Posts Tagged ‘ferrets’

CareFRESH Blog!

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

I am SO excited about my newest writing project!  I have been working with CareFRESH for a little over a year, and the team decided to start a blog on the website.  I love it!

Lavender CareFRESH bedding complimented Fuzzy and Wuzzy’s gorgeous skin the best of all the colors…

With this project, I will be less able to just go with my random kicks, and need to focus on themes and schedules and such much more than I do here on Riley and James, which, honestly, will be very good for me!

I am fairly disciplined, but (I have only ever told Russ this, and just very recently…) a large part of my discipline is extrinsic.  For example, I love having a made bed every morning, but if FLYLady did not tell me to make my bed, I probably would not!  I love being a veterinarian, but if I had not had the structure of veterinary school, I would not have learned all that I have.

And I love writing about environmental enrichment of <hamsters>, but if I were not led to write about it, I probably would not!

I will write somewhat shorter posts than what I normally write here, focus on small pets – rats, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, mice, rabbits and ferrets – and send the team every single picture I have of Fuzzy, Wuzzy, Princess and Piggy!  Feel free to send cute pictures of your Warm Fuzzies too!

Wuzzy in her Classroom in a Box

I will let you know where on the CareFRESH website the blog is as soon as I know.  It will probably attract a similar crowd to the Ask-a-Vet part of the CareFRESH website (kids and adults who are in love with small pets – two of my very favorite subsets of humanity!)  It will be an interactive blog, which will be very fun.  I hope you will come join me as often as you can!

For now, will you help me come up with topics? Do you have questions that would be best answered in a longer post than the Q & A of Ask-a-Vet?  Are there things about your own favorite small pet species that you think everyone should know, but may not yet?  THIS is going to be fun, people! :)

Princess Gerbil

 

 

Happy Heartworm-Free April!

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Wouldn’t that be something?  If we went through this entire month and NOBODY was diagnosed with heartworm disease??  We just saw another case of heartworm disease very recently…So sad.  I know I have been on an “I hate cancer” kick lately, but as always, I am on my “I hate heartworm” kick too.  (I have quite a few kicks…)  Heartworm disease is 100% preventable, and though treatable (treatable in dogs – not so much cats and ferrets), prevention is so much less expensive and easier on the dogs’ systems.I promised to be more upbeat here at Riley and James as soon as possible!  So here goes…

Today’s monthly heartworm post is on how heartworm preventative medications work!

Science…medicine…the wonders of canine physiology…heartworm examined not as a pet stealer or dog damager, but more clinically, as a very cool (disgusting) mortal, intricate parasite.  How exciting is that??  Well, I think it is exciting…

The Medicine

All heartworm preventative medications currently on the market are a form of macrocyclic lactones, medications derived from bacteria in the Streptomyces genus.  They do not prevent heartworm infection in the strictest sense, they prevent heartworm disease – they kill the larvae (L3 and L4, “baby heartworms”) before they can mature into adult worms.(Interesting side note!  Until the late 1980’s, only daily medications were available because they were only powerful enough to kill the “L3” stage, which lasts only two or three days.)Macrocyclic lactones are neurotoxins to the heartworm larvae (L3 and L4), paralyzing their mouthparts and causing them to starve to death.  The medication needs to be repeated monthly because they kill all of the parasites that are in the pet’s system that have infected him or her in the last thirty days.  The picture that came to mind when I was trying to make it understandable was one of a rainstorm.  Bear with me…Heartworm preventatives are not umbrellas – they are windshield wipers.  Your dog is continually at risk of being bitten by a mosquito that is carrying heartworm larvae (L3) – the mosquito would be the cloud and the heartworm larvae would be the raindrop…if clouds were buzzy and annoying and raindrops were potentially fatal.

The Worm

We think of heartworm preventatives as protecting our pets against heartworm disease, and they do.  But they do it more as a windshield wiper (that sweeps every thirty days) than an umbrella that is a constant barrier to infection.  Our pets are at risk of being infected by heartworm larvae – but are protected from heartworm disease that is caused by adult heartworms in the pulmonary vessels and heart.

The Disease

I think the disease should be called subcutaneous-tissue-then-pulmonary-arteries-and-if-it-is-a-really-heavy-infestation-even-right-heart-and-vena-cava-worms, but it is not.  Heartworm is too cute of a name for such a horrid disease.

That’s All I’ve Got.

If that helps you understand the pathogenesis of heartworm disease, awesome.  It helps me to be disciplined when giving heartworm preventative medication to my pets to think of it as a “windshield wiper” stopping heartworm larvae that may have already started their unholy travels to the very heart of my pets, rather than a barrier or “umbrella” that I can just put up when it is sunny and warm and just right for a heartworm attack.  If it just grosses you out, and you like being grossed out, that is good too, I suppose!

Coming Soon…More Awesome Heartworm Information of Some Sort

Let me know what other heartworm related topics you would like to cover.  Ideas…heartworm disease in cats and ferrets, treating heartworm disease, I would love a guest post from someone who has had a pet with heartworm disease, or worked in a rescue organization and dealt with heartworm disease, or any guest post with a heartworm-related story!  Let me know if you have topic ideas or would like to write a guest post here!

Today’s To Do List:
Noodle the Poodle – Wormshield tablet
Max the Cat – topical Revolution
(Joy the Puppy is on injectable Proheart 6.)

