Venomous Snakes in Maryland

This is Samantha who was bitten by a snake this morning. Her family got her to us and treatment was started within an hour of the incident, she seems to be responding well to the treatment. Here is more information about venomous snakes in our area and good recommendations –

 The copperhead, timber rattlesnake and cottonmouth (water moccasin) are venomous snakes that can be found in Maryland. During the day, the snakes are most likely to lie underneath objects to take cover from the hot summer sun. Their natural camouflage can make them difficult to detect if they are lying in leaves or brush.

copperhead[1]Timber Rattlesnakewater moccasin

Should you come across a venomous snake, zoology experts from the Cooperative Extension at North Carolina State University advise you not to take chances. Many people are bitten while trying to kill or handle the snake.

What to do in the event a snake bites your dog?
First, let me tell you what not to do. Do not take out your pocketknife and cut Xs over the fang marks! Do not attempt to suck venom through those X marks. Do not grab the snake in a fit of anger and attempt to choke it to death. You may be bitten yourself.

Instead, you should:
• Try to identify the snake by taking note of its size, color patterns and the presence or absence of a rattle at the end of the tail.
• Look the dog over carefully for fang marks, noting that there may be more than one bite wound.
• If bitten on a leg, wrap a constricting band on the affected limb snugly at a level just above the bite wound (on the body side of the wound). This band could be fashioned of a shirtsleeve or other fabric and should be snug but not excessively tight. The compression around the limb will slow the spread of the venom. The dog may lose the limb but that is better than losing his life.
• Start your journey to the nearest animal hospital while trying to keep the dog as quiet as possible.

Preventing Snake Bites
• While out walking, controlling your dog with a leash may be your best safety device.
• Do not allow your dog to explore holes in the ground or dig under logs, flat rocks or planks.
• Stay on open paths where there is an opportunity for snakes to be visible.
• Keep nighttime walks to a minimum; rattlers are nocturnal most of the year.
• If you hear a rattlesnake, keep your dog at your side until you locate the snake; then move away.
• Off-trail hiking with an unleashed dog may stir up a snake and you may be as likely a victim as your dog.
• If your dog seems unusually curious about “something” hidden in the grass, back off immediately until you know what it is.
Above all, be vigilant when walking with your dog in areas inhabited by venomous snakes. It’s not a bad idea to memorize your veterinarian’s emergency phone number, too!

Sources: Poisonous Snake Alert in Montgomery Co. | NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com/…/Poisonous-Snake-Alert-in-Mon… and
mypetMD “Snake Bites And Dogs”

Samantha’s Update

This is Samantha the next day. Samantha’s doing much better this morning. She is eating, drinking, much more alert and playful. The swelling in her foot has gone down. The plan is to send her home this afternoon, but will need close monitoring and daily vet exams. But overall, looks as good as we hoped for!! She is a very lucky girl!

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Fleas, Pesky Little Creatures

 cat-with-fleas  puppy-dog-with-fleas    

Get Rid of Fleas in Your Home, Step by Step

Is your dog or cat is scratching a lot lately? Have you seen something small and black jump from the sofa onto your arm? Don’t freak out, take charge of the situation.

 

Call the Veterinarian

Is your pet on a flea control program? If they are, read the instructions again. It’s easy to miss a step. Ask your veterinarian what they recommend. You want a product that treats fleas at every stage — from egg to adult bug — and one that works well in your climate. Most flea treatments only take one regular monthly dose to keep fleas from making you and your pets itch. Just be sure to treat all of your animals so the fleas don’t simply jump from one to the other.

 flealifecycle          flea-bites-on-human-side

Crank Up the Vacuum Cleaner

If you rarely vacuum, a flea invasion should inspire a change of heart. Regular vacuuming lowers the number of fleas and flea eggs from carpet, cracks in wood floors, and on curtains and upholstered furniture. It also catches them under furniture. Don’t forget to vacuum the areas where your pet sleeps and eats. Empty and wash the vacuum cleaner canister or throw away bags in an outside garbage can right away so fleas don’t sneak back inside.

Vacuum every day in the parts of your home where you and your pets hang out the most — like the living room, kitchen, and bedrooms. Vacuum once a week everywhere else.

If you have a serious flea invasion, have your carpets steam-cleaned. The heat will kill the fleas, but it may not kill all the eggs. They may hatch later, and you may have to have your carpets cleaned again.

In really bad cases, you may want to consider treating your house with a flea “bomb” or calling in an exterminator. Just make sure you choose a product that is safe for you and your pets.

