Do you love hiking with your pup?
April is Prevention of Lyme Disease in Dogs Month and to help bring awareness to the disease we're talking about ticks and Lyme Disease.
Ticks are parasites from the arachnid family that feed off of blood from mammals, birds, reptiles, and some amphibians.
Ticks live anywhere there is brush for them to hang out on, and wildlife is around to spread them. Here is how you can keep your little one safe from these parasites!
Ideally your pet is on a flea and tick preventative medication prescribed by your veterinarian. Be sure to use a veterinary approved product. Speak to your veterinarian for a prescription.
Since the best exploring is done outside, we must protect our pets as well as ourselves. After returning from exploring, take some time to carefully look through your pets fur to make sure they have not picked up any ticks. Remember to check near ears, between paw pads, and all the little nooks including the groin areas. Ticks like to hide in warm, dark, places.
They are small and can appear to look like a 'skin tag' so be sure it's a tick and not a small skin mass/lesion. You can tell the difference by looking for the small legs sticking out around the body. The head will be lodged into your pets skin and the body of the tick will swell as it dines on your pets blood. Ticks will naturally fall off once they are fully engorged with blood, but it is best to remove them as soon as possible to decrease the chance of them spreading a disease.
We just completed the Immune Mediated Neutropenia page! No more construction pug there!!
Immune Mediated Neutropenia, or IMN, is a rare condition where the body's immune system starts attacking the white blood cells normally used to fight off infections. Check out the page here to learn more.
We're excited to keep building the pages on our site to provide more information for you. Enjoy!
The Pet Health Journal: A 6 Month Journal For Medications, Exams, & Healthy Living was officially published this week!
We're so excited to share this work book with you and hope you get a chance to see it in person. If you live near Ashley or Yvonne, you've probably seen the proof copies because we've been carrying them around everywhere with us the last few weeks!!!
If you'd like a journal of your very own, visit Amazon and grab a copy today! We'll be setting up with additional online retailers in the next week or so, so keep a look out for the Pet Health Journal at your favorite retailer.
We are also making the Pet Health Journal available for wholesale to veterinary clinics and hospitals, so if you think your veterinarian might want to carry it have them send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get them set up.
We want to give a big thank you to everyone who helped get the Pet Health Journal finished.
We hope this journal helps pets and their families live a happier, healthier life together.
Heartworm disease is what is called a vector borne disease. What this means is that a vector, in this case a mosquito, transmits or gives the disease to the animal through a blood meal.
When the mosquito is feeding on your dog or cats’ blood, they are simultaneously injecting an immature form of heartworm! It is caused by the nematode (small worm) parasite, Dirofilaria immitus. We abbreviate their name as D. immitus.
When these immature heartworms, or larvae enter the body they start to grow and mature. Depending on whether they enter a dog or cat, as to when the problems will start to occur.
Dogs are what is called the ‘definitive or natural’ host for heartworms, cats on the other hand are known as ‘aberrant’ hosts. Because of this, the disease behaves very differently in each of these host species.
Dogs and Heartworm Disease
Let’s first look at heartworm disease in dogs, the natural host. All canid species can become infected with heartworm disease, that means not only the neighborhood dogs, but the foxes, coyotes and wolves (yikes!). If you have mosquitos in your yard, you have heartworm disease!
We're so excited to start 2019 with big plans for the year. Thank you for joining us since we launched in August. We hope the information we're providing is helping you and your family live happier, healthier lives.
What we accomplished in 2018
2018 was a learning year for IMFPP. We launched the website in August and since then have been working hard at creating weekly blog posts as well as creating the disease pages.
Our weekly blog post has been a place of pride for us. We're working hard to ensure it is released every Thursday morning and has the highest quality information. We've had some amazing contributing authors and plan to keep bringing you the best we can.
Currently the pages that have the most information are the urinary, endocrine, liver, hematology, and immunology. These pages are not 100% complete, but most of the basics are there. As we continue to grow, these pages will continue to be fleshed out.
We're excited to have grown our newsletter list to over 100 subscribers! Everyone on our list got a copy of our Weekly Treatment Tracker and we've heard great feedback on it. Thank you so much to everyone that's joined us so far. If you'd like to join here's the link: Subscribe Now!
In the background we've been working on the nitty-gritty details to set up our business for the growth we have planned in the future.
Plans for 2019
Who can get IMTP?
Primary IMTP is more commonly seen in middle aged female dogs, especially Cocker Spaniels, German Shepherds, Poodles, and Old English Sheepdogs. Unfortunately, although it is more common in these breeds, it can happen at any age, any sex, and any breed.
