Monthly Archives: June 2012

Feline Bartonella “The Cat Scratch Disease Bacteria”

Healthy cats can carry six members of the Bartonella bacteria family in their blood, which are transmitted between cats by fleas and ticks.  The bacteria can be spread to people via cat scratches, bites, contact with fur, and probably rarely by infected fleas and ticks. 

 

Prevalence of Infection

The prevalence of Bartonella-infected cats varies in different geographic areas and depends on the average temperature and rainfall (humidity).  About 20% of healthy cats in the U.S. are infected carriers.  The highest infection rates occur in hot, humid climates, where conditions are favorable for fleas and ticks.  Most untreated infected cats remain infected for years or for life.

 

 Risk Factors for Infection

Risk factors that make cats more likely to have flea infestation and thus become infected with Bartonella are:

  • originating as a stray
  • coming from a shelter or human group
  • living in a multi-cat household
  • going outdoors often
  • living in a hot and humid area

 

Cat Bartonella Diseases

Cat Bartonella possess hair-like structures found on the bacteria’s surface w hich allow the bacteria to stick to, and penetrate, red blood cells and the cells that make up the walls of the capillaries.  This ability leads to the wide and varied tissue specificity observed in cats, dogs, and people.  Bartonella induce inflammatory reactions in may tissues throughout the infected animal’s body.  These tissue are:

  • oral and respiratory mucosa
  • ocular tissue
  • the gastro-intestinal tissues
  • the skin
  • organs (liver, spleen and lymph nodes) 

In fact, since capillaries are found in all tissue, all tissues are susceptible to the inflammatory effects of Bartonella.  Inflammatory reactions often occur concurrently in multiple sites, such as the oral and respiratory tissues, ocular and oral tissues, or in other combinations.  Although numerous microorganisms can cause inflammatory diseases, it appears that Bartonella are the cause of about 40-50% of the following conditions in pet cats:

Oral Diseases:  Gingivitis, Stomatitis, Oral Ulcers

 

Respiratory Diseases:  Upper Respiratory Disease, Rhinitis, Sinusitis

 

Ocular Diseases:  Conjunctivitis, Uveitis, Chorioretinitis, Corneal Ulcers, Keratis

 

Intestinal Diseases: Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Diarrhea (chronic), Vomiting (chronic)

Other Diseases:  Enlarged Lymph Nodes, Fever of Unknown Origin, Skin Diseases, Heart Disease

 

Bartonella Therapy

Antibiotic therapy of healthy infected cats and cats with Bartonella-induced diseases is effective for most cats.  Owners should be careful while treating their cats to avoid being scratched or bitten. 

 

Human Bartonella Disease

Bartonella, transmitted from cats, can cause 22  human diseases and cat scratch disease is only the “tip of the Bartonella disease iceberg.”  The other Bartonella diseases are:

  • Bacillary Angiomatosis & Peliosis
  • Febrile Bacteremia
  • Heart Diseases (endocarditis & vegetative  valvular disease)
  • Eye Diseases (Uveitis, Neuroretinitis, Disciform Keratitis)
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Lymphadenopathy

 

Cat Scratch Disease

Cat scratch disease is the best known Bartonella disease.  More than 22,000 cases occur each year, of which more than 2,000 people require hospitalization.  The disease usually begins a few weeks after transmission of Bartonella from cats with a red papule at the site of a scratch or bit.  Lymph nodes that drain the injury site become inflamed, enlarged, painful, and may develop an abscess, which my rupture and drain.  Severe cases may progress to organ involvement, neurological complications, and rarely to coma. 

 

Testing for Bartonella is available at both clinics through National Veterinary Laboratory in New Jersey.  If you have any questions or concerns about your cat, please call Northstar Animal Care at (614) 488-4121 or Upper Arlington Veterinary Hospital at (614) 481-8014.

 

[information taken from "Cats & Bartonella" phamphlet]

 

 

 

TightRope CCL: A New Surgical Option for Cruciate Repair

What is cranial cruciate ligament disease?

The cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) is one of the main stabilizing structures of the knee (stifle) joint in the mail hindlimbs of dogs.  The CCL is a rope-like structure inside the joint that acts as a static (constant) stabilizer of the knee, preventing abnormal “slipping” of the two bones of the knee joint, the femur and tibia.  It’s main job is to hold the femur and tibia in proper alignment during all forms of activity.

