Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic
1214 Hwy 25 N
Buffalo, MN 55313

OFFICE HOURS :

7 am - 8 pm : Mon - Thurs

7 am - 6 pm : Friday

8 am - 2 pm : Saturday

May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

Humans are often plagued by allergies, especially this time of year. They can even be allergic to cats and dogs. It seems to surprise them, though, that we can have allergy and asthma problems of our own. It might be the last day of May, but it's not too late to let you pet guardians know that it's Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month. Keep reading to learn how you can keep the kitty or pooch you love happy and sneeze-free.

The National Asthma and Allergy Foundation has a good reason to declare May as National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. This is peak season for both people and pets to develop symptoms for both conditions. Although the awareness campaign is aimed at humans, pet owners should be able to recognize signs of asthma or allergies as well. In addition to not being able to communicate his suffering, your dog or cat may display symptoms differently than you would expect.
 
Asthma in Companion Animals
Statistically, asthma affects cats far more often than dogs. Unfortunately, the number of animal asthma cases is growing due to their increased exposure to environmental pollutants. Common asthma triggers include
  • Dust
  • Grass and tree pollen
  • Car exhaust fumes and other air types of air pollution
  • Mold and mildew
  • Smoke from tobacco products and fireplaces
  • Household sprays and chemical solutions, such as hair spray, deodorant, flea spray, and fragrances
  • Dust from cat litter

The primary symptom of asthma is coughing, which cat owners often mistake as an attempt to cough up a hairball. Coughing and wheezing typically only occur with a flare-up and the pet is fine between bouts. With severe asthma, the animal displays symptoms every day. This may include breathing with an open mouth and constant panting, which occasionally leads to a life-threatening situation.
 
Allergies in Companion Animals
The following four factors account for most allergies in dogs and cats:

  • Contact Allergies: These allergies develop after a pet comes into contact with an allergen, such as the medication or detergent found in a flea collar.
  • Flea Allergy Dermatitis: Pets who are allergic to flea saliva will develop a severe skin irritation along with other common allergy symptoms.
  • Food Allergies: Your pet may be allergic to one or more ingredients in her food. Typical culprits include beef, chicken, soy, and wheat.
  • Inhalant Allergies: This includes anything your pet breathes in, including indoor or outdoor environmental factors such as cigarette smoke or pollen.
People with allergies tend to sneeze and have watery eyes. Dogs and cats increase grooming as well as scratch and lick excessively to try to alleviate their discomfort. This can actually make things worse because these actions can cause further skin irritation and possible infections. 
 
Treating Asthma or Allergies in Your Pet
If you notice any unusual coughing, wheezing, or extreme itchiness, your pet could have asthma or allergies. It's important to visit Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic right away for a thorough evaluation. We will ask several questions about her behavior as well as your living environment to pinpoint a cause of the symptoms. Your dog or cat's veterinarian will also conduct some medical tests before giving an official diagnosis. With prescription medication and some changes in the environment, pets with asthma or allergies can live a long and healthy life. 

Photo credit: fvallar / iStock Photo

It's National Dog Bite Prevention Week

 

My dog friends asked me to tell you that any dog can bite at any time. That is not because they're mean or want to hurt you. Sometimes it's the only way they have to express themselves when they feel threatened. They gave ideas to the staff at Buffalo Companion Animal Hospital to help keep your human safe, which you can read in the article below.

~Carlos

Every year during the third full week in May, the United States Postal Service (USPS) sponsors National Dog Bite Prevention Week to highlight safety tips and call for increased owner responsibility to prevent attacks. To highlight the seriousness of the problem, the USPS points out that nearly 6,500 of its employees were dog bite victims in 2015. However, the problem is not limited to postal workers. Every year in the United States, approximately 4.5 million people are bitten by a dog. Other statistics you should know include:
  • The majority of dog bite victims are children. They are 900 times more likely to be bitten by a dog than letter carriers and package delivery personnel. Senior citizens are the second most likely to sustain injury from a dog bite.
  • Dog bites account for five percent of all emergency room visits.
  • Any dog can bite at any time.
How to Prevent a Dog Bite
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends remaining motionless when an unfamiliar dog approaches and teach children to do the same. When you run from a dog, his natural instinct is to chase you. If you do not want to interact, remain calm while firmly commanding the dog to "Go home!" Avoid making direct eye contact since the dog could interpret this as a threat. You can also avoid an aggressive posture by turning to the side and backing away or wait for the dog to pass.
 
