In this issue you will find:
"Doc, he just ain't right."
Deer Tick Season Peaking
Bobtown Pet Clinic is in the early stages of implementing an important medical records service for your benefit. This service is called VitusVet. This is an online medical records service that will give you access to your pet's records with a phone app at any time and in any location you have access to the internet. You will receive this service for free.
The real goal is for you and an emergency veterinarian or specialist to have access to records if your pet needs emergency care. The service integrates with our practice management software and uploads new information throughout the day. Only you and your veterinarian can allow somebody access to the password protected information.
As an emergency veterinarian at a referral emergency clinic I can tell you that having access to medical records, labs and X-rays would be extremely helpful in many situations. Many of my clients are stressed and cannot remember the information accurately. Having access to medical records can save time and money by reducing repetition of labs and procedures.
Watch for more information on how to sign up for this free service as we move through the process. We are hoping to go live in late September.
"Doc, he just ain't right."
A fairly common presentation is what we refer to as ADR (Ain't Doin' Right). This is generally used to describe a dog or cat that has mild, nonspecific changes in behavior or appetite. There are no overt problems like limping, vomiting, diarrhea or pain. The changes can develop gradually over weeks to months or over a couple of hours.
So what causes ADR? Great question. The answer is not always satisfying. Often on a physical examination we find nothing abnormal. Sometimes it seems to be back or neck pain. Sometimes it seems to be anal sac problems.
Even with labs and X-rays we are sometimes left scratching our heads. Is it something like a headache or a very mild gastrointestinal upset? Could it be a mild virus? Is it a mental issue like when a favorite person or friend leaves? Sometimes we find major problems like kidney disease, liver disease, heart failure or cancer.
The ADR patient can be very difficult to diagnose. When we have an ADR patient walk into the exam room and cannot find anything on a physical examination, we then have to determine how to approach the patient with diagnostics. Sometimes we start with monitoring. Most of the minor problems will resolve in a short time. If the patient is not better quickly, then further evaluation is warranted.
Other times we recommend a work up immediately. Often this will include blood work, urinalysis and radiographs. Sometimes further evaluation is recommended with an ultrasound or more specialized lab testing. A lot depends on the patient age, breed, and history.
Remember that you know your pet much better than we do. You will be aware of these subtle changes when we will not. Sometimes the patient seems completely normal to us in the exam room, but you see obvious changes at home. Pay attention to these changes and do not be surprised when we recommend a workup. After all, sometimes that 3 year old bassett hound has a large undifferentiated abdominal tumor causing back pain.
Deer Tick Season Peak
Deer ticks (Ixodes scapularis) are nasty little creatures that feed on blood and are major carriers of diseases like Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis.
These ticks have a 3 host life cycle. This means that they search for hosts 3 times in their lives. The first host, used by the larvae, is usually a very small animal like a mouse or squirrel. The second host, used by the nymph, is usually a bit larger small mammal. And the adult tick prefers the white tailed deer as its definitive host. However, they are opportunistic and will take what ever host comes along.
Because they have a 3 host life cycle, they must search for these hosts when they are ready at different times of the year. Adults are looking in the fall and spring after overwintering. The larvae are usually looking for hosts in the late spring/early summer. And finally, the nymphs look for a host in the late summer/early fall.
Deer ticks are very hearty parasites. We start seeing them about the time the snow is melted and until the snow flies in the fall. The activity never stops, but peaks in the spring and late summer as the larvae and nymphs look for new hosts.
Overall, this means that we are currently in a peak activity time for the ticks to be looking for new hosts. Do not stop using your flea and tick preventatives until at least December 1. Even then, we recommend their use year round.