Deficiency of the CCL is the most common orthopaedic problem in dogs and inevitably results in degenerative joint disease (arthritis) in the knee joint.  It is referred to as a disease because it is typically the result of a degenerative process in dogs, rather than from athletic injury or trauma.  Although it is often noticed after running, playing or jumping, the disease process has been present for weeks to months when symptoms occur.

 

What are the symptoms of CCL disease?

Some of the symptoms your pet may display are:

  • Limping
  • Holding the hindlimb up
  • Sitting with the leg stuck out to the side
  • Stiffness, especially after exercise
  • Not wanting to play or exercise
  • Pain when the joint is touched or moved
  • Swelling of the joint
  • Clicking sound when walking

 

How is CCL disease diagnosed?

We will review your dog’s medical history and perform a complete examination using tests of the integrity of the CCL, including the “crainal drawer” and “tibial thrust” tests.  X-rays will be performed to assess the amount of arthritis present and aid in determining treatment options.  Sedation or anesthesia may be necessary for making the definitive diagnosis, to avoid causing any pain to your pet.

 

What are my treatment options?

First, it is important to know that there is no cure for CCL disease in dogs.  The goals for all treatments are to relieve pain, improve function and slow down the arthritis.  With these realistic goals in mind, a number of treatment options can be very successful in accomplishing all of them.

Nonsurgical treatment entails rest and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication for 6-8 weeks.  Once the initial pain and inflammation have subsided, a strength-building exercise program and weight loss (if necessary) should be initiated.  Nonsurgical treatment of CCL disease can be successful at accomplishing our goals.  However, the success rate for accomplishing all of our treatment goals is not high and typically, only small dogs weighing less that 30 pounds may have good long-term results with this approach.

Surgical treatment options are numerous and no treatment has been proven to be superior to others for all types of dogs.  It is vital to remember that complete assessment of the joint with treatment of damaged tissues, such as the CCL and meniscus, as well as exceptional postoperative management and rehabilitation programs are as, or even more, important than the “CCL surgery” itself.  The decision should be based on the best available on safety and success, the surgeon’s experience with the techniques and individualized for each patient using the information from the exam and discussion with you  regarding your goals and concerns.

 

Most common CCL surgery techniques:

Tibeal Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) is one of the “bone-cutting” techniques and is designed to change the anatomy of the knee so that it no longer “slips” without having to try to replace the function of the CCL.  A semicircular cut is made at the top of the tibia with a curved sa so that the tibial joint surface is “leveled out” to prevent forward slipping of the joint.  A plate and screws are inserted to stabilize the cut bone during the healing.

TPLO Surgery

 

Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA) is the other “bone-cutting” technique which is designed to change the knee anatomy, so that muscle forces are rebalanced to limit the tibia from “slipping” forward.  In this procedure, the bony attachment of the quadriceps muscles is cut, moved forward and held in place with a spacer, plate and screw during healing.

TTA Procedure

 

Lateral Suture Stabilization is the most common technique used to treat CCL disease in dogs.  It is one of the extracapsular techniques.  This means the function of the CCL, which is inside the joint, is replaced by placing a suture outside the joint.  The suture, most commonly a type of medical grade “fishing line”, is placed around the fabella and through the tibia providing a soft tissue-to-bone stabilizer of the joint during healing.  The suture acts as a temporary stabilizer as the dog makes new functional scar tissue around the knee for long-term joint stability.

Lateral Suture Repair

 

TightRope CCL was developed in 2005 to provide a minimally invasive and improved method for extracapsular stabilization of the CCL.  This technique does not require cutting of the bone like the TPLO or TTA procedures.  Instead, it uses small drill holes in the femur and tibia to pass a synthetic ligament-like biomaterial through a small incision to provide bone-to-bone stabilization during healing.  The biomaterial used for the TightRope CCL is called FiberTape.  This is a Kevlar-like material that is used extensively in human surgery for many orthopaedic applications.  This material has properties that make it stronger and less prone to failure than any other suture materials currently being used for CCL. 

TightRope CCL Repair
 

 

Are you concerned that your dog might be suffering from CCL disease?  Call our offices and schedule your appointment with us today.  Dr. Adam Parson performs the TightRope procedure at Northstar Animal Care on 5th Ave. on Mondays and Tuesdays by appointment only. 

