It’s Flea Season Again!

Flea Prevention in Dogs and CatsWe are anticipating a very bad flea season this year, because we had such a damp summer. Fleas are a nuisance, and way easier to prevent than to deal with once you have an infestation in your house!

If your dog is already on heartworm prevention, chances are he or she is also protected against fleas. However, a few of the common heartworm preventives don’t contain flea prevention. A quick call to your veterinary clinic will let you know if you need to pick up an additional product. Your pet should be treated once monthly until November.

We ALWAYS recommend veterinary products for flea prevention. Not only are they significantly more effective than over-the-counter products, they are much safer. Most topical veterinary flea
preventives have been tested at 10 times the recommended dose with no negative effects! On the other hand, we have seen severe cases of neurologic toxicity (in cats especially) after over-the-counter products were administered at the correct label dose.

It is important for your veterinary clinic to have an up-to-date weight for your pet before we dispense medication, to make sure we provide you with the correct dose. Otherwise, it may not be effective at preventing fleas. Flea Treatment in Dogs and CatsThe product also needs to be used correctly – some oral products need to be given on a full stomach for proper absorption, and topical products need to contact the skin (not just the fur). Your veterinary team can help make sure you are using the product properly.

Does Your Pet have an Emergency Plan for when you’re Travelling?

Plan for pets while travelling

Pets often travel with their families, but in some cases they may be happier staying behind (or it may not be practical to bring them along). In these cases, they might stay with family/friends, at a professional boarding facility or at home with a caregiver coming to the house.

In any case, have you thought about what might happen in the case of an emergency? Does the person caring for your pet(s) have permission to take your pet to the veterinarian and authorize diagnostics/treatment if necessary? Just as you would provide emergency contact information if your children went to camp, you should think about who you trust to make decisions on your behalf regarding your pet(s) in the event that you cannot be contacted directly.

Being prepared and thinking this through ahead of time will ensure that, if something does happen, your pet can be treated promptly and according to your wishes. We strongly recommend leaving written instructions for the caregiver(s) outlining your plan and what they are authorized to do. Additionally, it is a good idea to notify your regular veterinarian that you will be away and leave the name of the person you have entrusted with your pet(s)’ care.Pet Travel Plan

If you have questions/concerns, or need help preparing your plan, your veterinary team will be happy to help so that you can relax during your vacation knowing your pet(s) will be well cared for. We wish everyone safe and happy travels! 

Leptospirosis: Signs, Symptoms and Vaccinations

Leptospirosis is caused by a bacteria, of which there are many different strains. It is rare in cats, but not uncommon in dogs. Bacteria are primarily shed in the urine of infected animals, but they can also be found in other body fluids and tissues. The most common carriers of leptospirosis are raccoons and rodents (particularly rats).

Infection can occur through:

  1. Exposure to contaminated water – through ingestion, contact with mucous membranes or broken skin
  2. Exposure to urine from an infected animal – contaminated food, bedding, soil, etc
  3. Bite wounds
  4. Ingestion of tissues from infected animals

Signs and Symptoms

The severity of symptoms varies and depends on many factors, including the pet’s age, vaccination status, immune response, and the strain of bacteria. Some dogs may have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, Leptospirosis Signs Symptoms and Vaccinationsbut severe cases can be fatal.

Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Discharge from nose and eyes
  • Frequent urination (may be followed by lack of urination)
  • Yellowing of the gums, membranes around the eyes, and skin


As usual, if you have ANY concerns about your pet’s health, the best thing to do is schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for a full physical examination. Bloodwork during the early stages of disease may help identify damage to the liver and kidneys while it is still reversible.

Vaccination for Leptospirosis

We have had some clients express concern about reported reactions to the leptospirosis vaccine. Vaccine reactions can range from tenderness at the vaccination site to lethargy, vomiting and (in rare cases) anaphylactic reaction. The original leptospirosis vaccine, introduced in the 1980s, was much more reactive than the improved vaccines use today. However, some breeders had negative experiences with the vaccine in the past and discourage puppy buyers from vaccinating their puppies for leptospirosis.

If your pet is at risk of contracting leptospirosis due to his/her lifestyle, we feel that the potential benefits outweigh the risk of vaccine reaction. BUT the decision to vaccinate a pet is always based on open communication between the client and veterinarian. Please discuss the vaccination plan for your pet with your veterinarian, and don’t be afraid to bring up any concerns. We often “split” vaccinations into multiple visits (especially with smaller pets), and we can also give medications like antihistamines to help reduce the chance of reaction.

The leptospirosis vaccine protects against the 4 most common strains of bacteria that infect dogs. We recommend administering the leptospirosis vaccine to puppies initially at 12 and 16 weeks of age. If your older pet receives this vaccine for the first time, they will require a booster 4 weeks later.

Unlike distemper and rabies vaccines, it is important to note that the immune response to the leptospirosis vaccine has not been shown to last more than 12 months. Therefore, this vaccine must be boostered annually to be effective.

Acton Veterinary Clinic    |   Copyright 2015