It has been a fantastic summer here in Northern Colorado! There have been a lot of questions regarding rabies, blue-green algae, grain free diets, ticks, other parasitic diseases and plague so we thought we would give everyone a brief update on these topics as they pertain to us locally. Our goal is to keep your furry family happy, healthy, and safe!
Rabies is in Larimer County
This month a cat tested positive for rabies in the general vicinity of the corner of Mathews Street and East Laurel Street just east of the CSU campus in Fort Collins. There also was one llama found to be positive for rabies in Larimer county this August. In addition to the cat and llama there have been 8 bats, 39 skunks, and 1 cow that have tested positive in Larimer County so far this year. These rabid animals can be anywhere including people’s homes and garages. Click here to see a current map of positive cases in Larimer county. Click here for more information on rabies. Rabies is a fatal, zoonotic (can be transferred from animals to humans) disease that can only be tested after the animal has died. It is extremely important to keep your cats and dogs (indoor and outdoor) current with their rabies vaccine to not only protect them but people as well.
Blue-Green algae in Colorado
There has also been a lot of talk and some cases of blue-green algae showing up around different parts of Colorado, some of which is toxic and if ingested can be fatal. Make sure you are aware of where you and your pet are walking and swimming. Scan the water for signs of blue-green algae before allowing your pet to play in it. If you are out and about and see some questionable lake or pond water contact the local officials so they can look into it and take proper actions. When in doubt- stay out! Even normal looking water can be contaminated if algae is forming below the surface. Keep your pet from drinking water from lakes and ponds- be sure to carry water with you to keep them hydrated.
Grain Free Diets
Grain free diets have also been in the news a lot lately. These diets have been linked to heart disease called Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM). Experts are still researching the exact cause but are advising against feeding diets that are “grain free”. Please visit the FDA website and a veterinarian’s article for more information. If your pet is on a grain free diet please give us a call about transitioning them to a diet that is not grain free.
Along the same line of diets- it is always good to make sure you are current with pet food recalls. Our website contains a link under Pet Health to food recalls that is always accessible. Please click here to be taken to the recall site now.
Pets can pick up and transmit intestinal parasites not only to other pets but also to people. We recommend picking up your pet’s waste when you are out walking them or playing with them in different areas. With BBQs and other outdoor activities more prevalent in the summer it’s extra important to be more vigilant cleaning up the yard also. We have been seeing pets that are positive for roundworms, giardia, hookworms, coccidia, and whipworms. Routine yearly parasite screening is highly recommended as well as testing when your pet has diarrhea. We also recommend year-round heartworm prevention- not only does Heartgard Plus protect your pet against heartworm disease but also is a monthly dewormer against some of the more common intestinal parasites. We have treated 3 heartworm positive dogs already this year. This is an easily preventable disease that is costly and uncomfortable for the pet to treat.
Ticks are another parasite to be aware of in the warmer spring through fall weather. Ticks can carry many diseases. Our recommended yearly heartworm testing is a great time to screen for these tick-borne diseases. This year we have had several dogs that have tested positive to being exposed to Ehrlichia, Anaplasmosis, and Lyme disease. We recommend using a product like Nexgard, it can be used in addition to the Heartgard Plus to protect against fleas and ticks. There are many different effective products that are available for heartworm, flea and tick prevention. We tailor all medications to each individual patient based on the patient’s lifestyle, breed and history.
Check out this interactive map to see different parasites in Larimer county.
There have been multiple cases of plague that are popping up around Colorado as well. Please be sure to keep your pets away from prairie dogs, rabbits and rodents as well as their homes. Since plague is transmitted by fleas, it is important to keep your pets protected from fleas to decrease transmission. Below are some articles about recent cases.
Pets tend to spend more time outside and family members are in and out of the house more often as well. We also take our pets on more outings including vacations, camping, and hiking. With these changes the risk of a pet getting away from you or out of the house and yard increases. Be sure that your pet has been microchipped and that the information is kept updated. Sometimes collars or tags fall off- so the best way to ensure your furry family member makes it back home is to have a microchip implanted. If a microchip was implanted at Mulnix Animal Clinic you can go to the HomeAgain website to login and update your information at any time. If you are unsure of what company the microchip is registered with you can visit the AAHA microchip lookup site to enter the microchip number. It will give you information on who the chip is enrolled with and their contact information.