Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Allergies in Dogs-A New Approach

A new drug for allergies in dogs recently received approval from the FDA and is on the market.  Apoquel (oclacitbi- Zoeitis) is the first non steroidal drug that has been shown to be as effective as corticosteroids (like prednisone) in relieving itching caused by allergies without the side effects of increased thirst/urination and damage to the adrenal glands (Cushing's disease) from long term use.  Clinical testing of Apoquel revealed a very low percentage of side effects such as vomiting (2.3%  versus 1.8% in the placebo group and diarrhea 2.3% versus 0.9% in the placebo group).

The research breakthrough that led to the development of Apoquel was studies that showed that the major chemicals that are released in the body to stimulate an allergic reactions are cytokines rather than histamine like that which occurs in human allergic reactions.  That is why antihistamines work well in humans but not in dogs.  The research focused on the eventual discovery of anticytokine drugs.  Prior to this development there were no drugs that approached the level of efficacy of corticosteroids.

Since the release of  Apoquel it is now in wide usage, so much that some spot shortages have occurred.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

2012 Rabies Survey

The 2012 Rabies Summary was just released from the Iowa Department of Public Health.  The annual summary tracts the number of rabies cases in the state of Iowa  based on data from the Iowa Hygenic Laboratory in Iowa City and the Iowa State Diagnostic Lab in Ames.  In 2012 there were a total of  31 animals that tested positive for rabies; 17 bats, 9 skunks, 1 cat and 4 cows.  The average number of animal rabies cases per year is down from the past 12 year average of 51. In 2012 a total of 1011 animal were tested. In Iowa the main resevoirs for the rabies virus are skunks and  bats.  Both the bat and skunk rabies strains can be spread to any mammal usually via a bite.  The last rabies case in a human in Iowa was 2002.  The one previous to that one was 1951.  The 2002 case was a 20 year old male residing in Linn County.  It was determined that the variant of the virus in that case was the most similar to variants found in the silver-haired and eastern pipostrelle bats.  The most common species of bats tested in 2012 were the Big Brown bat and the Little brown bat. In the majority of human cases of rabies it is not determined how the person contracted it largely due the the the inability to get adequate exposure histories from neurologically impaired patients and that bites from very small mammals such as bats might go
 unnoticed.  Human rabies cases have dropped signifcantly in the United States largely from increased vaccination of domestic dogs from an average of 11 persons per year in the 1950s to 3  by the 1990s.  Once symptoms begin rabies is 100% fatal.  (pictured above: Big Brown bat-Eptesicus fuscus)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Continuing Education

The State of Iowa requires veterinarians to have 60 hours of CE hours in a 3 year licensing period. How does the Iowa requirement compare to our surrounding states?  The states vary in their licensing period (either 2 or 3 years). The per year requirement is 10 hours in Missouri, 15 for Wisconsin,  16 for South Dakota and Nebraska , and 20 for Illinois and Iowa.  This year I attended the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association annual conference in September taking classes on hematology, cytology, pain management, ultrasound, and parasitology.  Next week I will be in Davenport for the Midwest Small Animal Association taking classes on practice management, Lyme Disease, flea control, utilizing compounding pharmacies, and anterior cruciate repair.  Then on November 28th I will attend a half day surgery lecture here in town.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Halloween Hazards for Pets

Halloween can be a scary and dangerous holiday for pets. For some pets the steady stream of "intruders" to their territory can lead to extreme anxiety which may cause your pet to bite or scratch  a trick or treater or  may cause it to escape through an open door where it could get injured by a car.  Its best to keep your pets out of the action by placing them in a quiet part of the house.  If you think sedation may be necessary see your veterinarian about getting a tranquilizer to give prior to the arrival of trick or treaters.

 Another threat is the possibility is the accidental access to treats that can be toxic to pets.  Calls to the Pet Poison Helpline peak around Holloween.  Please see their website for an excellent article on this potential problem.   www.petpoisonhelpline.com/petowners/seasons/halloween

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Lyme Disease Update

I recently attended a meeting on Lyme Disease and have results of some studies that apply to our area.  Iowa State University Entomoloogy Department routinely tests ticks for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi).  In 2010 8 to 17 percent of the ticks in Iowa tested positive for the bacteria.  In Polk County in 2011 none of the tested  ticks were found to be positive.  That does not mean however that we don't have Lyme Disease in Polk County.  According to the Center for Disease Control the State of Iowa recorded 78 cases of Lyme Disease in humans in 2010 the last complete year that we have data for.  The CDC also reports that it is now believed that only the black legged tick (Ixodes) also known as the "deer tick" is the only tick that transmits Lyme Disease.  It was previously believed that other species of ticks may carry it also.  They also report that the permethrine based tick repellents are now preferred over DEET containing products. Vectra, one of the flea and tick products for dogs, contains Permethrin. The cat Vectra does not contain Permenthrin as it is toxic to cats. If you would like to have a tick tested for Borrelia burgdorferi wrap it in tissue, add a small drop of water and seal it in a zip-top bag and mail it to Department of Entomology Lyme Disease Project 436 Science II Iowa State University Ames, Iowa 50011-3222.

Lyme Disease in dogs is preventable with good tick control and vaccination.  Each dog's risk in our area should be determined by a veterinarian individually before deciding on a prevention program.

For a good review of Lyme Disease in dogs go to http://bakerinstitute.vet.cornell.edu/. and search "lyme disease".

Monday, May 14, 2012

Dog Bite Prevention Week

May 20-26 is National Dog Prevention Week.  Did you know that :

4.7 million people in the country are bitten by dogs every year.

 Children are by far the most common victims.

800,000 Americans receive medical attention for dog bites each year.

Children are far more likely to be severly injured;  approximately 400,000 receive medical attention every year.

Most dog bites affecting young children occur during everyday activities and while interacting with familiar dogs.

Senior citizens are the second most common dog bite victims.

For additional information see the AMVA's National Dog Bite Prevention Week website and a list of things you can do to avoid dog bites.  www.avma.org/public_health/dogbite/

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

National Pet Week

Happy National Pet Week (May 6-12)!
National Pet Week is about ways we can promote responsible pet ownership, celebrate the humal-animal bond and promote public awareness of veterinary medicine.  For the A.V.M..A. National Pet Week website go to www.petweek.org/about-npw.html.