Our Maine Street's Aroostook Issue 5 : Summer 2010 - Page 53

County Critters with Dr. Hotham Summer is finally here and with it will come increased risk of disease with our companion animals. To help keep our pets healthy, consider the following: 1. Apply/administer monthly flea and tick products to all animals in your household to prevent flea infestation, flea allergy dermatitis, Lyme disease and other vector-borne diseases. Use products recommended by your veterinarian, as they will be the safest and most effective. 2. Consider monthly deworming of your dog or cat if it goes outside. Internal parasites are common and can be picked up in the soil, excrement, from other animals or by consuming rodents and other small creatures. Deworming is inexpensive and my cost you between $4.00 and $9.00 per month. 3. Consider having your dog vaccinated for Lyme disease. This is a very complex disease transmitted by ticks. This vaccine is more effective and very safe now and may be a good idea for your pet, especially if you don’t faithfully use a monthly product to kill and repel ticks on your dog. 4. Have your dog vaccinated for leptospirosis. This is a bacterial disease carried by infected rodents, raccoons, skunks, deer and livestock. It is a common cause of serious kidney and liver diseases. Dogs often get infected by drinking from stagnant water and puddles. 5. Black flies and mosquitoes love to feed on dog’s ears and underbelly. Consider a monthly flea and tick product applied topically that also repels black flies and mosquitoes or bring your dog inside during the hours that flies are the worst. There are also pet-safe repellent sprays that can be applied that work well too. 6. Finally, consider vaccinating your dog for kennel cough. Many of you will be travelling this summer and may find the need to board your dog away from home. This is an effective vaccine to reduce the risk or severity of a highly contagious disease causing coughing and possibly pneumonia. These are just some basic items for your consideration, which will help keep your pets healthy and comfortable this summer. Dr. Hotham is an Aroostook county native and owner of Hotham’s Veterinary Services Inc., which offers a wide variety of small and large animal veterinary services. SUMMER 2010 County Critters 51