Blog Archives

Hookworms and Racing Greyhounds
By Jennifer Ng, DVM (Columbia, SC)
January 2019

In the past few years, the greyhound community has been recognizing an increasing problem with persistent hookworms. The issue was initially noticed by adoption groups as the majority of retiring greyhounds from Florida started arriving with hookworms, despite routine deworming at racing kennels,
and some were getting sick with GI signs. The stress of the transportation and transition from track to home life likely resulted in the onset of clinical signs and increased worm burden in dogs that were asymptomatic in the stable, familiar environment of the track.
Hookworms can be difficult to completely clear because of a phenomenon called larval leak. Some of the immature larva go dormant in the tissues outside the intestinal tract. Those larva can stay inactive for long periods of time, and they often don’t become active again until the number of worms in the
intestines drop. So when the dog is dewormed, those dormant larva re-emerge and re-infest the intestines, and the whole cycle starts over again. Because the hookworm life cycle takes 2-3 weeks to complete, the way to treat larval leak is to deworm every 2 weeks.
In addition to larval leak, it seems that some of the hookworms are also becoming resistant to the common dewormers. Racing greyhound breeders in Florida began to notice problems with hookworms even while deworming puppies with the standard, veterinarian-recommended products and protocols.
This suspected combination of larval leak and possible resistance can make it very difficult to eliminate hookworm infestations.

Treatment

After trying various combinations of dewormers and protocols over the past 2-3 years, I have had good results with using monthly Advantage Multi, along with a standard dewormer given in the middle of the month between doses of Advantage Multi. For the standard dewormer, I usually use Drontal Plus (or compounded equivalent), or a 5-day course of Panacur (fenbendazole) with a dose of Pyrantel pamoate given on the last day.  I add the pyrantel for added effect because it works synergistically with fenbendazole. For dogs that are asymptomatic for the hookworms, I will often just treat with monthly
Advantage Multi and only add another dewormer if the dog develops diarrhea
or other GI signs.
Even with an effective protocol, because of larval leak, it can take 6-8 months or more before the hookworm infestation can be fully eliminated. Often, even getting one or two negative fecal flotation results doesn’t mean the dog is clear. I usually recommend continuing monthly Advantage Multi until a
minimum of 2-3 negative results on fecals done several weeks apart. The IDEXX fecal antigen test may be more accurate, but it would still be prudent to continue Advantage Multi for a few more months past anegative result.
**A note on a couple other hookworm treatment protocols that have been shared and discussed on various groups. I would not recommend using Advantage Multi every 2 weeks as described in what is called the “prison protocol”. With monthly administration of Advantage Multi, the active ingredient of moxidectin reaches steady state in the bloodstream after the 3rd dose. Steady state means that there is an effective level of the medication in the blood constantly, so it provides continuous deworming activity, and there is no need to administer it more frequently. Using Advantage Multi every 2 weeks, especially for an extended period of time, will result in blood levels of moxidectin that are significantly higher than what has been proven to be safe in the product approval studies.
There are also some people who advocate the use of the horse dewormers Quest or Quest Plus, which contain moxidectin, the same active ingredient as Advantage Multi. While I understand the practical need for this when
managing large populations of dogs, such as on greyhound farms or racing kennels, I would not recommend this for pet greyhounds. There is no established oral dose of moxidectin in dogs, so we do not know what is safe and
effective for hookworms, Sticking with the approved product, Advantage Multi, is preferable.

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Some FDA Answers Regarding Investigation into a Possible Connection Between Diet and Canine Heart Disease

On July 12, 2018, FDA issued a public notification about the agency’s investigation into reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs eating certain pet foods. While it is early in the investigation, the Center for Veterinary Medicine recognizes that you may have questions. Below we have compiled answers to address some of the frequently asked questions raised by pet owners and veterinarians.

1. What potential connection is the FDA investigating?

FDA is investigating a potential dietary link between canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and dogs eating certain pet foods containing legumes like peas or lentils, other legume seeds, or potatoes as main ingredients. We began investigating after FDA‘s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) received a number of reports of DCM in dogs eating these diets. DCM itself is not considered rare in dogs, but these reports are unusual because many of the reported cases occurred in breeds of dogs not typically genetically prone to the disease and were reported to have been fed the same type of diet (labeled as “grain-free”).

