We will be closed in observance of Thanksgiving Day on November 22nd and reopen November 23rd with normal business hours

In case of emergency please call Madison Veterinary Specialists at 274-7772 or Veterinary Emergency Services at 831-1101

What You Should Know About Preventing Fleas and Ticks

Click the map below to learn more about vector-borne disease in our area

The thought of insects crawling on your skin and living off your blood probably, well, makes your skin crawl. Yet, too often as pet owners, we allow fleas and ticks to treat our pets like bed-and-breakfasts. And it is only after these pests make themselves at home that we might realize showing them the door can be difficult, expensive and painfully slow.

Fleas and ticks aren’t just irritating and distasteful; they can lead to medical problems. Flea allergies can cause severe itching and skin damage; fleas can also carry the causative agents of cat-scratch disease, while ticks carry the organisms that can lead to debilitating illnesses like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. So it’s crucial to continuously and effectively prevent infestations of these parasites for the health and safety of our pets, our families and ourselves.

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Fleas: The Prolific, Perplexing Parasite

Consider the life cycle of the common flea: The average female can lay 40 to 50 eggs daily. The eggs develop into maggot-like larvae and progress to a cocoon stage called pupae. These pupae wait several weeks to months for the ideal temperature and humidity to mature into adult fleas. That single adult flea you find on your pet represents about 5 percent of the total flea problem in your home; eggs, larvae, and pupae comprise the rest. Your pet — and your home — can be infested before a single flea is found. And finding them can be tough, especially on cats, because of their constant grooming. That’s why a one-time treatment for fleas isn’t usually enough.

Pet owners often discover a flea problem because of a pet’s severe itching, which sometimes is due to flea allergy dermatitis — a sensitization to the flea’s saliva when it draws a blood meal. No pet is safe from fleas and their bites, but not all pets are hypersensitive to them. This means severe infestations can occur without your dog or cat showing any obvious discomfort. Therefore, it’s best to use preventive tactics to help keep fleas from infesting your pet and home in the first place.

To do this, speak with your veterinarian about safe flea-control products that you can administer to your pet year-round. Some products are administered once a month, but other products provide longer-lasting protection. Ask your vet about the best choice for your pets. Consistent use of safe prevention products is the primary method of managing fleas. Newly hatched young adult fleas usually feed right away. If your pet has been treated with an appropriate flea product when these adult fleas emerge, you can help break the cycle of infestation. (Remember to treat all of the pets in the house, regardless of whether or not they’re itching.)

Treating your pet’s environment is also an important part of controlling and preventing flea infestations. Fleas lay their eggs on your pet, but the eggs usually fall off. Once in the environment, they molt into larvae and develop into the pupae stage. Larvae don’t survive well in sunlight, preferring instead to hide in dark, protected areas like deep carpet or pet bedding. Therefore, focus on treating the places your pet likes to rest, especially those that are out of sunlight, like a resting place in the shady area of the yard, your pet’s blanket or pillow — or even your bed (ick). Frequent cleaning or vacuuming can help reduce the pupal and larval stages of fleas in the carpet, and many flea control products used on pets also kill eggs and larvae.

But don’t forget that fleas can gain access to your house or yard in many ways, including wildlife, neighborhood cats and you, just to name a few. Also remember that if your dogs or cats are allowed access to other areas — such as parks, nature areas, crawl spaces or even the neighbor’s yard — they’ll have ample opportunity to encounter fleas. Therefore, even if you’re treating your pet, areas of your home and yard may also need regular attention.

Ticks: Expanding Their Disease-Carrying Reach

Like fleas, ticks can now be found throughout most of the country. Though the severity of tick infestations varies by region, ticks are now spreading into areas that previously had very limited tick problems.

Unlike fleas, ticks may not cause dramatic irritation when they attach to your pet’s skin. This lets the tick slowly fill with blood without interference. Before feeding, ticks are often small and easily overlooked; once a tick has eaten and is engorged with blood, it grows in size and often looks bloated. These bloated ticks are usually easier to spot (depending on species—some of them can still be very small), but can be difficult to remove —especially if you aren't used to doing it. If you see a bloated tick, your best bet is to visit your veterinarian so she can remove it and check for any additional ticks.

