News

Why Year Round Heartworm Prevention is so Important!

Posted on: March 15th, 2016

heartwormDo you know what exactly heartworm disease is? It should be pretty simple, the name essentially describes the condition, but how many of you know how your pet can get heartworm?

Quick quiz!
Pick the correct answer for the question below

Dogs get heartworm disease from

A. fecal – oral contamination
B. ticks
C. mosquitos
D. drinking contaminated water

As the saying goes, when in doubt choose “C.” The mosquito plays an important role of transmission of immature heartworm larvae from an infected host to an uninfected animal. So where does the mosquito get these larvae from? The most common reservoir for the disease in nature is found in wolves, coyotes, foxes, and sea lions (for those pacific coast snow birds out there). If a mosquito feeds on an infected coyote then travels and feeds off an uninfected dog, the heartworm larvae will be passed into the bloodstream of its new host. Once inside a new host, it takes approximately 6 months for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms. Once mature, heartworms can live for 5 to 7 years in dogs. Because of the longevity of these worms, each mosquito season can lead to an increasing number of worms in an infected pet.

How big can these worms get? One inch? Four inches? How about this astounding fact, they can grow as long as 12 inches!! Picture a foot long worm attached to the wall of your pet’s vein – a very important vein that connects the blood flow from the lungs back to the heart. Now imagine up to 30 of these worms living in a vein as big as a pinkie finger in some of the average sized, 60 pound Labrador. These worms essentially cause the heart to work harder to pump blood, while acting as a parasitic clot in the pulmonary vein. In people this type of obstruction would require cardiac bypass surgery to help clear the clot.

So WHY does your veterinarian recommend year round heartworm prevention for those of us living in the Midwest, with our long bitter winters? Who knows what temperature it takes to restart the mosquito lifecycle? 50 degrees. Since we live in the Midwest, and we ALL know how our winters can fluctuate in temperature, we as well as the mosquitos, celebrate a beautiful 50 degree day in November, December, January, maybe not February (only if we’re lucky), and possibly March. That’s all it takes. How many of you have ever seen a mosquito flying around the ceiling of your bedroom or kitchen in the middle of winter? Our exposure to mosquitos are present 12 months out of the year, and it does not matter if you live north, south, east, or west of the Mason-Dixon line. Our practice has had several heartworm positive dogs this past year – it’s in our area.

The arguments that are given to your veterinarian about how your pet isn’t an outdoor pet aren’t valid excuses anymore. Generally speaking, owners take their dogs outside at least twice per day so that they can relieve themselves despite where you live. Pets that live in the city are at equal risk for contracting heartworm disease as dogs that live in the country. We’ve got to start putting ourselves in our pet’s shoes. I know during the prime mosquito season, the 60-second trip that I make from my front door to the mailbox in back, I’m lucky not to have gotten a mosquito bite. So why isn’t it possible for our pets to be susceptible to these bug bites in their brief trips outside?

I always love this statement when I’m in an exam room – we’ve never given our dogs heartworm prevention and if we get heartworm, we’ll just treat – That’s a great attitude, but the cost and risks of treatment greatly outweighs the benefit of prevention. The best medicine is preventative medicine – Treatment for a heartworm positive dog generally costs the same amount as 7-10 years of year round heartworm prevention. Even with treatment there is no guarantee that your pet won’t have life long damage to the heart or even survive the treatment (we worry about worms becoming dislodged and acting as a clot in the heart, or elsewhere in the body)– the total time of treatment from start to finish is almost 10 months!

Another quiz question!

True/False – Cats and dogs can both get heartworm disease.

True! In fact it only takes a fraction of the amount of adult heartworm present in a dog to affect a cat! Cats are what we would call an “atypical” host for heartworm disease – Often times heartworms do not survive to the adult stage, however if they do, as little as 3 mature heartworms can cause serious heart and lung changes in our feline patients! Even immature worms can cause damage to the hearts and lungs in the form of a condition know s as heartworm associated respirator disease (HARD). Unfortunately the medication we use to treat heartworm disease in dogs cannot be used in cats, so it is equally important to keep our outdoor feline patients on year round heartworm preventative as this is our only way to protect our cats from contracting heartworm disease? Even ferrets can be affected by heartworm disease.

