Category: Fleas & Ticks
Most people visit their physicians at least once yearly for routine checkups. These visits usually include an exam by the doctor and bloodwork that screens for hidden problems. Yearly bloodwork aids the physician in identifying potential problems the patient may have, but unable to see on physical exam. It has always been more beneficial to treat problems early in the disease course as opposed to the advanced disease state. The outcome for the patient as well as their quality life is more favorable with early intervention.
Veterinarians have always practiced preventative medicine with vaccines, heartworm and flea/tick medications etc. Overall as a profession however, we have been reluctant, largely due to cost, to recommend routine bloodwork as part of preventative care until the patient presents with a problem. Throughout the country, experts are recommending screening bloodwork as part of a pets annual or semi-annual checkups. Pets who visit their veterinarian once yearly equate to a human visiting their physician once every 7 years. As you can imagine, alot can happen health wise to a person in 7 years, especially as we age. Anticipating an increase volume of bloodwork due to this changing philosophy, veterinary labs are making these tests more affordable for the veterinarian to recommend to pet owners.
For instance, 1 in 6 patients under 6 years of age and 1 in 5 over the age of 6 have a significant health issue diagnosable on screening bloodwork. In my experience, outcome is always more favorable and less expensive when the disease is diagnosed and treated early in its course. Several times monthly, I diagnose early kidney failure in a patient on routine screening tests. The importance of this particular test is that the patient can live 600 days with early intervention as opposed to 180 days if diagnosed later in the disease course. Therefore, in order to improve our standard of care for our patients, we will be recommending screening bloodwork at annual and semi-annual visits.
As always, if anyone has any questions related to the monthly health columns, please feel free to call the office.
This is the most common presenting problem in patients I see at Olive Branch. Florida ranks number one in the country for Heartworm Disease, Flea Allergy Dermatitis and Atopic Dermatitis. Florida’s tropical climate is a haven for mosquitoes which cause Heartworm Disease, fleas which cause an Allergic Dermatitis and various grasses, pollen, trees and dust mites which cause Atopy. In addition to Flea Allergy Dermatitis and Atopy is Food Allergy Dermatitis which also causes skin disease either alone or in combination with the other two syndromes. So, basically 3 things cause skin disease I see daily in my practice:
Some pets are allergic to the saliva in the flea’s bite. If allergic, 1 bite can cause itching for up to 2 weeks in these pets. A study published a few years ago, when the topical flea preventions (Advantage, Frontline Top Spot) were initially being tested, showed up to an 80% reduction of allergic symptoms not only from fleas, but also from Atopy. Therefore, this is the first line of treatment for generalized skin disease…monthly flea prevention. Treating the home and enviroment help, but topical treatment on the pet is by far the most effective prevention. Some clients will say however their pet doesn’t have fleas. They may not see fleas on their pet, but a flea will bite their friend when they go outside, then jump off the pet. Fleas have been around for centuries and have a knack for survival. Remember, we are the number one state for fleas in this country. Companies who make flea prevention come to Florida to test their products.
In the next article, we will discuss Atopy which is the second most common cause of skin disease.
Allergies, Dermatology, Fleas & Ticks, Skin Disease
By: DR. MARK S. SPRAYBERRY
Mar 07, 2018
This is the most common presenting problem in patients I see at Olive Branch. Florida ranks number one in the country for Heartworm Disease, Flea Allergy Dermatitis and Atopic Dermatitis.
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