmm products.
Revolution is safe to use in dogs starting at 6 weeks of age and cats at 8 weeks of age. In order for Revolution to achieve tick control, it will need a few months to build up in your pet’s system. Pfizer (the company that produces Revolution,) recommends applying an additional dose two weeks after initial treatment, followed by regular monthly use. Complete tick control should be seen after 2 months of use. Revolution will supply a free Preventic collar (for use in dogs only) to aid in tick control while resistance is building. Preventic collars last up to 6 months. Unfortunately, there is nothing additional that can be used for cats while resistance is building. Your cat may not fully be protected from ticks during this time. If ticks are not an issue for your pet, Revolution should be used monthly as directed.
Revolution makes it easy to control multiple parasites with just one monthly topical application and Revolution guarantees their product. Contact us to find out about the current promotion that Revolution is offering.