We appreciate the
trust and confidence you
show by bringing your
pets to us. Our clients
often regard their pets
as family members. We
understand this and
strive to care for our
patients and clients
with the utmost empathy,
compassion and skill. We
care for your pet as if
he were our own.
Quick Overview of the Canine Influenza Outbreak
As many of you have heard the recent news stories about the Canine Influenza Outbreak in the Chicago area, we thought it might help to summarize the facts to date on this important and rapidly changing health risk to your pet.
According to the latest reports, more than 1000 dogs have been afflicted by the canine influenza virus in the Chicago area and at least 5 dogs have died as a direct result of contracting the virus. Initially, everyone believed this to be the H3N8 virus that was identified in the U.S. in 2004 and has been circulating since. However, yesterday, Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin announced that it is actually a virus closely related to Asian strains of influenza A H3N2, currently making its way through China and South Korea’s dog population.
Here is what you need to know:
Both Influenza strains can cause high fevers, loss of appetite, coughing, nasal discharge, and lethargy. Some infected dogs won’t show symptoms at all but may spread the disease to other dogs.
The canine influenza viruses are spread by aerosolized respiratory secretions (coughing, sneezing) and contaminated objects (kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, toys) and people moving between infected and uninfected dogs. The virus can remain alive and able to infect on surfaces for up to 48 hours, on clothing for 24 hours and on hands for 12 hours.
The incubation period is usually 2 to 4 days from exposure to the onset of symptoms. The most virus is shed during this incubation period before a dog actually appears to be sick.
A vaccine was developed against H3N8 in 2009. Like flu vaccinations for humans, this one may not prevent infection altogether but trials have shown that the vaccination may significantly reduce the severity and duration of the illness including damage to the lungs. It also reduces the amount of virus that is shed so vaccinated dogs that become infected develop a less severe illness and are less likely to spread the virus to other dogs. However, at this time, the possibility of cross-protection against the Asian H3N2 virus from the H3N8 vaccine is unknown.
What Are We Recommending?
• Stay informed. We will try to keep as up to date as possible on the situation in Chicago, Northern Illinois and Wisconsin or anywhere else the virus spreads. As we find new and pertinent information we will send out additional emails.
• Limit your pet’s risk. You may want to limit visits to dog parks, doggie day care, and boarding kennels to the extent possible until more is understood about the outbreak and it’s likelihood of spreading to adjacent areas.
• Vaccinate? The H3N8 vaccine may ultimately be found to offer cross-protection for the H3N2 virus but there is no way to know at this time. If you feel your pet is at risk, the vaccine certainly offers protection from the H3N8 virus and may have protection benefits against other strains like H3N2. If you opt for the vaccine, your pet will need a booster 3 weeks after the initial inoculation, then an annual booster. This vaccine does not appear to have a significant rate of reactions or side effects. And yes, both our dogs Emi and Cruiser are now vaccinated against H3N8.
Has Your Dog Been Bitten by a Heartworm Carrying Mosquito?
We are asked a lot of questions this time of year about Heartworm prevention and testing. We are all so used to hearing the same information over and over we don’t fully grasp the risk and the prevalence of this threat. So here is your Heartworm 101:
• Life cycle; Adult female worms, living in an infected pet or wild canid, produce baby worms (microfilaria) that circulate in the bloodstream. Mosquitos pick up microfilaria during a blood meal. Within 10-14 days they have matured inside the mosquito to the infective larvae stage. Then the infected mosquito bites a dog or cat or susceptible wild host and transfers the larvae to the new host. Within 6 months the larvae mature into adult hosts and can live for 7 years.
Quiz question #1 – How many states have infected mosquitos?
• All 50 states have diagnosed cases of Heartworm Disease. Clearly states with more mosquito population will have higher incidences of the disease. However, it is not as regionalized as you might think because remember what the infection reservoir is; unprotected pets and wild canids. After Hurricane Katrina, 250,000 pets (many of which were heartworm positive) were adopted and shipped throughout the country. Infected pet = infection reservoir in a new area. Here in Missouri, we imagine most of our pets have been bitten by an infected mosquito.
Quiz question #2 – Which stage or stages does heartworm preventative control?