Secondary IMTP can occur in any pet as there is a secondary condition like infection, cancer, or sepsis causing the IMTP.
What is IMTP?
Who can get IMHA?
The bad news? Any breed can be diagnosed at any age. Both dogs and cats can be diagnosed with IMHA. Cats are definitely not as common, but they can still get it.
Some risk factors reported include:
What is IMHA?
Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA) is also known as Auto-Immune Hemolytic Anemia (AIHA). Both names are for the same disease. It is when the body’s immune system sees erythrocytes, or red blood cells (RBCs), as a foreign invader needing to be destroyed. The immune system no longer recognizes the RBC’s as belonging to the animal and starts breaking down the cells. This causes severe anemia, or low red blood cell counts.
As you can imagine RBC’s are essential for life. They are important for the body as they carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. That is why when a patient is anemic, they are weak and have exercise intolerance because the cells in the body are not getting the oxygen needed to perform their tasks. The term for decreased oxygen in the blood is hypoxemia.
In dogs and cats we check the packed cell volume, or PCV, to tell us how anemic the patient is. Normal for dogs and cats is typically between 35%-55% and 25%-45% respectively. What this means is of the blood circulating in the body, how much is RBC’s and how much is fluid. The body likes to have a normal percentage of RBC’s and fluid concentrations.
To know what the PCV is, a small blood sample is place into tubes and spun down with a centrifuge. This can take anywhere from 8-12 minutes. After the sample has been centrifuged the blood has separated into solids (blood cells: predominantly RBC's) and the liquid, plasma, portion of the blood. See the pictures below.
We're looking for pet parents to share their insight on these immune mediated blood disorders:
Our goal is to create a book for owners of pets diagnosed with these diseases to help navigate diagnosis, treatment, and living with the disease.
We created a survey and would appreciate your input. Please follow the link below and be part of creating a road map for pet parents.
If you are a veterinary professional and would like to give us feedback, please go to this link for a survey geared more toward care givers.
General Diagnostics to Run
When your veterinarian suspects an immune mediated disease it is important to screen for any underlying diseases that can stimulate the immune system. Common diseases that can trigger an auto-immune response is cancer, and tick borne diseases.
Cancer screening include thoracic radiographs (chest x-rays), abdominal ultrasound, and full blood work including a chemistry and CBC.
Tick borne disease testing looks for these common infections that can trigger an immune response:
Getting an Over Active Immune System to Chill
Auto immune or immune mediated diseases are those diseases where the immune systems has malfunctioned and is attacking its own body. The immune system is too sensitive, it's hyperactive, it is responding to things inappropriately.
What are some of the common immune mediated diseases? Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia, Immune Mediated Thrombocytopeina, Evans Syndrome, Immune Mediated Neutrophilia, Panniculitis, and Immune Mediated Polyarthritis.
In the case of most of these diseases, the immune system has wrongly tagged the body's cells with an antigen tag that labels it as a foreign invader. Normally these antigen tags are a good thing. In a normal immune system when a virus, bacteria, or other foreign organism invades for the first time the immune system has to first recognize the organism as being harmful. Once the immune system establishes this, it remembers the organism by creating an antibody (a type of protein in the blood) specifically for the antigen so the next time the antibody runs into the antigen, the immune system can respond quicker and better.
The immune system catalogs the antigens with the corresponding antibodies. The more antibodies for a specific disease floating in the blood stream, the easier it is to find that invading antigens. These are measured with antibody titer levels. The higher the titer, the more the immune system can patrol the body. Think of the antibodies as police, if there are more cops on the beat, crime goes down. But, if there aren't enough police officers, bad things can spread quickly and invade the surrounding neighborhoods.
If the body incorrectly tags a cell within its own body as being bad, then the immune system produces more antibodies for these 'invaders' and more of the body's normal cells are attacked.
What can we do to stop the body attacking it's own cells? We suppress the immune system. A suppressed immune system means it is sluggish to work, or it doesn't respond at all to antigens. In order to do this we used certain medications.
Be aware that close monitoring of your pets blood is required during the initial phase of treatment, and it is very common for doses to change frequently. I highly recommend using a spread sheet to keep track of medications to help prevent missing or doubling doses. I also found a pill dispenser to be very helpful to make sure nothing gets missed. Filling the dispenser once a week can save time throughout your week, and keep you sane.
Drugs Commonly Used
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This website is NOT a substitute for veterinary care with a veterinarian. We recommend you follow the advice and treatment plan as prescribed by your veterinarian, and only after discussing anything found on this website with your veterinarian, with their approval, implementing advice found here.
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