There are several species of ticks that pose a risk to pets and people. Ticks can be hosts to several types of disease-producing organisms that can be transmitted to pets or people while the tick is feeding. These organisms can cause illnesses like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Again, the lesson here is that it’s best to protect your pets — and yourself — from ticks rather than react to them after the fact.

Most ticks lurk in tall grass or low-hanging bushes and crawl onto pets or people as they walk by. The tick can then travel on the host — that’s you or your pet — to find a suitable place to attach and feed. Considering how stealthy these travelers are, the most reliable plan is to keep your pet on an effective tick preventive all year. Conveniently, many products combine protection from ticks with flea protection. Your veterinarian can recommend a product that is safe and appropriate for your pet.

You can also help prevent ticks by keeping the grass and bushes in your pet’s outdoor area mowed and trimmed. If you’re hiking, camping or playing in untended and possibly tick-infested outdoor areas, wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and headgear to help prevent tick exposure. Afterward, be sure to check both your pets and your family for ticks.

The Risk-Free Myth

Some circumstances may seem like they’d be guaranteed flea and tick free, but this is not so. There is no such thing as a completely risk-free situation. Pets need prevention in every situation.

Think your indoor pet is safe? Think again. You’ve seen bugs inside your house — fleas and ticks can sneak indoors, too. Even pets who don’t venture outside — such as an indoor cat or a dog who only goes in the yard for potty breaks — are at risk of flea and tick infestation. Granted, their infestation chances are lower than those of outdoor pets, but you can help protect them by using safe and effective flea and tick control products year-round.

And don't assume that there's a flea- and tick-free season. Fall and winter may seem like distant memories at this time of year, but they’re not to be forgotten when it comes to parasite prevention. Fleas and ticks have a way of popping up in the colder months. In fact, flea numbers can surge in the fall in temperate climates.

What’s more, fleas enjoy a wonderful, climate-controlled environment inside your house year-round. They can gain inside access by hitching a ride on outside sources, such as you and your pets, or adult fleas can develop from eggs or larvae that were already hiding in your house. Don’t forget that ticks are extremely tough, too, and can often survive outside even during the winter months. The only way to ensure your dog or cat is safe from fleas and ticks is to keep him on a parasite preventive all year.

Keeping Fleas off Pets: Your Options for Preventives

Today’s highly effective parasite preventives each work a little differently to keep fleas off your pets; your veterinarian can recommend a product that best suits your pet’s health needs and your lifestyle. Here’s a look at the differences between oral products (which your pet eats) and topical products (which you apply to your pet’s skin). There are also some effective collars that you may want to ask your vet about.

Oral Flea Control

  • Available as palatable, flavored tablets, therefore, generally easy to administer to most dogs.
  • No mess.
  • No worry about accidental contact with skin (children’s or other pets’) or potential discoloration of household surfaces (furniture or flooring) from topicals immediately after application.
  • No need to worry about swimming or bathing. (Frequent swimming or bathing may reduce the effectiveness of some topicals.)

Topical Flea Control

  • No risk of your pet vomiting up the medication.
  • No worries about whether your pet ate the whole tablet.
  • An alternative for pets who won't take oral products or are difficult to medicate.

Stop Fleas and Ticks Before They Start

Remember this mantra: When it comes to fleas and ticks, it’s best — and safest — to prevent an infestation than it is to deal with the consequences. Your veterinarian, as an expert in parasite control and prevention, can recommend the best products to help prevent infestation. (Keep in mind that not all insecticides are safe for both cats and dogs of all sizes, so carefully follow your veterinarian’s recommendations.)

With a little effort and a year-round prevention plan, you can keep your pets virtually parasite free — and help ensure that your home sports a “no vacancy” sign when it comes to fleas and ticks.

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Please Welcome Anna to our Grooming Team!

Anna is a Certified Veterinary Technician who has been working with us for about a year and is interested in grooming! Anna is going to be working under our current groomer, Alissa. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please call us at 608-767-3407. We still have openings for you to get in before the holidays!

Pet First Aid Tips

What would you do if

...your dog ate the bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips that was left out on the kitchen counter?
...your cat had a seizure right in front of you?
...your dog fell down the stairs and started limping?
...your cat was overheating on a hot summer day?

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View our Pet First Aid brochure

To avoid the feelings of panic that may accompany these situations, we recommend the following steps to better prepare you for a pet medical emergency. The following links summarize the basics you need for giving first aid care to your pet.


