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This morning I found a tick crawling on my dog’s fur. This particular tick was so small that it almost looked like a piece of dirt! This tiny trouble maker was identified as a deer tick, a very common nuisance in the Baraboo area that carries a terrible infection – Lyme Disease.
In 2016, according to the Companion Animal Parasite Council, there were 12,283 positive cases of Lyme Infection in dogs tested in the state of Wisconsin. That’s 1 out of every 11 dogs tested! In Sauk County, the percentage increases dramatically from 8.8% (state-wide) to a staggering 29.8% (county-wide) with 1 positive out of every 3 dogs tested. That’s a lot of ticks! And, unfortunately, a lot of disease.
Ticks and tick-borne diseases are a commonly discussed topic at every canine wellness appointment here at Hill-Dale due to its high prevalence. Ticks are present year round, but tend to peak during the spring and fall months. So even with the frost on the ground this morning, ticks are out. This is why it’s so important to continue monthly tick preventatives year round. “Seasonal” prevention leaves a gap in protection that could leave your dog susceptible to fatal disease.
Luckily, my dog has protection from these nasty creatures. But what does that entail? I recommend several “layers” to keep dogs safe – that way we aren’t relying on one factor alone.
The “Big 4” Against Tick-Borne Disease:
Ticks may be small, but they pack a mighty punch when it comes to diseases they carry. Lyme disease causes dramatic clinical signs including joint disease, fever, lethargy and rarely kidney failure which can be fatal. Our staff and veterinarians are great resources on tick control and are available to answer your questions. We aim to provide the best individualized prevention protocol for your dog so you both can enjoy the great outdoors here is Sauk County!
Hill-Dale Veterinary Hospital is proud to announce the newest addition to our “clinic cat” staff, Sheamus O’Davis! Our newest feline employee has certainly shown us his spunky side and it has been a true joy watching him grow up.
Watching Sheamus and his kitten antics gives us an appreciation of what it takes to raise a kitten into an adult cat. These are topics we, as veterinary professionals, discuss with our clients on a daily basis and it helps us apply what we educate when we see it in our own hospital! Here are a few of the important pointers and topics that are of the utmost importance for raising a kitten:
1) Know litter box care. This sounds self-explanatory, right? Cat = litter box. But kittens and cats can be particularly sensitive to the type of litter, box, location and number of boxes that are in the house. Starting litter box training early can help reduce stress and help prevent inappropriate behavioral elimination in the future. We like to apply the “plus one” rule to litter boxes – this means that for each cat (or kitten!) in the house, we recommend an extra litter box. Now, of course, this is within reason. If you have 5 cats, 6 boxes seems a bit excessive! Instead, consider a wider/larger box (such as an under-the-bed storage container) that can accommodate multiple cats. The next big item on the ideal litter box checklist is location, location, location! Cats don’t like to be disturbed while doing their “business”, so make sure your box is not is a noisy location or near a lot of daily activity. If you have multiple levels to your home, consider a box on each level. Finally, cats are very clean creatures – and that means their boxes should be clean, too! Uncovered are best, as they do not trap smells as much, and make sure they are cleaned on a regular basis.
2) Nip that biting/scratching behavior early. Kittens LOVE to bite and scratch! Everything! Fingers, toes, toys, furniture…and it’s all completely normal behavior for cats to do these things. Our job is to train them to do biting and scratching on something that is appropriate, and not on that brand new beautiful leather couch! Consider training your kitten right away with redirection – this means that we divert his/her “bad” behavior from one thing to another and reward the desired “good” behavior. This is most often applied to scratching. If your kitten is going after your favorite chair, trying these things:
3) Keep up with veterinary care. Kittens (and puppies, for that matter) need multiple vaccinations between 6-8 weeks and 15-17 weeks in order to build their own immune system against common infections. This means at least 2-3 visits to a veterinarian to make sure your young furry friend is protected; after this initial kitten series, a vet visit is recommended at least once per year to monitor health and booster vaccinations during your adult cat’s life. If you’re not sure if your kitten is current on routine care, call us today!
Kittens are a bundle of joy (and energy!) to live with! We are so excited to see our little Sheamus grow up in his new home.