Frequently Asked Questions
Dogs - Cats - Horses - General Office
Q. What is canine distemper?
A. Canine distemper is a viral disease in dogs that causes anorexia, fever and lethargy. It will also cause ocular discharge(discharge and/or matting of the eyes). As the virus advances, nasal discharge is noted as well as vomiting and diarrhea. Mainly seen in puppies, due to their weaker immune systems. The best way to prevent it is to vaccinate against it at 6, 9, & 12 weeks of age and then yearly after that.
Q. What is Kennel Cough?
A. Canine kennel cough is a viral disease that causes a dry cough in dogs. Found almost anywhere but is most prevalent in boarding facilities. Kennel cough is preventable with bi-annual vaccinations.
Q. What is canine hepititis?
A. Canine hepititis is a preventable disease of the liver that is caused by adnovirus. There is a vaccination for hepititis.
Q. What is canine Leplospirosis?
A. Leplospirosis is a disease in dogs that causes vomiting and diarrhea. This disease is treatable, usually with fluids and antibiotics.
Q. What is the Rabies virus?
A. Rabies is a fatal virus infection, most commonly found in bats, raccoons, skunks and foxes. The infection is spread by the saliva; most commonly by a bite from an infected animal. Vaccinations are very effective for prevention.
Q. What are the symptoms of a dog or cat with Rabies?
A. There are 2 types of Rabies in dogs: furious or paralytic.
Furious-signs to look for are: restlessness, dog may look agitated, may be excitable. An aggressive stage may follow these behaviors, where the dog may bite will bite at anything, including itself. Salivation is seen as well, due to spasms of the throat muscles preventing the animal from swallowing.
Paralytic-signs to watch for are: salivation (due to the same reasons as above) but the animal eventually becomes paralyzed and then dies.
Cats usually have the furious Rabies.
Q. What is lyme disease?
A. Lyme disease is a bacterial disease that is spread by ticks.
Q. Can I catch lyme disease from my dog?
A. No, lyme disease is transmitted only by the tick bite.
Q. What are canine parvovirus and canine coronavirus?
Canine parvovirus is a viral infection that damages the intestines and causes severe diarrhea and dehydration.
Canine coronavirus is similar to parvo in some of the symptoms. Corona causes mild vomiting, diarrhea and anorexia in most dogs. Parvo and corona are usually working together on an infected animal.
Protection against these two diseases is available. The distemper vaccine will cover both diseases. Even with the best available care, the mortality of severely infected animals is high. Without the correct amount of properly balanced intravenous fluids, the chance of recovery in a severely stricken animal is very small.
Q. What is feline Chlamydia?
A. It is a relatively mild, chronic upper respiratory disease (first called the “feline pneumonitis agent”). Symptoms include eye discharge and can also cause nasal discharge, sneezing and pneumonia. Left untreated, the infection tends to become chronic, lasting weeks or months.
Q. What is feline leukemia?
A. Feline leukemia is a blood cell cancer in cats. It attacks the immune system leading to, often fatal secondary infections. It is transmitted between cats through grooming, bites and sharing food and water (through the saliva). There is no cure for feline leukemia. However, there is a leukemia test and a leukemia vaccine.
Q. Can I catch leukemia from my cat?
A. No. The virus is species specific. It can be transmitted from one cat to another, but not transmitted to humans.
Q. Should I test for leukemia before getting a vaccination?
A. Yes. If your cat tests positive for leukemia, the vaccine will do no good and be a waste of your money.
Q. What is feline infectious peritonitis (FIP)?
FIP is a viral disease of cats that can affect many systems of the body. It is a progressive disease and almost always fatal. FIP is caused by a virus.
FIP can be found in the saliva and feces of infected cats. Therefore, cat-to-cat contact and exposure to feces in litter boxes are the most common modes of infection.
There is no cure for FIP. A survivor of FIP is very rare. We can give the cat supportive care which will make her more comfortable and possibly extend her life for a short amount of time.
The vaccine available to protect against FIP is licensed for use in cats over 16 weeks of age. It has been found to be safe and approximately 50-75% effective. Cats in households or catteries with confirmed or suspected cases of FIP should be vaccinated.
Initially, cats should receive two vaccinations 3-4 weeks apart.
Q. What is feline rhinotracheitis virus?
A. Feline rhinotracheitis virus is an acute respiratory illness. Symptoms are sneezing, nasal discharge and inflammation of the nose. It is spread by contact with the discharge from the infected cats eyes and nose. It is treatable with antibiotics and preventable with vaccinations. Although, once a cat gets it, it is usually a carrier for life, even though it shows no symptoms.
Q. What is feline distemper?
A. Feline distemper is a severe, highly contagious viral disease of cats, kittens, raccoons, and mink. The panleukopenia virus tends to invade cells which are rapidly growing such as those of the digestive system, bone marrow (which makes blood cells), lymph tissue, and developing nervous system. This explains the common symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting, low white blood cell count, and seizures. A vaccine is available to protect against the disease. FPV is most commonly transmitted when a susceptible cat has contact with the feces or urine of infected cats. Infected cats shed the virus in their feces and urine up to 6 weeks after they recover. FPV can also be spread by contact with urine- or feces-contaminated items such as food bowls, water dishes, clothing, shoes, hands, bedding, and litter boxes.
Q. What is calicivirus?
Calicivirus is a feline herpes virus which affects the upper respiratory complex. This is a condition that affects the mouth, nasal passages, sinuses, and upper airway in cats and kittens.
Calicivirus virus is spread through contact with the discharge from the eyes and nose of an infected cat.
This is a treatable disease, with antibiotics and appropriate medications for oral ulcers and eye lesions. And most cats infected with calicivirus will become chronic carriers of the disease, usually showing no signs of the virus. A primary way to prevent this disease is to vaccinate (distemper) your cat as recommended by your veterinarian.