Always remember that any first aid administered to your pet should be followed by immediate veterinary care. First aid care is not a substitute for veterinary care, but it may save your pet's life until it receives veterinary treatment.

First aid supplies
Our handy checklist tells you all the supplies you should have on hand for pet first aid. Print out a copy to use for shopping, and keep a copy on your refrigerator or next to the first aid kit for your family, for quick reference in emergencies.

How to handle an injured pet
Knowing how to comfort an injured pet can help minimize your pet's anxiety and also protect you and your family from injury.

Basic pet first aid procedures
Read our simple instructions for providing emergency first aid if your pet is suffering from poisoning, seizures, broken bones, bleeding, burns, shock, heatstroke, choking or other urgent medical problems. Print out a copy to keep with your pet emergency kit.

First aid when traveling with your pet
A few simple steps can better prepare you to help your pet in first aid situations while you are traveling. Remember: pet medical emergencies don't just happen at home.

Pets and disasters
Whether confronted by natural disasters such as hurricanes, or unexpected catastrophes such as a house fire, you need to be prepared to take care of your animals. A pre-determined disaster plan will help you remain calm and think clearly.

Additional pet first aid links

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Veterinary Health Care Team

Every veterinary hospital staff consists of a team of caring individuals, each contributing his or her unique abilities to ensure high quality veterinary care for animals and compassionate interactions with animal owners. Dedication to service remains a top priority.

The Veterinarian – Leading the Team

Veterinarians are doctors trained to protect the health of both animals and people. In a clinical hospital environment, veterinarians work with large and small animals to evaluate animals’ health; diagnose and treat illnesses; provide routine preventive care; prescribe medication; and perform surgery. Some veterinarians specialize in areas such as surgery, internal medicine, ophthalmology or dentistry.

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In addition to opportunities in clinical practice, veterinarians may work in zoos, wildlife parks, or aquariums; focus on public health and regulatory medicine; enter academia or research; or they may pursue other career paths. Personal attributes that contribute to a successful career as a veterinarian include a strong science and math education, the ability to work well with animals and their owners, basic business and management training, excellent communication skills, and leadership and organizational skills.

The Veterinary Technician

Veterinary technicians perform valuable medical and non-medical services in clinical practice. They are graduates of an AVMA-accredited veterinary technology programs and usually have an Associates or Bachelors degree. The veterinary technician is educated and trained to support the veterinarian by assisting with surgery, laboratory procedures, radiography, anesthesiology, treatment and nursing, and client education. Almost every state requires a veterinary technician to pass a credentialing exam to ensure a high level of competency.

Some veterinary technicians pursue specialties in emergency and critical care, anesthesiology, internal medicine, animal behavior, or dentistry. Personal attributes that contribute to a successful career as a veterinary technician in clinical practice include a strong science background, an ability to work well with people and animals, and good communication and decision-making skills.

The Veterinary Hospital Manager

Many veterinary hospitals find that having a hospital (or practice) manager greatly improves the team's efficiency. This person is responsible for managing the business functions of the practice. Depending upon the size and type of hospital, the manager’s duties could include personnel hiring and supervision, budget and inventory management, accounting, marketing, and developing recordkeeping and other business standards for practice. A strong business background, computer knowledge, and desire to work with and manage people are key attributes for success as a hospital manager.

The Veterinary Assistant

In some hospitals, a veterinary assistant supports the veterinarian and/or the veterinary technician in their daily tasks. The assistant may be asked to perform kennel work, assist in the restraint and handling of animals, feed and exercise the animals, or spend time on clerical duties. There is no credentialing exam for the veterinary assistant; however, training programs are available (see www.navta.net). The ability to listen, communicate efficiently, and handle multiple assignments are skills that make a veterinary assistant an important member of the hospital team.

The Receptionist

The receptionist or client service representative is usually the first person to welcome a client into the hospital and the last person the client sees when they leave. The interactions he or she has with a client can determine how the client perceives the quality of medical services being offered. A good receptionist must have excellent communication skills and be able to handle a variety of questions and requests from clients and the public. In addition to setting appointments, responding to inquiries about hospital services, greeting clients, and managing callbacks, a receptionist may also perform accounting, marketing, or client counseling duties. A customer service-focused attitude, the ability to manage multiple tasks, and professionalism under stress are important attributes for a hospital receptionist.

