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.

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

Falls Road Veterinary Hospital New Mobile App

Falls Road Veterinary Hospital Mobile App

Download our New Falls Road Veterinary Hospital Mobile App and send us a picture for a chance to win a Custom Canvas Print!

 

The Truth …… Can Giving My Dog Ice Water Cause Bloat?

Written by Dr. Karen Pearson, DVM Greenbriar Veterinary Hospital & Luxury Pet Resort

Can giving my dog ice water cause bloat?

Simple answer… no.

Longer answer….Gastric dilatation-volvulus(GDV) or bloat is a result of the dog swallowing too much air, fluid or both and the stomach “twists”.  It is not caused by a spasming of the stomach as the article would suggest. The stomach would actually have to twist to cause the bloat and not allow air to escape from the stomach. It is much more likely the dog gulped water down too quickly and with the big gulps, swallowed a lot of air causing the stomach to expand.  This is what can lead to bloat.

What to do when your dog is hot…

When your dog is overheated make sure to give them water, but monitor the intake. Dogs who drink too fast, especially larger dogs, are more likely to drink down large amounts of water with the air and lead to bloat.

Safer yet would be to hose them down or apply cool packs to their chest or inside their thighs.

So if you see this link going around facebook (http://wendtworthcorgis.wordpress.com/2010/07/31/no-ice-water-for-dogs-please-read-asap/), please know it is not entirely true.

Karen R Pearson, DVM

Dogs Drinking Ice Water

Snake Bite Risks To Dogs!

Do you know much about your dog’s risk of getting a snake bite? We generally think of poisonous snakes in the jungles of Africa or South America,Snake Bite Risk To Dogs but poisonous are common in North America, especially in the southeast and southwest United States. Although the northeast has less poisonous snakes to deal with in the area they are still here and a concern for pet owners. Coral snakes have short fangs and tend to “chew” venom into the wound.  Vipers have longer fangs that they use to inject venom deeply into the underlying tissues.  In general, poisonous snakes can be identified by their pointy, triangular- or arrow-shaped head.

Dogs are especially at risk of snake bites because of their curious nature and because of the relatively small size of some breeds compared with the amount of venom injected.  In fact, fatal snake bites are more common in dogs than in any other domestic animal.

Timely diagnosis is usually based on an owner having witnessed the bite.  A snake bite is a true emergency that requires immediate treatment by a veterinarian.  The first 2 hours are key, with most deaths occurring during this time.  Animals need to be hospitalized for supportive care, antibiotics, and possible treatment with antivenin, an antidote for the snake venom.  Pets that are doing well after 24 hours usually survive, so long as secondary infection can be effectively controlled.  However, even with long-term antibiotic therapy, widespread tissue damage and scarring can remain at the site of infection.  Tissue damage can sometimes be so severe as to claim an entire leg.

What should I do if I see my pet bitten by a snake? A snake bite is a true emergency, so take your pet immediately to your veterinarian or a veterinary emergency center.  Emergency treatment involves supportive therapy for shock and administration of antivenin.

What is the prognosis after a snake bite? Treatment within the first 2 hours is an important part of successful therapy, and dogs that do well after 24 hours usually survive.  However, long-term therapy with antibiotics is often needed to prevent life-threatening secondary infection.  Snake bites are often slow to heal and produce scarring.

Please be aware of aware of what your pets are doing especially when outdoors! Please feel free to contact us here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concerns. (301) 874-8880. http://www.fallsroadvet.com

The Danger of Chocolate To Pets

For a human, a few too many Easter eggs can be seen as a bit indulgent and lead to an afternoon on the sofa in a self-inflicted Danger of chocolate to dogs Falls Road Veterinary Hospitalchocolate coma.

But for a dog it can be potentially life-threatening and, in the most extreme cases, result in death.

Dog owners are warned to be on high alert this Easter and ensure the chocolate is hidden away to ensure dogs are not harmed as a result of chocolate poisoning.

With more instances of discarded Easter Eggs or half-eaten Crème Eggs lying around at Easter than at other times of the year, it is a potential minefield for canines all over the country, and can result in many becoming ill – or even die.

The reason for this toxicity is due to a natural chemical in the cocoa bean called theobromine. Easily digestible by humans, theobromine cannot be broke down by the dog’s digestive system and becomes toxic to dogs, having a serious effect on their nervous system and heart.

As the Easter weekend approaches and people have more chocolate in the home than usual, we’re reminding those with dogs and cats to keep it well out of their reach.

Like with most poisons the toxic impact is dependent on the size of the dog.

Heavier dogs are far less likely to be affected by the same amount of chocolate than those of a smaller size.

For example, it would take just one tablespoon of dark chocolate to severely damage a small Yorkshire Terrier, while 5 tablespoons would lead to a Lab becoming seriously ill.

