In this issue:
- The importance of spaying and neutering your pet.
- Heartworm, flea and tick prevention
- Employee Spotlight – Kim Ussery
- Ferrets and the flu
Spaying and Neutering Your Pet
It’s springtime, which means it’s a great time to talk about the birds and the bees. It’s also a great time to think about spaying or neutering your pet. Spaying and neutering will provide many benefits to your pet’s health and happiness including the following:
Pets that have been spayed or neutered are much less likely to develop serious health problems, including some types of cancers and infections that can be fatal. In addition, you may notice behavioral improvements. For example, your pet will be less likely to roam away from home and show aggression to other animals.
Our doctors recommend spaying or neutering your pet around six months of age. You can even sign your pet up for one of our wellness plans, and receive a discount on their spay or neuter. Let our staff know if you have any questions or concerns about these procedures, and we’ll be happy to help!
The Battle of the Bugs
Here are a few reasons why it is crucial to maintain regular dosing of your dog or cat’s monthly heartworm and flea and tick preventatives.
- Heartworm disease can affect even animals that never step foot outdoors. The same mosquitoes that drive us Southerns crazy, also transmit heartworms to our furry friends. So, if one of these pests gets into your home, your pet is at risk.
- Heartworm disease is very costly to treat in dogs and is untreatable in cats. Heartworms are large parasites living in your pet’s heart, obstructing the blood flow through your pet’s body and creating an unimaginable strain on your pet’s health. If your dog is lucky enough to be diagnosed before much permanent damage is done, the treatment is long and painful and can cost thousands of dollars. Cats are not so fortunate, as there is no approved treatment for heartworm disease for our feline pals.
- Many heartworm preventatives also help treat and prevent intestinal parasites, such as hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. Some species of intestinal parasites can be transmitted not only pet-to-pet but to humans as well. Some can even travel through the skin of a human to infect the internal organs and eyes.
- Fleas and ticks are annoying and, in large enough numbers, can create a myriad of health problems for your pet, including anemia and skin infections. They can also spread diseases like Bartonella (cat scratch fever), Lyme disease, plague, and ehrlichiosis. These diseases can be detrimental to your pet, and many are also transmissible to humans.
In our climate, it’s never quite cold enough for these parasites to die out for long. This means that year-round prevention is a vital part of your pet’s wellbeing, and, in many cases, it’s also essential to the health of you and your family. There are many options on the market for preventatives, so talk to your veterinary staff about their recommendations, and feel free to ask why they recommend certain products. They can also help you find options that may work better for your budget, such as putting your pet on a yearly wellness plan that includes all of the preventatives your pet needs or purchasing in quantities that allow for a price break or a rebate program.
Employee Spotlight: Kim Ussery
Kim is a Wilmington native who started working as a Kennel Attendant and Veterinary Technician in high school. She quickly fell in love with working with animals and has worked in the veterinary field for the last 20 years. Kim joined the CRAH team in 2017 as a Client Care Specialist and is currently our Urgent Care Supervisor. When not at work, you may find Kim at the beach, on the boat, or in a kayak cruising our Intracoastal waterway. She also enjoys spending her free time with friends and family, playing her guitar, and snuggling with her fur babies. Kim lives with her beloved dog Oakley and her sweet kitty Google, who she adopted from our very own rescue, CRAH’s Paws. You can usually find Kim at our front desk, ready to greet you with a smile and assist you with your pet’s needs.
Ferrets and the Flu- Dr. Erin Culpepper, DVM.
It’s flu season! Did you know ferrets can get the flu too?
If you’re a ferret owner, that means extra concern about your furry little family member. Ferrets are susceptible to several strains of the human influenza virus. The virus is spread through the air from coughing, sneezing, and other respiratory secretions and is not only spread from humans to ferret but ferret to ferret and from ferret to humans as well.
If you have the flu, avoid close contact with your ferret and have another person help him or her during your illness. If you must handle your ferret while you’re sick, make sure to wash your hands before and after handling your ferret and avoid bringing your ferret close to your face. It may be a good idea to wear a surgical mask when you care for your ferret.
Flu symptoms in ferrets are similar to human flu symptoms. The flu virus in ferrets usually begins with a fever. As the fever subsides, ferrets typically start to develop upper respiratory illness symptoms, such as coughing, sneezing, thick nasal discharge, and watery eyes. Affected ferrets often become lethargic and have a decreased appetite or refuse to eat. Gastrointestinal signs, such as vomiting or diarrhea, may also be observed. Most healthy adult ferrets recover in 7 to 14 days with proper care. Nutritional support and fluids will be needed in most cases. Sometimes your veterinarian may also prescribe cough suppressants, decongestants, and/or antibiotics. Very young or very old ferrets are most likely to develop life-threatening complications such as pneumonia.
If your ferret develops signs of respiratory illness, contact your exotic animal veterinarian as soon as possible. Other diseases, such as heart disease and deadly canine distemper virus, can appear similar to influenza.
Early treatment for many conditions is the key to making a quick recovery