Tick Prevention northern Colorado

How to Prevent Heartworm, Ticks, and Fleas

As the snow melts and the rivers rise, out come the creepy crawlers that just love to hitch a ride on your dog or cat. With warming temperatures the primary thing to be aware of is mosquitos and the spread heartworm. Heartworm is a nasty parasite that can cause serious problems in dogs and sometimes cats. They spread through infected mosquitoes when they bite dogs. Dogs are the primary host in which they grow and develop into adult heartworms that populate dogs’ cardiovascular and respiratory systems causing a number of very serious and life-threatening problems. Though treatment does exist, it is very expensive, and can cause toxicity problems in some dogs. This is why we recommend ALL dogs be on heartworm preventative! It is an easy once-a-month chewable tablet that protects your dog from heartworm disease as well as common intestinal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. Prior to starting heartworm preventative (such as Interceptor Plus), all dogs should receive a heartworm test to ensure no existing heartworm disease.

Other creepy crawlers to be aware of are ticks and fleas. Some people falsely claim that Colorado has no ticks. While it is true that many of the species that you see on the east coast or southwest United States are not found in Colorado, we have our own species that love high altitudes and can often be found hiding in the shrubbery of wooded areas next to trails and rivers. The ticks in Colorado can sometimes carry diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever that they can pass on to your dog during feeding. While the risk of your dog getting ticks may depend on your specific location and activities, we encourage you to use prevention if the risk is significant, particularly if you have found any ticks on your dog in the past. Preventative comes in two forms – one is a topical gel that is absorbed through the skin on the dog’s back, and the other is a chewable tablet. Both forms work for one month. The preventatives also work on fleas. Flea and tick preventative is HIGHLY encouraged if your dog is traveling to warmer, wetter regions of the United States where fleas and ticks are much more prevalent.

Aspenwing Rattlesnake Safety

Rattlesnake Safety

How to Prevent Rattlesnake Bites with your Dogs

Note! We are hosting a Rattlesnake Aversion Training class June 12th 2017 more information below.

Where do rattlesnakes live?

Rattlesnakes live in a variety of habitats, ranging from wetlands, deserts and forests, and from sea level to mountain elevations. Rattlesnakes are most active in warmer seasons, from Spring to Autumn. Dogs are at risk for rattlesnake bites; in fact dogs are about 20 times more likely to be bitten by venomous snakes than people and are about 25 times more likely to die if bitten. Snake bites are life threatening, extremely painful, expensive to treat, and can cause permanent damage even when the dogs survive.

What are the effects of a rattlesnake bite?

Whether hiking, camping or just hanging around your home, your dog may encounter a snake. Their curiosity or even protective instinct will put your dog at risk to being bit. They can even encounter the snake by accident and receive a bite. The rattlesnake bite is generally “hemotoxic” which means that it exerts its toxin by disrupting the integrity of the blood vessels. The swelling is often dramatic with up to 1/3 of the total blood circulation being lost into the tissues in a matter of hours. The toxin further disrupts normal blood clotting mechanisms leading to uncontrolled bleeding. This kind of blood loss induces shock and finally death. Facial bites are often more lethal as the swelling may occlude the throat or impair ability to breathe.

Did you know there is a vaccine that may lessen the severity of the venom?

Preventing your dog from getting bit is one of the key components to protecting your dog. The other is the rattlesnake vaccine. The canine rattlesnake vaccine comprises venom components from Crotalus atrox (western diamondback). This vaccine is meant for use in healthy dogs to help decrease the severity of rattlesnake bites. The vaccine is produced from inactivated Crotalus atrox venom with an adjuvant and preservatives added. Dogs develop neutralizing antibody titers to C. atrox venom; the vaccine is specifically for the toxin of the Western Diamondback rattlesnake and provides the best protection against the venom of that particular rattlesnake, however the vaccine has been shown to provide cross protection against the venom of other types of rattlesnakes and copperheads since the venom of pit vipers share some of the same toxic components. In fact, most of the 15 species of rattlesnakes in the United States have fairly similar venom.  This is how one antivenin is able to cross-protect against so many rattlesnake species.  The protection afforded by the vaccine depends on the similarity of snake venom to the Western Diamondback. The vaccine however does not provide protection against the Mojave rattlesnake, Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake, cottonmouths or coral snakes.