For more information on heartworm disease, please check out the American Heartworm Society’s website at www.heartwormsociety.org.

Human Pregnancy and Cats: Myths and Facts

Posted on: July 22nd, 2015

by Dr. Melissa Kinnison

Myth:  A pregnant woman should get rid of their cat.

WRONG! I’ve actually had a human doctor give this advice to a client of mine. This kind of advice drives me crazy. It shows a complete lack of understanding of the disease called Toxoplasmosis. Unfortunately, I have found out over the years that many human doctors have not had adequate training in Zoonotic diseases (those which are transmissible from animals to humans).

Toxoplasmosis is caused by a parasite which can be dangerous to a developing fetus in a human being.  The most common way that a human is infected with Toxoplasmosis is through the consumption of rare or raw meat.  Although it is true that a cat could potentially transmit Toxoplasmosis to a human, a whole series of specific events would have to occur that are actually quite rare.

Cats get a bad rap because they are the only species the Toxoplasmosis organism uses as an intermediate host. Usually what happens is the cat eats infected raw meat and the organism undergoes development within the cat and for a brief period (about 2 weeks).  The organism can then be shed in the feces of the cat.

In order for Toxoplasmosis to infect a human and do damage to a developing fetus from a cat, the following events would have to happen:

1) The woman would have to be in her first trimester.
2) The cat would have to be fed raw infected meat during this time.
3) The cat would then shed Toxoplasmosis for approximately 2 weeks of its entire life. Then they never shed the organism again (unless reinfected).
4) The woman would have to eat or ingest the infected cat’s feces (possibly by cleaning the cat litter box).

So, you can see that you might have better odds of winning the lottery than having your developing baby get Toxoplasmosis from a cat.

What should a woman do if pregnant?

1) Do not consume rare or raw meats.
2) Don’t feed your cat rare or raw meats.
3) Let someone else clean out the litter box during your first trimester.
4) Avoid gardening or wear gloves when gardening, in case cats have been defecating in the garden.
5) Relax, enjoy your pregnancy, and for heaven’s sake~ don’t get rid of your cat!

Laser Therapy – What is it and how can it help your pet?

Posted on: April 30th, 2015

by Dr. Cathy Gajewski

In a nutshell “laser” therapy is treatment with light. What can it do? It can be used to treat a multitude of common conditions that cause pain and inflammation. How cool is that? Even better, it is safe, non-invasive and has no side effects. We have been using it at Broadview Animal Hospital for several years to help pets with all kinds of conditions, such as painful arthritis and wounds. We use laser therapy every day on our patients undergoing surgery on the surgical incision to kick start the healing process and to manage postoperative pain as soon as they come out of the operating room. Our Doctors and clients, not to mention patients, all love that!
How does it work? At our hospital we have a class IV laser unit that is FDA approved. The type of laser is important because just like anything else, not all laser units are created equal. The class 4 unit has a probe that emits a powerful light beam (don’t worry-it is not Star Wars powerful) at the appropriate wavelength that when placed over the skin, it penetrates deep into the tissue without damaging it. The energy from the light wave is absorbed by the tissues and this energy is used by the body to help healing. This process is called “photo-bio-modulation”.
How can it help your pet? Chances are that if the condition is painful and inflamed the laser can help. One of the most common conditions we see in the summertime is painful skin and ear infections. Most of our older pets suffer from painful arthritis as they age. Some pets suffer from chronic mouth inflammation. These are just a few of the conditions that respond to laser therapy. Here is just a partial list of conditions that can be treated with laser therapy:
• Dental conditions and inflammation of the mouth
• Arthritis
• Skin and ear infections
• Nasal or sinus inflammation
• Traumatic injuries including fracture
• Wounds
• Bladder inflammation (especially cats)
• Painful areas in the spine
• Hip dysplasia
• Lesions caused by licking (lick granuloma)
• Post-surgical incisions

Please feel free to ask your veterinarian if laser therapy could benefit your pet. Often it is used in addition to other treatments and may be especially useful if other treatments seem inadequate or if the pet cannot tolerate more traditional treatments. Some conditions will respond in 1 or 2 laser sessions and other more chronic conditions benefit from treatments on a long term basis. Your veterinarian can discuss with you the best treatment protocol for your pet’s condition.

