APA funds surgery for local veteran’s dog

By: | January 3, 2017

The APA’s Heads to Tails Hope Fund is a needs based financial assistance program for vet care.

Thanks to a generous donor this new program provided care to 27 dogs in 2016. From life-saving heartworm treatment to dentals and surgery, we’re helping pets live happier, healthier lives.

Kya was one of the dogs who benefited from this program. See her story here.

Many dogs at the APA needing medical treatment have benefited as well as dogs already in loving homes. We want to bring and keep people and pets together. For more information email operations@apamo.org or call (314) 645-4610 ext. 129.

Rain, Mosquitoes & Heartworm

By: | July 16, 2015

The St. Louis area has had a particularly rainy summer, and where there’s rain, there’s mosquitoes.  Keep your pet safe from potentially deadly heartworms carried by mosquitoes by learning about the problem and how to keep it from harming your furry friend.

When an infected mosquito bites your pet, it transmits tiny parasitic worms into their blood that travel into your pet’s lungs and heart. As the worms grow, they also reproduce, leading to more worms attaching themselves to the organs and further limiting their functionality. Heartworms can live up to 7 years in a dog and grow to be 12 inches.

Image from the American Heartworm Society
Image from the American Heartworm Society

 

While cats are not considered an ideal host environment for heartworms, and it is less common to see cases of heartworm in cats, it is still possible for cats to contract heartworms from mosquitoes. Unlike with dogs, there is no approved treatment for heartworm in cats, so it’s important to keep those felines on preventative as well, even if they are indoor cats.

If your dog tests positive for heartworm, there are few options for treatment. Immiticide is an arsenic-based drug that is injected into muscles of dogs to kill the worms. After a series of shots, dogs must be kept quiet and contained for months as the worms die off. Too much activity or exercise can cause the worms to break up too quickly and cause blood clots, leading to complications in the lungs or heart failure. Even when quietly contained during treatment, the toxic effects of arsenic can be damaging to the dog’s organs.

Injections of immiticide are not only difficult on your dog’s body, they are hard on your wallet, too. According to the American Heartworm Society, with bloodwork, x-rays, treatments and vet visits, the total cost of treatment can be up to 15 times the cost of a year’s supply of preventative.

The other common option for treating heartworms is administering a monthly preventative (such as Heartguard Plus) once heartworms are detected. This treatment is much less expensive than immiticide injections, but it only kills off the larvae, called microfilariae, leaving the adult worms in the system. This treatment is a long-term solution that works best in cases where the heartworm is not too advanced.

Neither treatment option is guaranteed to successfully treat heartworms in dogs. The best way to treat heartworms is to stop them from forming. Giving your pets a monthly oral or topical treatment (Heartguard, Advantage Multi, or Revolution, e.g.) is the easiest, most effective way to keep your dogs and cats safe from the dangers of heartworm. Be sure to give them preventatives year-round, since there is no good way to know when mosquitoes have gone for the year or when in the spring they will return. Following these simple precautions will leave your pets healthy and mosquitoes high and dry!

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Living with Pet Allergies

By: | April 23, 2015

This time of year, the APA receives a lot of calls and a lot of animals due to allergies. Helping keep an animal with its family is a top priority for us, so we want to help allergy suffers know that, if the allergies are not life-threatening, there are options for living a happy, healthy life with your pet. Here are some basic tips for cohabitating with wheeze and sneeze-inducing furry friends.

kitten-sneezing-for-blog

Know thy allergies!

Are you allergic to your pet’s dander or is it something else? Get tested by a doctor to know what is causing your symptoms. Your pet might be carrying another allergen into the house on his coat. Pollen, mold and other irritants are everywhere, especially at this time of the year. If it turns out that kitty’s outdoor adventures have brought home more than you bargained for, limit her time outside.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

Wipe those fur monsters down with a damp cloth after being outside. You’ve seen how much pollen can accumulate on your car in the spring; your pet’s coat gathers pollen and other allergens, too. Wiping them off helps decrease other potential trouble makers in the air as well. You can also bathe your pet regularly. Giving him or her the full on spa treatment helps get rid of anything you missed with the cloth. Avoid washing any pet more than once a week, and use a mild, conditioning cleanser to avoid drying out their skin. Frequent fur brushing at this time of the year will also decrease the amount of dander buildup your pet is carrying. Choose a non-allergic member of the family for this task, if possible. Otherwise, many groomers are happy to help your pet shed the excess fluff.