Other Team Members

The hospital team may also include an adoption counselor, a grief counselor, administrative assistant, kennel or barn workers, and part-time volunteers. Everyone has an important role to play in assuring the health and well-being of the hospital’s patients and the owners who care for them.

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Pet Owners Are Alarmingly Unaware About Flea and Tick Dangers, Study Reveals

A new consumer study that reveals that there are knowledge gaps among U.S. pet owners related to the identification, prevention and treatment of fleas and ticks. Conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Merck Animal Health, the online study of more than 1,300 pet owners, defined as those who own a dog and/or cat, found that despite the dangers of flea infestations, ticks and Lyme disease, many pet owners may not be as knowledgeable—or as prepared—as they think.

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In fact, one third (33 percent) say that they do not give their pets regular flea/tick medication and nearly half (48 percent) don't bring their pets in for routine exams to protect against these parasites.

Overall, the study found that when it comes to avoiding and treating for these pests, pet owners tend to overestimate their levels of knowledge and readiness. Specifically, more than three in five (61 percent) say they are "very knowledgeable" about fleas and ticks; however nearly two in five (38 percent) were unable to correctly identify at least one symptom commonly associated with Lyme disease. Many similarly demonstrated some level of confusion over common facts and myths—including more than one in four (27 percent) who falsely believe that fleas and ticks are only active in the spring and summer months, and one quarter (25 percent) who falsely believe that ticks can only be found in heavily wooded areas.

Younger pet owners (those aged 18-34) were especially susceptible to misinformation about fleas and ticks, and are more likely than older pet owners to falsely believe: fleas and ticks are only active in the spring and summer months (34 percent versus 24 percent of those aged 35-plus); ticks can only be found in heavily wooded areas (36 percent versus 19 percent aged 35-plus); and that dogs and cats living in urban areas don't need flea and tick protection (15 percent versus 4 percent aged 55-plus). However, the study confirmed that nearly all pet owners, regardless of age, want to keep their pets free of fleas and ticks, with 90 percent citing that they would "do anything" to protect their pets from these pests.

These knowledge gaps are particularly concerning after a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that human illnesses from mosquito, tick and flea bites more than tripled in the United States from 2004 to 2016. According to the report, there were more than 36,000 Lyme disease incidents reported in the United States in 2016 alone. Fleas and ticks can easily latch onto dogs and cats, and can spread serious illnesses, including Lyme disease. Once inside a home, they can also bite and pose health risks to human family members. Ticks can be found in most states in the U.S.; the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes regions have particularly high risks of Lyme disease.

"Lyme disease has been found in every state in the U.S., and can be fatal to our four-legged family members if left untreated," said Dr. Dan Markwalder of Companion Animal Hospital in Chicago. "Since nearly all dogs and cats are at risk of picking up fleas and ticks and transmission of the disease occurs within as little as 24 to 48 hours, preventative measures are key. No matter the season or habitat, flea and tick protection is essential for all canine and feline pets, year-round."

According to the study, almost three-quarters of pet parents (72 percent) don't research flea and tick prevention, and only half (50 percent) say they treat their pets year-round.

"Fleas and ticks can carry serious, life-threatening diseases, and they are active in almost all climates and environments throughout the U.S.," said Dr. Dottie Normile, associate director, scientific marketing affairs at Merck Animal Health. "This study shows just how important it is for pet parents to be informed and prudent when it comes to protecting their pets from these pests."

To keep pets safe from fleas and ticks, Drs. Markwalder and Normile recommend that pet owners: consult a veterinarian to have pets protected year-round, check pets and family members regularly for ticks, remember that indoor pets are as much at risk of contracting fleas and ticks as outdoor pets, and visit a doctor or veterinarian right away if you suspect that a person or a pet has come into contact with ticks or fleas.

For more on how pet owners can detect and treat flea and tick infestations, click here.

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Prescription “DOG”

Prescription “CAT”

We Offer Dog and Cat grooming!

Grooming is now available at our clinic!! Alissa Doyle is our groomer and will see dogs and cats!

Call (608)767-3407 to book your appointment!

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We Offer Acupuncture!