Here is a customer testimonial about using laser therapy:

“Dave and I were asked by the staff at Broadview Animal Hospital to write a testimonial regarding our German Shepherd, named Midnight, and her experience with laser therapy treatment on the left knee.
Midnight has responded exceptionally well to laser therapy. After the first treatment alone, she was running from our bed to the couch, back and forth, back and forth. This is something she used to do, but hasn’t done for quite sometime because of her hips and knees.
Midnight also started running laps in the backyard, which is also something she used to do all the time but hasn’t for a while. She is also sleeping more sound at night, not tossing and moving around trying to get comfortable.
Midnight’s experience with laser therapy has been amazing! Dave and I would highly recommend it to others.”

(Submitted by Kylee O’Clair & Dave Guerrette)

‘Tis Always the Season: Why You Should Use Heartworm Prevention

Posted on: April 10th, 2015

by Dr. Sharon Davis

Any pet owner who has grown up in New England has heard the term “Heartworm Season”. Many think that heartworm season is limited to the summer months when the weather is warm. Times have changed; if there was ever a true heartworm season, it exists no more. Heartworms are transmitted year round, even in New England.
There are several reasons heartworm prevention should be given year round.

• Mosquitos have evolved. They are adapting to living in colder climates, living longer, traveling further, and more mosquitos are carrying infective heartworm larvae than ever before. From year to year, no one can predict the first day warm enough day for mosquitos to bite or when the mosquito activity will end in the fall. Environmental changes, both natural climate changes and manmade changes such as real estate development or change in water drainage, have led to longer mosquito seasons. Did you know that adult mosquitos can hibernate for as long as 5 months in winter weather? It is not unusual to see a sleepy mosquito indoors during the winter, often brought in on a piece of wood for the fireplace. In addition to being able to feed indoors in winter, these hibernators become active and start feeding outdoors earlier in the spring season than ever before. And they can travel up to two miles for a blood meal!

• People and pets are traveling further and more often. Heartworm disease can now be found in all 50 states. Pet owners may unknowingly travel to areas with higher incidences of heartworm disease, infecting their own dog, and then carrying it back home. Stray dogs, many already infected, are now routinely transported all over the country to be adopted into new homes. There has been a significant increase in heartworm cases each year especially since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, after which at least 80,000 of the misplaced dogs were transported to New England. Heartworm cases in New England jumped from approximately 1750 in 2011 to around 3500 in just the last 3 years. Did you know that there have been over 60 confirmed Heartworm cases in New Hampshire so far this year?

• Dogs are not the only carriers of heartworm. Infective heartworm larvae are carried in several wildlife species, such as coyotes, fox and wolves. Enough of our local wildlife are carriers at this point that we will never eradicate heartworm disease. Often not talked about, pet cats and ferrets can also be infected and die from heartworm disease.

• In addition to preventing heartworm infection, monthly heartworm preventatives prevent the most common intestinal parasites. These include roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms, all of which are ubiquitous in our environment. These parasites not only cause disease in dogs but pose serious health risks to people.

• Finally, it is far easier, safer, and less expensive to prevent heartworm disease than to treat an infection. Before a dog infected with heartworms starts to show obvious signs of illness, the infection can be silent. There is a treatment for dogs, but it can take a long time and be very expensive. Furthermore, although the worms can be eliminated, we cannot always repair the damage that has already been done to the heart and other organs during infection. Be aware also, there is no safe treatment for cats or ferrets.

Plan to have your dog tested at least once annually for heartworm exposure, and keep them protected from heartworm disease by giving a monthly oral preventative. We recommend Sentinel for monthly heartworm and parasite prevention. Sentinel is given orally to your pet on a monthly basis. Currently, there is a $10 mail in rebate when you purchase a 6 month package.

For more information, please call us at (603) 335-2120. You can also find in depth and accurate information from the American Heartworm Society at www.heartwormsociety.org and the Companion Animal Parasite Council at www.capcvet.org.

How to Make Vet Visits Less Stressful For Your Cat

Posted on: March 6th, 2015

Written by Dr. Christine Davis

As much as we love our feline patients, the feeling isn’t always mutual. A visit to the veterinarian’s office can be anxiety-provoking. Starting with the carrier, then the car ride, and finally the new experiences that occur in the hospital, leaves many cats understandably nervous. Here are a few tips to help turn your “scaredy cat” into a seasoned traveler.

