Fleas and ticks are here and now deer and the deer tick have recently blessed us with their presence in Locust Valley and surrounding areas. The deer tick is a main source of Lyme disease transmission. All pet owners should seriously consider using the newer flea and tick prevention products on the market. The Communicable Disease Center (CDC) has reported an increased resistance of fleas and ticks to the commonly used products we have used in the past. For that reason, they recommend alternating products each year. Ticks especially carry diseases of human significance as they can cause the same diseases in humans as in dogs and cats. These include: Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, Babesia, Bartonella and more. Now we have available the long awaited ORAL 1x each month pill. It is a soft beef-flavored chewable pi ll approved to kill both fleas and ticks. It is called NexGard. It is a prescription product and available only from your veterinarian. It is used for not only the prevention of fleas and ticks but also the treatment of them. It has been on the market in the US for over 6 months and has shown to be very safe and effective. Still available are the older topical products that are applied 1 x each month to the skin. Most of these products that kill fleas and ticks do it quickly. This is especially important as a tick has to be attached to the skin for 24+ hours before transmission of the Lyme Disease bacterium can occur. The topical products are applied to the skin (not the hair) 1 x each month. It is dispersed into the fatty layer under the skin and stored in the oil secreting glands. All these products kill the parasites, inactiv ate the eggs, and kill the immature form of the parasites known as larvae. Fortunately, all these products work well on the pet and in the house for control as well as prevention. Vacuuming the entire house still is a must, as it sucks up live and dead fleas and ticks, AND their eggs and larvae. The bag should then be placed in the garbage where it will eventually be burned. According to the CDC in Atlanta, Lyme Disease is on the rise in the northeast and even with the development of these products, treatment of the outdoors with insecticides still has a place in total flea and tick control, especially with re-occurring infestations. Check with your veterinarian for the latest recommended products.
This year, 2014, The American Veterinary Medical Association has declared April as Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and for many good reasons: One out of 16 dogs will test positive, and the number of human cases increased from 19,931 in 2006 to over 30,000 cases in 2013. This disease remains the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the US. It is on the increase in the north eastern states, and especially on Long Island. Some suspect Global Warming, and some believe it is due to ticks resistance to the insecticides we use, We had over 100 positive cases in dogs in the Locust Valley/Glen Cove area in the last 2 years. Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks, commonly called black-legged ticks or deer ticks.They spread the disease to dogs, horses, humans and other animals. Several years ago it was discovered by Yale researchers that birds, such as robins and blue jays, can carry ticks long distances right into our own backyards. The incidence of Lyme continues to rise also because we now have deer in the Locust Valley area. The ticks acquire the disease-causing bacteria by feeding on infected rodents and deer. Lyme Disease can be a very complex and serious disease if not caught early. It can result in painful lameness, chronic joint problems, serious kidney disease and neurological problems.The most effective way to protect your dog is by vaccination. The vaccine induces the body to produce antibodies against the bacteria in the tick and locks the bacteria inside the tick. So the vaccine actually works within the tick, not the dog. These are unique vaccines known as Recombinant vaccines, and are considered “genetically engineered wonders of modern science.” They contain only a single protein which practically eliminates all adverse reactions. Monthly preventative medications are available, both topical and now a new 1x a month oral chewable pill. These products kill ticks within 24 hours which is less time the tick needs to transmit the disease to the dog or human. Looking for ticks by daily brushing and combing is not enough as the tick is so small it is usually missed. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations.
There are basically five kinds of water: Spring water, Well water, Tap water, Bottled water and Distilled water. Spring and Well water come from the earths aquifer, rain and melting ice. Tap water comes from rain water stored in reservoirs, Bottled water from commercial companies and Distilled water also from commercial companies. Spring and well water are the most natural, and if not bottled the water is unfiltered and untreated. Tap water is treated with fluoride and other chemicals and is also filtered. Bottled water is not only filtered but many impurities are also removed by chemical processes. How thoroughly and which of the many impurities removed depends on the company producing it. Lastly, distilled water is made by boiling regular water and capturing the steam under pressure, into sterile containers. By d oing this, most impurities and important electrolytes and minerals are also removed. If you go “online” there are many conflicting articles about the benefits and hazards of distilled water. This ranges from treating urinary tract infections, causing urinary infections and stones, causing and/or treating cardiac disease, and even tear stains, etc. Now, which one is best for your pets? Spring water, which is fresh water from springs, is not so fresh as one might think. Animals urinate and defecate in those rivers “upstream” that become springs “downstream”. In fact, even in Canada, the ice melt water coming directly from the polar ice cap has impurities and tastes of sulfa. Well water is from the earths aquifer which has a natural filter. However, it still is not always safe to drink it. In general, the safest water is using any source of water suited for human consumption, filtered and treated. The general consensus of my research is distilled water is NOT recommended. Although most electrolytes and minerals important for good health are found in all commercially prepared dog and cat foods, many pets do not get balanced diets. Drinking regular water is not only important for proper hydration but is also a source of these necessary minerals and electrolytes that your pet might not get if he/she is a finicky eater. Actually, water is more important for survival than food. Remember, always provide ample fresh drinking water for your pets on a daily basis, the same water that you drink. Please note: Drinking water from glass rather than plastic bottles is better as the plastic bottles leach harmful oil based chemicals into the water over time.