Here is how the rattlesnake vaccine works…

Please note the rattlesnake vaccine is a preventative measure to reduce the effects of rattlesnake venom prior to a bite where as Anti-venom is a shot taken after a bite has occurred to reverse the effects of the venom. The vaccine is not a cure and only works to reduce the severity of the venom and increase the time available to receive a shot of anti-venom. The vaccine works by stimulating the dog’s immune system to produce antibodies against rattlesnake toxin. Almost no vaccine is effective 100% of the time.  There are undoubtedly some dogs whose immune systems just won’t produce as many antibodies necessary for maximum protection but the partial protection they receive may still be enough to save their lives or help them recover more quickly. Therefore, this vaccine should not be used solely as a means of protection against rattlesnake bites. It is meant to provide some protection and to reduce the severity of the snakebite. Therefore, if your pet gets bit by a rattlesnake, it is still an EMERGENCY SITUATION, and you must get your pet to the closest veterinarian for immediate treatment. Call us for more information about the rattlesnake vaccine.

The best protection is prevention!

Upcoming Snake Aversion Training Class this June here in Loveland

The first component of protecting your pets is to train them to avoid snakes which will help save them and many times even you! You may not be aware of a snakes presence, however if your dog is trained to avoid them, they will alert you of its presence and protect you both.  How can you train your dog to avoid snakes and protect you both? This is not an easy task which is why we have requested an expert in rattlesnake aversion training to run a class locally.

Rattlesnake Aversion Class Monday June 12th, 2017 held at Aspenwing pet hospital Loveland, CO

The Training Process

A set of training stations are set up to expose the dogs to the various aspects of the snakes. Each dog is taken through the course one at a time to give them the individual attention they need to successfully complete the training.  Electronic collars are used in the training because it is long proven to be the most effective, and possibly only effective tool for this particular training. The collar is adjusted to suit each individual dogs needs. Many people have concerns over the use of the e-collars, however in the hands of a trained professional, they are extremely safe and efficient. The trainers will ask details about your individual dog so that they can accommodate to their specific characters.

Safety and Precautions

Safety is of paramount concern; all of the rattlesnakes used out in the open have had their venom ducts surgically removed by a licensed veterinarian so they cannot inject any venom with their bite and are now known as venomoid snakes. This minimally invasive procedure does no long term harm to the snakes; in fact, some of the trainer’s retired venomoid snakes are over 15 years old!

What sets this training seminar apart?

Other training classes use muzzled rattlesnakes which in our trainer’s experience has proven stressful to the snakes and the muzzled snakes learn that they cannot bite, thus instead of coiling into a defensive posture and rattling the snakes start to act defeated and more timid.

Teaching your dog to avoid dangerous encounters is first and foremost, but we equally respect the care and well being of the snakes being used in this program. Not only will the trainers teach your dogs, but they also like to take the opportunities to teach the owners about the benefits of rattlesnakes and encourage them to leave them be if encountered in the wild.

How do I sign up for the class? How much does it cost?

The Snake Aversion Class is a very safe and effective way to teach your dog to avoid the sight, sound and smell of the rattlesnakes.  Our expert trainer has been training dogs to avoid snakes for over 15 years.

Because significant resources need to be scheduled ahead of time there are big savings in signing up early.

Discounted tickets are available ahead of time for up to $35 in savings!

  • Between 3/1/2017 – 4/30/2017  tickets are  90$
  • Between 5/1/2017 – 5/31/2017 tickets are  100$
  • Between 6/1/2017 – 6/11/2017 tickets are  110$
  • On the day of the event 6/12/2017 tickets will be full price at $125 and subject to walk in availability.

For the session you will need to be present for about an hour, we have time slots available starting from 8AM and the last session staring at 7PM.  For tickets and more information on Aspenwing’s Snake Aversion Class please visit the event page.

Aspenwing Loveland Rattlesnake Aversion Class

Rooster up close

Protect Your Poultry Flock From Avian Influenza & Other Diseases

What Is Avian Influenza (AI)?

AI viruses can infect chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, ducks, geese and guinea fowl, as well as a wide variety of other birds. Migratory waterfowl have proved to be a natural reservoir for the less infectious strains of the disease known as low pathogenicity avian influenza. AI viruses can be classified into low pathogenicity (LPAI) and high pathogenicity (HPAI) based on the severity of the illness they cause. HPAI is an extremely infectious and fatal form of the disease that, once established, can spread rapidly from flock to flock. However, some LPAI virus strains are capable of mutating under field conditions into HPAI viruses.