Yet, it is not only the amount of chocolate that can have effect on how badly a dog reacts. The level of cocoa and the darkness of the chocolate can also have an effect. With darker chocolate containing more of the toxic theobromine than milk chocolate, less is needed to have an adverse effect.

Symptoms of concern for owners can be anything from vomiting, to rapid breathing, to seizures and need to be acted on to ensure that there are not more fatal consequences.

The effects of chocolate poisoning in dogs usually appear within a few hours of eating, and can last as long as 24 hours.

Initial signs can include excessive thirst, vomiting, a sore stomach and restlessness.

These symptoms can then progress to tremors, an abnormal heart rhythm, raised body temperature and rapid breathing.

In severe cases dogs can experience fits, kidney failure and can even die.

If your pet ingest chocolate you should contact your vet for 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,

How To Recognize Heat Exhaustion/Stroke In Dogs

Summertime is here, the heat is upon us and you may be planning vacations, weekend getaways or just some fun hikes with your dogs. You may be able to recognize the Heat Stroke In Dogsdangers of heat exhaustion or heat stroke in humans (i.e.: headache, dizziness, fatigue, disorientation, hot Dry skin, rapid heartbeat) but how do you recognize it in dogs? How is heatstroke in dogs prevented? How is it treated? Help your dog this summer by educating yourself and becoming aware of your dog’s surroundings and by using preventative measures to ensure your dog’s safety. I would recommend that you learn what are your dog’s normal resting heart rate, respiratory rate and temperature before starting out your vacation or daily hikes in the sun.

Dogs cool off by panting, exchanging warmer air from the body for the cooler air outside. They do not sweat to cool off the way humans do, although they can release some moisture through the pads of their feet. The average body temperature for a dog is between 100- 103 degrees and when the outside temperatures reach 85 – 90 degrees or more, cooling off becomes more difficult for the dog. Exercising during the heat, even just a walk, increases panting and loss of body fluid begins. Short nosed breeds such as pugs, bulldogs, boxers, and the Pekinese can overheat more quickly because they can not exchange air as efficiently. Recognizing this will help you to help your dog in the hot summer months. Most of us have heard that leaving a dog in a car, even with the windows rolled down while you pop into a store for something can be fatal. The inside car temperature can jump quickly on warm days as well as overcast days due to the concentration of UV rays penetrating the car’s windows. If you choose to leave your dog outside at home, make sure that the dog has plenty of cool fresh water to drink and plenty of shade. Dog runs and tie downs for dogs can be a hazard when the sun changes position and the shade moves or disappears completely. You may have to provide a shade umbrella, small wading pool, or extra bins of water.

Now that you have taken some measures to prevent heat stroke at home, let’s look at what you’ll need to be aware of when you are out and about with your dog. Hiking, long walks or even just a long day at your child’s baseball games, can be hard on your dog too. Make sure you bring plenty of water, a shade umbrella or tent and maybe even some ice and a towel to help cool off the dog’s undersides if he starts showing signs of heat exhaustion. Plan on taking water breaks in the shade every 15 minutes for at least 5 minutes on hot days when you are hiking. When you are walking on hot sand or asphalt, your dog’s feet can burn. Watch out for metal manhole covers on sidewalks. Be aware of your dog’s behavior and know what is abnormal for your dog. Learn to recognize the following symptoms and act quickly to cool your dog down

Heatstroke symptoms include:

  • Rapid, sometimes frantic, excessive panting
  • Tongue and mucus membranes are bright pink or red and the saliva is thick and tenacious (drooling does not mean that your dog is hydrated! Check the consistency of the drool!)
  • Vomiting and sometimes diarrhea that can be bloody
  • Unsteady, staggering gait
  • Nose and ears dry and hot to the touch
  • Body (rectal) temperature is 104 degrees or higher

What to do:

  • Move your dog to the shade
  • Drinking cool water alone will not fix the problem! Do not let your dog guzzle large amounts of water at a time.
  • Immerse your dog in cool NOT icy cold water. Use a garden hose or bucket to cool the undersides including the groin and arm pits. Use a wet towel or bandana to cool underside if a hose is unavailable
  • Pack ice in wet towels and use on underside and head to help cool dog
  • Get the dog to a vet! Even after he seems to be cooled down!

Some signs to recognize as your dog is starting to become overheated include, whining, fidgeting, and as they pant the tongue extends much further than normal and may be scooped at the end like a big spoon with slimy drool at the tip. If you can cool them off at this point, you can avoid the harsher condition of heat stroke which is very serious and can be fatal.

We recommend having your vet’s contact information in your phone just in case you need it in a hurry when you are out and about and you may even want to make a list of the animal emergency clinics that are close to your home as well. Prevention, knowledge of your dog’s normal behavior and being prepared will help you to enjoy the outdoors with your dog safely in all types of weather.

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