2. What is the FDA doing about this possible connection?

The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network, a collaboration of government and veterinary diagnostic laboratories, are investigating this potential association. We are working with board certified veterinary cardiologists and veterinary nutritionists to better understand the clinical presentation of the cases. The agency has also been in contact with pet food manufacturers to discuss these reports and to help further the investigation. In addition, we are analyzing information from case reports submitted by pet owners and veterinarians. We will continue to work with all of these stakeholders to help advance our ongoing investigation.

3. What is canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)?

DCM is a disease of a dog’s heart muscle and results in an enlarged heart. As the heart and its chambers become dilated, it becomes harder for the heart to pump, and heart valves may leak, which can lead to a buildup of fluids in the chest and abdomen (congestive heart failure). If caught early, heart function may improve in cases that are not linked to genetics with appropriate veterinary treatment and dietary modification.

4. Why did the FDA notify the public about the possible connection if the agency doesn’t have definitive answers?

While it is early in the investigation, the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) felt a responsibility to shed light on an early signal that we have been made aware of and to solicit reports from pet owners and vets that may know of related cases. The data provided through reports will help inform the investigation.

5. How many cases have been reported to the FDA?

Prior to issuing our public notification on July 12, 2018, the FDA received sporadic reports involving 30 dogs and seven cats. In the reports we received, some of the dogs showed signs of heart disease, including decreased energy, cough, difficulty breathing, and episodes of collapse. We are aware that the veterinary cardiology community has received more reports (approximately 150 as of 7/12/18). Since issuing the public notification, CVM has received many additional reports, but we are still in the process of reviewing them.

6. What brands of food have been included in the reports to the FDA?

There is a range of different brands and formulas included in the reports. Rather than brands, the common thread appears to be legumes, pulses (seeds of legumes), and/or potatoes as main ingredients in the food. This also includes protein, starch and fiber derivatives of these ingredients, (e.g., pea protein, pea starch, or pea fiber). Some reports we have received also seem to indicate that the pets were not eating any other foods for several months to years prior to exhibiting signs of DCM.

7. What are legumes?

Legumes are part of the Fabaceae plant family, and are the fruit or seed of these plants. Common legumes include peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas, soybeans, and peanuts. Legumes are used for both human and animal food and have become a common plant-based source of protein.

8. Does the FDA think this possible link includes diets with rice?

Rice is a grain, not a legume. The current reports do not suggest there is any link between diets with rice and DCM in dogs.

9. Are sweet potatoes and red potatoes classified as potatoes?

Yes.

10. What does the FDA consider a “main ingredient”?

There is no hard and fast rule for what qualifies as a “main ingredient.” We generally consider a “main ingredient” to be listed in a food’s ingredient list before the first vitamin or mineral ingredient.

11. Does the FDA know what it is about these foods that may be connected to canine DCM?

At this time, it is not clear what it is about these diets that may be connected to DCM in dogs. Taurine deficiency is well-documented as a potential cause of DCM, but it is not the only cause of DCM. Nutritional makeup of the main ingredients or how dogs process them, main ingredient sourcing, processing, amount used, or other factors could be involved.

12. How do I know if my pet’s food is one of the diets discussed in the FDA’s public notification?

We suggest reviewing the ingredient list on your pet’s food to see whether legumes and/or potatoes are listed as one of the main ingredients.

13. Should I avoid grain-free diets?

High levels of legumes or potatoes appear to be more common in diets labeled as “grain-free,” but it is not yet known how these ingredients are linked to cases of DCM. Additionally, legumes and potatoes may appear as ingredients in foods that are not labeled as “grain-free.” Changes in diet, especially for dogs with DCM, should be made in consultation with a licensed veterinarian.

14. Do I need to change my dog’s diet?

At this time, we are not advising dietary changes based solely on the information we have gathered so far. If you have questions or concerns about your dog’s health or its diet, we suggest that you consult your veterinarian for individualized advice that takes into account your dog’s specific needs and medical history.

15. What’s the safest diet for my dog?

Different dogs have different nutritional needs based on a number of factors, so nutrition advice is not one-size-fits-all. The FDA recommends consulting your veterinarian for personalized advice about what to feed your dog.