 

 

       [Information taken from Arthrex Vet System Brochure] 

The Risks of Leaving Pets in the Car

 

 

 

You’ve probably heard news reports of dogs suffocating inside cars on warm days. Here are suggestions for educating people about leaving pets in cars, and what to do if you see a pet in distress.

The dangers:

It takes only minutes for a pet left in a vehicle on a warm day to succumb to heatstroke and suffocation. Most people don’t realize how hot it can get in a parked car on a balmy day. However, on a 78 degree day, temperatures in a car parked in the shade can exceed 90 degrees — and hit a scorching 160 degrees if parked in the sun!

Even when the outside air temperature is in the 60s, temperatures inside some vehicles can reach the danger zone on bright, sunny days. So many experts recommend not to leave pets or children in parked cars even for short periods if the temperature is in the 60s or higher.

Rolling down a window or parking in the shade doesn’t guarantee protection either, since temperatures can still climb into the danger zone. And if the window is rolled down sufficiently, the pet can escape. Plus if a passer-by claims he or she was bitten through the car window, the pet owner will be liable.

What about leaving the dog in the car with the air-conditioning running? Many people do this, but tragedy can strike — and it has. For example, in 2003, a police dog in Texas died after the air-conditioning in the patrol car shut down and began blowing hot air. The air system’s compressor kicked off because the engine got too hot. Many cars, including modern models with computerized functions, are prone to the same problem. In August 2004, a North Carolina couple lost two of their beloved dogs, and nearly lost their third dogs, as result of a similar failure. They had left bowls of water and ice in the car, and the air-conditioning on, during their shopping trip of less than 30 minutes.

Animals are not able to sweat like humans do. Dogs cool themselves by panting and by sweating through their paws. If they have only overheated air to breathe, animals can collapse, suffer brain damage and possibly die of heatstroke. Just 15 minutes can be enough for an animal’s body temperature to climb from a normal 102.5 to deadly levels that will damage the nervous and cardiovascular systems, often leaving the animal comatose, dehydrated and at risk of permanent impairment or death.

Precautions:

  • Leave your dog at home on warm days.
  • On trips with your pet, bring plenty of fresh drinking water and bowl.
  • Don’t let dogs ride loose in pick-up truck beds. The hot metal can burn a dog’s paws, the sun and flying debris can hurt the dog, the dog can accidentally be thrown out of the truck if the brakes are suddenly applied, and the dog can jump out if scared or upon seeing something interesting to chase. Instead, use a crate to create a safer space for the dog if you can’t fit the dog inside the truck cab.
  • Take the dog into the shade, an air conditioned area, or to the vet if you see signs of heat exhaustion, which include restlessness, excessive thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, dark tongue, rapid pulse, fever, vomiting, glazed eyes, dizziness, or lack of coordination. To lower body temperature gradually, give the animal water to drink, place a cold towel or ice pack on the head, neck and chest, and/or immerse the dog in cool (not cold) water. Call your veterinarian.
  • Get free brochures (see below) to use to educate pet owners.

If you see a pet in a vehicle on a hot day, take immediate action:

  • Note the car make, model, color and tag number, then go to the nearest stores and ask the managers to page the owner.
  • Call the police, which usually can respond much faster than can animal control departments. The police have the capability to enter the vehicle and rescue the pet.

 

Educating others:

For copies of “Hot Car” flyers, and for educational posters to give to store managers to post in their windows to remind people that “Leaving Your Pet in a Parked Car Can be a Deadly Mistake”: contact the Humane Society of the United States at 202-452-1100 or companionanimals@humanesociety.org.

To easily download brief leaflets on topics that include pets in hot car and chaining dogs:
http://www.helpinganimals.com/pdfs/hotundercollar.pdf

To order a Hot Dog car sunshade that bears an educational reminder, call PETA at 1-800-483-4366

 

More resources:

Car Safety and Travel:
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_CarSafety.php

First Aid: http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_FirstAid.php

Summer Pet Safety Guide:
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_SummerHealth.php

CPR and Mouth-to-Snout Resuscitation:
Print these life-saving brochures to have on hand!
http://members.aol.com/henryhbk/acpr.html
http://www.rescuecritters.com/cpr.html

Poison Emergency 24-Hour Hotlines:
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center
1-888-4-ANI-HELP or 1-888-426-4435
National Animal Poison Control Center
1-800-548-2423