News & Updates
Safety of Oral Flea/Tick Preventatives
The FDA released a statement in September 2018 regarding the safety of oral flea/tick preventatives such as Nexgard, Simparica, Bravecto, and Credelio (these drugs are all closely related). The statement noted:
“Data received by the agency as part of its routine post-marketing activities indicates that some animals receiving Bravecto, Nexgard or Simparica have experienced adverse events such as muscle tremors, ataxia, and seizures. Another product in this class, Credelio, recently received FDA approval. These products are approved for the treatment and prevention of flea infestations, and the treatment and control of tick infestations…
The FDA carefully reviewed studies and other data on Bravecto, Credelio, Nexgard and Simparica prior to approval, and these products continue to be safe and effective for the majority of animals.”
Products that offer protection against ticks have long been known to raise additional concern for dogs with a history of seizures. A very small number of dogs with no history of neurologic events may experience this type of side effect from the medications listed above. A very large number of dogs will be protected from tick-borne diseases by these same medications, with no side effects.
Bolton Vet continues to recommend the use of oral flea/tick preventatives for dogs with no seizure history. Your veterinarian can discuss the pros and cons in regards to their use for a dog with a history of neurologic disorders. For the vast majority of dogs, these medications are a safe and very effective option.
Canine Influenza Update
Cases of canine influenza have recently been reported in the NY metro area including southwestern Connecticut. At the time of this update, nine cases have been identified in Connecticut. No cases of H3N2 influenza have been reported local to Bolton Vet in eastern Connecticut.
Here are our recommendations for keeping your dogs safe:
- If you are concerned and would like to have your dog vaccinated for any reason, please call our office to schedule an appointment. We have kept the influenza vaccine in stock since it first became available.
- Avoid situations where your dog may be exposed to dogs of unknown health status (for example, dog parks). A boarding kennel or “doggie day care” that requires all animals be in good health in order to attend is expected to be a safe venue. A small number of kennels now require the canine influenza vaccine; you may want to ask your kennel about it before boarding your pet.
- Avoid traveling inter-state with your dog if possible. If you must travel with your dog, avoid interacting with other dogs on your trip, and/or consider vaccination.
- If you work or volunteer at an animal shelter, kennel, grooming shop, pet store, or other venue that involves meeting community dogs, be sure to shower and launder your clothing before interacting with your own pets when you get home.
- Monitor your dog for signs of illness, and call your veterinarian if you are concerned. Signs to watch for include coughing, sneezing, fever, and discharge from the nose or eyes.
Canine Influenza H3N2 was first observed in the Chicago area in early 2016. No cases were reported in Connecticut, and a very limited number of cases were reported in some neighboring states. A vaccine was developed, and is recommended for use in dogs at increased risk of exposure (for example, those who attend dog shows).
In May 2017, multiple cases of H3N2 were reported in association with a Florida dog show. Due to upcoming dog shows in our region, we continue to recommend that dogs who attend shows be vaccinated against canine influenza. The risk to the rest of our local dog population remains low. If any cases are reported in Connecticut, we will post updates and make recommendations for a broader scope of vaccine administration.
Concerns for Heart Disease in Dogs Fed Grain-Free Diets
Grain-free diets have gained popularity in recent years, but new observations have led to concern that some grain-free diets – particularly those using lentils, peas, chickpeas, potato, or exotic meats such as kangaroo – may be a contributing factor to heart disease in dogs (and potentially cats as well). Very little is currently known, and the FDA is investigating the issue. The specific type of heart disease that has been observed, Dilated Cardiomyopathy, is otherwise uncommon in most dog breeds.
Formal recommendations will be developed as more information is gathered on this problem. Please speak to your veterinarian about your pets’ diet if they eat a grain-free diet that includes lentils, peas, chickpeas, potato, or exotic meats as primary ingredients. A diet change may be recommended, and taurine supplementation is also an option. Fortunately, most pets do not actually require a grain-free diet, so changes should be simple to make.
If you choose to change your pet’s diet, remember to make the transition gradually. For example: Feed 1/4 of the new food and 3/4 of the previous food for a few days. Then feed half of each type for a few days. Next, feed 3/4 of the new food and 1/4 of the previous food. You may then fully transition to the new food.
Recent news stories have highlighted the spread of Canine Influenza H3N2 strain. This is a strain that was first reported in the Chicago area, and subsequently spread to other states. More recently, this virus was suspected to be present in Washington state. As of the time this update was written, a case has not been reported in Connecticut, and a very limited number of cases were reported in some neighboring states.
The previously established canine flu vaccine is not believed to be effective against the H3N2 flu strain. Merck and Zoetis have each developed a new canine flu vaccine with the goal of protecting against the H3N2 strain.
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