16. What should I do if my dog is experiencing symptoms of DCM?

If your dog is showing possible signs of DCM or other heart conditions, including decreased energy, cough, difficulty breathing and episodes of collapse, you should contact your veterinarian. Your veterinarian may ask you for a thorough dietary history, including all the foods (including treats) the dog has eaten.

17. How do vets and consumers submit reports to the FDA?

CVM encourages pet owners and veterinary professionals to report cases of DCM in dogs suspected of having a link to diet by using the electronic Safety Reporting Portal or calling their state’s FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators.

18. What information does the FDA need included in the reports?

Please see “How to Report a Pet Food Complaint” for additional instructions and information.

19. How long will the FDA’s investigation take?

There is no way to know how long the investigation will take, but CVM is hopeful that as we gather more data from case reports, we will gain a better understanding of this possible connection. We will continue to convey our observations publicly as the investigation progresses.
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FDA Alert – Grain-Free Dog Food

Jul 28, 2018
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating a possible link between incidents of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs and extended consumption of “grain-free” dog food, after several reports from veterinarians.
Earlier this month the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning to dog owners about a potential connection between diet (specifically a certain kind of dog food) and a disease called dilated cardiomyopathy or DCM.
The condition is one of the most common causes of heart failure in certain large dog breeds, such as Dobermans, Great Danes and Boxers, but reports received by the FDA show DCM occurring in breeds not usually prone to the disease, such as Retrievers, Whippets, even some mixed breeds.
The one common factor in the reported cases seems to be a diet high in things like potatoes, peas, lentils, legume seeds, which are often the main ingredients in dog foods labeled as “grain-free”. In the cases reported to the FDA, veterinarians indicated the dogs had been eating such foods consistently for months or years.
Several of the animals had low blood levels of the amino acid taurine. It has been shown that taurine deficiency can lead to DCM, and the FDA suspects that grain-free foods containing potatoes, peas and legumes might be causing the reduction of taurine levels in dogs.
No specific brands of dog food were listed in the FDA warning, but owners can check to see if potatoes, peas, lentils or legumes are listed as main ingredients in their pet’s food. Even better check with your veterinarian for recommendations about the best diet for your own furry friend.
So, how would you know if your dog might be suffering from dilated cardiomyopathy? Symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing, reduced energy – if your buddy can’t play like it used to, or chase the ball, or gets winded easily, it’s time for a visit to the doctor. If your veterinarian suspects your pet may have DCM linked to its diet, report it to the FDA.
You can read the FDA warning about the potential connection between diet and canine heart problems by visiting the agency’s website at FDA.gov.
We all want to do what’s best for our four-footed friends, including feeding them a healthy diet. But for dogs, “grain-free” may not be the best choice, especially when we’re speaking of pets.
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Willow, Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Ng.

 

Written by Jennifer Ng, DVM and greyhound owner.
Here’s my usual fireworks PSA. A little difficult to write this time as it will be my first fireworks holiday without a dog with noise phobia in many years. In memory of Willow, running free at the Bridge, never to be scared by storms or fireworks again.

———————————————-

With July 4th just around the corner, I hope everyone with a dog who is afraid of fireworks has a plan in place. There are a lot of options depending on how bad the anxiety is.
If this will be the first time your dog has experienced fireworks, or if your dog is just a little startled and worried but not overly anxious, you can start with some management and training techniques. Start by taking your dog out for a last potty trip before it gets dark so you won’t have go while people are setting off fireworks. Turn on the TV or radio so that there is some background noise.
How you respond and act during the fireworks can have a big affect on your dog’s reaction. Act calm and confident like it’s no big deal. If your dog is only mildly concerned, you can help prevent it from developing into a real problem by acting like it’s fun and exciting and immediately giving the dog a treat every time you hear any fireworks noise.
For dogs that are already mildly to moderately anxious with fireworks based on past experience, natural calming supplements can help. There are a number of products on the market, such as Composure Pro, Solliquin, Zylkene, melatonin, or Rescue Remedy. A lot of dogs also respond well to Thundershirts.
For more severe anxiety, talk to your vet about prescription medications like Sileo, trazodone, Valium, or Xanax. Just please avoid acepromazine, which only immobilizes the dog without providing any anxiety relief and can actually worsen noise phobias. Hope everyone enjoys the holiday and keep your dogs safe and happy!
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Canine and Feline CPR and First Aid Certification Class

3/17/18 1:30-4:30pm

Hosted by
Northeast Dog Training
440 N. Main Street North Canton, OH

Our Pet CPR+ Certification Program is Nationally Recognized and Rapidly Becoming the Premiere Pet CPR Training Program for Animal and Veterinary Professionals as well as Animal Lovers Everywhere! 

