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Minnesota Veterinary Hospital Blog

Protect Your Dog from Canine Parainfluenza


(Photo Credit: Damedeeso / Getty Images)

This summer, health officials in Ramsey County as well as the counties of Sherburne, Wright, Crow Wing, and Kandiyohi in Minnesota reported confirmed cases of canine parainfluenza. Also known as the dog flu, canine parainfluenza is highly contagious. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that it originated as an avian flu in horses and gradually adapted and infected dogs. However, dogs cannot transmit parainfluenza to people.


Avoid a Hot Asphalt Injury with Your Dog

Although summer is winding down in Minnesota, August is typically the hottest month of the year. Unfortunately, many dog owners fail to realize that the temperature of asphalt often exceeds 100 degrees and can cause serious injuries to uncovered paws. Your dog’s paw pads can withstand a lot, so it might not be obvious to you right away that she has burned them. If you suspect an injury, be sure to look for these symptoms:
  • Walking with a limp
  • Blistering skin
  • Licking or chewing his feet
  • Parts of the paw pad have a darker color or is missing
  • Refusal to walk any further
  • Extreme redness
If you do spot any of these issues, clean your dog’s paws immediately and cool them down with a damp cloth. Be sure to follow up with Minnesota Veterinary Hospital so we can determine if you dog has deeper burns or any infections.

Preventing Burns to Your Dog’s Paw Pads
Your dog still needs to exercise, even when it’s hot and humid outside. It’s not necessary to avoid taking her outside for fear of a hot asphalt injury, but you do need to take precautions. This starts with making sure that you lead your dog on the walk and not the other way around. This allows you to spot metal surfaces, hot sidewalks, and other dangers and steer clear of them. If it looks too hot for your dog to walk on, you will either have to carry her if possible or take a detour to find a cooler, grassy area to complete your walk.
Most people wouldn’t dream of walking outside without shoes, but don’t consider protecting their dog’s paws with pet-sized slippers. It might look a little unusual, but covering your dog’s paw pads allows you to walk wherever the two of you want to. If your dog puts up a fuss about wearing them, you may need to skip or cut short the daily walk until he gets the idea. We also recommend avoiding walking with your dog between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. when the sun’s rays are the most intense.

Other Tips for Surviving the Hot Weather
It will be time for back to school before you know it. Make sure you enjoy the rest of the summer with your dog by keeping her hydrated and not allowing her to spend several hours each day in the direct path of the sun. We also urge you to never leave your dog in a hot car, not even for a minute. Your dog can become very ill or succumb to the heat much faster than you probably thought possible.
We wish you a happy rest of the summer. Feel free to contact us during regular office hours with questions or urgent concerns at 651-484-3331. You can also click here for after-hours emergency contact information.
Photo Credit: damedeeso / Getty Images

What Every Cat Owner Needs to Know About Feline Calicivirus

Feline calicivirus is a common upper respiratory infection that can spread quickly among cats in close quarters and those who haven’t received a vaccination against it. Since it’s much more common in very young kittens, you need to use extra precaution when you introduce a new kitten to a household that already has cats. In fact, you should plan to isolate the kitten and older cats for five to seven days to ensure that everyone remains healthy during the transition period.
Calicivirus has symptoms similar to what a person suffering from a cold or the flu might experience. Your cat’s symptoms may be only mild or they could become quite severe. However, calicivirus is rarely life-threatening and cats can only transmit it to each other and not people or other species of animals.
How Calicivirus Spreads
Cats who live in unsanitary conditions and those who have not received a vaccination are most at risk of acquiring this virus. It can spread very quickly in boarding facilities and animal shelters. This is the reason why Minnesota Veterinary Hospital requires all cat owners to show proof of the calicivirus vaccine before boarding with us. Another way the virus spreads is when a non-infected cat has contact with the sneeze droplets, eye discharge, or other type of bodily fluid from an infected cat.
Recognizing Calicivirus Symptoms
A cat with calicivirus typically has clear discharge coming from the eyes and nose and will sneeze frequently. A normally rambunctious kitten or cat will not have the same energy level and show little interest in eating. Some other symptoms your cat could display include:
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Struggles to chew food
  • Drooling
  • Squinting due to eye ulcers
  • Pink eye
  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • Ulcers in the mouth
Calicivirus can make your cat feel miserable until the symptoms clear. Although no treatment currently exists, you can try several home care remedies to help your cat feel better.
Home Treatment for Calicivirus
Be sure to wipe the discharge from your cat’s eyes often to prevent them from crusting shut. A damp towel works just fine. We also recommend keeping the stress in your cat’s life to a minimum while he gets better. You may have to coax him to eat since the virus affects his sense of smell and cats don’t like eating anything they can’t smell. Another thing you can do is turn the shower on and then hold your cat in the bathroom for a few minutes. Breathing in the hot steam can help clear his lungs and sinuses.
If your cat normally goes outside, keep her in until she has recovered from the virus. Not only can going outside prolong her recovery, but she can spread calicivirus to other cats in the neighborhood even as she recovers from it.
Your cat may need medications, eye drops, IV fluids, or other interventions from us if he has a moderate to severe case of calicivirus. Fortunately, calicivirus is easily preventable with a vaccine. Please contact us to schedule an appointment if your cat has never received one or a booster if it’s been more than a year since the last dose.
Photo Credit: Martin Poole / Getty Images