 

Wash Bedding in Hot, Soapy Water

Hot, soapy water kills fleas too, so wash your pet’s bedding once a week. And if your pets sleep in your bed or with your kids, make sure to wash everyone’s bedding, too.

It may seem old school, but a flea comb with tiny teeth does a good job of removing these pests. Do it outside, and concentrate on the neck area and the base of the tail. Keep a cup of soapy water beside you. Use it to dip the comb so you can drown the fleas. Once the house is vacuumed and the bedding is washed, give your dog a bath. Bathing your pet regularly will also help get rid of fleas in your home. Make sure that the soap you use is made for animals.

getty_rf_photo_of_family_bathing_dog 800px-Fleadirt

 

Thank you to WebMD Medical Reference for some of the content in this blog.

Taking the bite out of Fleas & Ticks

TAKING THE BITE OUT OF FLEAS AND TICKS

Fleas are truly devoted to their work. In one day, a single flea can bite your cat or dog more than 400 times. During that same Flea Control Falls Road Veterinary Hospitalday, the flea can consume more than its body weight of your pet’s blood. And before it’s through, a female flea can lay hundreds of eggs on your pet, ensuring that its work will be carried on by generations to come.

Flea bites may be merely a nuisance to some pets, but to others, they can be dangerous. They can cause flea allergy dermatitis—an allergic reaction to proteins in flea saliva. A pet’s constant scratching to rid itself of fleas can cause permanent hair loss and other skin problems. A pet can get a tapeworm if it eats a flea that has one. And flea feasts on your pet’s blood can lead to anemia and, in rare cases, death.

But fleas are not your pet’s only nemesis. Tick bites can give your pet such infections as Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. And ticks can give those same infections to you.

In years past, veterinarians recommended getting rid of fleas by simultaneously “bombing” the house with insecticide, spraying the yard, and dipping the dog or cat. Today, treating only the pet often takes care of the problem. But if there is a severe flea infestation or if the problem persists, you may still need to treat the pet’s environment,

Types of Flea and Tick Products

Hundreds of pesticides, repellents, and growth inhibitors are approved or licensed to control fleas and ticks on cats and dogs or in their environment. Products range from oral medications that require a veterinarian’s prescription to collars, sprays, dips, shampoos, and powders that are available at retail stores. Some products kill only ticks or adult fleas—others break the flea life cycle by preventing flea eggs from developing into adult fleas.

Some flea and tick products are not prescription drugs, yet are available only through veterinarians. This is because the manufacturer chooses to sell its products through vets, so that the vet can provide important safety information to the client.

The Preventic collar is one such product. The collar kills ticks by interfering with a tick’s ability to feed on dogs. It contains the insecticide amitraz, which paralyzes the tick’s mouthparts. Amitraz should not be used on dogs that are sickly, pregnant, or nursing, or with certain drugs that may interact with the insecticide. The manufacturer, Virbac Corp., Fort Worth, Texas, sells the collar through veterinarians, who can ensure that a dog is healthy and can use the collar safely.

When to Treat

It’s best to treat your pet year round. The severity and length of the flea season vary depending on which part of the country you live in. It can last four months in some places, but in other places, like Florida, fleas can live all year long. Fleas can also  live inside a warm house year-round.

In many areas, September is often the worst month for flea infestation. In most parts of the United States, the greatest chance of infection by a tick bite is May through September, the period of greatest tick activity by “nymphs.” Nymphs are the stage of tick development that occurs after they have had their first blood meal and molt, and before they become adults.

Lyme Disease

About 200 species of ticks live in the United States. Some of these can transmit infectious diseases, such as Lyme disease, to pets and humans. Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium transmitted through the bite of the deer tick, also called the black-legged tick, which is no larger than the head of a pin.

Typical symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs include joint soreness and lameness, fever, and loss of appetite. Symptoms in humans include fatigue, chills and fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, and a red, circular skin rash.

Read the Label, Talk to Your Vet

When buying a flea or tick product, it’s important for pet owners to read the label and follow the directions carefully. There can be serious problems with the misuse of dog flea and tick control products containing the insecticide permethrin. Dogs can tolerate concentrated permethrin, but it can be lethal to cats. Never use products on cats that are labeled for use on dogs only.

If the label states that the product is for animals of a certain age or older, don’t use the product on pets that are younger. Flea combs, which can pick up fleas, flea eggs, and ticks, may be useful on puppies and kittens that are too young for flea and tick products.

