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Is your pet shaking their head, scratching at their ears, producing a dark waxy substance that is visible in the ear? Your furry friend may have friends of their own called ear mites! Read on to learn more about these pesky parasites and how you can help eradicate them from your pet and home.
What are ear mites?
The ear mite (Otodectes cynotis) is a surface living mite that lives on cats, dogs, rabbits and ferrets. It is usually found in the ear canal but it can also live on the skin surface. The entire ear mite life cycle takes place on animals. Cats become infested by direct contact with an infested animal. The mite is just visible to the naked eye and can be seen as a white speck moving against a dark background.
What effect do ear mites have on cats?
Ear mites are the most common cause of feline ear disease. They are the second most common ectoparasite found on cats; the most common is the flea. Infestations are most common in kittens and young cats although cats of any age can be affected.
Clinical signs of infestation vary in severity from one cat to another and include combinations of:
How are ear mite infestations diagnosed?
Ear mites cause over 50% of feline ear disease. However, other conditions can result in very similar clinical signs.
A veterinarian makes the diagnosis by seeing the mite. This is usually straightforward and may be done either by examination of the cat’s ears with an otoscope or by microscopic examination of discharge from the ear. If the ears are very sore, the cat may need to be sedated to allow the ears to be properly examined and treated.
How can I get rid of ear mites from my cat?
Three steps are required to successfully treat ear mites:
Your veterinarian will advise you about which insecticidal products are suitable. There are several ear medications licensed for the treatment of ear mites. There are no products licensed for use on the house or on an animal’s skin but many products licensed for flea control are effective.
Your veterinarian may ask you to continue the treatment regime for at least 21 days after which they may check the cat to ensure that the mites have been eliminated.
Do ear mites affect people?
Ear mites may cause an itchy rash on susceptible people if there are infested pets in the household. Eradication of the mites from the pets will cure the problem.
If you suspect that your pet has and ear infection of any sort, make an appointment with your veterinarian right away!
Diet Associated Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM), or enlarged heart, has been a hot topic lately. The media outlets have been buzzing about grain free diets and sudden heart failure in dogs. Researchers have been hard at work looking into the correlation, and have uncovered the following:
1. It’s not just grain-free. This does not appear to be an issue with just grain-free diets. “BEG” diets – boutique companies, exotic ingredients, or grain-free diets better describes the at-risk categories. The apparent link between the diets and DCM may be due to ingredients used to replace grain in grain-free diets, such as lentils and chickpeas, but also may be due to exotic meats, vegetables, and fruits. In addition, not all pet food manufacturers have the same level of nutritional expertise and quality control and this could introduce potential issues with some products.
2. Most dogs with diet related DCM do NOT have low taurine levels. Some owners continue to feed BEG diets but supplement with taurine thinking this will reduce the risk of heart disease. However, more than 90% of patients with DCM have normal taurine levels. Yet some of these dogs improve when their diets are changed. This suggests that there is something else playing a role in most cases. Giving taurine is unlikely to prevent DCM unless your dog has a true taurine deficiency. Also, given the lack of quality control for dietary supplements, you can actually introduce new risks for your dog if you give a supplement they don’t need.
3. Raw diets and homemade diets are NOT a safer alternative. DCM has been diagnosed in some dogs eating these diets as well.
1. What’s causing diet associated DCM in dogs? For most dogs, we do not know yet. There are definitely some dogs with DCM that have low taurine levels. For dogs that have normal taurine levels though, other nutritional deficiencies may be present. Some of these diets may have insufficient nutrients or reduced bio-availability that could trigger heart disease. The FDA continues to actively study this situation so we can resolve the issue as soon as possible.
2. My dog is eating a BEG diet but has no symptoms, what should I do? It is unlikely that most dogs eating a BEG diet will develop DCM. However, given the fact that we don’t yet understand the connection between the diet and developing cardiomyopathy, we would recommend reconsidering your pet’s diet. Contrary to popular belief, there are NO health benefits of a grain-free or exotic ingredient diet for dogs, unless they have a rare allergy to grains.
