Blog | Animal Emergency of Gainesville

Highlighted Case – Tetanus in a Dog: Emergency Treatment

Highlighted Case – Tetanus in a Dog: Emergency Treatment

TETANUS by Kate McDuffee, DVM Roxie is a 4 month old terrier mix who was adopted from a local shelter 1 month previously. She had been doing well in her new home, until her owners came back after being away from the house for a few hours, and noticed Roxie was having trouble walking. By the time they got her to Animal Emergency, her rear legs were extremely stiff, and she was holding them straight out behind her. There were no signs of trauma, and no where along her back that seemed painful. Her clinical signs pointed toward tetanus, which is a rare problem in dogs (much more common in horses and humans). Because these cases often require 24 hour care, and some need to be placed on ventilators, Roxie was transferred to the University of Georgia Veterinary Teaching Hospital (UGAVTH), where the diagnosis of tetanus was confirmed. Tetanus is caused by a bacterium, Clostridium tetani, which produces a toxin that affects the nerves that tell the muscles to relax. The bacteria enters the body through a wound, which can be anything from a surgical incision to a puncture (the classic “rusty nail”) or even from teething. There can be either localized disease, where just one limb is involved, or generalized disease, which can affect all muscles, including the diaphragm and chest muscles, to the point where they need to be placed on a ventilator to help them breathe. In Roxie’s case, it affected her rear legs, and spread forward to her front legs, but did not impair her breathing. After spending several days at UGAVTH, Roxie is now home, with her owners doing daily physical therapy exercises to get her range of motion back. She is showing steady improvement, but it will likely be weeks before she has normal mobility again. Because this is so rare in dogs, we do not routinely vaccinate against it (like is done with horses and people), and the best prevention is to keep wounds clean, and seek veterinary advice at the first sign of...

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Highlighted Case – Fish hook Swallowed by dog

Highlighted Case – Fish hook Swallowed by dog

Fishing with your dog: by Jesse E Brown, DVM, PhD A dog was presented on a Sunday afternoon with problem which occurred while on a fishing trip with his owner. The client was fishing and baiting the hook with small piece of a hot dog.  Interesting enough the pet was a dachshund.  So now the wiener dog sees the wiener and chomp swallows it whole not realizing he just eaten the bait intended to catch fish and not dogs.  This was most disconcerting for the client.  Realizing the immediacy of the issue, the fishing line was immediately cut and the patient was presented to Animal Emergency of Gainesville for evaluation. Survey radiographs showed that the hook made it to the stomach. Now that may seem obvious but there is always the possibility that it might hang up in the tongue, back of the throat or in the esophagus and not make it all the down so to speak. The patient was taken to surgery and the object was successfully removed from the stomach. One thing to note is that the owner did the right thing by cutting the line and also did not attempt to pull it back out. The one thing to remember is to never pull on the line in an attempt to remove the hook.  Tugging on the line will most likely set the hook in tissue and make it much more difficult to remove no matter where the hook happens to be at the moment.      ...

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Canine Flu Information for Pet Owners

Canine Flu Information for Pet Owners

Canine Flu: By Jesse E Brown, DVM, PhD—     Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) is a contagious respiratory infection in dogs. There has been a lot of press related information on canine influenza disease over the last couple of years. We all know that the “flu” causes significant health problems in humans and we all have grown up with the Asian Flu, the Swine Flu, Bird Flu and so on.  Every year the vaccine changes in response to the changes in the flu virus as seen by the clinical research.  Influenza A viruses are given a moniker based on their hemagglutinin, “H” and their neuraminidase “N” activity.  There are at least 16 H and 9N designations and this can be confusing for sure given the number of combinations. There has been recognized influenza in our canine companions since 1999 which was designated H3N8 and there is now a current vaccine for that strain.  If you own a dog you may have already had the canine influenza vaccine given to your pet.  Since 2007 a second strain labeled H3N2 was recognized and is associated with the most recent outbreak as recognized in Chicago and the Atlanta areas in 2015.   It is not the typical dog flu strain (H3N8) that is treated nationwide. Why is this important? Now just like in people, your pet can develop the flu in spite of being vaccinated. Now don’t go and call your family veterinarian to get another vaccine because there is no approved vaccination for the most recent strain.  The jury is still out as to the amount of cross protection the current vaccine affords against the new strain. The veterinarians here at Gainesville Animal Emergency are taking steps in light of this new outbreak. You may be asked to remain in the car or have your pet placed in isolation if canine flu is suspected at your visit to reduce the risk of the other patients.   We also take measures to reduce contamination of the premises.   If your dog shows signs of fever, persistent cough, nasal discharge that may be initially clear then changes color, or difficulty breathing you should see your family veterinarian.  However, if its past regular hours we will be there to help you out as well!   Be vigilant, if you use the services of a canine day care, observe other patrons pets for these signs or ask outright if there are any sick pets before you leave your pet.              ...

