When Your Veterinarian Says "The Back"

Reception Area at Dupont Vet Clinic Fort Wayne

You arrive at Dupont Veterinary Clinic nervous about how your appointment is going to go, because your pet has been vomiting all night and has been unusually tired at home. You know it is important to see your veterinarian, but you are worried about your pet’s anxiety level since he or she is not a big fan of visiting the vet. Your pet’s constant whining and pacing in the waiting area is adding to your increasing level of stress.

You are put at ease when you are greeted by our friendly and enthusiastic receptionist who knows your pet by name. The recognition and the familiarity comforts you some and you start to feel a little bit better.

 

Reception Desk at Dupont Vet Clinic Fort Wayne

You are escorted back to an exam room by a veterinary technician that asks a series of questions about your pet and the reason for your visit. You answer the questions to the best of your knowledge, but are anxiously watching your pet’s mounting level of tension.

The veterinarian enters the room in a few minutes and performs a full “head-to-tail” physical exam and discusses your pet’s clinical signs with you. The doctor recommends lab work and radiographs (x-rays) to help determine the cause of your pet’s clinical signs.

The doctor is starting to help ease your anxiety when they mention that they are going to take your pet to “the back” or to “the treatment” area to run these additional tests. Your heart sinks as you relapse back to your anxious state.

“What does the doctor mean by “the back”?,” you anxiously wonder. “Is my pet going to be alright on his own?”

The majority of pet owners have heard the phrase, “the back,” during one of their visits. We are providing full disclosure to our clients to help them understand why this part of the exam is necessary.

Here is a photo of our actual treatment area, where there are three extra exam tables with surgical lights (better light than in the exam room), water, extra supplies for blood draws, bandaging, diagnostics, etc. There are more technicians here to help your doctor run blood tests, take care of your pet, and even to help with x-rays. The treatment area allows the staff to work together as a team to tend to your pet much more efficiently. The treatment area is often a busy place, but it can also be quickly converted into one of the quietest rooms for those extra nervous pets. With better lighting, bigger exam tables, and more staff to help your doctor, this is why the treatment area can be superior to the exam room when helping treat your pet.

 

Treatment Room at Dupont Vet Clinic Fort Wayne

 

Some pets are actually calmer away from their owners, which makes it easier to perform a thorough physical exam, draw blood, or provide the treatment that they need. This allows the veterinarian and veterinary technicians to accomplish tasks more efficiently and safely, while reducing stress for your pets.

If your pet needs to come to “the back” for x-rays this is another room off of our treatment area (far back right in the treatment area photo) that is quieter and darker for the highest quality x-rays. Here is a photo of our x-ray area where your pet will be escorted.

 

X-ray Room at Dupont Vet Clinic Fort Wayne

In our treatment area we also have a full lab, where we can run the majority of your pet’s diagnostics, such as in-house lab work or cytology (to look at ear infections, masses/growths, skin infections, etc.). Here is a photo of our lab area (back right of the treatment area photo) where your veterinarian and veterinary technicians will be busy running your pet’s diagnostics to more efficiently and effectively diagnose your pet.

 

Back Lab at Dupont Vet Clinic

We at Dupont Veterinary Clinic hope that by providing full disclosure and visuals of our treatment area, owner’s minds will be put at ease when their pets need to be escorted out of the exam room for further treatment or diagnostics. We aim to provide the highest quality of care for your pets as we know they are an important part of your family… and ours!

 

puppy-exam.001

By Ashley Dawes, DVM

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Heartworm Disease

Most pet owners have heard a lot about heartworms from their veterinarian, friends, or commercials. Since we have seen a rise in heartworm disease in our area this summer, we would like to teach you 10 things that you didn’t know about heartworms.

1. Heartworms have long lasting effects even after the infection has been cleared. Dogs are the natural host for heartworms, which means that they live inside the dog, mature to adults, mate, and produce offspring. Dogs can carry several hundred worms in their heart, lungs, and arteries, which significantly impacts the dog’s health and quality of life even after the parasites are gone! Long lasting effects of heartworm disease is why it is so important to prevent heartworm disease rather than treat it after the infection has started.

Heartworms in a heart specimen. Multiple worms are shown in the right ventricle and pulmonary artery

Numerous heartworms in a dog’s heart and arteries

2. Cats cannot undergo heartworm treatment like dogs, so prevention is the only means of protecting them from this potentially fatal disease. Cats cannot handle the heartworm treatment that is administered to dogs. Cat heartworm disease is very different than in dogs, because cats are an atypical host and most worms do not survive to the adult stage.

 

Diagram showing feline heartworm facts, signs of disease and prevention

3. Cats typically just have 1 to 3 immature worms, which means that heartworm disease often goes undiagnosed in cats. Heartworms in cats can cause significant damage, even though there is a smaller worm burden. Our feline friends experience what is called heartworm associated respiratory disease (HARD). Cats also have very small hearts, which means even 1 to 3 worms can cause significant damage.

Cats can die from heartworm disease even though they usually only get a couple of worms

4. Clinical signs of heartworm disease in cats can be very subtle or very dramatic. Cats infected with heartworm disease may experience coughing, asthma-like attacks, periodic vomiting, lack of appetite, or weight loss. On more rare occasions cats may have difficulty walking, faint, have seizures, or develop fluid accumulation in the abdomen.

5. Infected mosquitoes carry teeny- tiny baby heartworms called microfilaria, which are transmitted to our pets when the mosquito takes a blood meal from them. Once the microfilaria is inside the host it takes approximately 6 months for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms.

