Eastside Veterinary Associates - Medical Articles The veterinarians and staff at the Eastside Veterinary Associates are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

Current Newsletter Topics

Flea Control

The summer is made for lazing about in the sun and spending time outdoors, two activities cats love. But when the weather is warm, fleas are never far behind and as temperatures rise, it becomes increasingly important to protect your feline friend from hungry fleas.

Fleas may cause flea allergy dermatitis or military dermatitis in cats.

Keeping fleas off your pet and out of your home is about more than just stopping your pet's constant scratching. Aside from itchy, irritating bites, fleas can cause the skin disease flea allergy dermatitis in both cats and dogs, as well as miliary dermatitis in cats. A single flea bite can trigger flea allergy dermatitis, which can lead to excessive scratching, hair loss and, potentially, a secondary bacterial infection. Miliary dermatitis consists of small bumps, called papules that eventually develop into crusts. Fleas can also transmit Dipylidium caninum, or double-pore tapeworm, a common tapeworm found in dogs and cats, as well as a number of other diseases.

Even if fleas aren't on your pet right now, they may be living in your home. There are four stages in a flea's life cycle: egg, larva, pupa and adult. It is only during the adult stage that the flea actually lives on an animal; during the other three stages, the flea lives in the surround environment. Immature fleas usually account for about 90 to 95 percent of the total flea population in a home. A good rule of thumb is that for every flea you find on your pet, there are about 100 more immature fleas living in the surrounding environment.

Average flea life cycle

The average flea can live for anywhere between 12 days and 180 days, though the typical lifespan of a flea lasts three to six weeks. But even in that short amount of time, an adult female can lay more than 1,000 eggs, which means that even only one tiny flea can result in big problems.

How can you tell if fleas have invaded your home and latched on to your dog? Scratching is the first sign. During feeding, fleas inject saliva into the skin of the animal; this saliva contains proteins that cause allergic skin reactions, which leads to bouts of rubbing and scratching. Fleas are most commonly found on cats around the base of the tail and on the head, neck and ears. If you suspect your cat has fleas but cannot see them, check for "flea dirt." This is the excrement of the flea and consists of a mix of feces and dried blood. To find flea dirt, have your pet lay on the ground and place a piece of white paper underneath him or her. Brush your pet and let the paper collect any dirt or debris. Next, add a few drops of water to the dirt on the paper; if dried blood is present, the water will take on a reddish color, indicating the presence of flea dirt.

During the last several years, significant improvements have been made to flea control products. Oral and topical medications containing insect growth regulators (IGR) and insect development inhibitors (IDI) disrupt the flea's maturation process and stop infestations before they begin. These treatments are less toxic for pets and the environment and more effective in controlling fleas.

Topical treatments are more effective than past products because they remain on the surface of the pet's skin, where they are toxic only to fleas, rather than absorbed into the pet's bloodstream. The safest and most effective flea control products are available through your veterinarian. Flea control products designed for dogs should never be used on cats. Products containing pyrethrin- or pyrethroid-based chemicals can be dangerous and possibly fatal for your cat. You should keep dogs and cats separate immediately after applying flea control products.

Can Your Doggie Paddle?

Almost all of us learned to swim with the doggie paddle. So, we may be surprised to find out that our doggie can’t, well, paddle.

With the hot summer months ahead, we’re all anxious to take Fido to the beach. But what many pet owners don’t realize is that he may not be the natural swimmer you always assumed him to be. Though it’s true that most dogs will automatically start “doggie paddling” in order to stay afloat, this does not always mean that they can hold their head up long enough to swim.

Dog with Goggles

Most dogs that can’t swim have heavy chests in relation to the rest of their body. Think: Bulldogs. Labs, on the other hand, are pretty much bred for swimming. But don’t let this basic rule of thumb get you in trouble this summer. If your dog doesn’t race to the water’s edge, it’s wise to assume that he may not be a champion swimmer, and it is your job to ensure he reaches shore safely.

Teaching your dog to swim may be as simple as luring him in with encouragement, treats, and toys until he’s ready to go solo. Start shallow and work your way deeper and deeper. The learning curve is usually pretty quick, especially if there are other dogs around who appear to be having fun in the water. If you come to realize that your dog isn’t the avid swimmer you imagined, he can still have fun with you at the lake this summer. Just strap on a life vest, and he’s good to go!