Please call us with any questions or to set up an acupuncture appointment for your pet today! 608-767-3400

 

jack-acupuncture

Black Earth Veterinary Clinic is proud to add acupuncture to the list of services available for your pets. Acupuncture is performed by Dr. Darlene Berkovitz, who trained at the Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine.  Acupuncture is a wonderful way to treat many medical conditions, most notably pain from injury, arthritis, or age. Acupuncture can be used in conjunction with common western medical therapies and medications.

Acupuncture is typically tolerated very well by cats and dogs. The needles are a very small gauge and most patients do not even notice them.  There are no negative side effects to acupuncture, making it safe for older pets and those with chronic disease conditions.

Acute injuries often need only one or two treatments while chronic conditions require more. Treatments take about 30 minutes and are usually scheduled once weekly for 3 – 5 sessions and then spaced further apart as tolerated by the patient.   

Stay Up to Date on Any Dog and Cat Food Recalls That Come Up

Click the picture below to learn more

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Cat Food Advisor is Coming Soon! Check Back Often!

Cat Food Advisor is Coming Soon! Check Back Often!

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!!Fleas!! Myth vs Fact!

  • My house has no carpet, so I do not have to worry about fleas in my home.

Fact: Flea eggs will drop off the pet and accumulate in the cracks of hardwood floors and along the baseboards. The larvae will then move deep into these crevices to avoid exposure to light. Fleas can survive and multiply in most environments.

  • I do not see fleas on my pet, so there must not be any.

Fact: Visible adult fleas are only a small portion of the infestation. Fleas exist in the environment as ≈57% eggs, 34% larvae, 8% pupae, and 1% adults. Fleas are difficult to see on many types of hair coats. They can be harder to see on cats, who are very good at removing the fleas when they groom. 

  • My pet never leaves my yard, and my lawn is short and well maintained.

Fact: Fleas will survive in any shady, moist environment where pets rest.

  • I do not need to use preventives during the winter months.

Fact: Fleas can survive for 10 days at 37.4oF. In cold climates, adult fleas survive on the warm bodies of dogs, cats, and other mammals, and indoors within pupal casings as pre-emerged adults.

  • I give my dog garlic as a natural flea preventive.

Fact: Garlic ingestion is an ineffective flea remedy that can have negative health effects. Garlic toxicity can result in oxidative damage to erythrocytes, which may lead to Heinz body formation, hemolytic anemia, methemoglobinemia, and impaired oxygen transportation.

12 Dog Diseases You Can Combat with Vaccination and Deworming

1. Rabies (this can be spread to people)

2. Canine parvovirus infection ("parvo")

3. Canine distemper

4. Leptospirosis

5. Canine adenovirus-2

6. Canine parainfluenza

7. Canine enteric coronavirus

8. Canine influenza

9. Lyme disease

10. Bordetella ("kennel cough")

11. Heartworm disease

12. Intestinal worms (roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, etc., some of which can also infect people)

8 Cat Diseases you Can Prevent with Vaccination and Deworming

1. Rabies (this can be spread to people)

2. Feline panleukopenia (feline distemper)

3. Feline herpesvirus infection

4. Feline calicivirus infection

5. Feline leukemia (FeLV)

6. Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) infection

7. Heartworm disease

8. Intestinal worms (roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, etc., some of which can also infect people)

See the Difference a Dental Cleaning Can Make for Your Pet!

Proper dental care can detect dental disease that not only affects the mouth, but can also lead to more serious health problems such as heart, lung, and kidney disease. Good dental hygiene is just as important for pets as it is for humans. Yet, it is one of the most overlooked areas in pet health. Studies by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) reveal that nearly two-thirds of pet owners do not provide the dental care recommended by veterinarians.

Before Dental Cleaning

 

 

After Dental Cleaning!

Fact!

More than ¾ of all respiratory infections in cats are caused by feline rhinotracheitis or calicivirus. These can cause cold-like clinical signs, pneumonia or other severe signs and are easily transmitted among cats through secretions. The good news: they can be prevented with regular vaccinations.

 

Did you know??

Disease immunity inherited by puppies and kittens thanks to their mothers' antibodies typically wears off at around 8 weeks of age. Since young animals' immune systems are still fragile at that stage, it's better to vaccinate your pet sooner rather than later.

 

 

Fact!

Even if your pet stays mostly indoors, many contagious diseases are airborne and could even travel through an open window, says the American Humane Association—so regular vaccinations are crucial regardless of whether your pet goes outside.