*This class will certify the participant in Canine and Feline CPR and First Aid*
The skills and topics covered in this class include:

  • Safety techniques when working with sick and/or injured animals
  • How to perform emergency triage and assess if an animal is experiencing a life threatening medical emergency
  • How to restrain and properly transport sick and/or injured animals
  • How to provide emergency first aid to dogs and cats en-route to veterinary care
  • How to take vital signs (temperature, pulse, respiration, CRT) and determine normal vs abnormal readings
  • Learn about the importance of the pet first aid kit and how to use the materials in it during an emergency
  • How to manage and provide first aid for many common medical emergencies such as severe wounds, poisoning, burns,  choking and more
  • How to performing the most current industry standard method of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation on dogs and cats (Participants will receive a PetCPR+ Certification valid for 2 years)

Registration fee is $69.95* per person
Each participant receives the following: 

2 CPR certification wallet cards, An official certificate, a 2 year subscription to our online Animal Emergency Resource Center, your choice of the Class Manual either as an Ebook* or a printed copy  (additional $24.95), businesses, organizations and groups may request a professional, frameable certificate and window decal, to hang in their place of business to promote that their staff/members are certified

Our certifications are recognized by local and national organizations, employers, animal welfare organizations, disaster response teams and more
*View our price match guarantee

Click Here to Register
Click Here to Download a Flyer to Display or Handout
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Malignant Hyperthermia in Dogs

From the Merck Veterinary Manual  http://www.merckvetmanual.com/dog-owners/metabolic-disorders-of-dogs/malignant-hyperthermia-in-dogs

Because greyhounds are very muscular, they have a higher risk of Malignant Hyperthermia. The risk of it happening is low but it does happen.
Please make sure your vet is familiar with Malignant Hyperthermia, especially before anesthesia. Always do bloodwork. If you trust your vet, there should be no reason you can’t put your greyhound under anesthesia. Just make sure your vet is experienced with greyhounds and their quirks.

Malignant hyperthermia is seen mostly in swine, but it has also been reported in dogs (especially Greyhounds), cats, and horses. This syndrome is characterized by abnormally high body temperature, muscle rigidity, a very rapid and irregular heartbeat, increased breathing rate, bluish tinge to skin and mucous membranes, unstable blood pressure, fluid buildup in the lungs, impaired blood coagulation, kidney failure, and death.

Malignant hyperthermia is consistently triggered in susceptible animals by excitement, apprehension, exercise, or environmental stress. Giving certain anesthetics or specific drugs that affect the neurologic and muscular systems also consistently triggers malignant hyperthermia in susceptible animals.

Diagnosis is based on development of clinical signs in an animal that has been given an anesthetic agent or is participating in a stressful event. Signs can develop slowly or rapidly and include muscle stiffness, twitching, a rapid heartbeat, and an increased breathing rate. Animals that are not under anesthesia may show open-mouthed breathing and an increased breathing rate, followed by a temporary break in breathing. Blanching and redness of the skin followed by blotchy blue tinges can be seen in light-colored animals. Body temperature increases rapidly and can reach 113°F (45°C).

Many laboratory tests have been developed to help identify animals susceptible to malignant hyperthermia, but they are not useful for diagnosis of malignant hyperthermia in a sudden crisis.

Treatment and Prevention

Usually, malignant hyperthermia episodes come on suddenly and are very severe. If the condition is recognized early in an animal under anesthesia, supportive measures may be able to save the animal. Unfortunately, regardless of treatment, malignant hyperthermia is usually fatal.

Stress must be minimized to prevent malignant hyperthermia episodes in individual animals. If an animal that is suspected to be susceptible to malignant hyperthermia (or that has survived a previous episode) needs anesthesia and surgery, certain precautions should be taken. These include administering a drug called dantrolene 1 to 2 days before anesthesia and avoiding certain anesthetic agents. Certain local anesthetics are also safe to use. All procedures must be kept as short as possible because malignant hyperthermia happens most often when the animal has been under anesthesia for longer than 1 hour. Although these precautions cannot prevent malignant hyperthermia, they can reduce the chances of a crisis developing.