Talk to your vet about the flea and tick product most appropriate for your pet. The product you use will depend on your pet’s health and age, whether your pet is a cat or a dog, and whether it’s an indoor or outdoor pet. Also check with your vet to determine whether the Lyme vaccine is right for your dog.

Using Flea and Tick Products Safely

  • Read the label carefully before use. If you don’t understand the wording, ask your veterinarian or call the manufacturer.
  • Follow directions exactly. If the product is for dogs, don’t use it on cats or other pets. If the label says use weekly, don’t use it daily. If the product is for the house or yard, don’t put it directly on your pet.
  • After applying the product, wash your hands immediately with soap and water. Use protective gloves if possible.
  • If your pet shows symptoms of illness after treatment, call your veterinarian. Symptoms of poisoning may include poor appetite, depression, vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive salivation.
  • Store products away from food and out of children’s reach.

Please feel free to contact us here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concerns. (301) 983-8400. http://www.fallsroadvet.com

 

Pet Heat Advisory

We all love spending the long, sunny days of summer outdoors with our furry companions, but being overeager in hot weather can spell danger, warn ASPCA experts. Heat Advisory

Even the healthiest pets can suffer from dehydration, heat stroke and sunburn if overexposed to the heat and heat stroke can be fatal if not treated promptly.

Take these simple precautions, provided by ASPCA experts, to help prevent your pet from overheating. And if you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke, get help from your veterinarian immediately.

No Parking!
Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. On a hot day, a parked car can become a furnace in no time—even with the windows open—which could lead to fatal heat stroke. Also, leaving pets unattended in cars in extreme weather is illegal in several states.

Know the Warning Signs
Symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. They can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees. Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.

Made in the Shade
Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful to not over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.

Summer Style
Giving your dog a lightweight summer haircut helps prevent overheating. Shave down to a one-inch length, never to the skin, so your dog still has some protection from the sun. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. As far as skin care, be sure that any sunscreen or insect repellent product you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.

Street Smarts
When the temperature is very high, don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close the ground, your pooch’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.

Make a Safe Splash
Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool—not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals that could cause stomach upset.

Screen Test
During warmer months, the ASPCA sees an increase in injured animals as a result of High-Rise Syndrome, which occurs when pets—mostly cats—fall out of windows or doors and are seriously or fatally injured. Pet owners need to know that this is completely preventable if they take simple precautions. Keep all un-screened windows or doors in your home closed and make sure adjustable screens are tightly secured.

If you suspect that your pet is experiencing any symptoms of illness or injury please contact you vet immediately!

Please feel free to contact us here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concerns. (301) 983-8400. http://www.fallsroadvet.com.

 

Acetaminophen Toxicity In Pets:

  • Acetaminophen can be toxic to dogs and cats, but cats are 7 to 10 times more susceptible to acetaminophen toxicity Dogs & Human Medicationthan dogs are.
  • Once swallowed, acetaminophen reaches the blood stream within 30 minutes; toxic effects are rapid and damage the liver and red blood cells.
  • Never give a medication intended for people to your pet unless instructed to do so by your veterinarian.

What Is Acetaminophen Toxicity?

Acetaminophen is the active ingredient in Tylenol and some other related medications that are used to treat pain and fever in people. Unfortunately, this drug can be extremely toxic (poisonous) to cats and dogs. Acetaminophen toxicity occurs when a cat or dog swallows enough of the drug to cause damaging effects in the body.

Acetaminophen is mostly metabolized (broken down and eliminated from the body) by the liver. Some of the substances that are created during this process can have harmful effects on cats and dogs. Cats are at much greater risk of toxicity than dogs because they lack certain proteins necessary for the liver to safely metabolize acetaminophen.

How Does Acetaminophen Toxicity Occur?

Many cases of acetaminophen toxicity in dogs and cats are accidental. A pet may find and chew on a bottle of pills or eat a pill that has fallen on the floor. Sadly, some cases occur because pet owners give medication intended for people to their pets without being instructed to do so by a veterinarian.

Acetaminophen is a drug meant for people. However, there are situations in which your veterinarian may prescribe a specific dosage of acetaminophen for your dog. Be sure to follow your veterinarian’s dosage directions very carefully and report any vomiting or other problems right away. Cats are 7 to 10 times more susceptible to acetaminophen toxicity than dogs are. Because cats are extremely sensitive to the drug’s toxic effects, acetaminophen is not given to cats.

What Are the Clinical Signs of Acetaminophen Toxicity?

