MYTH 1: A FEW FLEAS ARE NO BIG DEAL.
You've heard the expression "breeding like rabbits". Well, rabbits have nothing on fleas. A few fleas can
turn into a massive infestation in a hurry. If your pet is sensitive to flea antigen, even one or two bites can make him very uncomfortable. Your pet deserves to be completely free of fleas.
MYTH 2: PETS NEED FLEA PREVENTIVE ONLY A FEW MONTHS OUT OF THE YEAR.
In many warm, humid areas, fleas thrive year round. A warm spring or fall can extend the flea season to 9 or 10 months. Since fleas can survive on your pet and inside your home, year long flea control is best for your pet.
MYTH 3: I'VE NEVER SEEN A FLEA ON MY PET, SO SHE DOESN'T NEED FLEA CONTROL.
Just because you don't see fleas doesn't mean they aren't there. Your veterinarian can use a flea comb to detect fleas and their waste.
MYTH 4: I CAN GET GOOD FLEA PRODUCTS AT THE PET STORE.
Over-the-counter flea control products are not as potent or effective as prescription products. Some store bought products are toxic if administered incorrectly. Your veterinarian can prescribe the best product and show you exactly how to apply it.
MYTH 5: ONCE I TREAT MY PET AND THE FLEAS GO AWAY, MY WORK IS DONE.
Pets can become ultra sensitive to fleas if they are intermittently exposed. If your pet is treated, then treatment stops, then it is restarted, your pet is more likely to develop flea allergy dermatitis. This condition causes itching, lesions and hair loss. Provide continuous flea control and your pet is at a much lower risk for flea allergy.
MYTH 6: I ONLY NEED TO TREAT MY ONE FLEA-RIDDEN PET, NOT THE OTHER PETS IN MY HOUSEHOLD.
Not every pet will give you itchy signals. All pets in your household need to be treated, especially cats--fleas favorite host!--and even the guinea pig.
MYTH 7: I CAN'T AFFORD TO GIVE A FLEA PREVENTIVE MONTHLY.
Think of it like changing oil in your car to prevent expensive repairs. Compared to the stress and cost of treating flea related illnesses and decontaminating your home, monthly flea prevention is a low cost alternative. If you can't afford a year's supply at one time, arrange for a smaller supply with your veterinarian.
MYTH 8: MY PET STAYS IN THE BACK YARD, SO HE WON'T PICK UP FLEAS.
Your yard is constantly visited by wildlife and other neighborhood roaming pets. These animals spread fleas and eggs which will infest your pet in his own back yard.
MYTH 9: ALL FLEA PREVENTIVES PROTECT PETS FROM FLEAS ONLY.
Flea products are often combined with agents that control other parasites, helping protect your pets from additional diseases, some of which can be transmitted to you. So keeping pets on flea control is best for your whole family.
MYTH 10: FLEA PRODUCTS ARE TOXIC.
Prescription flea control agents have been extensively tested and approved by the FDA. Your veterinarian can answer any questions you have about safety.
Acral Lick Dermatitis (ALD)
ALD is a very frustrating skin disease found mostly in dogs. It is also commonly known as Lick Granuloma.
Dogs with this disease lick their legs incessantly, causing chronic skin ulcerations and infections. Allergic dermatitis is considered to be the primary cause of ALD but there are many other contributing factors to be considered:
Environmental allergies like pollens, house dust, house dust mites, molds and insects
Adverse food reactions (food allergies)
Arthritis (dogs will lick the skin over a painful joint)
Neuropathy (inflammation of nerves under the skin causes discomfort that leads to licking)
External parasites like fleas and mites
Psychological/Psychogenic factors like boredom, anxiety and stress
Neoplasia (skin cancer) discomfort leads to chronic licking
Fungal infections like ringworm can initiate ALD
Diagnosing ALD does not come easy so a thorough approach is required. Diagnostic tests, allergy tests, and diet trials are important. Skin scraping and skin biopsies help identify contributing factors. Cultures identify infections and radiographs can disclose arthritic joints.
