Fredericka WalshAs many of you know, our beloved team member and friend, Fredericka (Fredi) Walsh, passed away unexpectedly at home on October 23, 2018. 

Fredi had been working as a veterinary technician here at Gray-New Gloucester Animal Hospital since 1998 and we all loved her dearly. We considered her a member of our family and we fondly look back on the memories we were lucky enough to share with her. 

Black lab puppyBordetella, also known as Kennel Cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease among dogs.

It is characterized by a dry, harsh, hacking cough that some describe as sounding like “something is stuck in my dog’s throat.” Clinical cases are typically caused by numerous infectious agents that work together to irritate and damage the lining of both the trachea and the upper bronchii.

Kennel cough is airborne, meaning it can spread much like the human cold. The microscopic organisms are carried in the air in tiny water vapor or in dust particles. Those particles are then inhaled by a susceptible dog.

Rabies is a major health concern worldwide. It is responsible for killing over 55,000 people every year.

WWorld Rabies Day 2017orld Rabies Day was launched in 2007 to raise awareness about the public health impact of both animal and human rabies.

Rabies is an infectious viral disease that is almost always fatal following the onset of clinical signs. The virus is spread from the saliva of infected animals. Dogs are the source of the vast majority of human rabies deaths, contributing up to 99% of all rabies transmissions to humans.

Animals most likely to spread rabies in the U.S. include bats, coyotes, foxes, skunks, and raccoons.

Rabies is 100% preventable. Vaccinate your animals and be sure to keep them away from wildlife that can spread the disease.

Heartworm in dogs is easily prevented, but difficult and costly to treat. Heartworm is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. All it takes is just one bite from mosquito infected with heartworm larvae. It cannot be passed on from dog to dog. There is also no way to detect if a mosquito is infected and that is why prevention is important.

heartworm-diagram-dogIt takes around seven months after a dog is bitten by an infected mosquito, for the larvae to mature in adult heartworms. From there, they make themselves at home lodging into the heart, lungs and surrounding blood vessels and there they will continue to reproduce.

Initially, there are no symptoms. But as the heartworms multiply in the heart and lungs, most dogs will show the symptom of coughing. They will begin to get winded easier and faster. In severe cases, abnormal lung sounds are detected, along with passing out from loss of blood to the brain. If untreated, most dogs will die from heartworm.

Both dogs and cats are considered to be seniors between the ages of 7 and 10 years-old. Though it can vary by size and the specific pet, a 7 to 10 year-old pet is roughly the equivalent of a 45 to 75 year-old human. Generally, smaller breed dogs live longer than larger breeds, and cats, on average, live longer than dogs.

Senior Dog Laying DownAs pets reach their golden years, there are a variety of conditions and diseases that they can face: weight and mobility changes, osteoarthritis, kidney, heart, and liver disease, tumors and cancers, hormone disorders, such as diabetes and thyroid imbalance, and many others.

Scheduling regular veterinary examinations is one of the most important steps to be taken by pet owners to keep their aging pets in the best shape possible. Senior care is needed to catch and delay the onset of any progressive diseases and to detect problems early, such as organ failure, diabetes, thyroid imbalances, etc. During the health exam, your veterinarian will ask you questions regarding and changes in behavior, activity, appetite, and routines. A complete examination of your pet’s body will also be conducted.

Feline leukemia (FELV) is a disease that only affects cats, of all breeds. It cannot be transmitted to humans, dogs or any other animals. This viral infection is responsible for a majority of deaths in household cats.

Male cats (especially with outdoor access) and kittens are more at risk to contract the infection and it is usually detected between the ages of one to six years old. It is transmitted from one feline to another through saliva, blood and in some rare cases, feces and urine. Kittens are also susceptible at either birth or from their mother’s milk.

Feline leukemia impairs the cat’s immune system and causes certain types of cancers. There are three types of infection: FELV-A, FELV-B, and FELV-C. Cats diagnosed with this virus can be infected with one, two or all three types. The symptoms depend on the type of infection.

Common symptoms include, but not limited to:

  • orange kittenEnlarged lymph nodes
  • Pale gums
  • Yellow color in mouth and whites of eyes
  • Weight loss/poor appetite
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever

Ever since recreational marijuana was legalized in Maine earlier this year, we have seen a number of pets affected by marijuana toxicity.

Marijuana ingestion is very common and can cause a variety of clinical signs, including neurological problems (incoordination, stupor, dilated pupils), gastrointestinal issues (vomiting and diarrhea), urinary incontinence, and decreased heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature.

Signs can last up to 96 hours post exposure, and can occur with variable levels of ingestion. Other toxins can cause similar signs, so it's important to call your veterinarian immediately if you think your pet is exhibiting these signs or has ingested any form of marijuana.