Once swallowed, acetaminophen is rapidly absorbed from the stomach and intestines and can achieve significant levels in the blood within 30 minutes. The main toxic effects take two forms:

  • Liver damage: One of the substances produced by the breakdown of acetaminophen binds to liver cells, damaging them. Severe damage can lead to liver failure.
  • Damage to red blood cells: One of the substances produced by the breakdown of acetaminophen binds to red blood cells. Once bound, this substance changes hemoglobin (the protein in red blood cells that enables them to carry oxygen) into a molecule that is no longer able to carry oxygen. This means that the blood can no longer supply adequate amounts of oxygen to the body’s vital organs. The altered hemoglobin molecule is called methemoglobin; its lack of oxygen-carrying ability changes the color of blood from red to brown.

Cats and dogs can develop both forms of acetaminophen toxicity. However, cats are more likely to suffer hemoglobin damage while dogs are more likely to suffer liver damage. The main clinical signs associated with acetaminophen toxicity that result from liver injury and an inability of the blood to carry oxygen include:

  • Vomiting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Lethargy (tiredness)
  • Difficult or rapid breathing
  • Abdominal pain
  • Brown discoloration of the gums (a result of methemoglobin)
  • Brown urine
  • Blue gums (known as cyanosis, indicates inadequate oxygen supply)
  • Swelling of the face or paws
  • Shock, collapse, death

How Is Acetaminophen Toxicity Diagnosed?

Diagnosis of acetaminophen toxicity is commonly based on a history of recently chewing or swallowing pills. Your veterinarian may recommend diagnostic testing, such as a chemistry panel and complete blood cell count (CBC), to assess the extent of the damage.

What Are the Treatment and Outcome for Pets Suffering From Acetaminophen Toxicity?

Acetaminophen is absorbed and metabolized very quickly. If you realize right away that your pet has swallowed acetaminophen, vomiting can be induced to remove the drug from your pet’s stomach before the body can absorb it. Your veterinarian may also administer a special preparation of liquid-activated charcoal to slow absorption of toxic material from the stomach and intestines.

There is a specific antidote for acetaminophen toxicity. This medication, N-acetylcysteine, limits formation of the toxic substance that damages the liver and red blood cells.  Additional treatments may include blood transfusions, intravenous fluid therapy, and other medications to help support and stabilize the patient.

Acetaminophen toxicity can be fatal. However, pets can survive if the condition is recognized, diagnosed, and treated quickly.

Most cases of acetaminophen toxicity are preventable. Never give medications meant for people to your pet unless instructed to do so by your veterinarian, and keep all medications in the home secured to help prevent accidental swallowing.

Please feel free to contact us here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concern. (301) 983-8400. http://www.fallsroadvet.com

A Pet Owners Guide To Flea Control:

What Are Fleas?

Fleas are blood-feeding parasites that can infest many species of birds and mammals. Although fleas on dogs and cats don’t Fleainfest people, fleas may bite people if an area is heavily infested. Flea infestation is one of the most common medical problems veterinarians see, and pets suffer greatly from this condition. Flea bites can trigger severe allergic reactions in some pets. The intense itching caused by flea infestation causes pets to scratch and bite themselves. This can lead to skin wounds, skin infections, and general misery for your pet. Even if your pet is not allergic to flea bites, fleas can transmit serious diseases, such as bartonellosis (the bacteria that causes “cat scratch disease” in people), and other parasites, like tapeworms.

How Do Animals Become Infested With Fleas?

Fleas are very successful parasites. Temperature and humidity extremes can kill them, but they can survive for long periods of time under a surprising range of conditions. Developing fleas can even become dormant for many months if there are no hosts available.

If your pet spends time outside, in kennels, or around other animals, the risk of picking up fleas increases. However, even a completely indoor pet can become infested with fleas. Because the temperature and humidity conditions inside your home are fairly stable, fleas can live there with relative ease. In this way, fleas can live in colder regions of the country, surviving climate conditions that would otherwise be intolerable. Once they have entered a house, fleas can multiply very well under favorable year-round conditions, adding to the challenge of controlling them in a home environment.

You can bring fleas into your home on your clothing, and any people or animals that come into your home can also bring fleas with them. Once fleas find a host, they begin to feed almost immediately. They lay large numbers of eggs, which eventually mature into new fleas that continue the infestation. Adult fleas may remain on an animal, but the eggs and larvae fall off the animal and remain in the environment. Flea larvae are mobile, and they can hide in places such as carpeting, bedding, furniture, and baseboards. Once they mature, they take the first opportunity to jump onto an animal or person and begin to feed, continuing their life cycle.

How Can I Tell If My Pet Has Fleas?