Coming Next Month…

How do injectable sustained release heartworm prevenative medications (Proheart 6 and Proheart 12) work?

Previous Happy Heartworm Free Month Posts…

January 2011

February 2011

March 2011

American Heartworm Society Website

Isn’t this FUN?

 

The more that you read,The more things you will know.The more that you learn,The more places you’ll go.

-Dr. Seuss

Happy Heartworm-Free February!

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Reminder:

If you give your pets heartworm preventative medication on the first…it’s the first!

Heartworm Preventative Medication

The following is a list of prescription medications available in varying combinations and permutations from your veterinarian.  (If you see any I missed, let me know and I will add them!)  Getting the weight-based dose and species correct is super important AND your veterinarian has your pet’s medical history which could impact which preventative is ideal.  So please get your veterinarian’s input in choosing which medication is best for your pet!

The brand names are listed first, with the active ingredient against heartworm disease in parenthesis.  Many of these medications also protect against other parasites.  I can add that information too if you would like!  You really only need to know which meds YOUR pet is on, but isn’t veterinary information FUN??

Dogs

Heartgard Plus (ivermectin) – monthly oral medication

Iverhart Max (ivermectin) – monthly oral medication

Tri-heart Plus (ivermectin) – monthly oral medication

Wormshield (ivermectin) – monthly oral medication

Interceptor (milbemycin) – monthly oral medication

Sentinel (milbemycin) – monthly oral medication

Trifexis (milbemycin) – monthly oral medication – new!

Advantage Multi (moxidectin) – monthly topical medication

Revolution (selamectin) – monthly topical medication

Proheart 6 (moxidectin) – sustained release injectable medication, given every six months (a form given every twelve months, Proheart 12, is available in Australia and parts of Asia)

Cats

Heartgard (ivermectin) – monthly oral medication

Interceptor (milbemycin) – monthly oral medication

Advantage Multi (moxidectin) – monthly topical medication

Revolution (selamectin) – monthly topical medication

Ferrets

Heartgard (ivermectin) – monthly oral medication

My checklist for today:

Ebony Dog – Wormshield tablet

Noodle the Poodle – Wormshield tablet

Joy the Puppy – Proheart injection

Max the Cat – topical Revolution

Princess the Gerbil – no prophylaxis needed*

*Since Princess is not susceptible to heartworm disease, she, Max and Joy get snacks since Ebony and Noodle get oral medication so as not to feel left out, which they would all argue is MORE important than having a heartworm-free household.

Potentially Helpful Links…

#barkoutloud Heartworm Discussion Notes

Heartworm Disease on Riley and James

(This one was written when I treated the dogs seasonally and poor Max the Cat not at all – now I treat everyone year-round!)

Heartworm Disease and Omaha Pets – Wuzzy Chronicles

American Heartworm Society Website

Coming Soon to The Riley and James Heartworm Series!

March 2011…Safety of heartworm preventative medication – Is it safe to give my Collie heartworm preventative medication?  Why is Joy the Puppy getting Proheart but not the old dogs?  Are some pets developing heartworm preventative medication resistance?  Are there valid drug-free options for preventing heartworm disease?  If you have other questions or concerns, let me know, and we will address those too!

(Do not wait until next month’s post if you need to know the answers to these questions now – ask me or ask your local vet – do not worry about spoiling the surprise!)

April 2011…How do these medications work?

May, June, July…I have not planned that far ahead!  What do YOU want to know about heartworm disease??  THAT is what we will talk about!

Happy Heartworm Disease Free Year!

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

I should say something profound, on this, the first day of 2011.

Maybe this is SO simple that it is REALLY, REALLY profound.

One of my goals this year is to remind everyone to give their pets their heartworm preventative every month.  (We give the dogs and Max theirs on the first, so that is when reminders will go out!  I am willing to give you personalized reminders on a different day if you prefer…and a hug*, for being as heartworm obsessed as me!)

Today, Joy the Puppy, Ebony Dog and Noodle the Poodle got their oral Wormshield (ivermectin, like Heartgard).  Several excellent oral monthly preventatives are available, as are topical preventatives.  Your pet may also be on the twice a year injectable preventative, Proheart.  Next month, I will post a list of available preventatives, if it would be helpful.  If your veterinarian prescribed it, it is good!

Next month, Joy the Puppy is switching to Proheart.

Max the Cat is on the monthly topical heartworm preventative Revolution.

We have no ferrets, but if we did, they would be on the oral heartworm preventative Heartgard, mostly because it is the only one labelled for ferrets, but also because it is an excellent product.

This post is sort of spur of the moment, as in, I jumped up from dinner and said “Oh yeah, it’s the first!” and Abby and I got the pets their meds.  Next month, I will cover heartworm disease more comprehesivly with links and pictures – NOT of a heart with worms floating out of its valves – that is so gross, and so last millinium! I will also cover whatever aspects of heartworm disease that you would like to hear, so let me know!

These days, it seems most pet owners are very well educated about heartworm disease – If there is a barrier to care, it is convenience of medicating. So we will talk about the monthly preventatives and a bit about Proheart, the once every six month medication, and join hands* and thank God that heartworm disease is preventable and that the preventative medication is no longer only available in ONCE EVERY SINGLE DAY form!

*If you prefer, we can leave hugs and hand holding out of all future medical discussions.  I just thought it would be nice.