Q. What is equine encephalomyelitis (sleeping sickness)?
A. Equine Encephalomyelitis (Sleeping Sickness, Blind Staggers, Brain Fever) is a viral disease that results in inflammation of the brain's vascular system. This seasonal disease is transmitted by mosquitoes and has an acute onset that is fatal. It affects all ages and types of horses. The horse is a dead end host and cannot pass this virus to another horse. Birds and rodents serve as reservoirs for the virus. The three common viruses are named by their geographical area- Eastern (EEE), Western (WEE) and Venezuelan (VEE). Within one to three weeks, symptoms begin with a mild fever that progresses to loss of appetite, depression, drowsiness, facial paralysis, in-coordination and death in two to four days. In the cases of recovery, survivors have residual central nervous system signs and are called "dummies" or "sleepers" because of their unsatisfactory response to outside stimuli. The vaccination schedule starts with injections for foals at three months of age and again at four months. A booster is given every year. Control of the mosquito population reduces the transmission of the virus.
Q. What is equine influenza?
A. Equine influenza is a major virus disease that causes flu like symptoms in horses and is from the group of viruses that causes flu in humans. This is a major viral disease present throughout Europe, North America and parts of Asia. Equine Influenza produces sometimes severe symptoms with horses developing a fever, runny nose, watery eyes, and sometimes a dry hacking cough. Horses become ill and are reluctant to eat or drink for several days but usually recover in 2 to 3 weeks. The virus can be spread easily from horse to horse as a result of droplets and also from nasal discharge and from things like infected brushes and rugs. The disease is very contagious and there is almost 100% infection rate in a population that has been previously unexposed to the virus. Because it is a virus, there are no drugs that influence the outcome of the disease. However many horses develop secondary infections with bacteria which can lead to pneumonia and other problems. Good nursing care and if necessary, antibiotics to deal with bacterial illness associated with the disease are important parts of treatment. The most important part of dealing with this illness is effective vaccination. Reasonably effective vaccines are now available featuring the two most important types of this virus but horses need to be vaccinated 2-3 times per year to ensure their immune status.
Q. What is equine rhinopneumonitis?
A. Equine Rhinopneumonitis is a disease caused by equine herpes virus Type 1 (EHV-1). Each subtype produces different symptoms: Sub-type 1 is the strain that causes abortions, respiratory, and neurologic disease, while sub-type 2 is just a respiratory strain. Rhinopneumonitis occurs in horses of all ages but is more common in horses less than three years old. Sporadic outbreaks come from inhalation of the virus particles. After incubation of two to 10 days, symptoms for the respiratory subtype are a fever of 102o to 107o F with a bacterial infection or "snots." Recovery provides immunity for only two to three months. Respiratory problems are more severe in foals, with infections near birth producing weak foals that die within 24 hours. Occasionally, the virus attacks the central nervous system, causing mild incoordination, paralysis of the rear legs or complete recumbency. To prevent your equine from getting influenza you should vaccinate yearly with an influenza vaccine.
Q. What is strangles?
A. Strangles is a contagious disease caused by Streptococcus Equi. The condition can occur in horses of any age; most commonly at 1-5 years of age. It is spread by nasal discharge of the infected animal, therefore, suspects should be quarantined and equipment disinfected for up to 4 weeks. Symptoms include a high temperature (103*to 105*), off feed, difficulty swallowing, watery, nasal discharge that becomes thick & cream-colored, and lymph nodes and the upper respiratory track become inflamed. Vaccination provides the best possible protection against strangles which is the most important infectious disease problem for horses. Field experience suggests that a full and regular program of vaccination for all horses will usually control or very markedly reduce the incidence and severity of strangles. However it is not claimed that the vaccine is an absolute preventative. Vaccination will reduce the spread in an outbreak with less horses affected by strangles and those that do show signs have a milder disease with shorter recovery and possible protection against spread through the body. In the event of an outbreak of strangles, horses should be segregated into three groups, Those affected by the disease should be treated, but not vaccinated. Horses with no known contact with the disease should be vaccinated immediately. Horses known to have been in contact should be observed for seven to ten days and vaccinated only if they have a normal temperature and show no clinical signs of the disease.
Q. What is tetanus?
A. Tetanus is caused by bacteria, which is found in the feces of horses and the surrounding soil. The bacteria enters the body through deep puncture wounds or the naval cord. The horse will have difficulty walking and “lock jaw”-a tightening of the jaw muscle. Yearly vaccinations to prevent tetanus are very important. In order to avoid problems in foals, the mare needs to receive a booster one month prior to foaling and the foal needs to receive an injection of tetanus antitoxin.
Q. What is West Nile virus (WNV)?
A. West Nile virus is a micro-organism that causes flu-like symptoms. It is transmitted from the bite of an infected mosquito. The virus affects humans; common birds, such as blue-jays and crows; and more than 200 animal species, including horses. The disease was first noted in horses in Egypt and France in the early 1960’s. West Nile virus was first reported in the US in 1999. Common symptoms can include fever, muscle weakness, joint pain, loss of vision, tremors, convulsions, stumbling or tripping, head pressing or tilt, partial paralysis, inability to swallow or stand. The West Nile-Innovator vaccine from Fort Dodge Animal Health is the first vaccine fully-licensed by the USDA to prevent West Nile virus in horses. It is important to vaccinate your equine yearly.
Q. What are the hospital hours?
A. 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday.
Q. How are appointments scheduled?
A. Appointments can be made by calling or stopping by the office. Setting up an appointment in advance assures you of a prompt and productive visit while you are here. For after hour emergencies, call our office (402)329-4805 and the Veterinarian on duty will be paged.