Make your castle sparkle!

Minimize household allergens all together. Dust, vacuum, sweep and/or mop to keep your home tidy and your allergies at bay.

Keep separate quarters.

Don’t allow pets to sleep in your bed with you. Keep them off the couch and other furniture, if you notice the fur buildup is bothersome. Buy bedding for your pets that is easy to clean and doesn’t gather fur. Kuranda beds are great for that purpose; they wipe down easily and dry quickly.

Recognize the cues.

If you know your allergies are particularly bad when the magnolia trees begin to bloom, plan accordingly. Occasionally taking an over-the-counter antihistamine can treat your symptoms and give your peace of mind in the warm weather months.

weimaraner-for-blogAs part of our mission of bringing people and pets together, the APA also strives to keep people and pets together. When both furry and non-furry members of the household can live together in harmony, we all breathe a little easier.

 

 

 

Parvovirus Prevention and Treatment

By: | January 15, 2015

What is parvovirus?

Canine parvovirus is a viral illness that usually attacks a dog or puppy through the intestinal tract (canine parvovirus enteritis) and, in a few cases, the heart (myocarditis). This virus, first identified in the late 1970’s, is one of the most resistant known; able to withstand heat, cold and most common disinfectants.

Who gets parvo and how?

Although parvo attacks dogs and puppies of any age, purebred or mix of breeds, it is most commonly found in puppies six to twenty-four weeks old. Generally puppies are protected through their mother’s immunity up to that six week stage. Many adult dogs are immune because they were either vaccinated against the illness or they have survived the virus when young.

We vaccinate all incoming puppies under six months of age as soon as they arrive here. Older dogs are vaccinated upon adoption. Several studies suggest Dobermans and Rottweilers may be more vulnerable to this illness, and that non-neutered animals may be at greater risk than those that have been spayed or neutered.

ALL animals adopted from the APA of MO are spayed or neutered before leaving the shelter. (Animals that have been spayed or neutered are more likely to have been vaccinated and are less likely to roam. So they have less chance of exposure.)

How is parvovirus spread?

“Parvo” is spread through the feces and vomit of infected dogs and puppies. This virus can live in feces for about two weeks and can survive in the environment (areas on floors and cages) for many months. This survival rate allows it to be passed along by hands, clothing or shoes of anyone who comes in contact with it.

Symptoms?

Symptoms of this terrible illness appear anytime during the the three to twelve day incubation period which follows exposure.The first signs of “parvo” usually include loss of appetite, vomiting, lethargy (no energy to play or move about), bloody diarrhea or feces that smells bad and is gray or yellow. These animals can quickly suffer from dehydration. There is often fever and a general depression.

Remember, some dogs infected with the virus show no symptoms, and some never become il. Some dogs only show a few of the symptoms and recover quickly while still others become severely ill and become fatalities within forty-eight to seventy-two hours after first showing signs of illness.

How is this illness treated?

Treatment for “parvo” usually includes hospitalization, intravenous fluids and medication (to control vomiting, diarrhea and secondary infections.

How is parvovirus prevented?

The two (2) best ways to help prevent dogs from acquiring “parvo” is to vaccinate them against the virus (DHLPP vaccination) AND to keep them under control. Dogs allowed to roam are more likely to come in contact with illness. Remember to wash your hands after petting any other dog or puppy BEFORE you pet your own. Wipe off your shoes with a bleach and water solution if you know you have walked in an area with multiple dog exposure and change your clothes and wash them immediately if you have spent time exposed to another puppy or dog.

If you have any additional questions, please contact your veterinarian or call the APA at  314.645.4610 ext.18 during regular clinic hours.