VIDEO: Dental Care Advances May Extend Pets' Lives

One of the most common diseases of our pets can also be one that causes some of the most severe long lasting effects. Most pet owners are not aware of just how advanced their pet's dental disease might be and how that dental disease can affect other organs, such as the heart or kidneys. Most pet owners would admit to not being overly concerned about their pet's teeth. After all, "wild animals don't brush their teeth!" But, studies are now showing that not only can the advanced dental disease cause problems in the mouth, but also other major body systems. It has even been proposed that poor dental care can actually shorten the pet's life.

New advances in pet dentistry, such as OraVet Barrier Sealant, are helping to protect our pets. Watch this video to learn more.

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Can My Indoor Cat Get Rabies?

Rabies is known to affect virtually all mammals, but the disease is rare in small rodents. Since 1995 in the United States, more than 7,000 animals per year--most of them wild--have been diagnosed with rabies. The disease is found in 49 U.S. states (all but Hawaii), as well as in Canada, Mexico and most other countries of the world. Among domestic animals, 59% of the reported cases in 2009 were cats.

In wild animals, rabies is more common in bats, skunks, raccoons and foxes, but the disease also has been found in deer, coyotes and in large rodents such as woodchucks. Cats, dogs and livestock can get rabies too, if they are not vaccinated and are bitten by a rabid animal. Some animals, including chipmunks, gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, rabbits, rats and squirrels, get rabies but cases are less frequent. From 1985 through 1994, woodchucks accounted for 86% of the 368 cases of rabies among rodents reported to the US Center for Disease Control. Since rabies is a disease of warm-blooded animals only, birds, fish, insects, lizards, snakes and turtles do not get rabies.

Many cases of rabies have been traced to rabid bats. So, if your indoor cat encounters a bat, transmission is very possible. It is unlikely that your cat will get rabies from field mice that enter the house, or from house mice that set up nests. Other unwanted house guests that enter accidently, such as chipmunks and squirrels, can transmit rabies to your cat; however, reported cases are infrequent.

That said, as a precautionary measure, it is necessary to have your indoor pets vaccinated for rabies and other diseases. Since bats get in and cats get out, it is always better to be safe than sorry. For more information about vaccinating your indoor pets against rabies and other contagious diseases, call your local veterinary hospital today. Your veterinarian is always the best source for information about protecting your pets.

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Have Backyard Chickens? Take Precautions!

Have Backyard Chickens? Take Precautions!

Three hundred people nation-wide have been linked to an outbreak of salmonella originating from a hatchery in Ohio. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the outbreak has stemmed from humans in contact with live chickens from Mt. Healthy Hatcheries, which supplies live chicks to stores in several states. Many of those infected raise backyard chickens.

Backyard Chickens

The CDC says that consumers who own live poultry can protect themselves against the illness by washing hands thoroughly with soap immediately after touching live poultry, keeping live poultry outside the house, and keeping living spaces for live poultry clean. The CDC offers additional information on salmonella prevention, as well as symptoms, on their website at

A Pet Does Not Make Your Child More Allergy-Prone

A Pet Does Not Make Your Child More Allergy-Prone

Afraid a new pet could cause your child allergies? Well, scientific evidence has revealed quite the opposite. Many people believe that keeping a dog or cat in the home will increase the chances that their child will develop pet allergies. Yet to the contrary, the latest study, conducted by the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, reveals that children who are exposed to pets in their first year are less likely to develop allergies to dogs and cats later in life. Exposure to pets past a child’s infancy did not, however, appear to make a difference in whether or not the allergies developed. “The first year of life is the critical period during childhood when indoor exposure to dogs or cats influences sensitization to these animals,” concluded the authors of the study.

So go ahead, bring home that new dog or cat. Just make sure to be quick about it!

VIDEO: Traveling with Pets Doesn't Have to Drive You Crazy

By plane or car, more pet owners than ever are taking their dogs and cats on vacation with them. A few minutes of preparation and homework can help you to avoid common pitfalls and even serious accidents and injury to your pet. Whether it's picking up vaccine records from your family veterinarian or calling ahead to find pet friendly hotels, your "vacation homework" could just be a lifesaver. Watch this video to learn more.

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