Signs of Avian Influenza

  • Sudden death without clinical signs
  • Lack of energy and appetite
  • Decreased egg production
  • Soft-shelled or misshapen eggs
  • Swelling of the head, eyelids, comb, wattles, and hocks
  • Purple discoloration of the wattles, combs, and legs
  • Nasal discharge
  • Coughing, sneezing
  • Lack of coordination
  • Diarrhea

Understand what biosecurity is and how it helps reduce disease outbreaks:

By following good biosecurity, you decrease the risk of AI on poultry farms; loss of export markets, public concern, and cancellation of poultry shows, auctions, fairs, and exhibits as a result of disease outbreaks; and quarantines resulting in financial losses due to disease outbreaks.

Biosecurity: Make it Your Daily Routine

Consistent biosecurity practices are the best way to prevent diseases such as AI. The following steps can help you keep your birds healthy:

  1. Keep your distance Isolate your birds from visitors and other birds.
  2. Keep it clean Prevent germs from spreading by cleaning shoes, tools and equipment.
  3. Don’t haul disease home Also clean vehicles and cages.
  4. Don’t borrow disease from your neighbor Avoid sharing tools and equipment with neighbors.
  5. Know the warning signs of infectious bird diseases Watch for early signs to prevent the spread of disease
  6. Report sick birds Report unusual signs of disease or unexpected deaths.

This information is published from USDA APHIS. For more information and for webinars concerning  Biosecurity Basics visit: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/animal-disease-information/avian-influenza-disease/birdbiosecurity

Aspenwing Bunny Check in Larimer County Fair

4H Rabbit Check-In at the Larimer County Fair

 

IMG_5180bunny

The Aspenwing staff recently spent their Friday evening performing health checks for the 4H Youth’s rabbits at the Larimer County Fair. The evening was brimming with floppy ears, cotton tails, and smiling faces!

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Kids & Critters 2016

Kids & Critters 2016 Event Photos

Thank you all for joining us at the Kids & Critters Festival! We enjoyed seeing all of your pet’s and getting to meet your families. Thank you to all of the vendors that made this possible and the volunteers that brought it all together, we could not have done it without you. We hope to […]

Bunny Tune Up Free at Kids & Critters Event

Need a Bunny Tune Up? Free at the Kids & Critters Festival

For those with bunnies there has been a recent addition of a bunny booth to the Kids & Critters Festival that may be of interest.

  • Bunny booth with helpful rabbit information
  • Free bunny nail trims by Debby Schmidt of Rabbit Essentials
  • Free bunny tune ups by Debbie Widolf
  • Your are welcome to bring your bunny to the event
  • Kids & Critters Festival – June 11th 2016 10AM to 2PM

RSVP on the Facebook event

Fear Free Treatments at Aspenwing Bird & Animal Hospital

Fear-Free Treatment / Pheromones

At Aspenwing we strive to provide a low-stress environment for all of our patients. For many animals going to the veterinarian is strange and scary, so we do our best to provide as much positive experiences as we can to improve their overall attitude about their visit. This can include tasty treats throughout their visit, friendly pats and scratches, and a calm and comforting atmosphere. In addition to these practices, we recently added a new tool to our repertoire to help lower the stress of the patients… pheromones!

Pheromones are chemical signals that are widely used in the animal world for communication. They differ from normal smells in their ability to directly signal the brain into producing specific physiological responses in the animal. Their responses to the pheromone are unlearned and unable to be conditioned. We have two products that contain pheromones: Feliway and Adaptil

Have you ever seen your cat rub its face on furniture at home? That releases a facial pheromone that is marking the cat’s territory as safe and secure. Feliway mimics the cat’s natural facial hormone, effectively reducing the stress of the cat and promoting feelings of comfort and security. By spraying towels and objects in the clinic prior to your cat’s arrival, we can help reduce your cat’s stress and promote feeling of comfort.

The pheromone in Adaptil has a very similar effect on dogs. It is meant to mimic the pheromone emitted by a mother dog at birth to make her puppies feel calm and secure. This makes Adaptil perfect for use in all sorts of scary situations including thunderstorms, fireworks, boarding, or long car rides.

We are excited to begin using these tools at Aspenwing to promote feelings of calmness and security from the moment your pet comes through the door!

Feel free to give Feliway and Adaptil a try at home as well. It comes as a small travel spray, collar, or plug-in diffuser for your home.

9 News Pet Check

9PetCheck

9PetCheck Proud Participant 2016

9 News Pet Check Proud Participant 2016

We are proud participants of the seventh annual 9PetCheck! Our Colorado Veterinary Medical Association member veterinarians and clinic team are looking forward to providing preventive care exams and rabies vaccinations to underprivileged pet owners this April. For more information and to find out how to make an appointment, tune in to 9News KUSA on Monday, April 4th, between 4:00PM and 6:30PM!