You should never approach an unfamiliar dog or pet any dog without allowing her to see and sniff you first. Interrupting a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for her young is likely to be met with aggression. Never allow young children to play around any dog unsupervised, even your own.
 
Be a Responsible Dog Owner
Since it comes natural to some breeds of dogs to play aggressively, it's important to invest in obedience training and teach your dog the proper way to play. When unfamiliar people come to your door, secure your dog in a locked room before you open it. Dogs are territorial and don't understand that letter carriers and visitors are not a threat to them. A dog is most likely to bite when he is unsocialized, receives little attention, or is left tied-up for long periods every day. You can prevent dog bites by not allowing these situations to occur in the first place.

What to Do in the Event of a Dog Bite or Attack
If you are holding something, such as a purse or a jacket, place it between you and the dog to minimize injury. You should curl up into a ball and place your hands over your neck and ears if the dog knocks you to the ground. Seek immediate medical attention for uncontrolled bleeding, deep wounds, swelling, and fever or if the wound becomes warm and dark red. For minor wounds, wash the area with soap and water, apply antiseptic cream, and cover it with a clean bandage.
 
Be certain to report the dog bite to Wright County Animal Control to advise them of a potential public health risk. People can contract rabies, tetanus, a staph infection, and several other serious conditions from a dog bite.
 
You can learn more about dog bite prevention at the resources listed on the Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic website or by asking us about it at your dog's next exam.
 
Photo Credit:  Eric Isselee



The Importance of Annual Wellness Exams

 

Hey dog and cat parents, it's Carlos here. Even though my friends might act like they don't like coming to see the fine folks at Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic, they're secretly flattered that you care so much about their health that you bring them in for a yearly check-up. You get your pet into the car, and I'll tell them to play it cool once they get here. Sincerely, Carlos

Many pet owners don’t visit the veterinarian unless their dog or cat is sick or injured. However, pets need regular wellness exams just like people do. This gives the veterinarians at Buffalo Companion Animal Hospital the opportunity to detect the symptoms of illness or chronic health conditions as early as possible. Regular wellness exams can even extend your pet’s life. When you consider how much enjoyment your dog or cat brings you, an investment in preventive care is well worth the cost.

How Often Do Companion Animals Require a Check-Up?
Adult pets between one and seven years of age who are normally healthy should come in once a year for a wellness exam. Senior pets benefit from a bi-annual exam since they age at a much faster rate than humans do. This is the time we start looking for such issues as kidney disease, diabetes, arthritis, and hip dysplasia. Puppies and kittens require several appointments during their first year to get started on a vaccine schedule. 

The core vaccines for dogs include are rabies, canine parvovirus, distemper, and canine adenovirus, which protects against respiratory disease and hepatitis. Cats receive vaccines for rabies, feline panleukopenia, rhinotracheitis, and feline calicivirus during their first year. Our veterinarians also discuss several non-core vaccines for your pet during wellness exams. We consider his species, breed, age, and lifestyle before making a specific recommendation. We highly encourage all clients to have their pet spayed or neutered by six months of age.

What to Expect at Your Pet’s Appointment
Your pet may receive a booster for a vaccine or a new vaccine if she’s not up-to-date. This appointment is the ideal time to discuss control of fleas, ticks, heartworm, and other common parasites. We will check for parasites as well as offer a recommendation on how to control them. Next, our veterinarian will complete a head to tail exam of your pet. Some of the specific things we look for include:

  • Urinary issues, including unusual discharges and problems with the mammary glands
  • Skin and coat problems, such as hair loss, anal sacs, shedding, and pigment changes
  • Limping, weakness, torn toenails, or other problems with the legs and feet
  • Discharge, redness, or itching from the eyes or ears
  • Problems with the teeth, mouth, or gums
  • Nasal discharge, sneezing, coughing, or other indications of allergies or breathing issues
  • Indications of stomach or intestinal problems, including vomiting, diarrhea, or other abnormal stools
 
If your pet’s veterinarian has concerns after checking all of the above areas, he or she will order blood tests or other diagnostic testing. We will let you know the results and the follow-up plan as soon as possible. Feel free to bring up any questions you have about your pet’s behavior, nutrition, weight, or exercise habits at this exam as well. Please contact us to request a wellness exam if your pet isn’t already on a regular appointment schedule.

