Stow Kent Animal Hospital
4559 Kent Road Kent, OH 44240 330-673-0049

Portage Animal Clinic
4148 Ohio 43 Kent, OH 44240
330-673-7387

Know Your Enemy

flea-for-flea-blogAdult Flea

Floyd here and I would like to turn the floor over to my mom to tell you a little bit about one of the most annoying parasites that pet owners come into contact with.

You love your furry family member more than anything and you love to snuggle with them and spend time with them. While sitting with them, have you ever thought to yourself that you may have more than one pet living in your house? As you sit in the living room watching animal planet with your furry family member, there may be something lurking in you carpet, drapery, furniture, and on your pet waiting for its next blood meal. Hopefully understanding the life cycle will also help you better understand how preventative works.

Fleas are a nuisance and are often very difficult to get rid of. Have you ever wondered to yourself, why fleas are so hard to get rid of? Did you know that the adult fleas that you see on your pet only make up for 5% of the flea population? The other 95% are hiding silently in your home. Of the 95%; 10% are pupae, 35% are larvae or maggots, and 50% are the eggs. These forms of the fleas that hide silently include the eggs, maggots, and pupae. An adult flea can lay up to 40-50 eggs per day and over 5000 eggs over their lifetime (which is about on year). So you can image that they multiply rather quickly.

Fleas lay their eggs and in as little as a day those eggs hatch into maggots. These eggs are laid on the host and often roll off of the pet into the environment. These maggots or larvae are almost microscopic at the size 1-2mm. The maggots love to live in shaded areas or carpet and feed on dead insects, feces, and vegetable material. They love to eat the feces of the adult flea because it is digested blood from the adult flea’s recent blood meal. They then spin a silk cocoon and remain dormant anywhere from 1 week to a year. This part of the flea life cycle is virtually indestructible. There is nothing available that can kill it. The cocoon stays dormant until movement of a blood meal awakens it. This could be your pet or you walking across the carpet in your home or the vibration and warmth of the vacuum can also cause this. So just vacuuming your carpets can wake them up so that they can make more adult fleas and then in turn they can lay more eggs. An adult flea needs to feed before they are capable of reproduction.

Now here is the creepy part; fleas love to hitch a ride on us even though we are not the preferred host. And by this I mean that even if your pet is strictly indoors and never goes outside, the flea (no matter the part of the life cycle) can hitch a ride into the house on you. They then jump off of us and into the environment or your pet. Fleas do not prefer us as blood meals however they will feed on us if no other blood meal is available. Fleas are also creepy because some of them carry a part of the tapeworm life cycle. This means that if your pet ingests a flea that is carrying tapeworms, then they will get tapeworms. Fleas cause your pet to itch so when they bite at themselves, because they are itchy, they could potentially ingest a flea that is carrying the tapeworm in its gut. Thus causing another problem where your pet has several more pets (tapeworms) in its digestive tract.

In conclusion, fleas are very good at hiding, multiplying and where there is one flea there are many more. Like mentioned previously an important take home message is even a strictly indoor pet can have fleas. One form of the life cycle is indestructible (the pupae). So the best way to rid of the flea population totally is to keep your pet (and every other pet in the house) on monthly preventative. This helps to break all the stages of the life cycles by killing off all the adults as they hatch. Monthly preventative is especially important since the pupae can lay dormant for months. If you are on monthly preventative it doesn’t matter that the pupae hatch months to a year later because you’re pet will be protected all year round. If you think your pet has fleas please contact your veterinarian because fleas carry diseases (some of which can be contracted by humans) and cause skin infection and all kinds of other issues for your pet. There are many types of preventatives that can be used effectively monthly. The best preventatives are combination preventatives that not only protect your pet from fleas but also from heartworm disease. If you need a good monthly preventative please do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian’s office.

tapewormsTapeworms

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Cat Allergies…No laughing Matter

gabriel-stow-kent-animal-hospital-portage-animal-clinic-blog2Gabriel

Hello, Gabriel here, I am Floyd’s brother and he said that I could write to you all about an important topic that affects many animals. I am a 2 year old Siamese mix kitty that loves to snuggle with people. I wanted to talk to you a bit about allergies. I suffer from allergies myself and I would love to help inform others so that they can help their feline family members gain some relief from allergies.

It is summer and I love to look out the window. I love those fascinating fuzzies that fly through the air, I love when the windows are open and I can feel the breeze. However this time of the year itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing and coughing gets the best of me! My veterinarian diagnosed me with allergies.