 

9PetCheck Proud Participant 2016 silhouette

Aspenwing goes to Fort Collins DOW Mountain lion

Aspenwing visits the Division of Wildlife

The Aspenwing team had the privilege of visiting the Division of Wildlife and touring their facilities. Dr Lisa Wolfe was our generous host in touring the grounds and explaining the importance of the DOW’s various projects.

Aspenwing-DOW-Deer

At the Fort Collins DOW they have a wide variety of animals which act as important ambassadors to research and preservation of Colorado wildlife. While touring the grounds we were first introduced to a moose named Antlers. Some of you might know who he is. Antlers was the moose that wandered into a hotel in Colorado Springs when he was just three days old and is parents could not be found.

Aspenwing at the DOW with Antlers 

Aspenwing at the DOW with Antlers 

After visiting with Antlers we were introduced to some deer and elk. The adult elk and deer are used for feed testing. The DOW is trying to come up with a nutrient dense pellet to drop out in the wild to help grazing deer achieve their daily nutrient requirements during severe winter storms.

Aspenwing at the DOW Aspenwing at the DOW with Big Horn Sheep and Dr. Lisa Wolfe

After feeding the elk and giving Antlers a banana, the next stop was the baby pens. There were a few baby prong horns, big horned sheep, as well as a baby mule deer. We were able to assist the employees with bottle-feeding the prong horn and working with halter training them. We had a blast seeing the babies which were surprisingly friendly, we even got some kisses from the mule deer!
Aspenwing goes to Fort Collins DOW baby Deer Aspenwing goes to Fort Collins DOW baby  

The last stop was to visit the mountain lions. They acquired the lions when they were infants because their mother had been killed. It was amazing to see a mountain lion only a few inches away!  We witnessed first hand how they work with the three lions. The Division of Wildlife has worked extremely hard clicker training these lions which enables the staff to safely handle and care for them. One of the lions has to receive medications a few times a day along with laser therapy which is easily performed due to the extensive training.

Aspenwing goes to Fort Collins DOW Mountain lion

Wondering why this mountain lion’s ears are pink? During the summer an anti-pest regimen is applied to the cats ears to keep the flies down.

I would like to give a huge thanks and gratitude to both Dr. Wolfe and Dr. Chappell for providing us with this wonderful opportunity to visit the Division of Wildlife and allowing us to interact with some amazing animals!

Aspenwing at the DOW with Mountain Lions

Five Tips to Keeping your pets safe this winter season

Five Tips to Keep Pets Safe this Winter Season

Five Tips to Keep Pets Safe this Winter Season

Keeping your pet safe this winter season can be as simple as following some basic tips.

1. Winter Health Exam

Is your pet current with his/her wellness exam? This is important to know that there are no underlying conditions such as arthritis that may be more painful in cold conditions. Be sure to have your veterinarian do a thorough physical exam to detect any problems so they can be addressed and the pet be made more comfortable.

2. What About Those Awesome Booties and Coats!?

Some pets tolerate cold weather much better than others.  But even with long fuzzy coats they can get into trouble if outside for any length of time. So invest in pet clothing for they are not only stylish but will add comfort to your pet and prevent hypothermia on those winter walks. Also, shorten the winter walks if temperatures are at freezing or below and watch for icy patches where you and your pet can get injured. Be sure to check your pets feet often for any cracks or injuries to their paws because when the feet are cold, they don’t always feel any injuries until they warm up.

3. Toxins – The Green Ooze

Antifreeze is a very deadly and it is a very common chemical around in the winter. Be sure to wipe down your pets paws, legs and belly to prevent ingestion if they walked through this compound. Be sure to use a pet-safe deicer for your driveways and walkways.

4. Make Some Noise!

A warm engine on a cold night will attract kitties and other critters to your car. Be sure to make noise around your vehicle before starting to scare anyone out from under the hood or tires!

5. Leave Pets at Home when Running Errands and Traveling

Many people are aware of how dangerous it is leaving a pet in a vehicle in the summer but it can be just as dangerous in the winter. Temperatures in the car can drop rapidly and if you are delayed for any reason this can be a very bad situation for your pet. So leave them home in their nice warm cozy beds while you are out and about.

Final Note for Outdoor Pets:

We do not recommend that pets be outside in cold weather but if there is no option for certain periods of time, be sure to give them warm shelter that is off the ground and plenty of fresh non-frozen water that is changed several times during the day.  But they must be brought into a more sturdy shelter for severe low temperature periods for their safety and comfort.