Ask a vet: Orlando vets answer your questions
Should I vaccinate my dog against leptospirosis?
Leptospirosis is a bacterial spirochete infection transmitted through the urine of rodents and raccoon. Dogs contract leptospirosis by snorting infected urine or drinking contaminated standing water. It causes flu-like symptoms such as lethargy, anorexia, vomiting, abdominal pain, and frequent urination. It can cause liver and kidney failure and potentially death. Leptospirosis can be transmitted to humans by handling infected urine from your dog or other wildlife. There is a safe vaccine with minimal side effects to prevent this disease. Fears that the vaccine may cause an increase in allergic reactions are unfounded. Leptospirosis can be fatal in dogs and humans, and the vaccine is important in keeping you and your dog healthy.
Dr Kimberly Lee
Orlando Animal Medical Clinic
Why is my dog vomiting?
We have observed an exponential increase in gastroenteritis and potentially fatal pancreatitis in our canine patients in recent years. This increase, I believe, is related to the number of choices we now have for brands, ingredients and dog food options – dry, canned, wet and raw. A main component of pancreatitis is the increased fat content of dog foods or treats. High fat content causes pancreatic hyperstimulation and subsequent inflammation that causes vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and even death if left untreated. Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the stomach and intestines that also causes vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. We see this most often with a sudden change in diet and also requires medical treatment. If your pet is vomiting, it is best to rest the stomach for a few hours, offer small amounts of water, then food, and if the vomiting persists, see your vet immediately!
Dr. Anne Scholl Mealey
Chickasaw Trail Animal Hospital
Is Pet Insurance Worth the Cost?
Pet insurance is similar to health insurance for humans in that it pays part of your pet’s medical bill. Since no one anticipates their pet to get sick, pet insurance helps offset unforeseen costs. Most insurances operate under an arrangement where pet owners pay up front and are reimbursed after treatment. As with human insurance, pet insurance offers different types of policies, each with its own list of coverage options and costs. However, having peace of mind knowing that you can provide the best care for a member of your four-legged family is priceless!
Dr Kristin Wolfenden
Underhill Veterinary Hospital
Is preventing fleas and heartworms in pet cats important?
In Florida’s hot and humid environment, fleas and mosquitoes are prevalent year round. It is important that our feline friends are protected from these insects in order to prevent the spread of serious diseases. Fleas can be carriers of several diseases such as tapeworms and bacterial infections and can even cause a larger allergic reaction which results in a more severe form of itching and chronic irritation. On the other hand, mosquitoes spread heartworm disease. which can lead to respiratory complications and shortened lifespan in cats. Although heartworm treatment is available for dogs, it is important to keep in mind that this type of treatment is not available for cats who have already contracted the disease, which underlines the need for ‘preventive treatment. Please consult your veterinarian to find the monthly prevention that best suits your cat’s needs.
Dr Jane Ketcham
Underhill Veterinary Hospital
How Can I Help My Senior Dog With Arthritis?
Many owners may notice that their dog begins to “slow down” or refrain from activities they did when they were younger, such as jumping on the couch. These changes can be signs of arthritis. While arthritis can be a part of normal aging, there are ways to help manage arthritis in our canine patients. Weight management is essential because obesity can put additional strain on the joints. You can also work with your dog on low impact activities such as swimming and walking on a leash. Plus, supplements containing chondroitin, glucosamine, and omega-3s can help support joint health. However, not all supplements are created equal and therefore should be discussed with your veterinarian first. Medication is also available to help relieve pain associated with arthritis and make your dog more comfortable. Your veterinarian can help you determine which medications are best suited to your pet’s specific needs.
Dr Alexandria Velez
Winter Garden Animal Hospital
Why is my dog so itchy?
Itching in dogs is usually caused by allergies or infections. Fortunately, vets now have some exciting new treatments to help control itching. Allergies in Florida are difficult because we have seasonal allergens (think pollen) and permanent allergens (think grass, mites, and aphids). Food allergies can also be itchy. You can help your vet by observing your dog: Do your dog’s symptoms occur at a particular time of year or during a certain activity? Many dogs are allergic to ea saliva, so keeping your dog under the vet recommended ea control is crucial. Dogs need constant protection from products that work systemically, not topically. The more information you provide, the better we can take care of your pet.
Dr Caitrine Hellenga
Winter Park Veterinary Hospital