Some cat parents suspect that their kitty has ESP when it comes to their carrier. How else can you explain the fact that Fluffy is well-hidden before the carrier even makes an appearance? It helps to make the carrier a part of your kitty’s normal environment whenever possible. This means keeping it out, lining it with a comfortable towel or blanket, adding a beloved toy, and even the occasional treat. There are also calming pheromone sprays and wipes for cats that can be applied several hours in advance to calm their nerves. We carry these products at our hospital and they can be purchased at any time.

On the day of your vet visit, it is best to skip the meal prior to the appointment to avoid stomach upset. If Fluffy won’t walk into the carrier by himself when encouraged with a treat, it may be easier to gently lower him in backwards with the carrier in a vertical position. A carrier should always be used in the car for the safety of both cat and driver. When possible, strap the carrier in with the seat belt to avoid jostling the carrier in traffic. It is helpful to bring a fresh towel and cleaning supplies along in case of an unfortunate “accident”. We are always happy to freshen Fluffy and the carrier upon arrival if there is one.

If your cat is especially nervous in the waiting room, call ahead and request that your kitty be put in an exam room upon arrival; sometimes this may mean waiting in the car for a few minutes. Otherwise, head to our cat-only waiting area and try to keep the carrier off of the floor with your kitty’s eye line on you and not another animals. Speak calmly and gently to the kitty.

After entering the exam room, put the carrier on the floor and open the door. Let your cat explore at will. Don’t worry if he jumps up high or finds a hiding place; we have seen it all! Continue talking to your kitty calmly. During the exam, try to remain in his eye line and ask the veterinarian if you can touch and pet him. By now, many cats are quite relaxed and will be purring and enjoying the attention of our admiring staff. If you have any tips for us on how your cat likes to be petted, we are all ears. We want your kitty to feel safe and comfortable.

A trip to the vet may never be the highlight of your cat’s day, but by following these tips we hope that the experience will be a bit more “purr-fect”.

Canine Influenza

Posted on: March 28th, 2013

by Dr. Linda Luther

Recent news reports have suggested that a canine influenza outbreak is expected in New Hampshire, but we have not seen any evidence to support this prediction at this time. Canine influenza is a virus that can cause respiratory disease in dogs. The virus has not been shown to be able to infect humans, and currently, the incidence of canine influenza is low in our region. Most dogs we see with respiratory disease have “Kennel Cough”, or infection with the bacteria Bordetella and/or the virus Parainfluenza.
Symptoms of respiratory disease from any cause can include a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, fever and lethargy. A large majority of dogs will experience mild symptoms, and will recover without any therapy, similar to how we recover from a cold, and others will recover with supportive care such as antibiotics. A small percentage of dogs, often very young puppies and dogs that are in overall poor health, may develop more dangerous complications from respiratory infections, such as pneumonia. Without hospitalization and appropriate therapy, these dogs can die.
We recommend annual vaccination for “Kennel Cough” for all dogs that are exposed to other dogs in environments such as boarding kennels and doggie daycares. A vaccination for canine influenza is available, but we are currently not recommending it for most dogs based on the incidence of the disease here, as well as the likelihood that most
infected dogs will recover without it. However, if this recommendation changes, we will be sure to inform our clients.

Our New Office Hours

Posted on: December 19th, 2012

We are happy to announce that as of January 1, 2013 Broadview Animal Hospital will be open 7 days per week. Our new office hours are: Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 6:30 pm. Saturday & Sunday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. Please call us to schedule an appointment at (603) 335-2120. If your pet is in need of an Urgent Care appointment on the weekends, we are here for you.

Veterinary Technicians

Posted on: January 24th, 2012

You may be wondering what a veterinary technician does on a daily basis? Job responsibilities range from technical duties such as nursing care, administering medications, collection and processing of lab samples, induction and monitoring anesthesia, and radiography, to duties such as ordering and inventory management, record keeping and client education. Most of all, veterinary technicians have a passion for animals and their well-being. Our technicians strive to provide the best care for both our clients and our patients on a daily basis. It’s truly a labor of love!