Fleas may not be easily visible on your pet. If an infestation is heavy, you may see fleas on the animal’s skin, or you may find them by combing your pet with a flea comb. Adult fleas are the easiest stage of the parasite to find, but they account for less than 5% of an infestation. The other stages (eggs, larvae, and pupae), which make up the other 95%, are smaller and more difficult to find.

You may also find small black/brown specks on your pet’s skin or bedding. These specks look like tiny coffee grounds and are commonly called “flea dirt.” Flea dirt is the feces of adult fleas and is actually the digested blood of the host. When the dark particles get wet, the red color returns, which may help with identification.

Some pets are allergic to fleas and can become intensely itchy from a single flea bite, whereas other pets may experience mild itching or none at all. Just because your pet isn’t scratching doesn’t mean there are no fleas. When in doubt, check it out!

How Can I Treat the Problem?

Because flea infestations involve multiple life stages, an effective treatment strategy targets as many stages as possible. If you believe your pet is infested with fleas, begin with a trip to your veterinarian. Your pet may have a skin infection or other problem that needs attention. Once your pet has been examined, your veterinarian can recommend a safe and effective product that you can use to kill the fleas. Some products specifically target adult fleas, while others also target the immature stages, like eggs and larvae. Regardless of what product is used, multiple treatments are generally required to completely eliminate an infestation. If you have multiple pets in your home, each animal should be treated with an appropriate product. In some cases, the house may also need to be treated to exterminate fleas. Products are also available for treating the yard and outdoors.

Although fleas have been around for a long time, many products are available today that can safely and effectively eliminate them. Ask your veterinarian about the best way to control fleas and keep them from endangering your pets!

Please feel free to contact us here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concerns. (301) 983-8400. http://www.fallsroadvet.com

Easter Pet Safety And Hidden Dangers To Pets

Easter Pet Safety & Hidden Dangers To Pets

As you and your family prepare for Easter festivities here are Easter Dogsome Easter Pet Safety tips.

1. Easter grass is a decorative must for Easter baskets but can signal danger for your pet if ingested. If eaten it can cause several health problems even death. Easter grass can wrap around your pets intestine and cut off circulation. It can also cause vomiting, choking, constipation, painful defecation and abdominal pain. Instead opt for a safer alternative, tissue paper or real grass.

2. No Chocolate! Dogs can’t resist something sweet to gobble on, including the infamous chocolate bunny. Chocolate contains a highly toxic ingredient known as theobromine, making even small amounts of chocolate extremely hazardous to your pets health. Theobromine, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, seizures and an abnormally elevated heart rate. Although your dog should avoid all types of chocolate, dark chocolate contains the highest concentrations of theobromine making it the most toxic. Early symptoms of chocolate toxicity are vomiting, diarrhea and trembling. If your dog exhibits these symptoms please seek vet help immediately.

3. Avoid Sugar Substitutes: Xylitol, an artificial sweetener used in many candies, chewing gums and baked goods, is potentially very toxic to dogs and cats. If ingested can cause a rapid drop in blood sugar and can lead to seizures & liver failure.

4. Poisonous Easter Bouquets & Plants. Lilies, amaryllis, and kalanchoe are just a few popular flowers used in Easter floral arrangements. While they make for beautiful centerpieces on your Easter table, certain plants and flowers can be deadly for pets. The Easter Lily is a plant commonly found in bouquets this time of year but highly toxic to cats if ingested. If eaten this flower can cause vomiting and lethargy, and if untreated, may progress to kidney (renal) failure and death. Please call your veterinarian immediately if you suspect that your cat has eaten any part of a lily plant. Other potentially poisonous flowers to avoid include tulips, calla lilies, daisies, chrysanthemums and baby’s breath.

5. Real or fake plastic eggs can be dangerous. Pets may confuse a shiny plastic eggs for their next chew toy or tasty treat. If they chew and swallow the plastic it can cause intestinal damage which may require surgery. While hard-boiled have a tendency to be misplaced or not found during those Easter egg hunts and can easily spoil. If the egg is discovered days later and eaten by your pet it can cause an upset stomach. Make sure you keep track of the number of eggs hidden and their whereabouts so you can easily inventory at the end of the hunt.

6. Cute Easter toys are not meant to be eaten: Festive bunnies and chick toys make cute Easter basket stuffers for the kids, but may be viewed as a mid afternoon snack for your pet. Small toys are a choking hazard and should be kept away from cats and dogs. Please be mindful of your pets this Easter. Happy Easter!

Please contact us here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concerns. (301) 983-8400. www,fallsroadvet.com