Photo Credit: Your Nikon Man/iStock Photo
 
 

 

 

Safety Considerations for Pets in the Springtime

 

It's that time of year again. After a long winter, my dog and cat friends are anxious to explore the outdoors and all of your spring projects. I would love to see all of you, but not because you have to bring one of my sick or injured friends in for treatment. Here are some tips from my humans on how to keep your pet's springtime curiosity under control.  All the best, Carlos

People and pets alike welcome the return of spring in Minnesota. Like the other three seasons, spring presents unique health and safety hazards for our companion animals. This is true both inside and outside of the home. Before taking in all that this exciting season has to offer, pause to take stock of any potential dangers for your pet and make a plan to prevent them.

Spring Cleaning
Spring cleaning is an annual tradition in many households, including those with pets. You don't have to forgo getting your house in tip-top shape, but it's important to keep bleach and other cleaning products out of your pet's reach. Even those that claim natural ingredients contain harmful chemicals for pets. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with this list of poisonous household products before starting your spring cleaning this year. 

Lawn and Garden
Products that you use to keep your lawn and garden healthy, such as mulch, fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides can all be toxic for your pet. As with spring cleaning chemicals, be sure to follow the label instructions exactly and keep lawn and garden products out of reach. It's best to keep your pet indoors when you're mowing the lawn or working in your garden. Certain plants are toxic to pets as well. 

Watch for Open Doors and Windows
If you prefer a natural cool breeze to air conditioning, consider investing in screens for your doors and windows if you haven't already. Dogs may bolt for an open door while cats are prone to jumping through open windows. A screen allows you to enjoy the cool breeze while keeping your animals safe in the house.

It's Flea and Tick Season
Unfortunately, more time outdoors means that your pet is at greater risk for flea and tick infestation. These parasites are more than just a nuisance. They can transmit serious health conditions like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Feel free to ask your pet's regular veterinarian for a recommendation on the best flea and tick preventive product for his or her species, breed, age, and lifestyle.

Indoor Improvements
It's also the season for home improvements. Whether you're planning to paint, add a room, or repair a wall, make sure you know where your pet is at all times. Curious dogs and cats might taste paint or get a nail stuck in their paw when you turn your back for a second. For safety's sake, plan to keep your pet in a kennel, with a sitter, or in another room in your house with the door closed.

Lastly, we recommend having a basic pet first aid kit on hand and keeping the telephone numbers of the Pet Poison Helpline and Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic on hand. Those are 1-855-764-7661 and 763-682-2181, respectively.

Photo Credit: vvvita/iStock Photo

Spring Has Sprung! Is Your Pet Protected from Fleas & Ticks?

 
 

Hello and thank you for reading my blog. I'm Carlos, and I had to talk about fleas and ticks again because they are just so pesky. Also, they are hanging around even more now that spring is here, just waiting to feast on a lovely feline like myself or one of my dog friends. Keep reading to learn more about the nasty diseases these parasites carry and what my friends at Buffalo Companion Animal Hospital recommend that you do to control them.


Diseases Carried by Fleas and Ticks
Fleas can carry cat scratch disease and tapeworm in addition to causing severe allergic reactions in sensitive dogs and cats. Ticks may transmit Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Anaplasmosis, and several other serious diseases. It's essential to treat your pet with a flea and tick preventive before these parasites do serious damage to her health.

Consider Your Flea and Tick Prevention Options
Dogs and cats need flea and tick preventive all year long, but it's even more important in the warm weather seasons. Below are the options that the Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic recommends for your pet.

  • Bravecto is an oral chewable pill that provides flea and tick prevention for up to three months. Bravecto comes in a variety of flavors and sizes.
  • Parastar Plus is a topical solution that is applied to a spot on the back and works systemically for one month. 

Consider Your Pet’s Lifestyle
Cats who stay indoors need less aggressive flea and tick prevention than dogs who regularly spend time in the woods or tall grass. However, you need to treat all of your pets whether they go outside or not. That is because fleas and ticks can easily get into your home on shoes or clothing and then seek a new host. Additionally, don’t stop treating your pet if she doesn’t seem to display signs of having these parasites. That means the preventive treatment is working, but fleas and ticks will quickly return to an untreated pet.