Whenever a case of malignant hyperthermia is suspected, owners of siblings and breeders should be notified if possible. However, malignant hyperthermia is not always linked to a pedigree line.

 

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A new canine osteosarcoma vaccine has been granted a conditional license and will be tested among 2 dozen veterinary oncology groups. With enough success, the vaccine could be given a full license and unrestricted distribution in the United States.

Osteosarcoma is the most common primary bone tumor in dogs, but a new vaccine is striving to change that narrative. Aratana Therapeutics, a company focused on innovative therapeutics for dogs and cats, announced that their Canine Osteosarcoma Vaccine, Live Listeria Vector (AT-014), has been granted a conditional license by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Center for Veterinary Biologics.

The vaccine uses a listeria-based antigen delivery system that activates cytotoxic T-cells. This directs the T-cells to fight off cancer cells—capitalizing on the dog’s immune system and its ability to attack bacterial infections.

“We know that most of these dogs relapse with metastatic disease, so clearly cancer is left after chemotherapy,” said Nicola J. Mason, BVetMed, PhD, assistant professor of medicine and pathobiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and principal investigator of clinical trials investigating the new vaccine. “And we were asking the question: Could this vaccine induce an immune response which would eliminate those remaining cancer cells?”

During a clinical trial, researchers evaluated 18 dogs with primary tumor removal and gave them 4 doses of carboplatin chemotherapy followed by the new canine osteosarcoma vaccine every 3 weeks for 3 doses. The median survival rate was 956 days with the vaccine, compared with 423 days in a historical control group.

Common side effects reported included lethargy, diarrhea, and fever; only 4 serious adverse events were reported in a separate field safety study.

“Since there haven’t been advances to raise the standard of care in nearly 20 years, dogs often face a poor prognosis,” said Ernst Heinen, DVM, PhD, chief development officer of Aratana Therapeutics. “We are hopeful that our canine osteosarcoma vaccine will be a new tool for veterinary oncologists to prolong survival in dogs with osteosarcoma.”

The new vaccine will be made available for purchase at approximately 24 veterinary oncology practice groups across the United States who will participate in a new extended field study. Aratana plans to conduct this study early this year as part of the USDA requirement for products to progress from a conditional license to a full license.

If the new study receives successful results, the USDA may approve the vaccine and allow unrestricted sales throughout the United States.

“This technology is very exciting for everyone; it’s something completely new,” Dr. Heinen said.

From:  http://www.americanveterinarian.com/

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Have you ever wanted to learn First Aid and CPR for your pets?

 

Offering High Quality Pet CPR, First Aid and Emergency Training and Certification Programs.

 

Canine and Feline CPR and First Aid Certification Class

This Pet CPR+ Certification Program is Nationally Recognized and Rapidly Becoming the Premiere Pet CPR Training Program for Animal and Veterinary Professionals as well as Animal Lovers Everywhere! 
*The class offered will certify the participant in Canine and Feline CPR and First Aid*
The skills and topics covered in this class include:
  • Safety techniques when working with sick and/or injured animals
  • How to perform emergency triage and assess if an animal is experiencing a life threatening medical emergency
  • How to restrain and properly transport sick and/or injured animals
  • How to provide emergency first aid to dogs and cats en-route to veterinary care
  • How to take vital signs (temperature, pulse, respiration, CRT) and determine normal vs abnormal readings
  • Learn about the importance of the pet first aid kit and how to use the materials in it during an emergency
  • How to manage and provide first aid for many common medical emergencies such as severe wounds, poisoning, burns,  choking and more
  • How to performing the most current industry standard method of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation on dogs and cats (Participants will receive a PetCPR+ Certification valid for 2 years)

You’ll receive 2 CPR certification wallet cards, An official certificate, a 2 year subscription to the online Animal Emergency Resource Center, your choice of the Class Manual either as an Ebook* or a printed copy  (additional $24.95), businesses, organizations and groups may request a professional, frameable certificate and window decal, to hang in their place of business to promote that their staff/members are certified
This company’s certifications are recognized by local and national organizations, employers, animal welfare organizations, disaster response teams and more.
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