ALD tends to be chronic and leads to significant frustration for everyone. Treatments must be multifaceted in order to cover all the contributing factors. Flea control is extremely important. Even pets that are 100% indoors can be a victim of fleas. Anti-inflammatory drugs can minimize swelling but some have severe side effects that must be closely monitored. Antibiotics are used for 3 to 4 months and topical antibiotics are used with oral or injectable antibiotics because they are rarely successful if used alone. Bacterial culturing helps to identify any bacteria that are developing resistance to antibiotics. We can also use pain medications, immunotherapy, diet trials, food supplements, behavioral modifying medications and therapies.
ALD has a guarded prognosis. Early and accurate diagnosis and treatment is the best scenario. Best treatment options used early keep behaviors under control and help your dog enjoy quality of life.
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TOP 10 FLEA MYTHS
Dogs and cats with chronic, recurrent ear infections are usually very frustrating to owners as well
as the general veterinarians who treat them. The reasons that recurring infections exist are usually due to
one or more of the following reasons:
1) the ear infection is a secondary problem and the primary cause is not being adequately addressed, for example, the pet also has environmental or food allergies,
2) the ear infection has been treated until the ear appears normal but not rechecked to make sure the infection is truly resolved so it returns,
3) using a medication that the bacteria or yeast has become resistant to, or
4) improper cleaning of the ears so that too much debris is present in the canals.
Some breeds of dogs like spaniels and Shar-Pei have inherent problems in the structures of their ears so that excessive debris builds up. Cocker Spaniels have very large wax producing glands in their ear canals and Shar-Peis have very narrow canals. Addressing these issues and educating owners why infections can return go a long way in preventing new infections. Dogs and cats with chronic ear infections need to be managed.
Whenever a pet's ears become irritated, the ears need to be inspected and cleaned if excessive debris is present. The microscopic examination of the debris is extremely important because it indicates the class of medications that will be needed to treat the infection. Pet owners may be unaware that ear medications will make the ears look and feel better before the infection is completely resolved. Medical re-examination should be done every time treatment is nearly finished to be sure the desired results are achieved.
Leftover medication should not be placed in reinfected ears before re-evaluation determines the cause of the new infection. Ear infections can be different each time they occur! Please resist the temptation to use
leftover medications on the next infection.
When trying to determine the reason for your pet's allergy or dermatology problems,
we sometimes need to do a diet trial to check for adverse food reactions. These diets are very strict and require total compliance by everyone who has contact with your pet; this includes the entire family living with the pet, your neighbors and friends, the mailman and all well meaning relatives. Everyone must be "onboard" when your pet is on this special diet. Any accidental slip-ups should be documented and the pet has to be monitored closely for any changes over the following 2-3 days.
The real culprit of food allergies is one or more animal or plant proteins. It could be
coming from your pet's regular commercial diet, table scraps, treats, raw hides, diet
supplements or other flavored products, including their chewable heartworm or
There are no reliable blood or skin tests for finding food allergies in our pets. Consequently, a diet trial is necessary. It can not contain any proteins that your pet has eaten in the past. Many commercial diets contain similar ingredients so switching food brands is usually not helpful. The gold standard for a food trial is a novel protein and in order to keep variables to a minimum be prepared to do some home-cooking!
Food trials take a long time to accomplish. It might be weeks before you see visible improvements. Please be PATIENT. Even after we discover the offending protein our work is not done. Commercial pet food companies can change their recipes or add alternative proteins. Additionally, commercial pet foods might contain very small amounts of proteins not listed on the ingredient label. These types of changes and undeclared ingredients can frustrate our efforts to find the best food for your pet, but DON'T GIVE UP! Your pet will thank you for it.
Does your pet keep you up at night with endless scratching, licking, biting and head shaking? PADS can save you from these sleepless nights while improving the quality of life for your pet. It is time to minimize your pet's symptoms and maximize their comfort.
Protect your pet from the side effects of chronic steroid use. PADS will help you discover the causes of your pet's problems rather than just treating their symptoms. Get your pet on the road to improved health.
Now that allergy season is upon us, keeping your pet comfortable is more easily achieved by committing to a routine. An inexpensive way to help minimize the effects of molds and pollens is to bathe your pet with an oatmeal or hypoallergenic pet shampoo. Also, when coming back indoors after a potty break, face, paws and legs should be wiped down to remove pollens and mold spores sticking to their fur and pads. If your pet is really cooperative, wipe their whole body.
