Cat Scratch Disease Part 1: What You Need to Know

Bartonella henselae causes an infection known as cat scratch disease (CSD) in cats, humans, and other species. CSD is an emerging health issue that we are likely to hear more about as time passes.

Cat grooming

Spread of Cat Scratch Disease

This disease is carried by cats and their fleas and can be spread through bites by infected cats or fleas, scratches from infected cats, or by contact with infected cat’s saliva. CSD is most commonly spread to humans through the fleas of infected cats. It has actually been shown that there is a 90% likelihood that a human diagnosed with  cat scratch disease  have had contact with a cat that also tests positive.

Cats are more likely to contract cat scratch disease if they living in the South or Southeast where the environment is warm and humid. If a cat doesn’t have complete flea control, they are at an even higher risk. In areas with low flea control rates and the right environment, as many as 40% of cats in a given area may be infected.

Symptoms

Many cats that test positive for cat scratch disease show no symptoms, while others will have fever, eye or gum inflammation, general soreness, muscle pain, or other non-specific signs. It has been suggested that cat scratch disease is the true cause of a variety of chronic inflammatory health issues in cats, but it is hard to tell which cats will get sick, with the varying range of symptoms.

The Good News

Cat scratch disease is treatable with several weeks of antibiotics and there are a range of blood tests available that detect possible infections in cats, whether or not you see symptoms. You can also prevent cat scratch disease by following these simple steps:

  • Maintain flea control year-round.  Since fleas are one of the main ways that the disease is transmitted, cutting down on fleas will help keep your cat from getting infected as well as preventing them from infecting you or your family if they are already infected. Revolution, Certifect, and Frontline Plus are all great brands, but avoid generic flea control.
  • Consider the risk  to a given person as a result of interacting with potentially infected cats, especially if that person has a weak immune system or is at a vulnerable age.
  • Don’t play rough  with your cats, as it can lead to bites or scratches that spread the disease.
  • Test your cat.  Taking your cat to the veterinarian for a blood test is the best way to find out if they have cat scratch disease and will also allow your vet to prescribe antibiotics if necessary.

If your cat is showing signs and symptoms of cat scratch disease, or if you just haven’t had them tested recently, bring them into one of the veterinarians with  Chastain Veterinary Medical Group. Give Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney a call at (972) 529-5033 or Preston Road Animal Hospital of Dallas a call at (972) 239-1309 to set up your appointment today!

Treat Your Family Pets to a Healthier 2013 With Our New Pet Health Plans!

We’re proud to announce we’ve now developed a range of life-stage appropriate Pet Health Plans for puppies and kittens, as well as adult dogs and cats of any age! 

These plans give pet owners access to discounted wellness-care veterinary services…all with a pre-defined monthly payment. 

These plans are not insurance…they’re a way to finance wellness care for your pet, but can be combined with pet health insurance for full spectrum coverage. 

Next time you’re in, grab a brochure and talk to your pet’s veterinarian about which plan would be best for you! 

 

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How Pet Dental Care Can Potentially Save Your Pet’s Life

You care for your own teeth everyday, but how often do you think about your pet’s oral health? Poor dental care for your pet can result in a lot more than bad breath, and it’s vital to understand proper oral hygiene for your furry friend.

There are many associated risks with delaying your pet’s dental appointments.  A knowledgeable veterinary dentist can develop the right regimen for your pet’s dental care. This video explains more about dental health for dogs and the many problems associated with improper oral care.

If your pet is due for a dental exam, schedule an appointment with your Dallas area vet right away to avoid major health complications. Contact us at Preston Road Animal Hospital of Dallas at (972) 239-1309 or Meadow Brook Animal Hospital of McKinney at (972) 529-5033 to schedule an appointment with vets who have the experience, knowledge, and compassion to offer you top veterinary care including dental examinations.

Another Check to Operation Kindness is on Its Way!

Keep up the good work! A BIG thank you to those who have taken the time to write a review about us and for liking our page in January! Your support is not only putting a big smile on our faces but the folks at Operation Kindness sure do appreciate it as well.