Last week I wrote about harmful products used indoors that can be harmful to pets and humans. Many cause indoor pollution of the air. This week I am writing about “pet friendly” and “people friendly” products that can be used to clean and are considered safe and DO NOT cause indoor pollution, BUT, they are not to be licked, swallowed, inhaled or applied topically to pets. Baking soda cleans, deodorizes, scours, and softens water. It is noncorrosive, slightly abrasive and is effective for light cleaning. Borax cleans, deodorizes, disinfects, and softens water. It is also effective for light cleaning, for soiled laundry in the washing machine, and for preventing mold growth. It is a natural alternative to color safe bleach, toilet bowl cleaner, drain deodorizer, surface cleaner, oven cleaner, tile cleaner, degreaser etc. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is effective in removing mold stains from nonporous surfaces. Purchase a 10 % food-grade solution. (The solution most commonly sold off the shelf is only 3 %.) Use protective gloves to apply. A 10 % solution will bleach many types of surfaces. A 35% food-grade peroxide is available through many health food stores, but must be used with caution and the container must be refrigerated and kept clean. The 35% solution will burn skin and must be carefully diluted before it can be safely used. ONLY the 3% Peroxide sol. can be given orally to induce vomiting in pets, AND only with a veterinarians guidance. Soap (as opposed to detergents) biodegrades safely and completely. It is an effective and gentle cleaner with many uses. For hands, dishes, laundry, and light cleaning, use the pure bar or soap flakes without perfume additives. TSP (trisodium phosphate) can be used according to the manufacturer?s instructions for grease removal. TSP is available in hardware stores. Surfaces cleaned with TSP should be neutralized with baking soda prior to the application of finishes. Fluids containing TSP should not be disposed of in septic systems or sewer systems because of their high phosphate content. Vodka is effective for dissolving alcohol-soluble finishes. Use a high-proof (high alcohol content) product. Washing soda (sodium carbonate) cuts grease, removes stains, disinfects, and softens water. It is effective for washing heavily soiled laundry and for general cleaning. White vinegar cuts grease and removes lime deposits. A safe and useful all-purpose cleaning solution can be made from distilled white vinegar and plain water in a 50:50 ratio. Vinegar has been used to clean and control mold growth. It is also very helpful in eliminating urine and feces odor from pet accidents. For window cleaning, add five tablespoons of white vinegar to two cups of water. The solution should be placed in a glass spray bottle. Glass is preferred because plastics are known to release hormone-disrupting chemicals into bottle contents. Please note: your drinking water should also be in glass bottles.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published reports that states the air inside the typical home is on the average 2-5 times more polluted than the air outside. In extreme cases, this number can be as high as 100 times more contaminated. This large variation is strictly related to the type of household cleaners and pesticides you use, and where you reside. Some of these cleaning products are loaded with harmful chemicals and the EPA estimates that at least 50% of indoor pollution is the direct result of these products. Many prestigious research organizations, including the MIT/Harvard Broad Institute, the Animal Cancer Foundation, the Mayo Clinic, and the Morris Animal Foundation have published reports that one in four dogs will die or be euthanized because of cancer. Cancer is the No.1 cause of disease-relate d death in dogs over the age of two. These numbers have been substantiated in Locust Valley and the surrounding towns on the North Shore. Rarely does a day pass when we do not make the diagnosis of some sort of cancer in a dog or cat. Many can be saved with surgery. Some we can help with Chemo or radiation, but the fact remains that we see a lot of it. The cause has never been definitely discovered. We know genetics plays a role, but what about all these chemicals and pesticides? Most of our pets live indoor most of the time, especially in the colder months. Dogs and cats have a much more rapid metabolism, breathe more rapidly, and have smaller lungs so they are at great risk. They are also directly on our lawns, more than us, which leaves them more susceptible to pesticides. Stay away from cleaning products that contain phenols, ethylene glycol, formaldehyde, petroleum based solvents, chlorethylene and ethoxylate. There are many more. Use “Green” or Organic products only and lawn products that state “safe for pets”.