Be sure to watch for signs of heart disease – weakness, slowing down, exercise intolerance, shortness of breath, coughing, or fainting. If you notice any of these signs bring your pet to the vet immediately. Your veterinarian may notice a heart murmur or rhythm disturbance. They may also recommend additional tests such as x-rays, blood tests, ECG and ultrasound of the heart.
If your dog has no symptoms, additional testing is up to you. A recommended blood test (pro-BNP) can measure a cardiac enzyme that increases with heart enlargement. Getting a baseline level and monitoring it over time can give you an early indication that something may be wrong. However, realize that a normal value does not guarantee that your pet does not, or cannot, develop heart disease. A high level suggests that your dog’s heart should be further evaluated.
Taurine levels can also be monitored but this testing can be very expensive; and remember, some of these dogs will have normal taurine levels when they develop heart disease.
Finally, the definitive test for DCM is an ultrasound of the heart or echo-cardiogram. This may be recommended if heart disease is found on physical exam or screening tests, however it is usually not the first test performed.
3. Has diet associated DCM been diagnosed in cats? At this time an association between diet and DCM has only been diagnosed in dogs.
If you have been feeding your dog an exclusive grain free or BEG diet and have concerns, schedule an appointment to start the discussion. We want to help the public understand the complexities of making safe and nutritionally balanced food, so that you as a consumer can choose the best diet for your pet.
Losing a pet under any circumstance is devastating for families. Many think that it can’t or won’t happen to them. A staggering statistic in the United States is that 1 in 3 pets will become lost in their lifetime!
The best measures to keep your pet safe can fail. We hear many times that a cat doesn’t need to be microchipped because they live indoors only, or that a dog doesn’t need to be on leash because he never goes anywhere on his own. Unfortunately accidents happen; doors are left ajar, deer run past the dog in the yard or any other number of mishaps and distractions occur. These are the moments where pets become lost. Without proper identification getting them back to their owner is infinitely harder!
As always if you have any questions regarding microchipping, registration, proper harness and leash set ups, or anything pertaining to keeping your pet safe and secure, reach out to us at www.telfordvet.com
Spring has sprung and so has the season of Lilies! While they are beautiful flowers and a popular gift for Easter and Mother’s Day, they present a great health hazard to your pets!
We recommend keeping any variety of the Lilium Species out of the home if you have a cat. Common varieties that may be in your household include, but are not limited to, the Asian Lily, Easter Lily, Japanese Show Lily, Rubrum Lily and Tiger Lily.
Every part of the lily is reported to be toxic to cats: flower, stem, leaves, and root.
It is important if your cat ingests any part of a lily, that you take him/her to the veterinarian ASAP. Delay can result in serious consequences for your pet. The effects of Lilies mainly impact kidney function, resulting in acute renal failure within 1-2 days of ingestion.
If taken to the veterinarian within 1 hour, your veterinarian can induce vomiting or perform a gastric lavage (washing out of the stomach). It is best, if time allows, to get everything out of the stomach, then continue supportive care.
If taken to the veterinarian 1-2 hours after ingestion, the plant material has digested an treatment becomes more in depth. At this point your veterinarian may recommend the use of activated charcoal and supportive care based on symptoms.
Prognosis is variable based on time frame between ingestion and when your pet is examined by a veterinarian. Once acute renal failure develops, prognosis is poor with high mortality rates.
Chooch ingested lily from a bouquet brought home from a husband to a wife. While the intent of a romantic gesture was appreciated by his owner, Chooch was a little too curious about the new addition to the house. Luckily his owner knew that Lilies are toxic to cats and when she found evidence that he may have ingested some they went straight to the vet for treatment! His outcome was a success due to the quick actions of his owner, but it took time, medication and patience for his recovery!
We recommend keeping lilies out of the environment of your cats. Keep your pets safe all year round, including this holiday season. We also recommend knowing what household plants and toxins may be harmful to your pet. Find out more here.