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Emergecy Treatment of Rodenticide Poisoning

Emergecy Treatment of Rodenticide Poisoning

  Rodenticide Toxicity By Jesse E Brown, DVM, PhD Most everyone has either had a rodent issue at their home / business or knows someone who has. Rodenticides (commonly called mouse bait or rat bait) are readily available at most hardware, variety and grocery stores. Here at Animal Emergency of Gainesville we see several accidental pet ingestions a month and have experience in treating this type of pet emergency. One important thing to remember is that these products are bait and they will attract more than just mice and rats. The local rodent isn’t on a stroll about the premises and just randomly bumps into these packages that are placed behind the refrigerator, under a cabinet or out in the garage or storage shed. The rodents seek them out as they have attractants in them to draw the target species to the area so that they will sample the bait and therefore ingest the poison. Your personal pets will seek these out as well and readily eat them if they find them. The poisons incorporated into the bait are not selective for rats or mice and will hurt your pet if ingested and no treatment is performed. The most common form of ‘poison’ in these baits are compounds that interfere with the normal blood clotting mechanism in blood. The active ingredients have the suffix “-one” or “-coum” at the end of the compound name stated in the active ingredient section on the label. Fortunately there is an antidote and its name is Vitamin K-1. This is not the OTC Vitamin K you see on the shelf in the vitamin section of your favorite store or pharmacy. The diagnosis is made either by observing the animal eating the bait or with a special diagnostic test that determines if the blood clotting is abnormal. In either case the veterinarian can help your pet get better with antidote. In severe cases a plasma transfusion may be necessary to immediately restore the blood clotting ability to the patient and therefore promote a cure. Other poisons used in rodent baits are bromethalin and cholecalciferol (Vitamin D). Bromethalin is a central nervous system toxin that causes fluid to accumulate in the brain and nerves and there is no antidote. This bait has a high mortality rate but the pet can be saved if treated aggressively over several days. Cholecalciferol causes excess calcium to accumulate in tissues especially the kidney and the rodent dies from acute kidney failure. With any of these baits, emergency veterinary attention is imperative if the ingestion is detected by the owner of the pet. It is not a good choice to wait and see what happens if your pet is known to have...

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Emergency Treatment of Snakebites

Emergency Treatment of Snakebites

By Jesse E Brown, DVM , PhD. Well summertime is in full swing with it being June and approaching the longest day of the year and so are some of the seasonal maladies that affect our pet’s health and safety. Here at Animal Emergency of Gainesville we are seeing an increase in the number of emergency snakebite treatments which is expected for this time of year as snakes are very active now especially at night.  It seems that the most common snakebite is from the Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix).  Copperhead bites cause an immediate swelling of the area surrounding the bite and intense pain.  The bite is characterized by one or more pinpoint puncture wounds that ooze a blood tinged fluid that varies in consistency.  Typically any area that is affected by edema (swelling due to fluid accumulation) due to a snakebite is very painful to even the lightest touch.  This is in contrast to allergic edema, which may be quite remarkable and incite intense itching, that is not painful. In Hall County and surrounding the surrounding counties your pet may also encounter the Timber Rattler (Crotalus horridus, AKA the Canebrake rattlesnake) or the Pigmy Rattler (Sistrurus miliarius).  You can Google pictures of these for future reference.  If your pet has an encounter with a venomous snake and it is bitten you should seek emergency veterinary advice ASAP.  If you see the snake and can take a picture of it at a distance do so but don’t attempt to handle the snake.  It helps to know what kind of snake is involved but it does not need to be brought in to us.   The best treatment for the bite is antivenin as that is the only therapy that will inactivate the venom. Shown in the pictures is a patient that was bitten on the tongue and treated here at Animal Emergency  of Gainesville.  Note that the patient could not withdraw the tongue back into the mouth because it was so grossly swollen and painful.  Antivenin was administered and within an hour the swelling was subsiding and the patient was able to go home and was much, much more comfortable.  Venomous snakebites can be fatal with those of rattlesnakes being the most dangerous but with all of the venomous bites there is extreme swelling and pain and the venom can cause tissue to die and disfigure the patient.  We keep antivenin in stock and are experienced with handling these snakebite emergencies....

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After Hours Emergency Vet

After Hours Emergency Vet

Animal Emergency of Gainesville provides an after-hours emergency clinic for most veterinarians in the Northeast Georgia area. Your local vet may be one of our supporting veterinarians that use our services. These vets are our partners in providing high-quality animal veterinarian services. Here is an example of a promotional poster you may see in your local vet’s...

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