Being an allergic cat is not fun. I have several types of allergies and this constantly makes me feel horrible. Did you know that cats can be allergic to all of the same environmental things that people can be allergic too? This includes grass, pollen, dust, dust mite, trees, etc. Pets can have these environmental allergies, food allergies or both. Even though I am strictly indoors I am still allergic to things that are outside. Mom always picks goopies from my eyes and nose. I hate when she does that. I squirm a lot to try and make it hard so maybe she will stop. My mom keeps me regulated with medication for my allergies but she says that if it gets worse then I will have to go to a dermatologist (yes, they have dermatologists for pets too). There they can give me injections to find everything that I am allergic to. Then depending on what they find they can help me by giving me allergy injections or more medications to help me through my toughest allergy times. Sometimes my allergies are so bad and I get so itchy that I have an asthma attack. When I have an asthma attack my mom always has to give me a steroid to take down the inflammation. An asthma attack is so scary; it’s so hard to breathe. I always need my mommy when this happens. She holds me and helps me to calm down and then gives me my medication to help me to feel better.

I also have food allergies, one would think that these are easier to manage but that is not always the case. Mom put me on a food allergy trail and found out what part of the diets that I was allergic too and now she can feed me things that I am not allergic too. My brothers get to eat in the kitchen and they get a different food than I do. They get chicken food and I have to eat beef food. Mom has to put me in the bedroom or the bathroom when she feeds me to keep me from eating some of my sibling’s food. When I get out I try to eat their food because it is so delicious. However, when I eat their food, even just a small bite, I get itchy on my feet and my eyes get really red. That is why it is so important for pets on an allergy diet to only get the diet that their veterinarian recommends and nothing else! I’m lucky I have her to look out for me. She even gives me special allergy treats. Food allergies are so hard to treat because I can never have anything other than MY food and treats. However when my diet is managed appropriately then it helps me to feel better.

If your cat sneezes, wheezes, coughs, itches, or has drainage from the nose and/or eyes then it is likely that they could have allergies. So if you think that you have a cat with any kind of allergy symptoms, bring them into the office so we can help them to feel better. You doctor can talk to you about the many options available to help treat your cat for allergies. Don’t forget that allergies can also affect our dog friends, many of the same symptoms apply to them as well.

Thank you for listening to my story,

Gabriel the Cat, Stow Kent Animal Hospital & Portage Animal Clinic

Outdoor Kitties Beware

william-white-face

That cat’s encroaching on my turf again. He’s giving me that evil eye, I know what he’s up to. He thinks he can just come into my yard and mark my tree or poop in my flower garden and get away with it! The hairs rise on the back of my neck, I let out a hiss and growl, but he persists. I lunge to the left and swat to the right, I feel the pain as he sinks his teeth into my arm, I retaliate with a bite to his cheek. Once the brawl ends, I limp home to clean my wounds.

The next morning I slowly wake, my body still aching, my wounds are swollen and painful. Mom takes me to the vet where the doctor tends to my wounds, administers some antibiotics, and takes a blood sample to test for disease. While I lay there curled upon the exam table, I hear the vet tell mom that I have contracted the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) or “kitty AIDS.” What? How could this happen? I thought I was vaccinated? How long do I have to live?

It’s been 2 years since that dreadful night, and I’ve been steadily growing ill and very frail. The doctor tells mom that my FIV has turned into full blown AIDS, I don’t have much time left on this earth. As mom tearfully struggles to decide if it’s time to end my suffering, I can’t help but wonder if they would have let me go outside if they knew it could lead to this.

Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and FIV are the two most deadly viruses spread among cats that go outdoors. These viruses are shed in the saliva of infected cats and spread through various means. FeLV is typically thought of as the “friendly cat” disease. It is typically spread when cats co-groom each other and share food or water dishes. FIV is called the “fighting cat” disease, as it is typically spread through bite wounds. These diseases are not transmissible to humans, however they do cause disease in cats that is usually fatal.

There are many ways to help minimize the risk of your cat contracting these viruses. Cats that are known to be infected with FeLV or FIV should never be allowed outside as they will continue to spread the virus to other unsuspecting cats. If you own a cat that goes outside, please talk to your veterinarian about ways to keep your cat protected in the future.

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Until next time, Harry and William with the help of Dr. Eric Brooks

For more information about FeLV and FIV, check out the following links to Cornell University’s feline health center:

http://www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/brochures/fiv.html http://www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/brochures/felv.html

Stow Kent Animal Hospital

Mon. – Thurs. 7am to 9:30pm
Fri. & Sat. 7am to 6pm
Sun. Closed
Call for emergency instruction
Sundays and after hours.

Portage Animal Clinic

Mon. – Thurs. 8am to 7pm
Fri. & Sat. 8am to 6pm
Sun. Closed
Call for emergency instruction
Sundays and after hours.