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A Look at the Different Types of Pet Allergies

If you’ve ever experienced allergies, you know how uncomfortable and irritating they can be. Did you know that allergies can affect your pet, too? Many allergens that affect humans can also cause a reaction in your dog or cat, so it’s important to know the signs of allergic reactions in your pets.

Dog Scratching Nose

Atopy

Airborne particles like pollen, mold, and dust mites can create  allergic reactions in pets  known as atopy. These airborne allergens are often seasonal, creating irritating symptoms in your pet usually in the spring or fall. In dogs, you may notice a sudden excessive amount of chewing at the feet or licking its own sides. Hot spots will often pop up and recur even if the original spot disappears. Cats tend to experience respiratory problems such as wheezing as they react to these airborne allergens.

Contact Dermatitis

If you have noticed that your dog or cat scratches itself vigorously or is experiencing hair loss, it may have contact dermatitis. Some animals are sensitive to household cleaning products, certain types of carpet, or plastics. This allergy is less common, but you should still speak with your veterinarian about any behavioral changes you notice in your pet.

Food Allergies

Certain foods can irritate your pet’s allergies. Food allergies may occur at the same time as allergies to pollen and dust, and may be improved by changing your pet’s diet. If your animal seems to be excessively itchy or frequently has ear problems, this could be a sign of food allergies. Consult with your veterinarian if you suspect your pet may be allergic to a certain kind of food.

The friendly and caring staff at  Chastain Veterinary Medical Group  can assist you and your pet with allergy symptoms. Call Meadow Brook Animal Hospital of McKinney at (972) 529-5033 or Preston Road Animal Hospital of Dallas at (972) 239-1309 and experience quality veterinary care Dallas.

What to Know About Distemper

Distemper is a highly contagious deadly disease. Puppies and dogs usually become infected through airborne exposure to the virus contained in respiratory secretions of an infected dog or wild animal.

Signs of distemper include:   eye discharge that might look watery to pus-like, fever, nasal discharge, coughing, lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea. In later stages, seizures, twitching, and partial paralysis present as a result of the nervous system being attacked by the virus.

Puppies especially are at risk because their immune systems aren’t mature enough and they might not have completed their series of vaccinations.

if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to give us a call.

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Making the Humane Choice: The Importance of Spaying or Neutering Your Pet – [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some pet owners worry that spaying or neutering their pets is cruel. In fact, spaying or neutering is one of the kindest things you can do for your animals. Not only do spaying and neutering help reduce needless euthanizations by keeping the pet population under control, but they also protect pets’ health and make them less aggressive. Check out this infographic from a Dallas vet to learn more about the importance of spaying or neutering your pet. Please share it with animal lovers everywhere to spread this crucial message. 

Making the Humane Choice - The Importance of Spaying or Neutering Your Pet Infographic

Cat Scratch Disease Part 2: Infection in People

We discussed  cat scratch disease in cats  in the first part of this series and we are now turning out attention to the disease in humans.

Cat Getting Vaccinated

Symptoms

As you may recall, Cat Scratch Disease is caused by infection with an organism called Bartonella. Most  humans who contract Bartonella infections have some history of exposure to cats.  Similarly to cats, humans with cat scratch disease show a range of symptoms including: bumps (papules) or blisters (pustules) of the skin at the site of injury, fatigue, headache, lethargy, fever, and swollen lymph nodes.

Treatment

Most people with normal immune systems will fully recover from cat scratch disease in 6-12 weeks, even without treatment. Those with a compromised immune system may have a harder time, but an easier recovery is still expected with antibiotic treatment. Those suffering from cancer, AIDS, or those with more extremely suppressed immune systems will have a more difficult time overcoming the disease and antibiotic treatment will likely be recommended.

In general, cat scratch disease should not go untreated, as it has more recently been linked to rheumatoid illnesses in humans, such as rheumatoid arthritis. If you believe that you or a loved one may be infected, seek the help of your physician for diagnoses. Be sure to take the steps outlined in part one of this series to help prevent cat scratch disease in the first place.