We’re Here to Help
Our staff understands that it can be challenging to choose an effective flea and tick prevention program for your dog or cat. We are happy to provide you with a recommendation after evaluating your pet. Please contact Buffalo Companion Animal Hospital to schedule a consultation or ask your veterinarian for a recommendation at your pet’s next wellness exam.

Image credit:  Okassi68| iStock Photo

Consider Acupuncture for Your Pet's Chronic Pain

 

Hey everyone, it's Carlos! My friends here at Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic would like you to know about a cool way to help your pet feel better.

If your pet suffers from a chronic painful condition such as arthritis or degenerative disc disease, undergoing acupuncture at Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic can finally provide him with long-term relief. Acupuncture helps to stimulate blood flow at the points where joints and muscles meet. This process helps to reduce pain, inflammation, and swelling because it stimulates the body's natural self-healing capabilities. Improving blood flow also helps to rid the body of waste and toxins while improving oxygenation at the same time. 

Depending on your pet's specific diagnosis and pain level, we can use acupuncture in addition to medication or in place of it. With acupuncture, you don't have the same concerns about possible side effects that you do with medication. Over time, pets learn to enjoy each session because they associate it with relaxation and positive attention from both you and our staff.

What to Expect with Veterinary Acupuncture

Dr. Alyssa Erlandson is a veterinary doctor in addition to being certified in acupuncture since 2005. With regular acupuncture, Dr. Erlandson inserts tiny needles in your pet's body at the point where blood vessels and nerve bundles intersect. This process, called the dry needle technique, provides pain relief by improving blood flow. Other types of acupuncture that Dr. Erlandson can provide for your pet include:

• Aquapuncture: The injection of specific liquids, including diluted Vitamin B12, exerts an energetic force in your pet that pushes against diseased or painful tissues to facilitate healing.
• Electroacupuncture: This involves electrical stimulation of the body between the points where Dr. Erlandson has inserted dry needles. The electrical stimulation relaxes muscle spasms and helps to restore nerve mobility.
• Moxabustion:  In addition to dry needles, applying a heated Chinese herbal compound to the painful areas helps to relieve muscle stiffness and chronic pain.

Each session of acupuncture at Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic lasts between 10 and 30 minutes. It may take a few sessions for you to notice a marked improvement in your pet’s pain level. We recommend that you schedule a few sessions a week initially. After your pet starts showing steady improvement, she may only require one session every several months. 

We care about animals and know how hard it is to see your furry loved one experience pain. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have additional questions about acupuncture or would like to schedule an appointment.

 

Photo credit: flytosky11 | iStock

Carlos Says: Keep Those Pests Away from Me!

It's summer, and that means I should be able to watch birds and soak up some rays from the comfort of my backyard, right? As much as I would love to see what life outside my door has to offer, certain parasites make that hard to do. The fleas make me scratch, the ticks carry frightening diseases, and many different kinds of worms want to live inside of my body. Yuck! 

ticks

Ectoparasites Are Just Looking for a Ride

Fleas and ticks are ectoparasites, meaning they think my delicate fur is their personal apartment. Their persistent burrowing into my skin causes me to scratch in frustration. If you don't evict them quickly, fleas can eventually leave me with a condition called allergic dermatitis. I've seen some of my friends struggle with that, including the canine ones, and it's no fun at all. Even worse, fleas can transmit diseases to my human friends and other animals. I urge you to talk to one of our Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic veterinarians about a year-round flea control program before that happens.

Ticks just tick me off. I'm rolling around in the grass minding my own business when they latch on and use my blood as a drinking fountain. They also like to carry terrible infections around with them, such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and pass it along to unsuspecting cats like myself. Ticks don't discriminate, though. They can also make dogs ill just by being their parasitic selves. If you have a dog or a cool cat like me, make sure you check for ticks from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail every day.

Endoparasites Like Living on the Inside

Humans think worms are slimy and ugly, but for me they can actually be life-threatening. Whether it's heartworms, roundworms, hookworms, or another type, they all survive by getting inside of my body and then reproducing. When they take over, I may not be able to breathe. I will also show that I'm sick in many other ways, such as sleeping a lot, not wanting to play, and saying no to food. Fortunately, my human is responsible and makes sure that I have the preventive medication I need to keep these worms away from me. Not all of my cat and dog friends are so lucky. If you know their owners, let them know their pets depend on them to stay healthy and parasite-free this summer.

Until Next Time,

Carlos

 

 

Photo credit:  MeePoohyaphoto | Thinkstock.com