Heartworm microfilaria are the immature larval stage (baby worm) produced by an adult heartworm

6. Veterinary tests used to diagnose heartworms only detects the adult worms, which means it can be up to 6 months before you see a positive test. This is one reason why all dogs should be tested annually for heartworm disease.

7. Once heartworms are mature they can live for 5 to 7 years in dogs and up to 2 or 3 years in cats! Since heartworms can live for extended periods of time, each time our pets are bit by an infected mosquito this can lead to an increasing number of worms.

8. Dogs and cats aren’t the only species that can be infected by heartworms. Ferrets, sea lions, wolves, coyotes, foxes, and in rare instances, humans can also become infected with heart worms. Since wild life, such as foxes and coyotes, live close to urban areas they are considered important carriers of disease.
Ferrets can get heartworm disease too

Ferrets can get heartworm disease too!

9. Heartworm disease is in all 50 states and most pets that are infected are mostly indoor pets! This is why prevention and annually testing for heartworm disease is so important.

 

Map showing the incidence of heartworm cases in the United States by state

10. Heartworm preventatives work by eliminating the immature (larval) stages of the heartworm parasite. This includes the infective larvae deposited by the mosquito as well as the following larval stages that develop inside our pets. Giving heartworm prevention late can allow immature larvae to become adults, which is poorly treated by monthly preventatives.

For more information about heartworm disease be sure to ask your veterinarian here at Dupont Veterinary Clinic or visit the American Heartworm Society’s website at www.heartwormsociety.org.  Also, for special offers on heartworm preventive, visit our homepage and click on “Special Offers”.

 

The life cycle of heartworms in dogs and cats is shown in this diagram. It is important to prevent the disease.

By Ashley Dawes, DVM

10 Things You Didn't Know About Heartworm Disease

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Most pet owners have heard a lot about heartworms from their veterinarian, friends, or commercials. Since we have seen a rise in heartworm disease in our area this summer, we would like to teach you 10 things that you didn’t know about heartworms.

1. Heartworms have long lasting effects even after the infection has been cleared. Dogs are the natural host for heartworms, which means that they live inside the dog, mature to adults, mate, and produce offspring. Dogs can carry several hundred worms in their heart, lungs, and arteries, which significantly impacts the dog’s health and quality of life even after the parasites are gone! Long lasting effects of heartworm disease is why it is so important to prevent heartworm disease rather than treat it after the infection has started.

Heartworms in a heart specimen. Multiple worms are shown in the right ventricle and pulmonary artery

Numerous heartworms in a dog’s heart and arteries

2. Cats cannot undergo heartworm treatment like dogs, so prevention is the only means of protecting them from this potentially fatal disease. Cats cannot handle the heartworm treatment that is administered to dogs. Cat heartworm disease is very different than in dogs, because cats are an atypical host and most worms do not survive to the adult stage.

 

Diagram showing feline heartworm facts, signs of disease and prevention

3. Cats typically just have 1 to 3 immature worms, which means that heartworm disease often goes undiagnosed in cats. Heartworms in cats can cause significant damage, even though there is a smaller worm burden. Our feline friends experience what is called heartworm associated respiratory disease (HARD). Cats also have very small hearts, which means even 1 to 3 worms can cause significant damage.

Cats can die from heartworm disease even though they usually only get a couple of worms

4. Clinical signs of heartworm disease in cats can be very subtle or very dramatic. Cats infected with heartworm disease may experience coughing, asthma-like attacks, periodic vomiting, lack of appetite, or weight loss. On more rare occasions cats may have difficulty walking, faint, have seizures, or develop fluid accumulation in the abdomen.

5. Infected mosquitoes carry teeny- tiny baby heartworms called microfilaria, which are transmitted to our pets when the mosquito takes a blood meal from them. Once the microfilaria is inside the host it takes approximately 6 months for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms.

Heartworm microfilaria are the immature larval stage (baby worm) produced by an adult heartworm

6. Veterinary tests used to diagnose heartworms only detects the adult worms, which means it can be up to 6 months before you see a positive test. This is one reason why all dogs should be tested annually for heartworm disease.

7. Once heartworms are mature they can live for 5 to 7 years in dogs and up to 2 or 3 years in cats! Since heartworms can live for extended periods of time, each time our pets are bit by an infected mosquito this can lead to an increasing number of worms.

8. Dogs and cats aren’t the only species that can be infected by heartworms. Ferrets, sea lions, wolves, coyotes, foxes, and in rare instances, humans can also become infected with heart worms. Since wild life, such as foxes and coyotes, live close to urban areas they are considered important carriers of disease.
Ferrets can get heartworm disease too

Ferrets can get heartworm disease too!

9. Heartworm disease is in all 50 states and most pets that are infected are mostly indoor pets! This is why prevention and annually testing for heartworm disease is so important.

 

Map showing the incidence of heartworm cases in the United States by state

10. Heartworm preventatives work by eliminating the immature (larval) stages of the heartworm parasite. This includes the infective larvae deposited by the mosquito as well as the following larval stages that develop inside our pets. Giving heartworm prevention late can allow immature larvae to become adults, which is poorly treated by monthly preventatives.

For more information about heartworm disease be sure to ask your veterinarian here at Dupont Veterinary Clinic or visit the American Heartworm Society’s website at www.heartwormsociety.org.  Also, for special offers on heartworm preventive, visit our homepage and click on “Special Offers”.

 

The life cycle of heartworms in dogs and cats is shown in this diagram. It is important to prevent the disease.

By Ashley Dawes, DVM

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