More Information

For more information on cat scratch disease in people, check these links out:

U.S. National Library of Medicine

Center for Disease Control

Video by Nabil A. Ebraheim, M.D.

If you would like more information on Cat Scratch Disease, please contact Dr. Sue Chastain at Preston Road Animal Hospital of Dallas by calling (972) 239-1309 or at Meadow Brook Animal Hospital of McKinney by calling (972) 529-5033.

Understanding the Risks of Poor Dental Hygiene for Your Pet

Is brushing your pet’s teeth as important to your daily routine as brushing your own?  It is easy to overlook regular oral health care for our pets, but poor dental hygiene comes with several major health risks. Understanding proper oral health care for your pet is a vital part of keeping your pet healthy, playful, and comfortable for a long life. Oral health care includes regular visits to your DFW area veterinarian as well as at-home dental care.

 

Dental Care for Dogs

Periodontal Disease

Dogs and cats rarely get cavities like people do. Instead the main problem they face is periodontal disease – infection and inflammation of the gums. A vast majority of dogs and cats are at risk for the early stages of periodontal disease by age three. Periodontal disease affects the gums and causes painful infections and inflammation in the gum and supporting tissues. This can lead to tooth loss, bleeding gums, bad breath, and pain. Gum disease can lead to irritability and bad eating habits in your pet.  Visiting your vet regularly for dental exams  and cleanings can prevent these problems.

Tooth Decay

Without regular cleanings to eliminate plaque, tartar, and bacteria above and below the gum line, your pet’s teeth will gradually begin to loosen in their sockets and could devlope cavities. This decay eventually leads to major infections, tooth loss, and gum problems. These problems can result in grumpiness, decreased playfulness, and long-lasting pain in the mouth. Oral health care protects teeth and gums from decay and inflammation, which will keep your pet’s health at its best throughout its life.

Spreading Infection

Infections within the mouth are especially risky because of how easily they can spread to other vital organs. Dental disease has been linked, in humans, or animals, or both, with these problem areas:

  • Heart valve infections
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Septicemia (blood poisoning)
  • Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
  • Reproductive derangements such as low birth weight, premature birth
  • Difficulty controlling Diabetes
  • Chronic pain

Poor dental care decreases pet wellness and increases the risk of serious and potentially deadly diseases and infections. Since these infections can spread quickly and our pets cannot speak directly to us, a pet’s health can very quickly decline, sometimes before a pet owner even realizes there is a serious problem.

If you are concerned that your pet is at risk of complications due to poor oral hygiene, schedule a pet wellness appointment with your Dallas vet. Call  Preston Road Animal Hospital  of Dallas at (972) 239-1309 or  Meadow Brook Animal Hospital  at (972) 529-5033 to schedule an examination today.

Looking For More Great Pet Advice? Then Visit These Sites!

If your pet is like ours, he or she is an important part of your family, and you will want to make sure they stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible. Remember, since our pets can’t talk, drive or charge things on the credit card, they rely us to care for them. Take a look at these links to learn more about taking good care of your dog or cat.

Happy pets

  • Humans are not the only ones who suffer from allergies. Learn more about  allergies that affect your pets  in this article from WebMD for pets.
  • Even the best-cared for cats need surgery sometimes. Take a look at this post to learn more about  how to take care of your cat after it has surgery.
  • Cats are curious little creatures that need love and attention from you. Learn what new cat owners should keep in mind in this article from  PetMD.com.
  • When you bring home a new puppy, you will need to give it the right food so it can develop properly. Find out more about the  nutritional needs of puppies  in this resource from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

For quality and compassionate veterinary care in the North Dallas area, contact  Chastain Veterinary Medical Group  through Meadow Brook Animal Hospital of McKinney at (972) 529-5033 or Preston Road Animal Hospital of Dallas at (972) 239-1309. We promise to take great care of your furry friend.

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