• Preventatives eliminate the immature larval stages including the infective larvae deposited by the mosquito plus the following larval stage that develops inside the pet. But at just 51 days post infection, the worm has developed beyond the control capabilities of the preventative. Preventatives work on a 30 day cycle to prevent the adult worms. So you can understand the importance of administering that dose every month without fail.
Quiz question #3 – Why do we test once a year?
• To ensure that a missed or late dose, or non-absorbed dose (vomited, spit out, hidden) hasn’t led to an infection that is beyond the capabilities of the monthly preventative to control (Just 51 days post-bite). Heartworm preventatives such as Heartgard, are considered 100% effective against immature larval stages of heartworms. But remember the medicine isn’t preventing transmission of the parasite, it is controlling the ability of that parasite to live in your pet and grow. The test is a way to check and make sure that no infection has taken hold for whatever reason.
• So within 51 days of infection, the heartworms are beyond the control of the preventatives and within 6 months they are adults causing irreparable damage to your pet’s heart and lungs long before symptoms begin to appear. Treatment of heartworm disease is difficult and very expensive but the alternative is worse and final.
Manchester West is now carrying Nexgard, a once a month oral flea and tick preventative. Nexgard was approved by the FDA in September 2013. About six months ago Dr. Bechtel, Andrea, and Crystal began using the medication on their own dogs. They found it to be very effective and saw no adverse effects in their own dogs. Andrea and Crystal live in heavily wooded areas and they found that the ticks were not only dead but they were detached from the skin and just trapped in the fur. We will continue to carry Frontline as well but many of you don’t care for the spot on treatments so this appears to be a great alternative. Here are the facts:
1. It is a once a month oral medication in the form of a beef flavored treat similar to Heartgard.
2. Kills fleas and ticks in canine patients over the age of 8 weeks and larger than 4 pounds.
3. It is not approved for feline patients.
4. Made by Merial, the makers of Heartgard and Frontline.
5. Reported adverse effects include vomiting, diarrhea, dry/flaky skin, lethargy, lack of appetite.
6. This product has not yet been evaluated for pregnant or lactating dogs.
7. Safe for all breeds of dogs.
8. It is a prescription so must be prescribed by a veterinarian.
9. Use with caution in dogs with a history of seizures.
10. No known drug interactions to date but check with your veterinarian prior to starting Nexgard.
Merial has a great introductory deal available only through your veterinarian. The manufacturer has extended the $50 rebate offer until March 31, 2015 (offer requires the purchase of 12 months of Heartgard and at least 6 months of Nexguard). It's a great deal and of course, we do the rebate paperwork for you.
Manchester West Now Has Therapeutic Laser!
Our Class IV Therapeutic laser is a non-invasive procedure used to speed the healing process and treat all types of conditions from arthritic joints (hips/knees/elbows/spine) to wounds, hotspots and chronic ear problems. The procedure takes minutes, is pleasant for the pet and involves no injections or oral medications. We have already seen some exciting results such as improved mobility in pets with chronic hip or back pain. We are also using it on our post-surgical patients to speed healing at the incision which reduces the likelihood of the pet licking/chewing at the incision. Call our office for more information. We will be posting success stories on our Facebook page as well!
We've also posted new videos on our You Tube Channel about laser treatments. Here are the links:
Our Office Hours
Monday, Tuesday, Friday 7:30 am - 6 pm
Wednesday & Thursday 7:30 am - 8 pm
Saturday 8:00 am - 3 pm
Morning Drop Offs and Late Pick-Ups
If your pet requires medical attention
after hours, please call our main number
at 636-458-9010. The voicemail system
will provide instructions on how to
reach the doctor on call. In the event
of a voicemail system or pager failure,
you should contact the Animal Emergency
Clinic in Chesterfield Valley at
636-536-4991 or the Animal Emergency
Clinic in Kirkwood at 314-822-7600.
Manchester West Veterinary Hospital is
conveniently located just off Manchester
Road (Hwy 100), one mile west of
Clarkson Road at 16396 Truman Road,
Ellisville, MO 63011.
Our staff provides
your pet with
not found at all
Because of this
Care, our patients
receive the best
care at reasonable
Serving the cities of Chesterfield, Ellisville,
Wildwood, Ballwin, Eureka, St. Albans, Manchester, West
the greater St. Louis area since 1993.