The protective barrier function of the skin is compromised in many allergic pets. It is a good idea to keep their skin hydrated and remove as many pollens and mold spores as possible. Remember, you can control the severity of your pet's response to this season's irritants. Help them enjoy life with fewer reactions to the pollens and molds in their environment.
ALLERGY & DERMATOLOGY
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The Importance of Recheck Appointments
When you brought your furry pet home, you thought the challenges were going to be housebreaking
and surviving the chewing phase. Now your furry friend is itchy and scratching and you have a diagnosis of
allergies. Unfortunately, allergies are not curable. They are tough but they can be successfully managed.
Accepting treatment puts you on the road to regaining a quality life for your pet. One important step in this
treatment process is the RECHECK APPOINTMENT.
1. Recheck appointments are a progress check for Dr. Barnes. Are your pet's issues resolving? Are we beginning to see improvement? Is more medication needed? Sometimes symptoms diminish but an infection still persists.
Infections like that will flare again in the future. Let's make sure they are completely resolved the first time
2. Recheck appointments allow an opportunity to make a change in the treatment. Do we need to change medication? Long standing infections are a challenge. These infections have crept into your pet's life and they need to be fully resolved so that the treatment of the allergy and primary skin condition can begin. If your pet's present condition is complicated then we may need multiple medications to treat multiple symptoms. Perhaps more testing is needed to determine the next course of treatment.
3. Recheck appointments check your concerns. Is the treatment manageable for you? Do you have questions? It is never good for the pet if treatment is discontinued abruptly and not replaced with a more suitable alternative therapy. Together, you and Dr. Barnes can confirm the success of the current regime.
4. Rechecks ultimately save you time and money. These appointments act as mile markers to keep progress on track. Let's eliminate problems as they arise. Let's prevent you from having to keep retreating the same problem. Rechecks allow Dr. Barnes to make necessary changes along the way. Treatment is always costlier if necessary medications end before resolution of the problem is achieved.
Eliminating the suffering of your pet and managing their allergy is the bottom line. Rechecks are quality control for the recovery process. Meet obstacles head on and eliminate worry. Avoid a crisis. Have your questions answered. Save yourself time and money. Save your pet from unnecessary discomfort. Dr. Barnes is available to you. Keep in contact with him as treatment is progressing. Let him set the recheck schedule and please keep those appointments. Your pet needs to be seen and the progress assessed. Together, you and Dr. Barnes, will help your pet regain health and improved quality of life. Type your paragraph here.
All our pets are unique. Allergies can be a part of their life. Your pet can become allergic at any time to
molds, dust mites, household dust, insects, pollen of grass, trees and weeds, food and more. Once their body starts to perceive a substance as harmful, the immune system reacts to that substance and allergy
symptoms develop. Allergies cause red, itchy skin; red itchy skin leads to skin trauma and secondary
infections which are also itchy themselves. This combination exacerbates the intensity of the itch your
pet is experiencing.
Luckily, your pet's allergies can be managed. Immunotherapy is the safest option in the treatment of an
allergic pet. Immunotherapy changes your pet's immune system's response to their allergies. It can
also prevent new allergies from developing. We begin with ultra-low concentrations of the specific
allergens that cause your pet's discomfort. Over time this concentration of allergens is increased so that
your pet grandually becomes desensitized by making their immune system more tolerant. Now your pet's
comfort increases in spite of the presence of the allergen that once caused them so much suffering.
Immunotherapy can be administered by injection or oral drops. Pets react differently to immunotherapy.
Some improve within a few months, while others may take up to 1 1/2 years, so your patience is a must.
This treatment generally must be continued for the rest of your pet's life to avoid relapses.
Immunotherapy is a long term solution to a lifelong problem. Allergies are not curable but with dedication
they are manageable and your pet will thank you. Your commitment to immunotherapy will help your pet
enjoy the quality life they deserve.
Please don't ignore your pet's allergies. Visit PADS. Together we can positively affect the quality of your